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The Master Marketing Automation Gameplan

Engage your customers at every stage of the buyer’s journey.

Author: Zach Dilworth Sunday July 28, 2019
Disclaimer: By reading this article, you are agreeing to the terms of this disclaimer.

Marketing automation enables you to maximize the value offered at each communication touchpoint with your prospects. Deliver the right message to the right person at the right time without lifting a finger. Impressive, right? It’s not difficult to implement either – there are plenty of basic marketing automation platforms that are affordable for side gig startups.

Marketing automation isn’t just for big businesses anymore. With affordable marketing automation tools, it’s easier than ever to enable consistent lead nurturing for entrepreneurs. Marketing automation enables businesses to nurture prospects until they are ready to purchase their product without having to manually cater to each interested party.

Start with the Buyer Persona
Although there are multiple types of customers, a buyer persona is a representation of a typical customer with similar traits. Are most of your customers from a specific industry? Do they have similar pain points or concerns about your product? Do they follow a similar onboarding process? What are some of their most common characteristics? Think about the following as it relates to your persona: industry, age, income, titles, problems your product solves, the elevator pitch.

While it’s good to have multiple personas you’re targeting, I’d recommend creating your most common customer persona to get started with. Each persona requires multiple marketing assets and processes surrounding it; needless to say, it’s going to take up a good amount of time to get started.  * Keep reading – I’ve simplified the process for you.

The Customer Journey
How do customers currently buy your product? Map out the current steps/process for all communications from the first customer touchpoint to becoming a customer (including customer onboarding). Now, think of how you can enhance your customer experience & map out the ideal customer journey. In reality, nothing goes according to plan so be sure to map out one to two contingencies to ensure prospects are not abandoned if they don’t take an action.

What separates you from your competitors?
What makes your business different? Price? Service? Value-added services? Personalization? Think about what makes your business stand out from the rest. What is your value add that makes you better from the rest? Why are you in business? What problem does your product/service solve? Perhaps, you really care about your customers and bend over backward to ensure their satisfaction or maybe you’re 10 times faster at delivering your service than your competitors. It’s these types of things that you’ll want to highlight in your messaging. Essentially, you’re establishing where you want to play in the market. He who defines the rules wins the game.

Messaging Table
Your personas have specific concerns at each stage of their customer journeys. How do you accommodate these requirements in your messaging? It’s best by starting with an organized table to define the messaging at each stage. With this in place, it’s much easier to stay on point when communicating with prospects. First, let’s define the typical stages of a buyer’s journey; although there are many ways to splice and dice the journey, here are some of the most common stages:

  • Awareness (top of the funnel): At this stage, prospects have may not be aware that they have a problem. They are experiencing symptoms of something which they are trying to define through research.
  • Evaluation (middle of the funnel): At the evaluation stage, prospects have heard of you and are considering your solution to the problem they have defined versus other solutions.
  • Desire (bottom of the funnel): At this stage, prospects are interested in your product, but they are doing more research to ensure your product or service can deliver on a technical level.
  • Delight (expanding the funnel): At this stage, prospects have experienced your whole onboarding journey and now they’re ready to become brand advocates.

Each stage of your customer’s journey should have tailored messaging to bring prospects to the next stage of the journey. Think about it in dating – if you propose on your first date, you’ll probably never see your date again. It’s the same in sales – if you offer your product on the first conversation, you’ll likely close fewer deals than if you match your message to your persona’s concerns at the top of the funnel.

Content Map
Get started by utilizing the information from the topics above. Review your ideal customer journey & match relevant content that matches the messaging laid out in the conversation table. Ensure there is at least one content piece per lead stage. These content assets are often referred to as Lead Magnets since they’re used to attract leads. Learn more about content maps and lead magnets.

Marketing Automation Campaign Tracker
Identify the number of communication touchpoints, assets required and get organized. Build a folder structure that makes sense to the hierarchy of your assets and consider the following attributes: persona, asset type, funnel stage, etc. Next, create a spreadsheet on Google docs and write out each content asset required to support the customer journey required. We’ve built some impressive templates to help you get started.

Marketing Ready CRMs
Keep your customer data organized and enhance your prospecting capabilities. If you haven’t heard of Hubspot, it’s time for a deep dive into inbound marketing. Check out What is inbound marketing and why do I need it to learn more. CRM’s (also known as Customer Relationship Management) house your customer data on an account and contact level. It enables you to personalize marketing messages with data from your customer’s profile. When you receive an email that is personalized to you and your company name, the email originated from an email marketing tool that was either directly connected to a CRM or was uploaded as a list. Check out a list of our favorite marketing automation tools for side gig startups and entrepreneurs.

Project Organization
There are a ton of moving pieces within this marketing automation gameplan so it’s extra important to make sure nothing falls through the cracks. Sign up for a cheap project management tool to make your life a lot easier. Check out our list of recommended project management tools for side gig entrepreneurs.