Some business owners make the mistake of not considering marketing automation because the term “automation” has an impersonal connotation. Marketing automation, however, doesn’t have to be impersonal or mechanical. It’s a tool that saves you time on repetitive, minuscule processes. Examples of tasks that can be automated include posting a new article on your social media accounts at optimal times and segmenting your audience.
In marketing, it’s important to authentically connect with your audience. Some ways that companies do this is reply to comments from happy customers and post tasteful memes that their audience finds funny. Another good way of staying connected with your audience is to utilize live video. All of these things cannot be automated.
As long as you continue connecting with your audience, marketing automation can only help your business. Here is a list of eight dos and don’ts of marketing automation that are helpful to follow:
Do Realize that Marketing Automation is Just a Technology
Marketing automation can be mistaken for a strategy, but it’s only a technology. In fact, it is just a tool that makes you more efficient in implementation of your strategy.
You can make the most out of this tool by setting realistic goals. These goals will determine how you use marketing automation and should be relevant to your business. You should also constantly tweak your use of automation based on your marketing strategy.
Don’t Expect Marketing Automation to Create Content for You
Marketing automation isn’t a content creating machine. You are the one who must create valuable content for your audience.
For example, if you use email marketing, you have to write emails for your subscribers to read. The content of your emails must be relevant and valuable to them. When subscribers read low quality emails or see too many sales pitches from one person in their inboxes, they unsubscribe.
What marketing automation can do from a content perspective is help you schedule sending emails and publishing your posts at the most optimal times, based on data gathered from your target audience.
Do Segment Your Leads and Prospects
Marketing automation is good for segmenting your leads and prospects because it gathers data on them to give you extra insights. You can design more focused campaigns by analyzing that data.
Marketing automation enables you to create lead nurturing workflows that effectively guide leads through the sales funnel at the right pace and time based on their needs. You can also send personalized content at almost every touchpoint. Automation software makes it easy to customize emails for the individual reader.
Don’t Spam Your Subscribers
Although marketing automation makes email marketing easier, be careful not to spam your subscribers with emails.
What counts as spamming your subscribers? Sending too many emails, too many sales pitches, or to many irrelevant emails is viewed as spamming. Monitor your data to determine the most optimal posting frequency and schedule for your emails. Marketing automation gives you the ability to set up your email marketing in a way that each subscriber only receives what is relevant to him or her.
Do Use Lead Scoring and Grading
Lead scoring and grading are great features in many marketing automation tools that you should use. There’s no need to manually figure out how good of a fit each lead is for your company. Lead scoring can handle this task for you, freeing up your sales team to work on other important activities for driving sales.
You can improve the effectiveness of lead scoring and grading by observing what’s converting and what doesn’t convert well. Use your observations to tweak your strategy and improve results.
Don’t Set and Forget
Marketing automation is not a “set and forget” technology. For it to work well, you must analyze the results, test new things, and adjust your settings as needed.
Your business evolves, so your marketing automation should grow with it. In addition, you will still need to actively interact with your followers on social media. You can’t just schedule posts and never check your mentions or comments. That’s not what social media is about; it will lead to dismal results or unhappy customers.
A common mistake that well-intentioned business owners make when they’re new to automation is setting up their blog posts to automatically publish on their social media accounts. You should always manually write a compelling message to entice followers into clicking the link. This cannot be automated.
Do Encourage Your Sales and Marketing Teams to Work Together
In order for your company to perform at its best, sales and marketing should work together harmoniously. Use marketing automation to help bring them closer.
Your sales team will receive higher quality leads when you utilize marketing automation, which will help reduce disputes between sales and marketing. Also allow your sales reps to use marketing automation for gathering information about leads and ask them for feedback on their quality and quantity. This will help you in tweaking your settings in the marketing automation platform.
Don’t Forget to Clean Your Database
While not the most exciting task, cleaning your marketing automation’s database a few times each year is important. Failure to clean your database will result in email bounces from subscribers who have updated their email addresses. These no longer relevant email addresses decrease the accuracy of your data. You want to keep the data as accurate as possible to make good marketing decisions.
Marketing automation is an excellent technology that decreases the amount of time spent on many aspects of marketing, but it can’t do all the work for you. Despite its name, it still requires effort on your part for successful marketing. You can’t set it and forget it, and expect outstanding results.
There are also certain ways of using the technology that are harmful in marketing, such as automatically posting links to your new articles on your social media accounts. Follow the above list of dos and don’ts to avoid making common mistakes that some others do when they’re new to utilizing this technology.
This article is brought to you by Josh McAllister, he is is a freelance technology journalist with years of experience in the IT sector. He is passionate about helping small business owners understand how technology can save them time and money. Find him on Twitter @josh8mcallister.