Marketing Automation: Key to a Successful Content Marketing Strategy?

Why are so many businesses investing in marketing automation? Because it simplifies marketing processes. You can effectively organise, report and generate leads.

Picture of George Linley George Linley

Published: 28 May 2015

5 minutes read

Marketing Automation: Key to a Successful Content Marketing Strategy?

By 2018, 88% of B2B organisations will be using some form of MA software. Why are so many businesses investing in marketing automation? Because it simplifies marketing processes. You can effectively organise, report and generate leads all within one software system. However, a lack of marketing automation knowledge is causing problems, with 54% of marketers listing skills shortage as their biggest challenge. 
To efficiently report and analyse the impact of your B2B content marketing strategy, investing in marketing automation software and expertise is essential. You can effectively align all aspects of your marketing strategy, letting you see how every moving part works in unison.

Group marketing activity

Let’s say your company is planning to focus content around a new topic. Without MA software, it would be challenging to assess the impact of this particular topic separately from the rest of your marketing efforts.

By using marketing automation such as HubSpot, you can group topics into ‘campaigns’ letting you effectively assess how well an individual topic resonates with your audience. With campaign segregation, you can group topic-specific social media activity, email marketing, blog posts and landing pages (basically every aspect of your marketing strategy), enabling you to measure the effectiveness of a topic at every stage in the buyer’s journey.

Analyse the funnel

How effective is your top-funnel activity? Do your social media posts result in call to action clicks? Do your blogs encourage prospects to turn into leads? If you’re using segregated reporting tools to analyse each channel of your marketing strategy, you’re probably struggling to answer this question. Although you may be able to see how well your content marketing strategy is performing as a whole, it is impossible to analyse the success of each moving part.

For example, with a social media tool such as Hootsuite, you can bulk schedule social media posts and report on key social metrics such as retweets, favourites and link clicks. Although you can report on how well your content works in a social media environment, once your prospects leave your social channels and head to your site, it’s hard to follow the journey they take.

Spending time on a channel that either doesn’t work or isn’t being used to its full potential isn’t productive, which is where tools like HubSpot can really help. You can analyse every stage of the sales funnel, from prospects visiting your site via social media, to downloading content, to eventually becoming customers.

By being able to look at how each stage of your strategy works with another, it will be easier to analyse which aspects aren’t working. Say, for example, your blog receives a substantial amount of traffic from social media and organic search – but click-through rates on your calls to action are low. In this instance, it’s clear to see that either your blog content isn’t resonating with your audience, or your call to action isn’t engaging enough to warrant an asset download. Armed with this knowledge, you can resolve the specific issue in your marketing strategy, which will benefit your lead generation capabilities in the long-haul. 

Develop your personas  

If you’re familiar with the principles of buyer personas (you can read more about them here), then you will know that while one topic may appeal to a certain persona’s pain points and problems, it can be completely irrelevant to another.

It can take a while to develop and fully understand your personas, so there will be times when you miss the mark with your content. By using HubSpot’s persona segregation, you can assess which topic types and writing styles are most appealing to your specific personas – which will help your content become more relevant and targeted over time, as your personas’ pain points and interests emerge. 

Setting benchmarks

It’s useful to be able to analyse the impact of your content marketing strategy, but numbers and percentages can be pretty useless out of context.

While website monitoring tools such as Google analytics let you analyse your traffic and sources, HubSpot goes one step further. If you’re looking to benchmark your results against your direct competitors, HubSpot can make this possible. You can easily view your competitors’ site traffic, search engine rankings and the keywords they are using – very useful when assessing which types of content and topics your audience is engaging with.

Set a SMART target

If you’re new to the concept of content marketing, it’s important to realise that success doesn’t happen overnight. When setting yourself marketing goals for your company, always practice the principles of SMART targets.

When setting a target, think about the below:

Specific: pinpoint a specific metric you wish to improve, e.g. number of leads

Measurable: assign a number of leads you aim to generate

Attainable: think about the above aims, are these achievable?

Relevant: are these targets relevant to your company and your role?

Timely: think about the timeframe you plan to achieve this goal by

For example, a company may aim to generate 100 leads by August 2015. By using the SMART targeting you can achieve attainable goals, while helping you (metaphorically speaking) walk before you can run.

Can you use marketing automation software in-house?

A big mistake that some businesses make is believing that access to automation tools is enough to ensure success. Although automation software can make it easier to organise marketing activity, without in-depth knowledge of inbound marketing principles, it will be difficult to launch a prosperous strategy.

For example, would you know which types of content engage people at certain stages of the buyer’s journey? How about the relationship between landing pages, calls to action and assets? Without this key knowledge, achieving any level of success can be difficult, while the misuse of automation tools can have a negative impact on your marketing activity and the perception of your brand.

With content marketing becoming an increasingly popular (and crowded) space, the industry is becoming increasingly competitive. To see any substantial results, content needs to be published frequently and consistently. Be honest, do you have enough time to blog at least three times a week? How about creating workflows with multiple moving parts? Letting an agency with an in-depth knowledge of inbound marketing manage the use of your automation software and marketing activity will benefit you in the long-run: freeing up time for you to focus on growing your business.

Want to know more?

Find out about automation, inbound marketing, and getting your website found online with our ultimate guide to B2B inbound marketing. 

Read the full guide