I have come to believe that every service firm needs marketing automation. Why do I say this? Most professional services organizations are using content marketing today to position as an expert and create engagement with prospective clients. But if you ask marketing leaders to measure the effectiveness of their content efforts, the room goes suddenly quiet.
In fact, I believe the feelings of uncertainty about content marketing run so deep that most marketing executives hope they are not asked to justify the expenditures. Are you in this category? If so, I have some good news and some recommendations for you.
Marketing automation shows you the themes and topics that matter most to your audience, enhancing your impact.
Content marketing programs usually take several forms including:
- Email marketing
- Case studies
- White papers
- Social media campaigns
But when you look at all of the technologies that are required to provision this content to the market, you uncover a tangled mass of disconnected tools. I think of it like octopus arms with no head on top. So it’s no wonder that marketing people shudder at the thought of trying to collect and make sense of the analytics from each of these disparate tools. Trust me. I get that.
How marketing automation helps
If you acquire the right marketing automation tool, this problem nearly disappears. You put a brain on the disconnected octopus arms – a really smart brain. This changes everything. The marketing leaders at service firms we serve walk into executive meetings with the utmost confidence. They know exactly how their content marketing efforts have performed over the last several quarters. More importantly, they can show how they have applied intelligence to their marketing efforts, making them look really good.
For instance, if I were to ask you how your gated assets (those behind a registration form) have impacted downloads as compared to your non-gated assets within the last 6 months, could you deliver the answer in under 5 minutes? Or, if I asked you who the top 25 hottest leads were last month, real honest-to-goodness people, as defined by their engagement with all of the media types I outlined above, could you answer that question? With confidence?
You probably cannot if you are measuring email sends, opens and clicks with one tool, webinar registrations with another tool, blog-site visits with a third tool and white paper downloads with yet another tool. Why? Because these tools don’t talk to each other.
But with marketing automation, you can have these answers at your fingertips. But analytics alone are not the most important reason to implement marketing automation, as it relates to content marketing.
What content should you produce?
One of the biggest benefits of marketing automation is how smart it makes you. Here is what I mean. Most content marketing programs include a dearth of topics that you could produce. But which ones should you produce? That’s hard to know.
With marketing automation, you are able to see which blog-posts have done well, which webinars are popular, which infographics were downloaded most and which white papers received the most registrations. This reveals a very important kernel of wisdom – the themes and topics that matter most to your audience.
When you know what matters to your audience, you can create content with much greater confidence. More importantly, you can avoid content creation efforts and expenditures that do not produce engagement. That makes you twice smart.
Why more service firms are not engaging marketing automation
A short time ago we conducted a survey that was sent to more than 50,000 professional service executives. One startling finding of the survey is that 81.3% of the leaders we polled do not have marketing automation in place at their firms. That’s a huge number. That means you have the opportunity for competitive advantage.
So what’s holding people back? I think it is two things. They’re concerned about the costs and they’re concerned about the complexity of the launch and ongoing management.
You should know that many marketing automation providers have lowered their costs over the last several years. Depending on the platform, you can now acquire a marketing automation tool for as little as five hundred dollars per month. Most service firms can easily afford this.
But the issue of complexity is very real. To realize the benefits of marketing automation, you need a solid launch plan that includes at least these components:
- Email integration
- Form integration (most marketing automation tools use their own forms)
- Website integration & tracking
- CRM integration
- Webinar integration
- Social Media integration
- Data migration
- Lead scoring
- Reporting and data analytics
That is a whole lot to consider. But as you have likely guessed, we are experts in this area and have amassed insights about how to build and maintain highly effective marketing automation systems for service firms.
In fact, I have built an Action Guide called 7 Steps To Optimize Marketing Automation For Service Firms. This powerful resource shows you how to get the most out of marketing automation. It’s complimentary and it contains seven videos and seven downloadable tools. You can access it on this website.
I really want you to be wildly successful with marketing automation and content marketing. So please consider how this Action Guide can help you chart your course to a better future.