Thursday, February 16, 2017
Marketing Automation: Beyond the Basics

Marketing automation is on the rise as 55% of B2B companies have adopted the technology into their strategies. Although the most common  use of marketing automation is email marketing, James Morgan, senior VP of global sales at SharpSpring stresses that using marketing automation to its fullest will allow you to do three things very well:

Drive leads by learning about their behaviours and interests

Use this information to create hyper-personalized communications

Learn from your actions and apply these learnings to future campaigns

Here’s how you can get the most of your marketing automation system:

Lead scoring

All leads are not created equally, making lead scoring fundamental to every nurture program. Some prospects need to be fast-tracked to sales, while others may need some nurturing before they are ready to make a purchase. Lead scoring identifies these prospects by ranking their level of interest and sales readiness. Marketo explains that developing a good lead scoring framework will shorten sales cycles and improve win rates because the sales team have the right customer at the right time.

A marketing automation platform can house a number of interactions with your audience: a form on a landing page can capture when they download a white paper or click a call-to-action within an email. Collecting these interactions in one place allows you to paint a more complete picture of a lead’s interest in your company or brand. Working with the sales team, you can create a scoring system that converts more leads and wins more business.

“For instance, when it comes to lead scoring, a CMO would receive more points than someone on the IT team because they are the decision makers,” explains Morgan. “They would also receive more points if they had downloaded a white paper and if they were looking at the pricing page of our website, they would receive an even higher score. When they reach a certain score, the Sales team receive a notification to let them know that this lead is hot.”


Monetate’s Intelligent Email Marketing that Drives Conversions study found that segmented email campaigns produce 30% more open rates than undifferentiated messages. Unless your prospect list is very small, it is impossible to personalize each marketing email, so having a marketing automation system lets you personalize on a large scale. It helps to segment a large list into smaller groups to better target your communications to these groups.

The email marketing experts at Marketo, suggest two main ways to segment your list:

a) Segment by demographic attributes such as gender, age, job title, industry, geography or interests   

b) Segment by behavioral and past transactional data

Once your list is divided, you can then send personalized and relevant emails to each segment; these are known as dynamic emails. With a marketing automation system, you can make use of the dynamic content feature and create one email template with content that varies based on the recipient’s segment. With no coding necessary, even the most technologically challenged can create a hyper-personalized email to help convert leads to sales.

FitForMe segmented customers using the subscriber’s year of birth, adjusting the tone of the writing and the images to ensure that their messages were relevant to each group. 


Create landing pages

Use your marketing automation platform to create customized landing pages; no web design skills required! The technology allows you to create a form on a landing page to capture lead information and support demand generation. Using a dynamic content feature will customize how different segments will see a landing page, for a personal experience. For example, the diagram below illustrates how a handbag store can add blocks of dynamic content to a landing page to show different content to different segments, depending on which lead is viewing it. 


Marketing automation tools not only allow you to create landing pages, you can track them too. Glean insights from the data collected to better understand your customers and their behaviours.

A/B testing

Never miss an opportunity to test your campaigns. Optimize your strategy by testing features such as the subject line, the email template and the even the day and time that you send emails. Use your marketing automation platform to add A/B testing. This means that a small group will get the test while the rest will get the winning template; that is the template that receives the most opens, clicks or the highest engagement level, as defined by you.

Kissmetrics outline a few things to keep in mind when testing to ensure accurate and reliable results:

Test just one variable at a time for best results

Test early and often - you should always be testing to optimize your email sends

The larger the sample, the more accurate the results


Email marketing, with the right system in place, is one of the most measurable marketing tactics. Open rates, call-to-actions, link and attachment opens can all be tracked within a marketing automation platform.

Campaign Monitor explains that it’s important to track these metrics for a number of reasons:

Provides a better understanding of how you should be spending your time

Proves the ROI of your efforts

Improves your results

A marketing automation system allows you to quickly and easily build reports to view key analytics on a dashboard. This data can then be used to optimize and power your future campaigns. “In order to create successful campaigns, you need to concentrate on what is working and get rid of what isn’t,” says Morgan. “That’s how you drive revenue.” 


Amy-Louise Tracey, Communications Manager, CNW



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This guest blog is for an exchange of stories from members of the publishing industry be it a magazine, newsapaper or digital only publisher to help foster change and innovation in the digital age. These stories will inspire the industry with ideas to help the industry prosper and keep it relevant with readers and advertisers. If you will like to contribute your story contact Martin Seto 416-907-6562 or
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