Content marketing has become a major focus for any marketer and rightly so. With the declining effectiveness of push or ‘interruption’ marketing, engaging content is a sure fire way to get the attention of an audience.

In order to get this strategy right and make it effective, marketers need to think carefully about what a company says and where it says it; they need to think about the content itself but also how it is distributed.

Effective content marketing relies on the message, the format, and the communication channel used.

1. Relevancy is key

Surrounding all of this is the idea of ‘relevancy’. Get the right piece of content to the right individual at the right time and you are more likely to get engagement and action. Relevancy is not a new concept for email marketers. But getting this right is hard, takes significant testing and relies on a clear understanding of recipient behaviour.

When executed in the right way, email automation (triggered and targeted campaigns with personalised communications) can ensure that the right content will be delivered to the intended audience at the most relevant time, optimised for a device that works for them (laptop, tablet, mobile etc.).

2. It’s all about the data

And if relevancy is something that email marketers will be very familiar with, then the idea of data driven distribution – using the data at your fingertips to better target the content you are looking to share – will also sound very familiar.

With more and more data at our fingertips, we can automate communication in ways that just weren’t possible in days gone by.

Email automation should be relatively easy if the right data has been collected, stored in the right way and all accessible through an email marketing platform that allows for efficient segmentation and automation on the fly.

3. Customer lifecycle marketing

The final part of the automation jigsaw is to incorporate whatever you are doing in terms of email into the entire marketing lifecycle. This means understanding the common customer behaviour and ensuring that any automation fits in with this at every stage of the customer journey.

This is perhaps particularly important for B2B marketers dealing with long sales cycles, but it is equally valid in the consumer world too.

When done in the right way, email automation has the potential to increase brand affinity and drive bottom line returns in a way that other marketing disciplines just can’t manage.

Many people I have spoken to over the years have looked at leading brands marketing automation programs with envious eyes. Stating that they do not have the time or budget to do something similar. Of course they can! There are plenty of easy to use tools out there that can help.

A simple tip to get going is to not to try and set everything up in one go. Start small but set up one aspect of the ‘bigger’ picture program each week or month, whilst testing the effectiveness of these along the way come the end of the year you will be one that others are looking at with envious eyes.

And because automation improves over time (as processes are tweaked and perfected) it is a system that will only improve in effectiveness as time goes on.