Learn From These Marketing Automation Fails

In business, we tend to reach towards anything with the word automation in it like it’s the holy grail. We’re privileged in that we now have endless methods of making work easier, and automation is one.

By incorporating processes like these, you can save on employment and workload. You can also ensure that your existing efforts go that bit further without extra work. It’s the stuff of entrepreneurial dreams.

Automation is most often used in matters of marketing. That’s because marketing can be a tricky beast. It’s a sideline to those important tasks like product development, yet you can’t get by without it.

You need customers to buy what you’re selling, and marketing is the only way to make that happen. Automating these processes can seem like a no-brainer. What better way to take care of this without distracting your focus?

The trouble is that, as useful as it can be, blindly relying on marketing automation isn’t always a good idea. That’s because, where there is automation, there is room for error.

So much so that 6 in 10 marketers who automate their processes have experienced problems. A lot of this comes down to the fact that many business owners attempt to use automation in place of a marketing team.

That will never work. While automating processes can increase workflow and save time, you still need a reliable team behind the helm. For proof, consider some of the most common marketing automation fails, and how you could avoid them.

#1 Automating without existing plans

Too often, marketers reach for automation far too early in the game. Methods like these work best when applied to existing marketing efforts which already have firm foundations.

Your marketing team would then be in the best position to apply automated capabilities to the foundations they’ve already laid. This ensures that these processes serve and they can while complimenting the work your team has already put in.

Sadly, a surprising amount of companies apply automated processes to incomplete marketing strategies. This can lead to underperformance, and procedures which forever need changing to suit your needs.

This way of second-guessing what would work is never going to serve you best. It could also lead to customers falling foul to the gaps in your plan. That can damage your reputation no end. Learn from this mistake by waiting to see how each marketing plan lands before reaching for automation.

This guarantees that each campaign is fleshed out the way that it should be before you hit the market. That means the best results and far less risk of damaging your reputation.

#2 Trying to replace human interaction

Automation is invaluable, but it’s no substitute for human interaction. By automating in the wrong places you could do your business a huge disservice.

The fact is that even as we interact online, having a personable presence is vital. Social media alone is proof of this. Customers come here to see an altogether more human side of any company.

The most successful business social accounts are run by set team members who develop ongoing voices and reply to comments by hand. If you made the mistake of automating this, you could soon be in a universe of trouble.

Too many companies have made the mistake of automating things like social media replies. They then end up with glaring typos or downright offensive errors. That can turn customers away from your cause like nothing else.

It also reveals you as a dishonest company, which isn’t a look you should ever aim for. The lesson here is that you should think hard about which processes you automate. As useful as this method is, there are some tasks which will never work this way.

As a general rule, leave simple tasks such as sending emails or posting advertisements to automation. Then, elect anything which requires a little thought to those who can think about it.

It’s not rocket science, is it?

#3 Losing leads across platforms

Automation is fantastic at directing leads, but it could also do a decent job of losing them if you aren’t careful. The whole point of automating a process is often to ensure that you can tie leads up across platforms.

In an ideal world, an automated system would funnel leads from your social media to your website and so on. But, if you aren’t careful, plenty of leads can get lost along the way. That’s because automation can only take you so far here.

It can lead those horses to water, but it can’t make them drink. That’s down to you. If you take your eye off the ball, though, you will never get the most from the leads your automation directs.

Instead, you need to keep track of things. That means observing your web page analytics still. You should even take time to track where your automated processes are pulling the most leads from.

This ensures you can improve your processes to convert as many of them as possible. It also pays to make sure that the gates are open for your automation. If the funnel through which your processes lead those leads is too complicated, they may click off before even reaching your site.

Simplify things as much as you can to ensure that every automated lead lands precisely where you want them to. Mostly, this is all about planning. Getting a decent grip on your chosen automation software can also make a huge difference.

Many mistakes here come down to a lack of technical know-how. By addressing that, you can go a long way towards avoiding fails.

#4 Getting lost in the small stuff

Automation is an intricate thing. It requires a close level of attention to run the way it should. Still, losing sight of the bigger picture could see your marketing fail without your realizing.

It may be, for example, that you’re so lost in automating social media conversions you forget to look at your media campaign on the whole. You may worry that automation is the issue if you don’t see sales, rather than stepping back and looking at what’s really going on.

This is, as they say, a case of not being able to see the forest for the trees. And, it’s undone many a company until now.

To make sure the same thing doesn’t happen to you, it’s essential to remember that automation is a part of a much larger process. If it helps, remind yourself of the first fail we mentioned. You need to take care of your campaign before you get the best from automation.

Rather than zooming in on this one factor, keep an eye on your marketing on the whole. That way, you won’t miss any obvious mistakes being made in other areas. Always step back and only zoom in once you have a better idea of the problem.

#5 Personalization mistakes

We will end on a common one – the risk of personalization mistakes. These are a rookie error, and they’re a sure sign to customers you don’t care.

Sadly, they aren’t unheard of where automation is involved. If you want to avoid an embarrassing ‘hello insert name here’ on hundreds of emails you need to learn from this failure. Remember that automation on things like emails is a case of transferring input information into a system.

If this goes wrong, you have no one to blame but yourself. In all honesty, the best way to learn from this mistake is to remove personalization altogether. A plain ‘hello’ will serve the same purpose while removing the risk of getting this wrong.

Even something like ‘hey’ could add that personal feel with that embarrassing chance of messing up. If you want to keep customer names on email tags and such, be careful how you input your information.

You need to be 100% certain that your automation software can pick out each name without worry. The best way to achieve that is to take your time on data collection. Rather than just asking for email addresses to include on your newsletter list, ask for things like name and preferences.

This allows you to tailor an automated process which doesn’t show you as an uncaring company when things go wrong.

A final word

As you can see, there is a moderate risk marketing automation fails. The same can be said for any technology you implement into your business.

Does this mean you can’t make your life easier with options like this? Not at all.

It merely means you should think twice about how to avoid epic fails like the ones we’ve mentioned here. Planning is vital, and proper processes can save you.