20 Marketing Automation Best Practices to Skyrocket Growth

When properly implemented, marketing automation can feel a bit like magic. 

Between the impressive time savings, augmented lead nurturing, and greater conversions, the ability to put many day-to-day business tasks on autopilot will keep your small business clients coming back month after month.

However, without a proper strategy and know-how, you run this risk of burdening your customers with cumbersome, confusing tech. To avoid this and ensure a healthy bottom line for your agency and your clients, implement these 20 powerful marketing automation best practices

Learn how automations make you efficient, enhance your productivity, and help you win with local business. Download “Agency Marketing through Automation” today.

Planning and Strategy

Create marketing automation strategies that set local businesses up for success with these practices.

1. Define Your Goals and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Every marketing automation strategy should begin with goal setting.

Every business wants to boost profits, but the specific goals in service that larger goal vary from one business to the next. These should be specific and measurable so that both you and the client are on the same page about what success looks like. These might be:

  • Increase the number of leads by 20% month over month
  • Boost conversion rates to 10%
  • Double the current average customer lifetime value

2. Map Out the Customer Journey

The path customers take from initial awareness about a business to first purchase is known as the customer journey. By mapping out the steps on their path, you can implement marketing automation best practices that align with their needs at every stage.

Consider the questions and challenges a prospect may have at the top, middle, and bottom of the sales funnel. Later, as you craft messaging for email marketing and other touchpoints, you can create optimal content for each stage in the journey.

3. Develop Detailed Buyer Personas

Buyer personas are another marketing automation best practice that takes a little extra work upfront but pays dividends later in your marketing automation workflows. 

These are fictionalized, idealized representations of your client’s ideal customers, informed by market research and the business’s goals.

These typically include demographic characteristics, behavior patterns, and motivations. It can help to give your buyer personas names and attach stock images to them to make them feel more real. These characters can be used to guide content creation and marketing strategies that are most likely to appeal to similar audiences.

4. Segment Your Audience Effectively

Audience segmentation is the division of a large audience into more granular groups based on shared characteristics such as how long they’ve been a customer or lead, their on-site behaviors, or their purchase history.

Segmentation allows for more personalized, relevant messaging. And when customers receive marketing communications that feel tailor-made to their needs, they’re far more likely to convert. 

Lead Capture and Nurturing 

Use these techniques to ace lead automation and build healthy pipelines.

5. Create Compelling Lead Magnets

Lead generation is a game of give and take: you offer leads something of value, and they provide their contact information in exchange.

To deliver marketing automation for small business clients, you need to reliably generate leads. Lead magnets are one of the most effective tools for the job. These could be:

  • Ebooks or guides in your clients’ niche
  • Gated webinars
  • Exclusive discount codes
  • Checklists

Refer back to the audience segments created in a previous step, and consider creating different lead magnets for different segments. For example, if your client is a yoga instructor, they may have private and corporate clients. These would represent unique segments with distinct needs, so running multiple campaigns with different lead magnets will likely be optimal.

6. Optimize Forms for Higher Conversions

Whether you’re using an AI WordPress website builder to create a client site from scratch or working with their existing site, form optimization is an essential marketing automation best practice.

Optimizing forms for higher conversions involves simplifying the user experience. Keep them short and relevant, asking only for essential information. You can always collect more information later.

Use clear, impactful calls-to-action (CTAs) to guide visitors to sign up, and always test variations of your forms (and your entire page layout) to discover what gains the most conversions.

7. Implement Lead Scoring and Grading

Identifying high-quality leads is key to maximizing marketing automation ROI, and the best way to do this is by using a lead scoring mechanism. These usually come as a CRM integration or are built directly into CRMs. Leads are scored according to potential value and conversion likelihood, so businesses can focus their efforts accordingly. 

By empowering entrepreneurs to spend their resources strategically, this can be a hugely impactful AI solution for small businesses.

8. Design Engaging Drip Campaigns

Drip campaigns are a series of automated emails that nurture leads over time, making it possible to communicate with large numbers of leads on autopilot.

Using these is a great AI business idea, since AI can help with content creation and campaign management, but it’s imperative to focus on content quality.

Each email in your drip campaigns should provide content the audience will actually value, whether you’re educating them, addressing pain points, or providing useful insights. Refer back to your earlier work mapping the customer journey and creating buyer personas for content ideas.

