How Not to Use Marketing Automation

Social Media Automation

When I am speaking with fellow digital marketers, one of the factors that is often brought up is the lack of time: ‘I spend all of my time updating the website or running reports when I actually want to spend more time developing my marketing’.

Sound familiar?  Well, marketing automation is for you.  It does exactly what it says on the tin (sorry).  For example, you email your prospects informing them of a new product.  For those who click on a link in the email and then go on to download a brochure on your website, you send a thank you email and your sales team get in touch with that prospect.  Doing this manually would be very time consuming, but many email providers offer this automation service.  Remarketing is also an example of a popular marketing automation tool.

But while automation can save you a lot of time and help you to spend time developing your plans, it does need to be handled with caution.  So, what should you avoid when automating your marketing?

Generic Broadcasting – The time that you save with marketing automation should be used to not only improve your content in the first place, but also to personalise through segmentation.  Consumers in all market places are becoming more and more sophisticated, and can spot poorly executed marketing automation.  And their perception is likely to be that you don’t care about the communication.

Being a Spammer – Automated emails are a great way of engaging with recipients who have shown an interest in your email, but you should still spend time focusing on the quality of your communication.  Avoid the usual spam trigger words and don’t go sending an email to thousands of people all at the same time.  Marketing automation can increase the risk of spam, but a good email provider will help you with this.

Bad Time Automating – Automated communications are tricky: you’re writing them at a time where the context of how the communication will be received isn’t known.  Most of the time, this is absolutely fine as you are only scheduling a few hours ahead, but beware of shifting events.  Inappropriate scheduled communications during events can seem very insensitive.  Also, companies that send the same response to all tweets are open to abuse (just ask Bank of America), and quite apart from anything, it is very poor marketing.

Communicating Constantly – With marketing automation, communications with your audience should become a lot easier.  But don’t get carried away.  If it is easier, then the temptation will be to communicate more often, but this is as off-putting for a recipient as communicating poorly.  It can also have a detrimental effect on the size of your audience.

Send and Forget – One of the objectives of most communications is to elicit a response.  Whether that is an open from an email, a click on an advert or a reply / share from a social media post.  So when you are automating, you should always have a process in place for monitoring their impact – you should be able to set this up as an email or smart phone notification.  Ignoring this can result in recipients not talking (positively or negatively) to anyone, something to avoid at all costs.

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