We created this blog post back in 2015 and we’ve been updating it weekly ever since.

Last updated: February 2017

We’re confident this is the best list of marketing automation strategies, tactics and ideas that are worth exploring in 2017. 

It doesn’t matter if you’re using HubSpot, Marketo, Pardot, Act-On or MailChimp… marketing automation is amazing if you’re doing it the right way.

Marketing automation has been gaining traction since 2011. Not because it’s trendy and fun, but because marketing agencies who use the technology properly see noticeable upticks in their lead conversion, forecasting and customer segmentation. Marketing automation relies on software or other technologies to help organizations adopt an “autopilot” approach to engaging their audience across various platforms.

This process is by far the best way to nurture leads and lessen the chaos and inconsistency that’s often caused by managing things by hand. With marketing automation, you can improve the quality of your leads and close deals without manhandling bulk emails or posting incessantly on social media platforms.

Improve Sales

  • Send out automated emails upselling services. After customers sign up for your services, send them follow-up emails recommending products that will compliment what they’ve already purchased.
  • Email information about training. If you are holding webinars or seminars, pass the information to subscribers.
  • Email coupons and other discount information when you run specials on services.
  • Give stuff away. Offer to tack on additional services free of charge for people who purchase package deals.
  • Nurture your marketing automation relationships to increase the quality of the company’s leads.
  • Keep your brand front and center to add value and credibility to your services.
  • Be consistent across all channels with regard to content, branding and time to build trust and prevent confusion among clients and prospects.

Streamline Marketing

  • Send automated bi-yearly (or more often if you’d like) emails informing clients about any charities you are involved with.
  • Build your list from scratch, don’t buy it! When you generate your own list of qualified leads, it will more easily cater to the demographic you’re trying to reach.
  • Replenish your list to prevent database decay.
  • Maintain a human touch. While you want to embrace efficiency, you don’t want your marketing automation strategy to feel robotic and insincere.
  • Look for avenues other than email. Clients interact with your agency across a number of platforms – not just email. Come up with a marketing automation strategy that can deliver relevant content across all of the mediums your clients use.
  • Use a “beginning-to-end” software to move clients down the funnel. Think about where they are in the beginning of the automation process and then determine where you want them to end up.
  • Match the automation software to how your agency operates, not the other way around.
  • Clean your customer relationship management (CRM) database to prevent duplicates on imported lists.
  • Schedule social media updates ahead of time to make sure you have a constant flow of posts regularly.
  • Monitor the times followers engage your brand and schedule automated post during these times.
  • Develop a content strategy that feeds a steady stream of content to your readers while gently promoting your services and expertise.
  • Roll your campaign out slowly to give your marketing firm time to test the programs incrementally.
  • Break your marketing automation projects into small chunks so the process doesn’t overwhelm you.
  • Have a solid plan in place before you roll out your marketing automation campaign. This is absolutely critical to your success.
  • Track your marketing automation campaign success to see what’s working and what’s not.
  • Pause automated social media posts during inappropriate times such as during natural disasters or other mass tragedies.
  • Monitor platforms so you can keep up with what’s going on around you.
  • Choose a voice for your business and keep it consistent across platforms.
  • Don’t schedule messages too far in advance. If you do, you run the risk of forgetting what you’re trying to convey to your audience.

Improve Client-Onboarding

  • Put the information you always give clients when they sign up for your services in an automated email so you won’t have to keep repeating it every time a new client hires you.
  • Set up your automation software to automatically notify new clients after 90 days to ensure they have ongoing contact just in case they have unanswered questions or concerns you need to address.
  • Keep it simple. Clients don’t want a head-exploding experience when you are welcoming them to your firm, so limit complicated explanations about your marketing automation strategy.
  • Send out marketing automation surveys to measure the effectiveness of your program.
  • Don’t send cold, uncaring emails.
  • Show your gratitude by automating a simple thank you email every once in a while.
  • Implement a customer referral program. Offer a reward to any clients who refer a customer who signs up to use your services.

Engage Past Clients

  • Send occasional automated emails to former clients so they can transition back smoothly, should they decide to use your services again
  • Offer discounted sign-ups to clients who opt to give your marketing agency another try.
  • Send out periodic newsletters to keep past clients in the loop about what’s going on in your firm.
  • Send emails with simple messages thanking former clients for helping you reach milestones in your business.
  • Use automated posts to invite past clients to engage your team on social media.
  • Use a customer advocacy platform to offer a new channel for advocacy and referral programs.

Improve Employee Performance

  • Communicate your automation efforts with team members so you don’t run the risk of causing tension and confusion among them.
  • Have the proper resources on hand. Your marketing automation strategy will go a lot smoother if you have creative teams in place to help you with prospect lists, email authentication, content creation, drip programs, opt-out lists, custom redirects and other things that accompany the process.
  • Make continuing education a priority so your marketing team can keep pace with other professionals in the industry. When employees fall behind the curve, it often results in lost clients and a tainted reputation.
  • Collaborate with teams so you can tap into others’ skillsets and come up with a stronger marketing automation strategy.
  • Write out a detailed automation plan instead of verbalizing it. Diagrams and other written details will help uncover the big picture so employees and others who are working on the project can offer quicker feedback regarding necessary improvements.
  • Work with your agents to establish the definition of a quality lead. This will keep down conflict and ensure only qualified leads get passed down to the marketing team.
  • Don’t automate troubleshooting. This task should be handled by a human being.
  • Let your marketing strategy drive how you use the software.
  • Understand how the technology works before you use it to handle business.
  • Coordinate with your marketing team to keep screw-ups to a minimum.

