As marketers, we rely heavily on our marketing stack and we have to make sure we choose it very carefully.
What exactly is a marketing stack?
According to Optimizely, a “marketing technology stack is a grouping of technologies that marketers leverage to conduct and improve their marketing activities.”
Pretty simple right? It’s the tools that help you be more effective and efficient at your job.
So taking into consideration a B2B small business, a typical marketing stack would require tools for all sorts of tasks — planning and organizing projects, lead generation to social media, SEO, CMS, CRM, email marketing automation — but the exact tools differ company by company.
When choosing what tools you’d require for your own stack, you have to keep an eye on how well these tools integrated with each other. While Zapier, Automate.io, IFTTT, and other connection tools can help — direct integrations are always preferable.
After you’ve decided on a set of tools and you kick start operations, what do you do?
For streamlining processes and making sure your strategy is put in the right direction, it’s important to see how you can keep all your apps in sync and automate the mundane tasks. According to Adestra’s 2017 “State of Marketing Automation Benchmarks for Success”, optimizing productivity is a major objective of a marketing automation workflow strategy.
And automating simple workflows at every possible step of your task can really be the differentiating factor between a successful marketer and the crowd. In this article, we’ll focus specifically on marketing automation workflows that can be used in the top and middle of the funnel, before marketing qualified leads are passed on to your sales teams.
Automate a content marketing automation workflow
Creating content to educate your readers, attract the best top of the funnel user, and capturing leads is part of the day to day of any B2B marketer. Due to the numerous tasks associated with creating content, you are able to do these tasks in a more productive way if you can identify the routine tasks and automate them.
Here are a few exact methods you can take:
1) Smart alerts
Set up alerts on topics related to your niche and your competitor’s content. By monitoring your competitor’s mentions, your own brand mentions, or really any mention in your niche by a top influencer — you pave the way to new marketing avenues.
These alerts can help you identify the topics that are trending in your domain and start adding those into your content pipeline. For instance, you might notice that a competitor recently covered a topic that could overlap with your audience’s interests. Smart alerts help you keep tabs on the market.
Monitoring brand mentions on web and social can also be very useful for managing brand reputation and reviews.
Your brand can be receiving negative reviews — and unless you have a system in place to monitor mentions, these could go right over your head.
Press can hamper your brand image, but if you can jump into the discussion, you’re able to help guide the conversation. It’s important to remember to be timely and make sure to show that your brand cares.
Mention’s brand monitoring dashboard. Source: Mention
Of course, scraping through huge data sets can be quite a task and hard on manual research. Apps that can help you get these alerts delivered straight to your inbox are:
- Talkwalker: a social media monitoring and analytics tool trusted by 2000 global brands
- Mention: an easy to use real-time media monitoring tool
- Hootsuite: a social media management software that has brand monitoring as a feature
2) Use a project management tool
Asana project management Kanban board. Source: Asana
A PM software tool allows you to have a bird’s eye view of all of your work. It’s easy to manage any project or team on a seamless software that helps you collaborate, prioritize, get feedback and plan projects in a better way.
Similarly, you can create your content pipeline on project management apps like Trello, CoSchedule, Asana or Airtable (functions more like a spreadsheet). You can establish stages for content status such as planned, work in progress, draft, review, and published. Whenever there is any change in each of these stages, you can set up an alert on either Slack or email.
3) Automate content distribution and lead collection
Creating awesome content but forgetting the right promotional strategy can leave your content dead! There are many methods for distributing content. You can promote content on social channels, your own website or even to your existing user base.
It’s a proven strategy for content marketers to use tools to automate social sharing and promotion of content.
But, guess what?
There are tools that will help you set up a calendar, and automatically fill it in with posts. Tools such as Buffer, Hootsuite, and SproutSocial all help you distributing content automatically on social media.
Buffer’s content calendar dashbaord. Source: Buffer
Once visitors are on your content, you can start collecting leads by gating a higher piece of content (such as a high-value ebook, whitepaper, or guide) on your website.
Then you can automate the process of sending relevant emails to follow up with your leads. For this, you’d simply need to set up a form on your website and an email marketing app that integrates well with the form (if you don’t have one yet, check Automate.io that lets you connect 100+ apps).
4) Send Google Analytics reports to Gmail
Setup reports on Google Analytics to understand the performance of your content and get them delivered each and every month to your Inbox.
It’s tough to generate reports and have a look at your key metrics each day. Instead, you can set up these reports to get delivered to your inbox only when there needs to be some action on those metrics.
Google Analytics Dashboard. Source: Google Blog
Google Analytics lets you set up reports when metrics hit certain values. These can be either set as daily stats on a metric or when a particular metric value hits a threshold.
Here are a few report examples you can set up for your blog metrics:
- Total number of signups for your product
- Crossed 1000 users on a competitor comparison page
- Any unusual dips in traffic
Lead generation workflows
Once you’ve created content, there are various methods of generating leads using the pieces of content you created. One of the most simple methods is adding forms to your pages, collecting emails, and following up with automated emails. This method can be utilized for e-books, upcoming product webinars, or even new articles on the company blog!
So, what exactly can you automate here?
1) Lead entry —> Automated email campaign
With this method, you want to identify every time you receive a new form submission on your website, then send that lead to your email marketing tool, and finally trigger a particular email.
It’s a hassle-free process to create fillable forms from your email marketing software, embed those forms on your site, and assign an automated rule to trigger the right email workflow.
MailChimp, Aweber, Sendlane, and ConvertKit are a few of the best email marketing software that provides automation functionality. But otherwise, you can always look for third-party integration providers such as Automate.io, Zapier, or IFTTT to connect your apps.