9. Personalize Content and Messaging

AI content marketing makes personalization a breeze. For example, you can use automation to serve dynamic content to users in emails and online, ensuring they see content that’s best aligned with their needs.

Want to write better emails? There’s plenty of wisdom in this video about crafting cold emails for agencies:

Email Marketing Automation

Maximize ROI with these email marketing automation best practices.

10. Maintain a Clean and Up-To-Date Email List

Maintaining a clean and up-to-date email list is a less-discussed marketing automation best practices that can significantly impact your clients’ bottom line.

A clean list improves deliverability rates and ensures messages reach an appropriate audience. This boosts engagement, conversion rates, and other KPIs, while maintaining a positive sender reputation. 

Look for an email marketing platform that has built-in tools for list maintenance.

11. Craft Attention-Grabbing Subject Lines

Subject lines are the first thing recipients see, making them a major factor impacting open rates. 

Writing attention-grabbing subject lines is a bit of an art, but there are ways to improve your results:

  • Use personalization to capture the readers’ attention
  • Use language that reflects your clients’ brand
  • Create a sense of urgency or curiosity to entice recipients to open the email
  • Always test variations to see what resonates best with the audience

12. Optimize Email Design and Content

Newsletters should be visually appealing and easy to read: this usually isn’t the place for 1000-word essays, but each business and audience is unique.

 Remember, many users will read emails on mobile devices, so responsiveness is a must. 

13. Monitor Email Deliverability and Reputation

We’ve talked about the importance of maintaining your email lists, but even if you’re practicing email marketing automation best practices, it’s important to periodically check your small business clients’ email deliverability and reputation. This way, if you discover issues, you can address the underlying issues and build their reputation back up.

Tip: Monitor trends and track your performance with Vendasta's marketing automation software.
marketing automation best practices

14. A/B Test for Continuous Improvement

A/B testing has come up in some of the best practices we’ve discussed so far, but if you’re planning to make money with AI marketing solutions, it’s vitally important to work it into all of your processes.

This is the gold-standard method of maximizing ROI, making it an excellent way to control the costs of your various AI campaigns and ensure your clients' dollars make the greatest impact possible

Multi-Channel Integration

Meet audiences where they are and sell more AI integration services with these techniques.

15. Leverage Omnichannel Marketing

By leveraging multiple touchpoints, businesses can engage with their audiences regularly and consistently. Offering marketing automation integrations that enable the management of multiple marketing platforms is a great way to help your small business clients become unignorable.

16. Incorporate Social Media Monitoring

Social media monitoring enables businesses to respond to customer interactions in real time, identify opportunities for engagement, and adjust strategies quickly based on feedback from the market. This proactive approach helps build stronger relationships with audiences and, in the event of potential PR issues, empowers small businesses to get ahead of the problem. 

17. Implement Website Tracking and Retargeting

Website tracking and retargeting tools can be used to monitor page visits, time on each page, and actions taken on your clients’ site. This data can be used to power retargeting campaigns, serving personalized ads to visitors across different platforms and enticing them to come back and complete their purchase.

Analytics and Optimization

Put data to work in your AI marketing agency or consultancy with these must-know analytics and optimization strategies.

18. Set Up Comprehensive Tracking and Reporting

If you’re starting an agency without experience, one of the best ways to hit the ground running is by understanding the importance of data analysis and reporting. Whatever marketing automation you offer, always set up the appropriate tracking tools so you can stay on top of KPIs and make timely adjustments if necessary.

19. Analyze Performance and Iterate

Regularly analyzing performance and iterating on your marketing automation best practices will keep your agency competitive. Look at the granular, campaign-level data, but also look at the big picture across your AI startup clients. Are there any trends worth noting? Are there common elements to your major success stories?

20. Continuously Test and Refine Campaigns

Experiment with different messaging, visuals, platforms, and audience settings to discover what resonates best with each clients’ audience. Evaluate the results of each test and implement the most successful elements in future campaigns. This Frankenstein approach—piecing together the best elements to create new campaigns—can help you consistently deliver amazing outcomes for your clients.

About the Author

Lawrence Dy is the SEO Strategy Manager at Vendasta. His career spans from starting as a Jr. Copywriter in the automotive industry to becoming a Senior Editorial Content Manager in various digital marketing niches. Outside of work, Lawrence moonlights as a music producer/beatmaker and spends time with friends and family.

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