Marketing automation is more than a buzzword in the digital communications field. The promise of this technology is delivering customized information to customers at rapid speed using smart technologies that can fill the gap left by older manual processes. So where do we start with marketing automation for ecommerce? Lets take a look at the steps here.
1. Develop a Marketing Automation Strategy
Without a strategy you can not win the war for your customer. From your customers perspective, you want to deliver relevant content in a timely fashion. So you need to know what information is helpful, or important to your customer and what is the best way of doing that. Additionally, from your internal operations, you can automate communications that are redundant or that can be powered by data that allow you to streamline your process. Without this step of identifying the entire process, you might lose focus on the real gains you can achieve by the technology. This is also the stage in which you would want to bring in your agency team to help you with the strategy and the next steps.
2. Create Your Messaging
The messaging you use for your automation campaign should be focused around your goals. Some of the messaging you might have on hand from other communications, and some you might develop as part of a new campaign. However, don’t let the technology dictate your campaign. Marketing automation tools change, so have a solid messaging campaign. Then, if the tool changes you can transfer it quickly to a new platform. Additionally, you might have to get information from your customer database, or shipping and fulfillment software to make your campaign relevant. Finding this out now would be helpful in the process before your court your software provider.
3. Select Your Marketing Automation Platform
Many times this step is sought out first in the process, but we advise you have much of the planning and strategy in place before looking at platforms. The simple reason being that your strategy should inform your technology, not the other way around. We’ve seen programs fail because critical components can not be executed, because they bought into the technology before they realized what needed to be done with it. Make sure your tool can do everything you need it to do without any customization of the tool itself. Look for software that integrates easily, or has been integrated with your POS or commerce system before so you know you are not the first one to use it.
4. Release in Small, Iterative Batches
Marketing automation campaigns can be very detailed and big in scope. We recommend that you plan big, and release small. Start with each element of the campaign as you roll out. Get one aspect working, then implement the next. You might find that you learn something with each launch that prevents you from making the same mistakes for each leg of your campaign. This will allow you to think and react quickly to the strength of the platform, instead of being overwhelmed in the technology.
5. Measure Your Results
Seems like an obvious one, but having a constant measure to your campaigns will help you build and derive the next legs of your campaigns and help optimize the effectiveness of the campaign. Note the increase in sales or carts that happen with your campaigns, or how they impact the frequency of shopping. Look beyond the open rates in to behavior correlations that occur because of your technology growth. Open rates are great, but purchases are better!