Jill Jones / Digital Marketing / May 6th, 2014

5 Ways to Leverage Marketing Automation to Maximize Your Content Strategy

As marketers, we are under constant pressure to create a steady stream of content (we get it, Content is King). But many of us get so caught up in creating quality content that we don’t stop to think about how measuring how that content is performing or who is seeing it – you know, the stuff that makes you money. Given the amount of time and effort we put into creating content, it’s not surprising that many people give short shrift to actually reporting on its success.

But content development is only one side of the content strategy coin; you absolutely need to consider how you’ll distribute that content and how you’ll report on its success to round out a solid content strategy.  Marketing automation tools can complement your content strategy so that you can spend more time developing quality content to accomplish your content goals, and less time doing drudge work like lead scoring and tracking.

Lead Generation

Developing content to drive traffic to your site is not enough. Transforming anonymous visitors into leads and eventually customers is key to a successful content strategy. Entice users to share their contact name and email address in exchange for a premium piece of content.

Marketing automation platforms integrate with your CRM system allowing you to track your leads from capture and creation through closed deal. Gating content behind a form allows you to source content-generated leads to your pieces of content. Lead sourcing follows the lead through the sales pipeline in your CRM system, providing an easy way to track ROI on individual pieces of content as well as your full content strategy.

Lead Scoring

Without lead scoring, all leads more or less look similar.  Sure, a few names or company names may look familiar but, generally, you have no way to gauge interest level without contacting the lead. Sending leads to sales too early can result in a lot of wasted time. Sales reps might even start ignoring marketing-generated leads.

Leverage lead scoring by mapping your content to the buyers’ journey.  Buyers early in the journey may download a best practices whitepaper to educate themselves, where sales-ready users may download a comparison guide or a product demo.  Applying a heavier weight to the bottom-of-the-funnel content makes it easier to identify sales-ready leads, quickly prioritize them based on score and assign those most likely to become opportunities for follow up.

Schedule Social Updates

We all know that content is most valuable when it’s shareable. Creating an exceptional brand experience across all social networks applicable to your business should be a key component to your content strategy. Finding the time to post to each platform in order to distribute your content is not always easy, especially if you’re managing multiple accounts across various outlets.

There are plenty of social media management platforms that allow you post to multiple Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook accounts and simultaneously distribute your content across all of your various channels with the click of a button. However, managing your social media presence out of your marketing automation tool provides insight into interactions with your prospects already in the pipeline. You’ll also be able to track link clicks for both anonymous visitors and prospects. Measuring “Likes”, comments, replies, and retweets on content provides a better understanding of your prospects’ needs and interests, arming you with data to refine future content pieces.

Empower Your Sales Team

While your sales and marketing teams may recognize the importance of a prompt follow-up when trying to close deals, they’re often too busy to make following up with old, colder leads a priority. Instead of wasting time rebuilding relationships, they could be using marketing automation to eliminate manual tasks.

As part of your content strategy, develop messages that can be automated and personalized so that sales reps get regular touch points with each of their prospects. By automating follow-ups, it’s much less likely that prospects will be neglected by sales reps, reducing the chance that they’ll be lost to a competitor.

Customer Experience

Marketing doesn’t stop when a prospect becomes a customer. As customers become increasingly more digitally connected, more marketing departments are responsible for the customer experience. Marketers are feeling the pressure to generate additional revenue from existing customers.

Uncover upsell and cross sell opportunities by communicating with your customers and engaging them with additional value. Examples of customer-centric content include blog posts with educational information on how to get the most out of their investment or video demonstrations of how their current product works with complimentary products or service lines. Just be careful not to scare your customers with too hard of an upsell.

Image credit: Sanko Seisakusyo