Marketing automation commands the mastery of making many moving parts all work nicely together. Here are four key steps to help you along the way.

When putting together your plan to tackle marketing automation, there are four key milestones that plan needs to include. These milestones will ensure you have a solid foundation to build out your automation efforts and put you on the path to measurable, successful results.

  1. Know what you have and what you don’t.
    The first step in any great strategic project is to take a step back and have a look at the lay of the land. When developing your marketing automation plan, you have to recognize the limitations of your systems and how they work together.
    For instance, you would like to market to visitors of your website who land on your auto loan and rates pages via email. Questions you should be asking yourself at this stage include: what tools do we have to track visits? How can we collect information to market to people who visit these pages? What do we do with the leads as they come in?
    Know the tools at your disposal and find the best way to use them. Then, you’re ready for step two.
  2. Map everything.
    Successful marketing automation rests on the foundations of great sales cycle and communication mapping. Without it, your plan is just flying blind, hoping that something works. (Coincidentally, you will not be able to attempt step three, either.)
    Gain an understanding of the consumer sales cycle or “buyer’s journey” for each campaign or automation effort, what messages they will receive, and what the path to sale (or conversion) is going to be. At every part of the mapping process, knowing what happens before and after a particular event is crucial.
    For example, after a website visitor has filled out your form and left your site, what happens next? Are they reminded of your bank or credit union through digital marketing while they await a response from you? What happens if they’re ready to buy today?
  3. Define your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
    The investment in marketing automation is a tall order. Proving that it is working is crucial.
    After completing the work of mapping out your buyer’s journey and messaging, it’s time to put brass tacks to your messages. You know what you intend to gain at the end of the sales cycle and how you are going to bet there. Now, what measurements can you put behind it to show success? What are acceptable success rates? How often do results need to be reported?
  4. Test the waters.
    Have everything in place? Ready to push the green button to make everything go?
    Hold up a moment. Time to find a test market.
    There’s nothing more embarrassing than broken links in emails, landing pages that won’t load right and forms that go unanswered because they weren’t set up correctly.
    Avoid all of this pain by finding a small segment of (most likely vocal) and willing customers to test the new automation system on.

There are always plenty of details to consider and plenty of other steps to take on when building a robust automation system. Keeping these four marketing automation milestones in mind will put your bank or credit union on solid footing when it comes time to press the button and go.

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