Marketing automation is a great way to boost sales, but would you believe me if I told you that a majority of businesses are doing it wrong?

According to the Content Marketing Institute, 90% of the top performing B2B content marketers aren’t trying to sell things, but they’re putting their customers first instead. They make it about the customer from beginning to end. The product offered for sale is specific to that customer’s need; the content provided to the customer is something that will benefit them. At every turn, a business that is successful in marketing is offering consistent, reliable, and personalized information.

This does not mean they’re emailing each person individually. What it means is that they have taken their marketing automation to a whole new level. Companies have made their automated marketing so specialized that each individual customer feels special.

How to Create an Automated Marketing Campaign that Puts the Customer First

Get a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Tool

This is the first thing you need because it’s going to tell you what you already know, even if you don’t know you know it. The CRM tool will help you track who your current customers are and what they’re doing. It will make segmenting those customers much easier down the line and it will help you figure out who your products really appeal to.

You’ll find out how many of your customers are parents, or how many live on the West Coast. Maybe 75% of your sales come from middle-class moms who stay-at-home. That’s an important thing to know.

A CRM tool will also help you segment your customers so that when you create a marketing campaign, you can appeal directly to the ones that will care the most.

Make Sure Your Website is Collecting Data Too

This is both data that you tell your website visitors you’re collecting and data that’s being collected behind the scenes.

The data you ask your visitors for can include their email address, phone number, personal interests, etc. Just make sure you’re not being too invasive. Invasive questions can scare a visitor off for good.

You also need to be ethical. The personal data that you collect is personal and someone should voluntarily give it or decline to give it. The data customers provide will help you create your email lists.

The behind the scenes data is what happens on your website. This is data that looks at how a visitor came to your site (i.e. from Google or Bing) and how long that visitor stayed on each page. This data also looks at what links are clicked on, what’s added to a shopping cart, and what interested that visitor.

Most web hosting services will help you do this. If you’re a WordPress user, then there are a number of plug-ins you can use to gather this information. The site WP Beginner has a great list of the top ones.

Use the Data

Now that you have all this data, what do you do with it?

First, I want you to use the data that you have in your CRM to target new potential customers. Customize your social media ad campaigns to look for those middle-class moms who stay-at-home. There’s obviously something about your product that appeals to them.

You’ll also use the information that you have about current customers to specialize your marketing blasts to them. Offer a discount on new products that you know will appeal to them, but that they have not bought yet. It’s okay to have multiple lists, in fact, it’s encouraged.

The data that you collect from your website can be used to let new customers know you have what interests them. For example, Amazon’s background data knows what I look at when I’m browsing online. If I don’t purchase the item I was looking at, the company will email me a week later to remind me that it’s still there. You can do this too with current and potential customers.

The background data will also help you determine a direction for your website when it comes to content. You will be able to tell which blog posts are performing well and which ones are not. By looking for patterns, you can determine what kind of content people really want from you.

Why the Data Matters

Mail Chimp did a study in 2017 that looked at just how effective list segmentation was to a brand. While the data is a little dated, I would argue that it is still extremely relevant today. What the study found was that 14.31% of people were more likely to open an email in a segmented campaign than a non-segmented one. What’s more, clicks in that email were 100.95% higher in the segmented campaigns. Best of all, people who hit the “Unsubscribe” were 9.37% lower than non-segmented campaigns.

In other words, an email sent through a segmented campaign (one that uses a specialized list of customers) was more likely to be opened, the links inside were more likely to be followed and even if the email was ignored, the user didn’t feel the need to unsubscribe.

The Most Important Thing to Know About Marketing in 2019

All of this adds up to what you have already figured out, marketing in 2019 is all about personalization. If you don’t do your marketing automation correctly, you’re the machine that spams out emails and clogs up an inbox. You annoy potential or even current customers and possibly even drive them away.

Many people believe marketing automation is an easy, set and forget it way of making a sale, but the truth is it takes a lot more work than that. You need to need to set up your automation to make your contact feel like the most important client on your list. Your automation must convey that you care about what he thinks; you care about what she buys; you care about what he needs.

When the customer feels like he is being listened to, he will have a positive view of your company and you are more likely to make that initial sale. More than that, if you continue to make the client feel special, you are also more likely to gain a client for the long haul.

Good luck.

Written by Erika Towne