Five things to avoid when starting marketing automation

Some tips to help you get going with marketing automation - with an eye on what not to do…

When you build a product that lets people automate their marketing efforts, you get to see a lot of cool stuff. I’m always amazed with what people get out of the tool I help make.

But if I’m honest, I see a lot of mistakes too. At least, I see things that I perceive to be mistakes.

And so here, to ensure you don’t make them too, are my top five ‘marketing automation mistakes’.

1. Putting it off

I get it. You’re busy. Your team is too small, your deadlines are unrealistic and you haven’t yet sent that campaign that you promised yourself you’d get out yesterday.

There’s an irony here, of course. Automating some of your work can help you claw back the hours. My recommendation? Book aside some time – even if it’s just half a day – and be strict and do something. It could be your first welcome program. It could be a small nurture series following a download. The key is doing it.

2. Trying to do everything at once

I’ve seen this one way too often: in a fit of optimism, you sit down and plan out the world’s best marketing automation strategy. There was probably a whiteboard involved. You were stoked.

But my, there was a lot of work to execute it all. You felt it was best to wait for a time when you could really concentrate. And that time never came.

My advice? Start small. Really small, if necessary. Automate just one thing. Something you can plan and execute in no more than an hour or two.

Then go again, and again. Bit by bit, you’ll start delivering on that strategy after all.

3. Going overboard with content

Provided you have the right tool, the ‘automation’ bit of marketing automation is pretty straightforward.

What’s so often the hardest bit? Content. Writing is hard. It takes time, and edits, and re-edits.

Whilst I would never suggest you cut corners with the copy itself (as it’s super-important to get right), I would suggest keeping it short. Your automated welcome email doesn’t need to be a novella. That re-engagement campaign will probably work best if it’s short and sweet.

Trust me – your contacts don’t have time to read long emails anyway.

4. Thinking it’s all about email

I know, I work for a company with ‘mail’ in the name. And hand on heart – email is still a hugely viable and profitable channel to utilize.

But that doesn’t mean your automation programs should only use email. You’ll be missing out if you don’t use a landing page as a focused conversion tool, or if you don’t ping someone an SMS asking if you can help following a less-than-positive review, or if you don’t mail them (yes, real mail!) vouchers to share when they make their umpteenth purchase.

The aim here is to get your brand in front of your contacts in as many unique and interesting ways as possible … without it sucking up all your time.

5. Fire-and-forgetting

Granted, this may seem at odds with #1. And you could ignore this tip until you’ve got some automations under your belt.

But there will come a time when just doing something won’t be enough. You’ll want to measure what effect it has.

In an ideal world, whenever you automate something you’ll have a goal in mind. “It should free up my time doing x”, “it should generate n% more leads above our average”, and so on.

Then set yourself a timeframe – a week, a month, whatever – and evaluate what you’ve achieved against your benchmark.

And finally – and this is the important bit – make a change. Tweak something. And then repeat. If it works, keep it. If doesn’t, revert it.

Over time, the ‘small change’ you started with will have made a significant difference to your day – and perhaps even your bottom line.

Right now could work

My last tip? Take just one of the above and make it happen. When’s a good time? Now’s looking pretty good.

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