The dos and don’ts of marketing automation

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Marketing automation has become a buzzy phrase for marketers across the globe. Its popularity comes from how it helps marketers automate various tasks with minimal human intervention, thus saving time and money. But not every company that uses automation uses it correctly.

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Many mistake automation for a complete marketing strategy instead of looking at it as a mere tool that helps marketers implement their strategies better. So, how do you use this tool in the right way? Let’s look at certain do’s and don’t s you can keep in mind while automating your marketing processes.

Practices to heed to while using marketing automation 

Define realistic goalsMarketing automation comes with myriad possibilities. The trick to finding success lies in prioritizing which tasks are important, and being consciously proactive in using the platform to accomplish them. This is why it’s mandatory to carve out time to set specific, attainable, and time-bound goals. These goals vary across organizations, but goal setting forms the crux of a successful business.

 ProTip: Measure your own limitations and strengths, and leverage them to define  realistic goals. It can be as simple as gaining 10 downloads of your latest e-book or  as complex as garnering five premium customers. It all depends on your needs and  requirements.

Choose a platform that fits your needsOne-size-fits-all never works in marketing automation. Organizational needs differ based on various factors like the size of the database, the budget, the audience being catered to, etc. It’s essential to make a clear list of your requirements and choose a product that fits your price range and capabilities. “Expensive” doesn’t necessarily mean “better quality.”

 ProTip: Surf for products with features that suit your needs. List out potential products and get to know more about them through research and demos.  Here’s a peek into Zoho Marketing Automation’s features. You can analyze if it fits your business requirements.

Maintain a clean databaseA healthy and clean database fosters increased ROI. Quality data comes from frequent data cleaning which purges all the unwanted and erroneous data. Without proper management, your database can accumulate junk. Make sure to clean it up to reduce email bounces due to incorrect email addresses.

Rollout targeted campaignsNo two users have the same online behavior. It’s essential to analyze online  behavior of your audience, and leverage various trend curves to optimize marketing for them. You can target contacts based on their interests, behavior, demographics, location, mobile OS, etc. This way you only deliver useful content to relevant readers resulting in a higher scope for conversion.

 ProTip: Many automation products offer personalised workflow feature to help you orchestrate targeted campaigns for different lead personas. You can take a look at the different lead journey templates in Zoho Marketing Automation’s Journey Builder feature to get an idea.

Score and grade your contactsAll leads do not belong to the same lead stage. They come at random. Sales and marketing teams should work in tandem to qualify those who convert. Your marketing team can segment and score leads to indicate their readiness in buying your product.  Use this data to find out who your viable prospects are and pass them to your sales team. This helps you focus on the leads with your ideal customer persona, thus saving a lot of effort and money.

Measure contact performanceRolling out campaigns and leaving it at that does not guarantee results. You need to measure and analyze the success of each campaign. Run through campaign reports to get your hands on solid, accurate, and reliable data. Using this data, you can eliminate from the source the glitches that caused customers to bounce instead of just alleviating the symptoms.

 ProTip: Plan, budget, and measure all your marketing activities. Constantly Use these metrics to sail through the market successfully.

Practices to AVOID while using marketing automation 

Don't ignore the human touchContent is the lifeline of online marketing. To stand out in a sea of websites and media posts, it’s essential for your content to strike a chord with your readers. With automation taking care of most of the marketing processes, it’s easy for the algorithm to generate monotonous and lifeless content. Machine generated content requires constant human intervention to add warmth to it.

 ProTip: Don’t send canned content. Personalize all campaign content to meet your audience’s requirements and to expand room for creativity.

Don't set and forgetMore than a year’s worth of marketing proceedings can be defined and queued using marketing automation. This lures marketers into setting up automations and never looking at them again. This “set and forget” attitude does not go well with effectively increasing your ROI. Marketing strategies keep evolving, and you have to keep up the pace.

 ProTip: Regularly check on the campaigns sent to gather insights from their reports. Visit your scheduled campaigns to check on their correctness and update, if necessary, to optimize the results.

Don't spam your contactsStay in touch with your subscribers without overwhelming them. It’s essential to provide valuable content to your contacts, but not at the cost of their peace. You don’t want to come across as annoying or have your emails end up in their spam folders. Moreover, you definitely don’t want your subscribers hitting the unsubscribe button.

ProTip: Send emails at well-defined intervals and post on social media once a day during optimal hours. Set weekly, monthly, and yearly threshold for contacts to avoid bombarding them with emails. This way they get to enjoy your services without being smothered.

Don't ditch other forms of marketingAutomation can speed up lead generation, but this shouldn’t stop you from focusing on other forms of marketing. Don’t ditch SEO and content marketing for automation. Continue to make an effort to generate leads through webinars, meetups, cold calling, event management, etc. You can also indulge in some traditional TV ads, newspaper ads, etc. if they reach your target audience. This way you can make sure that all the bases are covered.

Don't buy subscribers listBuying email addresses has a lot of repercussions. It tarnishes your reputation and affects deliverability. People who opt in for your services will be eager to get into the leads and customers’ territory as they’ll be willing to learn about you. Whereas, sending campaigns to a bought list can never ensure such results. They may not even know who you are, much less be interested in what you have to say. It’s always better to take time to build organic email lists of leads who are eager to engage with you.

To conclude…

Now that you know what to do and what not to do with marketing automation, you ought to decide on how to optimize it to run your business successfully. Find a suitable product, chart out your strategy, and be consistent in your efforts. The right automation techniques will make all the difference.

 Happy marketing!

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