Episode 29

Marketing Automation: An Introduction for Building Materials Manufacturers

by Smarter Building Materials Marketing

Marketing automation is an essential part of your marketing strategy. Learn how to get started with marketing automation and how to use it effectively.

Zach and Beth discuss how building material manufacturers can use marketing automation to get noticed by customers and successfully lead them through the sales funnel.

More About This Show

The Smarter Building Materials Marketing podcast helps industry professionals find better ways to grow leads, sales and outperform the competition. It’s designed to give insight on how to create a results-driven digital marketing strategy for companies of any size.

In this episode, Zach and Beth talk about why building material manufacturers should implement marketing automation and how to get started.

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A huge problem in marketing today is the oversaturation of communication. The average person receives between 300 and 700 messages a day. If you’re a building material manufacturer, that’s a huge hurdle to overcome. But email is still the best way to get in front of your audience and that’s exactly why marketing automation is necessary.

We’ll show you how to get started with marketing automation and how you can improve your current efforts that are already in place. With new technology, tools and features constantly coming out, it’s important to understand what marketing automation is today, how it works and what you need to get started.

What Is Marketing Automation?

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In its simplest form, marketing automation allows you to send the right message to the right person at the right time. The most common tool to use is email. And when you communicate to your audience the right way with email, it feels organic, authentic and tailored to your recipients.

This makes your potential customers feel like you know what you’re doing; after all, you wouldn’t expect a salesperson to have a generic conversation with a lead. Instead, you want your sales team to communicate genuinely with your customers, to show that they understand them and their struggles. Marketing automation is what allows you to tailor your emails in a similar way.

It also allows you to very specifically segment your different audiences. If someone requested a sample, for example, the next email should include the specific product they viewed.

You can also segment your lists into categories, such as pros, architects and homeowners. The greater level of personalization, the greater the response you’ll receive from your campaigns.

It’s your responsibility to help customers solve their problems and using automation can help you position your product as a solution in the process.

Note that it’s not just about what you do send, it’s also about what you don’t send. In another podcast, we talked to Doug Jennings at Lowe’s, who mentioned that one of the reasons they gather customer data is to deliver personalized emails. On top of that, they’re also taking out irrelevant information. For example, if someone just purchased a refrigerator last week, Lowe’s wouldn’t send them an email telling them refrigerators are 25% off this week.

Marketing automation is about building trust. It allows you to offer valuable information and solve your customers’ pain points, rather than bombarding customers with generic e-blasts.

4 Tools You Need for Marketing Automation

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There are tons of marketing automation tools out there, and while most offer great features, the most important factor in choosing a tool is how you’ll use it. Here are the four main elements you need for an effective marketing automation strategy.

#1: Website

Having a building material website is crucial. The key component to optimizing it is to provide both content and forms that capture visitor information. Those forms plug into your marketing automation platform, and the content helps you understand audience intent while you gather their information.

#2: Marketing Automation Platform

There are so many marketing automation platforms available, including Hubspot, Marketo, Pardot, Eloqua, Act-On and Infusionsoft.

Marketo does a great job of defining marketing automation and just about any of these platforms can help you achieve the same results. They say that marketing automation is a system that streamlines, automates and measures marketing tasks and workflows so building material manufacturers can increase operational efficiency and grow revenue faster.

In short, a marketing automation platform sends relevant information to your lead’s inbox so they can take the next step in the buyer journey.

#3: CRM

A CRM isn’t required to do the work we’re talking about and a lot of marketing automation programs like Hubspot already have a CRM built into them. Ideally, you would have your CRM connected to both your website and marketing automation platform. It then takes the data from the automation platform and gives that information to the sales team so they can prioritize who to talk to based on previous actions. This helps them focus on qualified leads.

#4: Content

We don’t mean just any content, but a variety of content that gets people on your website and keeps them engaged. This allows you to learn what they’re interested in and where they are in the sales funnel so you know what information to send them in your marketing automation platform.

