Far too often I see clients with a marketing automation platform that is dramatically underutilized – many being used as a glorified email-sending platform. But marketing automation should be so much more than that – it should AUTOMATE your MARKETING. It should make your life easier by helping you move from a focus on tactics to a focus on revenue. It should free your time from the tactical execution of campaigns to focus more on the strategy and story your brand has to tell.
Lead Nurturing: The True Potential of Automation
One area of under-utilization where this is most evident is lead nurturing. So many companies have a limited understanding of what lead nurturing is – viewing it simply as a string of emails sent to a list of contacts that have something in common. Their nurture programs usually look something like a linear string of emails. And while that workflow seems beautifully simple, simplicity is exactly what prevents marketers from realizing the full potential of their automation systems and their marketing efforts.
Simplicity Isn’t Necessarily A Good Thing
The problem with the above model is that it’s too simple – it requires ongoing maintenance to move the leads where they need to be, constantly standing up new programs, pulling, segmenting, and importing new lists, and manually determining where leads should go next.
Instead, a highly effective nurture program will look more like a spider web: lots of interconnected paths for prospects to take that run automatically using your technology. While this may sound more complicated – it actually makes a marketer’s life much simpler.
A good nurture program is not a “one-and-done” email campaign. It’s an always-on program that is continually being fed by your lead-generation efforts. This type of program setup takes into account different stages of the buying cycle and is designed to guide people through your story, toward a sales conversation. And as any good story has specific elements and progression, so too should your nurture program have elements for each stage of the buying journey, with the opportunity for people to skip ahead in the story when they are ready.
Of course, the set up for these programs doesn’t happen automatically, but the time you spend on the front end will save you an incredible amount of time in the future, freeing your team to focus on more high-value activities like lead generation and content development. And that’s where your team’s true value lies.