As a quick overview, here’s the email flow:
Apart from website forms, you can also run automated Facebook ad campaigns to collect leads and automate the process of following-up with them. Early-stage startups & small businesses who use Google Sheets as their basic CRM can send their Facebook leads to Google Sheets automatically. Post this, it’s easy to trigger emails from Gmail.
The email flow would be:
2) Automated webinar follow-up
When you receive a new webinar registrant, you can add that subscriber to your email marketing app, check if they’ve attended, and then follow up with product-related content.
Let’s imagine a scenario. Say you’ve generated quite some leads for your webinar and you don’t want to miss out on your potential buyers. The hack here is to identify who has attended your webinar and showed expressed interested in your product.
You can automatically add these attendees to a nurturing workflow and reduce the manual work on your end. Marketing automation software such as ActiveCampaign, HubSpot, and more will help you create such marketing automation workflows once you pull in your registrants in the software.
If you use WebinarJam, GotoWebinar or Zoom to host your webinars — they’ll help you with their own host integrations. But if you don’t find your marketing automation provider in specific, you can always check if those apps are available on Automate.io or Zapier.
Here’s what this automated webinar marketing automation workflow would look like:
3) Use lead enrichment tools to automatically enrich contacts & update your CRM.
Enriching leads with relevant data makes it easier to identify potential customers and help your team sell better. It helps the sales teams identify whether a lead is a good fit or not before even reaching out. Additionally, it helps a lot in better marketing segmentation, more accurate personalization, and establishing triggers to email these leads.
Lead Enrichment tools such as Clearbit, FullContact, and AeroLeads help you with populating the right data for your leads. But your work doesn’t stop here.
It’s important to automate the process of updating this data with your CRM and enrich your contact list. Automate.io and Zapier can help you set up these automated workflows.
Here’s a marketing automation workflow for enriching leads:
Email marketing automation workflow
Another situation where you might want to use automation is in your email marketing campaigns that you use to drive a higher conversion rate. There are numerous tools that can help you with email marketing automation.
Select the one that’s right for your business and start setting some of the following workflows:
1) Automate onboarding emails
It’s easy to set up an onboarding flow for new product sign-ups using your CRM or email marketing provider. This post from Appcues puts together some of the best onboarding emails that you can set up on your site.
2) Blog welcome series
If you’re running a huge blog, it’s necessary to automate the process of welcoming your new Blog Subscribers.
With this workflow, you’d sync new form submissions from your blog into a subscriber list, then put them in the welcome automation drip.
Below is an example of how HubSpot does it on their Marketing blog:
Source: HubSpot Blog
3) Setup reactivation emails for inactive users
Users that have gone cold can be reactivated by giving away discounts or setting up reminders about their inactive account. It might seem like a small cohort of users, but the impact can be great — especially since they are already warm to your product.
You’ll want to keep a close eye on open rate here — to make sure you keep high email deliverability.
4) Create different segments & run automated holiday campaigns
If you’re an e-commerce brand, it really makes sense to reward your loyal customers. You can do this by giving away goodies or discounts during the holiday season. Setup a simple workflow in your marketing automation software by segmenting out high-value customers and run a holiday campaign for them specifically.
5) E-commerce specific campaigns
If you’re an e-commerce business, they’re a few extra automations that you can set up on your site — such as shopping cart abandonment drips, product recommendations, and more. You can learn more about the different e-commerce specific emails in this piece from Shopify.
Marketing team collaboration workflows
Internal team collaboration automation is necessary for the whole team to run efficiently, be aligned, and be more productive. In this section, we’ll be mentioning a few apps that can be found in the Slack directory. Here are a few automations that you can implement for your team:
Slack’s library of apps you can use to create automations.
1) Notifications on new tasks added in PM to Slack or SMS
Being productive and delivering your best is the key to being a happy marketer. Be on top of your schedule by getting notified instantly whenever a new task is assigned to you.
Whatever project management or collaboration tool you use at your work (be in Trello, Asana, Notion, or the sorts), look for integration with either for a Slack or SMS option to automate your alerts.
Example: Slack has a Trello App in their directory by which you can get notified via a direct message for new cards or moved cards.
2) Setup notifications for your marketing metrics
If you’re someone who loves to see KPIs every morning in your Inbox, simply set up an integration between your apps. These notifications can be set to go through Slack or your email. For example, Google Analytics metrics can be seen in Slack using Databox, an interesting tool to track and measure your metrics. Or you can send an email daily with a summary of key stats.
Other interesting use cases you might want to try:
- Notification for daily users on site: This alert can be set up via Google Analytics & Databox — or via the Google Analytics Slack App.
- New Blog Subscribers: If you’re using web forms for collecting leads, integrate your app with either Slack or Gmail to get alerts for new subscribers. MailChimp also has a Slack app that reports on the new subscribers you add to a list.
- New Product Sign-Ups: Integrate your CRM and Slack to get notified on the new users signing up for your product. Hubspot, Pipedrive, and Intercom all have respective Slack apps to help you set this up.
Wrapping it up
That’s about it! Automating routine tasks and being your productive self is the key to success in marketing. We’ve covered the most popular and ROI efficient marketing automation workflow use cases for marketers like you.
If you have any other interesting use case that can be automated, feel free to add it in the comments 🙂
Archita Sharma helps B2B SaaS businesses with Marketing & is currently doing it for Automate.io. She’s happiest while helping founders to unleash the power of Content Marketing, telling stories about weekend artistic cafe visits & love exploring new ways to stay sane! You can find her on Twitter or LinkedIn.