Start Small, Dream Big: How to Get Started with Marketing Automation

Your company just added a marketing automation platform to your martech stack — yay!! 

If you’re like me when I first implemented a marketing automation platform, you’re probably really excited. You’re ready to start generating qualified leads on your website, building engaging and dynamic nurture programs, tracking campaign ROI, and becoming an all-around B2B marketing rockstar. 

But with all of this possibility and decision-making comes the inevitable nervousness. You might not know what you want your email cadence to be, what form fields you should start collecting, or how to determine when to use “gated” vs. “ungated” content. 

As marketers, we tend to be perfectionists who want to go big right away. We want the best brand image, the most qualified leads for the lowest cost, and we want to create award-winning campaigns that support our sales goals and help our company grow. Easy, right? 

But Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was the perfect marketing campaign. As you grow in your career as a marketer and you continue learning about the latest and greatest marketing technologies, soon realize that it’s impossible to have it all figured out on day one. And that’s okay!

Take Baby Steps with Agile

You probably heard about how development teams are increasingly using the Agile approach for software development. This method focuses on completing smaller, iterative tasks on a regular (weekly or biweekly) schedule – instead of trying to deliver one big task all at once. 

This allows teams to build incrementally and iterate as the needs of the business evolve. More simply, it can be described as a “Crawl, Walk, Run” approach. 

Agile is a perfect methodology to adopt as you begin your journey with marketing automation. With this framework, you can tackle important tasks at a pace that makes sense for your business, and you can learn and adapt as you go. 

Let’s look at an example for how you can apply Agile to marketing automation.

Leverage Agile with Marketing Automation

We know that nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads. Nurture programs allow marketers to create personalized journeys that reach buyers at the right time in the buying cycle and increase customer engagement. But building a nurture program can be a very iterative process, continually optimized based on content and performance — making it the perfect place to apply Agile. 

Let’s say you want to nurture anyone who has filled out a “Contact Us” form on your website with a follow up “About Us” narrative about your company and its culture.

First, you would create a dynamic list of everyone who has filled out your “Contact Us” form (if you’re new to marketing automation, this list will likely be a small list). Next, you would create a suppression list with anyone you wouldn’t want to include on this nurture program. Finally, you would create a simple nurture program that sends anyone added to your dynamic list who’s NOT on your suppression list an “About Us” email one day after the “Contact Us” form is submitted. 

Iterate and Optimize Nurture Programs

I bet you’re probably wondering “That’s just one email!” And you’d be right. Once a prospect completes the flow and receive the “About Us” email, they remain at the last step in the nurture program. But here’s the best part — you can add more steps to your nurture programs and send more content as you develop it! This means you don’t have to have everything figured out before you begin creating personalized journeys for your customers and prospects, you can get started with a simple form, two dynamic lists, and one email. 

With this approach, you are practicing the Agile methodology of iteration with B2B marketing automation, and nurturing your leads and customers with personalized content — a win win!

As you continue developing marketing content and building more robust nurture programs to create and refine your customer experience, you can segment your prospect database with meaningful demographics and data points.

Start Small, Dream Big 

Because marketing automation platforms are so powerful, it can be overwhelming to get started. If you start simple (“Crawl, Walk, Run”) and keep the Agile methodology in mind, you’ll build confidence while understanding more about the power of the tool you’ve chosen – all while bringing value to your stakeholders right away.