Nurture Prospects

  • Verify email addresses to get rid of invalid information before you upload your contacts in the automation software. This will allow you to reduce your bounce rate during your campaign.
  • Send out welcome emails to prospective clients immediately after you capture their information.
  • Understand your audience before you prepare and fire off two-thousand automated emails.
  • Send a series of emails introducing your agency and telling potential clients what your company is all about. This will help indoctrinate them so they get a better understanding of what you can offer.
  • Send follow-up emails to helps prospects favor your services over your competitors’.
  • Send emails to prospects inviting them to download whitepapers, eBooks or research reports to keep the fuse lit.
  • Don’t seem overly eager or pushy in your automated emails.
  • Use real-time notifications so you know when potential customers are available to chat with you.
  • Use prospect activity alerts to determine which prospects need immediate attention. This will help you avoid wasting time on people who aren’t quite ready to convert.
  • Do A/B testing to compare messages and CTA response rates.
  • Personalize emails by using the person’s name in the subject line.
  • Build an information map so potential clients can easily find the information they need. This trail of breadcrumbs can come via CTAs, URL addresses and landing pages.
  • Use progressive profiling to keep prospects from having to fill out the same information repeatedly and to improve completion rates.
  • Let your leads choose what areas they want to receive information about.
  • Get rid of dead content pages. Instead, when clients sign up for your newsletter, ask them for more information and then reward them with valuable content.
  • Offer free automated e-courses to engage your clients regularly.
  • Automate your RSS feeds so new posts go directly to your social media platforms.

Service Current Clients

  • Send monthly newsletters filled with valuable information and useful content to build a stronger customer-base.
  • Don’t overdo the emails. Flooding clients’ inboxes will make them feel overwhelmed. If this happens, your clients will look for an agency that has more respect for their virtual space.
  • Be true to your word. If you send out automated emails promising a new service, you’d better deliver. When you get customers excited about an upcoming feature and you flake out, you can quickly lose their trust.
  • Diversify content across social media mediums. Don’t bore your audience by auto-publishing the same content across platforms. Consider what each platform is designed to do and prep and publish content that fits in with its purpose.
  • Use automation as a supplement, not as a primary means of marketing on social media.
  • Engage social media followers. Even though you’re using marketing automation, keeping followers engaged helps the process work better.
  • Set up alerts to notify you when you have comments and messages so you can answer them in a timely manner.
  • Set aside time to answer questions and respond to followers’ comments.
  • Send out monthly-automated emails listing all the current projects you’re working on to help keep your agency’s name floating around in peoples’ heads.
  • Segment to find out what motivates each of your clients so you can customize your automation plan to suit the needs of different groups.
  • Automate your clients’ lifecycles. Set up the software to send out a series of emails when leads convert.
  • Use CRM and social media profile information to get the name and purchase history of leads to help you better understand their needs.
  • Soup up your landing pages so they continue to funnel clients.
  • Send clients Evites to special events and promotions your agency may be having offsite.
  • Email automated newsletter renewal reminder to keep clients on your radar.
  • Mix up automated social media posts with ones that you write in real-time.
  • Schedule special event posts ahead of time.

Deal With Vendors

  • Speak to vendor management to get a good understanding of how your marketing automation software works. The more you know about it, the better you will understand how data moves through the system.
  • Pay attention to data reports to help work out any reporting inconsistencies before you implement it in your firm.
  • Test the automation software before you buy it. Many vendors will offer either a 14 or 30-day free trial period to give agencies time to see how their software works.
  • Don’t get so caught up in the bells and whistles that you forget why you need the software in the first place. Considering features you don’t need will only make your software buying decision more difficult.
  • Create an automated email that gives a form response to vendors trying to pitch their services. Even if you’re not interested in what they are offering, a polite response can earn you brownie points with vendors. If these companies ever need your marketing services in the future, they will remember your agency being kind and responsive to their emails.
  • Don’t let a vendor talk you into investing in software that’s complicated to use. Trying to implement a program that you don’t understand can thwart the success of your marketing automation strategy.
  • Choose vendors that offer support for their software. You don’t want to get stuck with technology you can’t get help with when you need it.
  • Anticipate and plan for software errors. While you can always hope for the best, the reality is, software can fail.

Marketing automation is the ideal way to streamline many of the elements in your marketing agency or organization. When you set up and implement your marketing automation strategy, it will free up valuable resources and leave you more time to focus on other aspects of your business.


What marketing automation strategy works best for you? What doesn’t work? Comment below to let us know!