Whether a lead is in the awareness, researching or planning phase, they need different types of content. Learning the content they’re engaging with on your website is the first step to find out where they belong in your automated campaign.

You need to be committed to building and improving your content so you can figure out what your audience is looking for and how can you provide that information through your automation sequences.

Content is where many manufacturers get slowed down because it’s an ongoing job to keep up production consistently. But marketing automation won’t work without great content.

At the end of the day, you as a manufacturer wants your audience to talk to a salesperson and buy a product. Your audience, on the other hand, wants you to make their lives easier. The best way to do that is by providing insight that only you can bring to the table.

There’s nothing wrong with asking for the sale, but you also need to follow that up with a value offering afterward. Then you can interweave direction to a sales opportunity when it applies.

6 Features You Should Look for in a Marketing Automation Platform

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As you begin to evaluate specific marketing automation platforms, consider these six key features to make sure you’re getting the most out of your efforts.

#1: Automated Programs

Your platform should automatically send emails to your audience based on their visitor behavior within your website and emails. A recent statistic shows that triggered email messages average a 70% higher open rate and 152% higher click-through rate than a “business as usual” marketing message.

If you’re sending email based on what your lead has already looked for and your email content applies to their problem, they’re more likely to respond.

#2: List Segmentation

List segmentation refers to categorizing your email list into groups, and there are a number of ways you can do this. First, you can segment them by who they are, such as contractors, architects or homeowners. You can also segment them by behaviors, such as filling out a sample request or a quote form. Another option is to categorize visitors who have engaged with content around a specific vertical, like higher education or healthcare.

Segmenting your email lists lets you deliver extremely tailored information to people who are highly engaged and interested in your product.

Most building material manufacturers don’t market to just one audience. Since each audience type likes to be communicated to in a different way, it’s crucial to segment your list.

#3 + #4: Website Integration and CRM Integration

Although you may not realize it at the beginning, it does take a lot of work getting these different channels to communicate with each other and provide the right information. It takes time and effort to integrate both your website and CRM together in an effective way. Find out how your marketing automation platform integrates with your existing tools to make the transition as smooth as possible.

#4: Lead Scoring

Your marketing automation platform should apply a point system to individual contacts based on their previous actions. For example, someone who fills out a contact form or requests a quote would earn more points than a person who just looks at a single blog article.

Those scores are then tallied up and sent to your sales team. That way they’re getting a list of the most qualified potential customers. This feature is great because it fills your sales team’s pipeline more effectively and also helps them have better conversations with those leads.

#5: Progressive Profiling

This feature is critical on multiple levels and is best described with an example. For instance, the first time someone downloads something like a case study on your website, they should be prompted to enter their email address.

The next time they come back and perform another action such as requesting a sample, your marketing automation tool shouldn’t ask for their email address because you already have it. Instead, it should ask for another piece of information, such as their company name, phone number or job title.

The golden rule of progressive profiling is to ask for as little information as possible. You always want to give more than you’re asking for, but it’s still important to keep growing your data piece by piece.

How to Get Started

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The first step to getting started is to decide what platform you’ll use and identify the players that will help you execute your marketing automation strategy.

Many building materials manufacturers work with agencies like Venveo to roll out a new strategy, while others do it internally. One of the critical decisions is to determine who handles the content, who oversees the marketing automation platform, who oversees the general strategy of campaigns, and who takes care of the technical side.

Don’t get too focused on the potential of marketing automation without really understanding the time commitment. In fact, the word “automation” is a bit of misnomer, because there’s a lot of front-end work to get started, as well as ongoing work to keep performing and optimizing your campaigns.

Want to learn more about marketing automation?

Join us on March 27 for a live, FREE webinar where we’ll show you campaigns that work and common pitfalls building material manufacturers fall into.


Have other questions about how to create a marketing strategy or how to optimize your website or just want to ask a question about one of our recent podcasts? Reach out! Email us at [email protected]. We’d love to hear from you.

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