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When Marketing Automation Goes Wrong [Part 1]

When Marketing Automation Goes Wrong [Part 1]

There is no doubt that marketing automation is a vehicle for growth, change and success. But, that does not mean that it always goes according to plan. One of the things that is worse than no automation at all is automation that is done without planning or forethought.

Many companies assume that tools such as automation are a cure-all solution for everything from poor sales to high email bounce rates, believing that everything will magically turn out differently once systems are automated.

This is not always the case however. Before you invest in automation, it is vital to make sure that your marketing goals and processes are ready.

Why You Are Failing to Get Results From Marketing Automation

Wondering why you are still not getting anywhere, despite forking out a small fortune for a super expensive email system? You might find that it is not marketing automation that is at fault, but rather a lack of preparation that is causing your less than inspiring results.

1. You are trying to automate bad processes

Your company is battling to generate leads, and you are trying to move beyond the outdated manual email system you have had in place for years. To try and boost your email marketing efforts, you purchase a mailing list. Your sales emails and mass mail bombs still don't seem to be working however. Instead, you are finding yourself with a high bounce rate and a dismal conversion rate.

Wondering what is wrong with this scenario? For starters, buying mailing lists is never a smart idea. Secondly, turning to automation when your processes are broken will not do much good at all. Automation is not a glorified email tool that allows you to spam thousands of readers without any sort of plan or goal.

It is a powerful tool that allows you to deliver your content effectively. Before you can automate your marketing efforts, you need to ensure that you are sending relevant, targeted content to an organically (and ethically) grown mailing list that is primed to listen to your message.

2. You are not nurturing (or engaging) your database

Image: HubSpot

Remember those mailing lists we mentioned above? Aside from the risk of blacklisting, complaints and mails going straight to spam folders, one reason to avoid buying lists is that an organically grown, engaged database will always be more effective for automation. According to HubSpot, the average email database expires at the rate of ~25% each year.

A database of 50,000 email addresses could therefore shrink to 21,000 in just three years. You will therefore need to top up your lead funnel frequently, adding new leads at a rate that is higher than those you are losing every year. You will also need to keep your database engaged, by providing them with content that is useful, informative, interesting and genuinely value-added.

In other words, you need to nurture your mailing list just as you would a garden, if you want it to continue blooming year after year.

3. You are focusing on features rather than solutions

Features are important, of course. But before you get too carried away by shiny toys and clever tricks, make sure that your marketing automation system is able to provide real solutions that deliver results. Find out what solutions are offered to help you reduce bounce rates and increase visibility. Find out what solutions are available to help you build a first-rate inbound programme.

Determine what tools are offered for behaviour marketing, lead scoring, landing pages and tracking. If your system is focusing on fancy features that look good on paper, but lack solution-based tools that actually help you grow your marketing efforts, it may not be able to deliver the goods when it comes to crunch time.

4. Your sales and marketing goals are not aligned

Image: MailMunch

MailMunch has an excellent introduction to sales funnels and how they help you increase conversion. The primary goal of this funnel is to move people from one stage to the next until they are ready to make a purchase. While many use automation to help with marketing, they forget to align their goals with sales as well. Automation can be a powerful tool for sales.

Marketing and sales are closely linked at the early stages of the sales funnel, as awareness and interest grow. If your sales team are not on board with your automation plans, you will very quickly lose your chance to convert potential customers at crucial phases of the funnel. To ensure that both sales and marketing teams are on the same page, it is a good idea to set clear guidelines on how automation will help both teams.

This should be done before you begin automating rather than afterwards to ensure that sales don't slip through the cracks.

5. Your automation vendor does not provide enough expertise

The biggest reason that your efforts are not being rewarded is that your marketing automation partner is not able to provide expertise. Providing the tools is a good start, but without experience and expertise that helps you leverage your strategies, you may start to feel as though you are simply swimming in circles. Not very many vendors take the time to understand your goals and plans, even if they are able to provide a fair level of support.

A provider that is passionate about marketing, who understands your challenges (and your market), offers genuinely helpful advice and truly goes out of their way to work with you to achieve your objectives is someone who will help you get ahead. If you have not fallen prey to any of the challenges above, but you still don't feel like you are getting anyway, it may be time to evaluate your current vendor to see if that may be the problem.

To put it simply, marketing automation is a tool that can either take you from zero to hero, or leave you continuing to flounder. It all depends on how you use that tool, how smartly you prepare your systems and which vendor you use for your automation partner. In the right hands, with the right plan, automation is one of the most effective things that you can do to grow your business. How can you ensure that you get the best results?

Contact Grapevine today if you'd like to learn more about our tailored marketing automation solutions.

This concludes the first part of our guide to the things that can (and do) go wrong with marketing automation. In the second part, we will be taking a closer look at some of the most commonly made automation mistakes, and how you can prevent making them.

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