Using Marketing Automation for Lead Gen

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I’ve been in marketing for 4 years now – starting in social media and content while making my way into SEO. I’m no expert (are any of us, really?) but it is what I’m good at. And, over the past year, I’ve expanded into another, newer aspect of marketing – growth. This concentrates specifically on lead generation and can cover everything from getting new blog subscriptions to having MQLs (marketing qualified leads) sign up for a free trial.

Whatever the “win” is for your business, there’s one thing I’ve learned over my year-plus of trying to understand how an audience interacts with a site and how to get the most qualified customers/clients, and it is that marketing automation works wonders!

Now, marketing automation can cover quite a bit of ground, from social media to ad adjustments and more. However, for this specific instance (and what I have used most in the past) we’re discussing email specific marketing automation, meaning smart lists and workflows. Let’s dive in:

Labeling Your Contacts Correctly

One of the first things that email marketing automation helps with is segmenting your contacts into the proper group (subscribers, leads, MQLs, and SQLs). This helps you better understand where your contacts lie and how much nurturing they need, and what type.

For example, a contact subscriber needs the most nurturing – they are at the very top of the funnel. Most likely, they have only subscribed to blog updates or your weekly newsletter, but now you need to take them to the next step. You do this by sending them specified TOFU (top of the funnel) content. However, someone who is classified as an MQL needs less nurturing but a higher level of content. These individuals meet certain qualifications that classify them as a high-level lead including things like interests, email, location, budget, and more. Here are examples of content that each stage should be getting.

Subscribers and Leads:

  • blog posts
  • checklists
  • small printable


  • white papers
  • e-books
  • webinars


  • testimonials
  • case studies
  • product features
  • buyer’s guides

Tip: note that this content and the qualifications that segment each category are different for every single business. It’s important to work with the sales team and understand the distinguishing characteristics of your customer base.

Understanding Where Your Audience is Going

One of the most important aspects of website creation is creating a flow or path you feel the visitor should follow in order to become a conversion. Now, again, this can be different for every business. This all depends on what you classify as a conversion and what information you feel is important for the visitor to know. Next, you need to see who (out of your established contacts) is following this path, who needs to be shown specific pages or product details, and if the overall path that your audience takes matches what you have in mind.

In order to accomplish this you need to make smart lists. Just about all email marketing tools have a feature that is similar to this. More specifically, I have worked with both HubSpot and Pardot who have this feature. Next, understand where you want people to go and create different lists. For example, if you want people to visit your “Solutions” page, create a list that specifically gathers contacts who have not viewed that page, and so on.

Tip: Before you do any of this, make sure the behavior flow or your site is actually behaving this way. If you find that it isn’t, you may need to restructure page copy before making these lists. In order to find this information, go into Google Analytics and “Behavior Flow”. Change the date to look at the past year. Is your audience visiting the pages the feel are the most important? The answer may surprise you.

Making the Connection

Now, it’s time to put both of these aspects to work in order to get your audience the information they need while also moving them down the funnel so you can get that win! And honestly, this is actually the easiest step.

Based on your lists, you now need to ensure that those people are lead to the right pages. This means making emails or email workflows that promote the page and the content it provides. Make sure that once they get to that page, they can easily find the next stage in the path (a “contact” button, etc.). Then, once they visit the page and meet other qualifiers they can now be moved from lead to MQL and so on. It’s pretty simple and can help create more conversions.

This isn’t the “end-all-be-all” of growth marketing. In fact, this is just one tiny snippet of lead nurturing. However, taking the time to implement a process such as this helps to organize and better understand your contacts so that you then and lead them in the right direction. If you have tons of email subscribers but none seem to be moving past that point, this strategy can help.

Understand your audience better, organize where they are within the marketing and sales funnel, optimize the content you are sharing with them based on their behavior and place within the funnel, reap the benefits.

Published by Stevie Howard

I am a digital marketer that has experience in a variety of fields including social media, SEO, SEM, lead generation, content strategy, and more.

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