Anyone who’s watched an episode of MasterChef has likely seen the show’s jury chefs berating contestants for a dirty and messy countertop.
The principle of keeping your work environment clean and tidy doesn’t just apply to cooking. It is valid for any activity! Especially when it comes to marketing strategies and automation.
Therefore, it is difficult to develop marketing automation planning to organize and document processes, but it enriches them.
When I joined Rock Content, the team had about 20 employees with an exclusive focus on one product and one market, the Brazilian market.
Today, we’re still a simple team, but we have four products and a global presence, mainly in Brazil, Mexico, and the United States (in other words, three languages). None of this would be possible without the right setup.
If you want to find out what I learned during this growth journey and take a look behind the scenes, now is the time! Join me for four marketing automation planning tips!
How to do scale marketing automation planning in mind
Marketing automation customization is one of the most important features of this type of tool (and one of the most promoted by companies selling such software). And this is understandable: no one wants to invest in a tool that does not quite fit your business or solves the problems you are facing.
Since everyone can customize whatever they want and there are hundreds or even thousands of use cases, we found quite a bit of content on how to use the tool on a daily basis to maximize the planning and organization of all the data and information a marketing automation tool might contain.
Here at Rock Content, we help hundreds of customers with their marketing strategies. I often got to the customer’s Hubspot and couldn’t understand what was going on there, depending on someone from the company in question to explain the target or audience of the emails, sponsorship streams, landing pages, etc.
This clutter goes in the exact opposite direction of the mission of these tools! Marketing automation is all about saving time, talking to your audience, paying attention to their privacy, and collecting data to make this work more effective.
Because everything is customizable, people working with a marketing automation tool end up using the current context and, in many cases, never develop rules or guidelines that regulate all of the content in the tool.
How do we achieve this goal?
I will give you four tips:
1. Organize your communication properties
One of the main jobs of the marketing team is to help the sales team sell!
To achieve this, alignment between these two teams is essential. And this is where you should start marketing automation planning: What information will your sales team always need?
Can they sell if they don’t know people’s names? Can they sell without having a way to contact the buyer? Can they sell without knowing which products site visitors are interested in?
Anyway, these questions are just some suggestions to guide your thinking.
For example, here at Rock Content, our sales team needs six mandatory pieces of information:
- name – for a more human connection;
- Email – to communicate and share educational or educational content about our products and services;
- Telephone – To make communication easier as well as to make communication more humane
- Company website – for technical analysis of performance and user experience, as well as to better understand the profile and business of potential customers;
- Headcount – for the internal organization, because we believe that the size of the company has a significant impact on the type of pain or problems the company may face, and organizing our process around this ensures better success rates;
- Practice area – for internal regulation, as we have different offerings depending on the industry.
Like I said earlier, the example you brought might not be valid for your company (or it might be). In any case, the task of the marketing team is to talk to the sales department and find out.
Once the sales team’s needs are covered, repeat the process thinking only of the marketing team: Are there other pieces of information necessary to implement your strategies? If so, add them to the list!
For example, other important fields for Rock Content’s business are preferred language, contact location, product of interest, conversion date, contact origin, and conversion channel.
By creating this list, you already know the necessary information (characteristics) for your marketing process and can:
- Create custom fields that you don’t already own and start collecting and analyzing this information;
- delete duplicate or unused fields;
Before deleting an unused field, I recommend that you start by disabling it in the address. For example, add the word [DISABLED] or [DISCONTINUED] To name the property while training employees to use the new field or process.
This is! By arranging properties, you can now improve on another prototypical process within your marketing automation tool: Form Build!
2. Organize your forms
Forms serve a wide range of purposes within a fully automated setup:
- You can use them within your landing pages or on your website to get new information;
- You can create them only to facilitate the internal process (for example, sales want to include in the tool leads captured in a face-to-face event so that marketing can work on them as well);
- You can combine it with other tools to perform data transfer (for example, data captured in interactive content inside the Ion tool, which sells Rock Content, will be sent to Hubspot), etc.
Regardless of the use, now that you know the necessary data for the marketing and sales processes, you can already review all the forms in your gadget.
At this point, I think it’s interesting to communicate that in digital strategy, less is more! The more fields a person needs to fill out a form, the lower your conversion rate.
Therefore, it is important to know what is necessary and use only that.
The marketing team’s job is to understand this scenario and design strategies that maximize results (and are relevant to the respective offerings).
