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Where Marketers Go to Grow

November 8, 2011 // 11:30 AM

7 Deadly Sins of Marketing Automation

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heavenly cloudsMarketing automation is an often misunderstood tactic in two extremes. Some think it's an evil, robotic tactic that should never be utilized in marketing. Other marketers love it, but to the detriment of being overly dependent on it, coming off as impersonal and spammy.

But in all honesty, when used right, marketing automation can be a heavenly tool that allows you to easily deliver targeted messages to your leads. Poorly executed marketing automation, on the other hand, can be sinful. To keep you from flirting with bad marketing automation, avoid these 7 deadly sins at all costs:

1. Wrath (Not Segmenting Your Leads Into Different Campaigns)

You may not realize it, but sending all of your leads the same message can come off as disrespect toward their needs. Before you even build your campaign, the first thing you should do to ensure inbound marketing success is to identify and segment your audience. All of your leads aren't the same and neither are their needs, so why would you send them all the same offer? Instead, use data and analytics to determine your leads' different behaviors, needs, and wants, and create campaigns that are tailored specifically to those individual groups.

2. Sloth (Not Creating a Marketing Automation Agenda)

As an inbound marketer, not creating an email agenda for your content is a sure-fire way to lose your leads. As you go through your marketing automation campaign, make sure that each of your emails includes appropriate content, the right call-to-action, and is being sent out at the right time and frequency to your leads. Be diligent in making sure that your campaign was properly scheduled and executed. Don't be a marketing sloth -- avoid scheduling laziness.

3. Gluttony (Sending Too Many Emails Too Quickly)

This may arguably be the ultimate marketing automation sin. No one likes to feel like they're being spammed. As you create your marketing automation campaign, remember that you also have a typical sales cycle your leads go through before they are ready to make a purchase. Therefore, it's important to make sure that your marketing automation campaign aligns with this cycle as well. As you build your campaign, think about when would be relevant times to send messages to your leads. For example, if your typical sales cycle is 30 days, consider sending an email every 10 days instead of sending 3 emails within the first 10 days. No one likes dealing with an email slob, so make sure you moderate your email schedule to avoid marketing automation gluttony.

4. Lust (Going in Right for the Sale)

Lead nurturing is all about preparing your lead to become sales-ready. One of the biggest sins you can make as an inbound marketer is sending your first email with a call-to-action for a middle-of-the-funnel offer to request a demo or a trial (or worse, "Buy Now"). It's important to be respectful of a lead's point in the sales cycle when you are using marketing automation. Before you even ask your lead to think about purchasing your product, you have to build a relationship with them and show them they can trust you. Be chaste in your marketing automation campaigns. Offer your leads valuable content like an ebook or webinar first, then slowly make your way toward your ultimate goal -- the sale.

5. Envy (Copying Someone Else's Campaign Offers)

It's important to be original in your marketing automation campaign. Don't commit the sin of offering similar content to your competitors'. As you create your offer schedule, think about what you can do to show your leads you are a thought leader in your industry, not a thought follower. Make sure your offers are not only valuable, but also original. You want to offer your leads fresh content that differentiates you from your competitors, so mimicking their campaigns and offers is a big marketing automation sin. You'll be a lot more likely to increase the number of conversions you get if you avoid the sin of marketing automation envy.

6. Pride (Don't Think Your Leads are Below You)

Oftentimes, marketers will send their automated emails from an impersonal email account or worse, address the wrong person in their email. Pretend that you are in the shoes of your lead. Don’t just send to a Sir or Madam -- send to a specific person. In addition, make sure that you’re sending an email as yourself, not info@yourcompany.com. Don’t completely miss the mark for who your email should be sent to – know your audience, and avoid the sin of email pride.

7. Acedia (Letting Your Campaign Run on Its Own)

Neglecting your campaign after it's started is a marketing automation no-no. Although you may think your work is done when you start your campaign, you still have a lot of work to do to ensure its success. Marketing automation requires measurement and optimization, and it's extremely important to monitor your campaign's success. If you notice there is a part of your campaign that's not performing well, figure out how you can fix it and optimize it. For example, if the open rate on your second email send is really low, try changing the subject line. Being apathetic toward your campaign's success will ensure its early demise.

Don’t be evil to your leads as you create your marketing automation campaign. Avoid these 7 deadly marketing automation sins and you’ll be on your way to inbound marketing heaven.

Image Credit: Karin Dalziel


Topics: Marketing Automation

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