Most business owners find the challenge of marketing to be a real chore. However, marketing automation has seen massive growth in the last five years and is no longer reserved only for large enterprises. Whether you have a small or medium sized business, implementing marketing automation need not be overwhelming. In essence, you just need to follow some of the following best practices.

Integrate with Customer Relationship Management Software

Sales and marketing are a natural pairing, so it is important to ensure that you integrate your customer relationship management software with your sales process. Your marketing team must have a clear understanding of the sales cycle and how your clients move around this cycle.

In order to measure the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns, the leads must be tracked through your sales funnel. To achieve this, your CRM and marketing automation platform will need to be integrated and share data before you begin.

Start Slow

While you may be keen to kick off your marketing with a bang, it is important to start slow. When you begin a lead nurturing campaign, choosing discreet campaigns will be more likely to yield a quick win.

Start slowly by mastering the techniques of tactical campaigns such as webinar or event follow ups before rushing straight into a more complicated campaign. This approach will allow you the time to learn what appeals to your target audience and correct issues before you make a larger investment.

Avoid Using Auto-Pilot

While marketing automation is a great way to save resources and time, the use of autopilot modes can be a costly mistake. It is well worth taking the time to check that campaigns, lists and forms are working properly before they go live since an error can immediately hurt sales. Rather than rely on auto-pilot, you should schedule check-ins to ensure that nothing has been interrupted that could derail your campaign.

Develop a Campaign to Build Profiles and Provide Insights

The main purpose of nurturing leads is to create a profile of prospects who are engaging with your content. The profiles should qualify your individual prospects as they relate to your products or services. Insights into the content consumption are also beneficial to determine your future content.

As your potential customer moves through a lead nurturing campaign, you should place new content behind barriers with additional questions to proceed. This approach will allow you to qualify these potential customers and further build their profile. This data can be used to drive the customization of your campaign.

Keep Quality in Mind

Quality content will always rise to the top. Fueling a valuable campaign can take a large quantity of content and resources, so you need to ensure that you are creating the best possible content, and publishing consistently over time.

Your content should offer value and be something that your potential clients are willing to trade their information to obtain. Your content should be of the highest quality and exclusive, so you will need to take the time to consider and ensure that it is the right content for your needs.

Test, Test, Test

The key to optimizing performance is testing and re-testing. You'll probably never stop measuring the effectiveness of your marketing automation in an attempt to optimize performance.

There are endless opportunities for testing, from links, subject lines, preferred time to send messages and the spacing between sending your messages. Continual testing can increase your return on investment for any marketing automation tools you purchase. You must be willing to continually assess and optimize your marketing automation to achieve desired results.