Marketing automation refers to the application of software and technologies to marketing activities such as marketing through multiple online channels and scheduling repetitive tasks. It can be an extremely valuable tool for businesses seeking to expand their social media presence and increase lead generation from their website. Managing multiple social media channels and email marketing campaigns is becoming an ever more time consuming job and automating these tasks not only allows marketers to focus their efforts on more meaningful activities, but also saves time and money. However, the degree to which marketing efforts should be automated remains a point of debate among marketers.
According to Hub Spot, new research demonstrates that many marketing automation investments fail. In many cases marketing automation has lead to companies becoming spammers and not nurturing organic leads. Marketing automation is not a solution in and of itself, but when applied correctly can lead to great results.
Marketing Automation Efforts Require Direction
Effective marketing automation is much like driving, the mechanics are there but you still need to steer your campaign in order to keep it on track and arrive at your goals. The 'Set-It and Forget-It' attitude is not an effective marketing strategy.
Here are some Do's and Don'ts of Marketing Automation:
- Apply marketing automation in a way that amplifies, rather than simply replaces, effective marketing tasks that serve your end-goals. In many cases more messaging does equal more sales.
- Automate email responses and social media efforts that go outside your regular working hours. One of the charms of marketing automation is the ability to be present online even when you're not working.
- Use marketing automation platforms to get creative and test your content. In the same manner that Adwords copy can be perfected over time, so can the copy of your messaging across different channels.
- Tailor your content based on specific user profiles and their browsing patterns on your website.
- Use software to categorize customers and prospects by demographics, interests, and what stage they are at in your marketing funnel.
- Set up your marketing automation strategy with metrics and clear indicators of success. Your marketing automation techniques should provide you with a clear picture as to which techniques generate the most leads and, in turn, sales.
- Make use of the analytics that are part of many marketing automation platforms. Like using tools for SEO, paying attention to what is and is not working with your automated campaigns can lead to better SMO.
- Don't put too much messaging out there. Just because tools like Hootsuite allow you to schedule constant social media messages, too much can lead to your company being seen as a spammer and cost you followers.
- Don't fall under the impression that marketing automation will create content for you. While some platforms do assist with curating content, writing original content cannot be automated.
- Don't let the ease of automation turn into laziness. At it's best, marketing automation is an enhancement, not a replacement.
- Don't become a robot. Your customers want to interact with a real person, so be sure to reply to tweets and messages.
So how much of your marketing strategy should be automated? Well it depends on your marketing activities and the size of your business. Overall you should treat marketing automation as an opportunity to enhance and amplify your efforts while gaining insights from analytics and other measures of success. Automated campaigns require observation, experimentation, and adjustments as your online community and customer relationships evolve.