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How to Estimate Time Required to Build Marketing Automation Campaigns

When a vendor tells you that one of his marketing automation product’s features is “ease of use,” it doesn’t mean the same thing as “no time required.” Marketing automation is a platform requiring work to set up and run.

Campaigns usually take a lot of time to set up initially and generally consist of multiple moving parts, each requiring differing amounts of time to create and manage. The most common parts of a campaign are forms, landing pages, emails, content, and reports. Here’s some advice to help estimate the time required to set up the following items:

  • Forms: Most campaigns involve a form to collect email addresses. With marketing automation, you can generally build a form and use it multiple times.

    The misjudgment of time comes in when people start adding complexities to their forms. Proper planning will help you identify the appropriate complexity and help you judge the time required to build your forms. Basic forms can take ten minutes, whereas complex forms can take an hour or more.

  • Landing pages: Landing pages are generally used in conjunction with a form. Most marketing automation tools allow you to build your form and landing page at the same time. Most tools offer a variety of complex features for landing pages such as using dynamic forms, split testing multiple versions for maximum results, and offering personalized content.

    Make sure that you understand how your landing page and form builder work. If you are not HTML proficient, make sure to work in adequate time to play with the tool so that you understand the time and skill required to build what you need. These little features can make a big difference.

  • Emails: Emails are the most overlooked asset in a marketing automation campaign, and they typically account for the largest misjudgment of time. Most companies think that marketing automation involves building one email at a time, but actually it’s not uncommon to need to build ten emails at one time for a lead-nurturing campaign.

    Plan to invest one hour per email template when you begin. After you have a template set up, this time requirement should sharply decline. Before building your emails for lead nurturing, make sure to educate yourself on how to build an email for lead nurturing. That kind of email is very different from emails used for mass email blasting.

  • Content: Emails, landing pages, databases, and reports all require someone to create content. For example, if you have ten emails in your lead-nurturing campaign, you need a minimum of ten pieces of content to send in those emails. Many companies cite this need for content as their biggest time sink in creating a campaign as well as the biggest reason people hold off on marketing automation.

  • Reports: Creating the appropriate tracking for each campaign is usually overlooked because it hasn’t been included in all your marketing campaigns before. Estimate about an hour for each campaign to set up the proper tracking and reporting. Use your time to make sure that your links, forms, and emails will give you the required information to evaluate your effectiveness.

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