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Designing web and email content for marketing automation success

16 June 2014
by Nick Washbourne

Marketing automation is a much talked-about but frequently misunderstood discipline. At its best, it can make marketing more efficient by streamlining and automating processes, and generating reports on the effectiveness of campaigns. Crack the code by segmenting your leads properly and delivering them compelling content, and you stand a great chance of ending up with satisfied customers.

Some firms have even boasted improvements in lead conversion of over 400%, and significant uptick in deal size, as well as better forecasting.

However, despite the name, it’s not simply a case of flicking a switch and waiting for the money to roll in. Firms that are most successful think carefully about their marketing automation strategies first and the kind of content they’re pushing out to leads. There’s no substitute for hard work. You need to pay attention to the basics: use organically grown lists; segment leads accurately; co-ordinate lead gen definitions across departments; lead score appropriately; and make sure all staff is properly trained in using automation tools.

But at the heart of success is what you put in those emails and what content goes on your site. If it’s irrelevant, badly designed or just plain dull then no amount of planning or whizz bang technology will get the results you’re after.

Here are a few pointers to get you started on the road to marketing automation success:

Keep your emails simple – Break down your message into manageable bite sized chunks by drip-feeding them to prospects. Long, complicated messages will usually lead to one place – the trash folder.

Stay un-spammy - Implement the SPF and DKIM protocols so your automated marketing emails aren’t immediately marked out by spam filters.  Litmus testing here is key.

Keep it personal - Relevance is everything, so make sure once you’ve segmented your prospects, that they receive email content which will pique their interest and move them along in the buyer’s journey. It’s important to draw the distinction between personalisation and putting the recipients name in an email. Personalisation is about relating to the recipient with relevant imagery and copy and marketing automation allows you to do this meaning potentially each recipient receive an entirely unique email.

Content is king on the web - Make sure yours is compelling and accessible and promote not just through direct email marketing but also via social channels. Blogs, how-to-guides, videos and reports could all help – but keep them bite-sized and “snackable”. Try to avoid the broadcast style messages, try and put yourself in the recipients shoes and ask yourself “would I engage with this, is it useful?” if the answer is no… then rethink!

Be clear - Ensure branding on your landing page and website is bold and it’s clear visitors know what you’re trying to say.

Stop Selling - The days of sell sell sell via email are gone, the aim of email should be engagement. Yeah you may gather some low hanging fruit, but the real benefit comes from the use of content to reinforce your competency and brand to the recipient. It’s that brand awareness that generates the best results.

Less is more - Crowded pages are ugly and confusing. Don’t be afraid of white space. Have a read of our blog “Motorway signs”. This gives you a glimpse of the level of commitment a user gives to your emails. The basic premise is that a sign simply saying “Services 25 miles” is enough to begin to set the desire.

Ditch the jargon - This might sound good in the boardroom but site visitors are not going to have time to wade through corporate claptrap. Keep messages simple, visceral and as jargon-free as possible. Think bullet points and short, headed paragraphs for maximum impact.

Call to action - There should be one on every page, clearly sign-posted and each email should have clear and visible calls to action. You have to consider the wording and the “what’s in it for me factor” if you want to move those prospects further down the sales funnel.

Photo of Nick Washbourne
Nick Washbourne
Commercial Director

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