For example, it is not a good idea to ask someone to fill in information such as name, email, address, ID, date of birth and link to all social media if all you have to provide is an animated GIF of cats!
But I will fill in this information to win an all-expenses-paid trip to the Maldives (and the form was from a reliable company of course!).
I know I gave an unusual example, but the idea here is to take you into strategic thinking: Do the forms you use (or plan to use) fit in with the information you need, your selling process, and the value you have to offer to those who will fill them out?
Can you capture 2 fields, nurture those leads, and move them to a conversion where they can provide 2 or 3 other important pieces of information? Either way, think about it!
And you might be wondering, “But what is the optimal number of shapes?” And once again, we have the famous phrase “less is more” here!
The corporate environment changes frequently and is changing rapidly. If you create a template for every rich content your company makes, how many templates will you have two years from now?
And then, suppose you change your business model and update the fields captured by the forms. How long will you spend updating the tool?
And how do you combine information from identical models that only changes the view?
That was a learning experience I had here at Rock Content. We already have specific forms for some e-books or webinars, then we noticed this maintenance difficulty and created one generic lead generation form (per language).
So when I need to analyze data, I export the information all at once. If we have updates to the properties, I only need to make one change, and so on.
Of course, there is a risk of having a problem with this model and seriously damaging our results, but we always keep an eye on the numbers since we use these universal models for everything. And in case there is a problem, it is very easy to investigate.
3. Create a process for naming things
Although Rock’s content marketing team remains weak, we have changed roles within the team.
Previously, one person was interested in email marketing because we used only one language (Portuguese), and actions were focused on one product. Today, more than six people use this channel to attract leads or MQLs (in different languages, about different products).
Before, one person used to take care of the rich stuff. Currently, we have a whole team.
With more people involved in the process, everyone should understand what is being done. To do this, there is nothing better than naming things clearly and objectively.
For example, imagine that you have been promoted and need to train someone who will take on your previous role. The way you name things should make it easier for them to learn (and you teach them).
The rule I use with my team is: “How, just by looking at it, can anyone understand what this list, form, or landing page is about?”.
With this in mind, we have developed some best practices for our operations, such as:
- Always add a tag in the language of the content at the beginning, such as [EN]And [ES], or [PT-BR];
- In forms and workflows, always indicate which stage of a contact’s life is with the tag [SUBSCRIBER]And [LEAD]And [MQL];
- Follow-up emails (those that provide the requested content on a landing page) must have the same identifier as the respective landing page;
- If you’re using a custom thank you page, it should have the same landing page ID before it.
4. Standardize and document everything!
As much as I’m a fan of very intuitive names and processes, some processes are too complex or too detailed for our “simple” human brains.
Therefore, document all processes, details, and best practices for marketing automation planning.
For example, here at Rock Content we use a wiki to collect all this information. And there is a specific space for the team, where we explain all the processes we have already created:
- How to send an email.
- How to create an e-book.
- How to create a landing page.
- How to organize a webinar, what parameters in the link (UTMs) to use for content promotion.
- How to clean up a spreadsheet before importing it into Hubspot.
When there is official documentation, you can (and should!) spread the word as much as possible, so that everyone has access to that knowledge. After this process, check if everyone follows these instructions.
When I find something out of the standard, I contact the person in charge on Slack, explain what’s wrong, why it’s not suitable for our processes, and send the link to the wiki with the official documentation for future reference.
Another thing I usually do is send the lessons documented in the wiki to new employees in employee training. If they can’t follow the step-by-step instructions, the documentation is probably not done well and needs to be revised.
This also makes me responsible for ensuring that the documentation is up to date.
Marketing Automation Planning Checklist
In short, to get more done with fewer resources, you need to ensure a clean, tidy, and well-documented work environment.
If Marie Kondo Marketing has touched you, here’s a quick checklist to consolidate what you’ve learned today:
- Discover important information for your marketing team, create properties that automation doesn’t already have, and delete those you don’t use;
- Organize your team models with “less is more!” The fewer fields you have, the more likely it is to convert. Also, the fewer forms you have, the easier it is to maintain;
- Create a process for naming import lists, hashs, emails, landing pages, and workflows. Remember, “How, just by looking at it, can anyone understand what this list, form, or landing page is all about?”
- Standardize your operations and document everything. Next, make sure everyone has access to this documentation, keep it up to date, and always check that all marketing automation components keep track of it.
I hope this article will help you put things in order and make it easier for you to plan automation for your team. And if you know other tips, please share them with me in the comments!