5 Ways to Set Yourself Up for Marketing Automation Adoption Success
For many years marketers relied on traditional methods of lead generation coupled with email marketing to static lists. It was fairly simple to execute. Today, marketers are reaching prospective students through a broad selection of channels such as ads, social, search, partners and more.
Considering the cost of acquiring leads via these paid channels, what follow-up actions do you have planned for new leads and how do you execute them? How do you plan to engage your prospects in the short-term and long-term?
Moving from an email marketing solution (such as Constant Contact or Campaign Monitor) to a Marketing Automation solution (such as Pardot, Hubspot, or Marketo) allows you to:
- Centralize leads gathered from multiple channels
- Send prospective students timely and relevant messages
- Free up human hours by automating manual, repeatable tasks
- Gain data-driven insights into the impact your marketing activities have on enrollments
You can take things even further by integrating your Marketing Automation solution with a CRM (such as Salesforce.com) to gain full student lifecycle reporting—from lead source, to inquiry, to application, to enrollment.
For people who haven’t yet jumped on the Marketing Automation bandwagon, it can be intimidating. Just researching and selecting the right tool and going through the set up be challenging.
To make the task less daunting, here are five things to keep in mind when setting up your Marketing Automation system:
1. Your Marketing Automation system should be set-up to support your organization’s and/or department’s goals. What are you trying to accomplish? What are you trying to track? If the standard functionality can’t do what you want it to do, are there creative ways to get what you want?
2. Identify key data required to segment prospective students? What are their interests? What is their status–prospective student, current student, former student? How will you know when to exit them out of marketing sequences? Build out fields in your system that will help facilitate moving contacts in and out of sequences.
3. Use dynamic lists to automatically enter contacts into relevant sequences. Eliminate manual segmentation by using a combination of field values to develop lists that change as a contact’s interest or status changes. A word of warning, always test changes to active dynamic lists associated to sequences to make sure you don’t accidentally move the wrong people in or out of your list and live sequence.
4. Craft a convincing journey. Create sequences that move contacts towards a goal, for example, application submission or enrollment. What makes your program unique? Logically think through how you can present this “story” to the contact over a series of steps. Use a mix of promotional and “personal” emails, but don’t just limit yourself to emails. Use behavior and lead score to trigger call tasks for your enrollment team when contacts are highly engaged. Add in steps to remove enrolled students or move people with limited engagement to a slow drip.
5. Just start, learn, and adjust. Get started by picking something small that you can implement so you can monitor and learn how the system works. Use resources available to you via your tool’s online help, look for how-to videos online, or seek help from an external resource experienced in marketing automation. Dig into the details by viewing sequences, stats, and individual prospect activities. This will help you understand how everything works together.
Here are some examples of ways in which we’ve used marketing automation with our partner schools:
Tracking Application Downloads – After submitting a form to download the application, prospective students receive a series of automated “personal” emails from an enrollment advisor with tips on how to apply and encouraging them to ask questions. This sequence provided insight into time from application download to submission and extended the functionality of the enrollment team.
Maintain Enthusiasm and Reduce No Shows – Students who enroll in an International Program receive a sequence of emails to keep them excited about the university, provide them with key logistics, and encourage them to notify the enrollment team of any changes to plans to attend.
Renewal Sequences for Expired Access to Online Courses – Students whose access to their online course has expired, enter an automated sequence to encourage them to purchase extended access. Emails link directly to the shopping cart for the program and student are removed from the sequence once they’ve purchased.
LinkedIn Leads Receive Relevant Follow-up Using Dynamic Content – Thinking creatively, we developed a multi-step, but easily repeatable, process for automating lead creation from LinkedIn lead forms. We use completion actions to record the prospective student’s course interest and send an automated email which uses dynamic content to include a link to the relevant course brochure. Prospects are then funneled into an appropriate email sequences triggered by dynamic list membership.
Enrollment Advisor Email to Prospects with High Lead Scores – Dynamic lists are used to identify students who have high lead scores (based on web visits, email activity, form submissions), but who haven’t yet downloaded an application, submitted an application, or enrolled in a course. Membership on the list triggers a “personal” email from an enrollment advisor with information on how to apply and offering to answer any questions.
Post-Conference Follow-up – We set up fields in the system to capture the conference name and trigger automated emails using variable tags to insert the conference name into the subject line and first paragraph. This email goes out automatically after the leads are uploaded into the system. Prospects are then funneled into an appropriate program-related email sequences. This significantly decreased the time and effort involved in conference follow-up and provided a consistent communication plan for leads generated at conferences.
When it comes to Marketing Automation, the options are endless.
If you are relying on multiple spreadsheets or have leads in many systems and need centralization, if your follow-up dies off after the first initial outreach, or if you want to provide a convincing journey to your prospective students, then now is the time to get started with marketing automation.
Just start, learn, and adjust.
How I lived, saw or experienced one of MindMax’s values this month
Get Results – Learn Always – Align to Mission – Build Meaningful Relationships – Ask for Help.
Align to Mission – When working with our university partners, I feel like I am an extension of their team. I truly care about our clients’ success and the impact of our work. Recently I have worked with a client who has been doing a great job of generating leads via multiple channel but it was a very manual job to report on the results. I implemented a campaign reporting structure and created a dashboard view of leads being generated on a daily, weekly, monthly basis, as well as by source. It is exciting to easily see in real-time how her effort is paying off.