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When Marketing Automation Goes Wrong [Part 2]

When Marketing Automation Goes Wrong [Part 2]

In part one of this series on how marketing automation goes wrong, we looked at some factors that could be getting in the way of your success. Today, we're delving into some of the most commonly made mistakes to see what you absolutely don't want to do.

According to a study done by VentureBeat, 80% of marketing automation users noticed an increase in their number of leads, with 77% seeing an increase of conversions. A study by Nucleus Research meanwhile states that 'automation drives a 14.5% increase in sales productivity, and a 12.2% reduction in marketing overhead'. These figures are just a few in an increasingly large number of studies that highlight the many advantages of automation.

Despite the obvious benefits however, not everyone is reaping the rewards. Why is that, exactly? All too often, you will find that somewhere along the way, the automation process has gone awry. Perhaps it comes down to too much rush to get the ball rolling, without taking the time to plan ahead. Maybe it is a lack of testing. It could be inexperience. Or, it could be a simple case of not knowing how to get started.

Whatever the case, we're here to show you some of the biggest mistakes, and how you can avoid making them.

The Biggest Marketing Automation Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them)

Some of the things that you should not do if you want your marketing automation to work include the following:

1. Not having a plan

As the old saying goes, failing to plan is planning to fail. One of the most frequently made mistakes is the lack of a clear plan. How will you use your automation systems? Do you have a larger goal in mind, or are you winging it?

Unless you have a plan, with clearly defined steps and objectives, it may be difficult to get anywhere with your automation processes. When there is a backlog of campaigns, it gets too tempting to move into panic mode and try to address that backlog. The trouble is, the backlog is never-ending. New campaigns will arise, leaving you with little to no time to come up with a plan of action in the longer term.

A simple solution for this is to do the planning beforehand, with objectives, workflow systems, audience segments, prepared databases, content plans and everything else you may need already prepared. Failing that, hitting pause to get your proverbial ducks in a row may be a good option if you have already begun to automate your marketing.

2. Lack of segmentation

Image: wiseGEEK

A key aspect of automation is having the power to segment your campaigns according to demographics and behaviour. The benefits of behaviour marketing are massive, from providing you with key insight into how your customers behave online, to allowing you to customise your offer in a way that encourages conversion. Failing to take advantage of that is never a good idea.

A study by Pardot noted that 75% of email revenue is made from non-generic campaigns. Taking a one size fits all approach to your email strategies is the quickest way to lose out on reaching your target audience. Many businesses believe that it is better to spread a large, wide net in the hopes of catching a few fish. In reality, fishing with the right bait, in a spot known for the exact type of fish you are after gets you a far better yield. It's about quality, not quantity.

Fishing metaphors aside, segmentation is the smartest, simplest way to avoid generic emails that are not relevant to your target audience. Use this feature, and you will see the results.

3. Jumping the gun on lead scoring

Lead scoring is closely linked to sales productivity. If you are getting ahead of yourself by rushing a basic schema to save time, you may end up jumping the gun. To be effected, lead scoring schemas need to be carefully planned and designed to make sure that sales teams are putting their time and effort to good use. A more extensive lead generation strategy may take longer, but it will last you a lot longer, too. Rushed schemas will very often fail to score leads properly. As a result, your sales team will quickly lose hope, which in turn makes them more likely to not bother with lead scoring at all.

4. Not testing enough

A/B testing is an absolute must. Essentially, the very nature of marketing automation relies on processes that are repeated over time, triggered by specific actions or events. This type of repeatable process is perfect for testing. You can test everything from email subject lines to headlines, content, offer, call to action, landing page, images and various other aspects of your emails. This will allow you to determine which features work better than others, and which should be left to rest. By not testing, you are losing out on invaluable insight into what is working and what is not.

5. Sending too many emails

Image: MailChimp

Spamming your database is a quick way to ruin any marketing goals. While automation certainly makes it easier to send multiple emails that are personalised and fully automated, it doesn't mean that you should use this technology to bombard your audience with endless emails. It can be very useful to do some research into the best send times for your specific industry. MailChimp has some interesting tips on the best times in general, while Vertical Response also has some useful statistics that may help you determine the best time to email your lists. Sending emails every single day (unless they are part of an opt-in series) is a sure-fire way to get your emails sent to junk. Email open rates are affected by how often they are sent – too many emails will almost always mean a lower open rate.

The good news is that, even though prevention is better than cure, it is entirely possible to undo any harm done by these automation mistakes. One of the best ways to ensure that you use automation wisely (and reap the rewards) is to partner with a vendor who truly understands your business and knows how to help you thrive.

Here at Grapevine, our job is not only to provide you with the best possible marketing automation tools, but also help you put them to use. To learn more about our innovative solutions, contact us today and let us know how we can take your brand's message to the next level.

This concludes the second part of our guide to the things that can (and do) go wrong with marketing automation. In the first part, we looked at some of the things that can stand in the way of your automation success.

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