9 Marketing Automation Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Make


According to a 2021 HubSpot Blog Marketing Trends Report, 69% of marketers surveyed say they use automation in their marketing function.

Whether automation is new or standard practice in your business, we want to help you avoid the common pitfalls marketers often fall into.

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In this post, we’ll talk about them and the alternatives that solve these challenges.

1. You have raw data.

In a 2021 State of Marketing Automation report, 58% of B2B professionals say the number one tactic that most amplifies the success of their marketing automation tool is quality data.

Raw data can cost brands not only money, but also time as they take actions based on inaccurate information.

This can be anything from duplicate records and name inconsistencies to outdated contact information and incorrect attributions.

A simple example of dirty data is an email list that has never been cleaned. Your list is likely to have unlinked users, spam addresses, and duplicate emails that threaten the integrity of your data.

This will lead to low engagement numbers, damage to your IP reputation, high email marketing costs and lost leads.

For your automation to work properly, it is essential that you work with clean data to ensure that your work will be worth the effort you are putting in.

2. You chose the wrong automation tool.

A research report from the HubSpot blog on content and media planning revealed that finding the right tool is a stumbling block for many marketers.

In fact, 45.9% of respondents who don’t rely on marketing automation say the biggest obstacle they face is that they can’t find platforms with the capabilities they need.

Additionally, 59% of B2B professionals say they don’t feel like they’re using their marketing automation tools to their full potential, according to the State of Marketing Automation report.

So marketers not only struggle with the selection tools, they also struggle to use them.

Choosing the right marketing automation tool is essential as it will determine the success of your strategy. Here are the top features to look for in marketing automation software:

  • Easy to use and intuitive interface
  • Advanced analysis and reporting
  • Knowledge base and customer service tools
  • Integrations
  • Scalable options

Check out this article on the best marketing automation tools available in the market.

3. Your marketing and sales teams are not aligned.

The worst thing you can do with marketing automation is operate in a silo. After all, marketing is a function designed to support sales, products, and other business areas.

Therefore, it is imperative that your marketing team includes all the necessary stakeholders to create workflows that align with teams beyond your own.

This is especially important with marketing and sales teams working hand-in-hand to convert prospects into Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs), then Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs), and finally into customers.

Have you thought about which processes will benefit your sales team? This might look like an automated email from a sales rep after a prospect has completed a high-intent behavior.

Of course, to define what that behavior is, you need to define it with the sales team.

Marketing automation software can allow sales reps to focus on converting leads instead of doing tedious tasks.

4. You don’t coach your team.

According to the State of Marketing Automation report, 31% of B2B professionals say the biggest barrier to using marketing automation tools is lack of training, the most popular answer after lack of of resources.

Automation tools are powerful But useless if your team doesn’t know how to use them.

Conducting training sessions will ensure that key stakeholders are aware of your tool’s capabilities, familiar with current workflows, and understand the processes for creating new ones.

Here are some tips for training your team:

  • Curate your training in the team – Information overload is a very real thing. To prevent this from happening and keep your sessions productive, only teach what is relevant to that team.
  • Invite service provider representatives to participate – No one will know the software better than your representatives. Contact your supplier and see if they offer training sessions.
  • Perform a multi-step training process – One session is likely not enough to train your team efficiently. Make sure you run multiple sessions, using a combination of different learning strategies to promote learning.

5. Set and forget.

Although automation suggests a set-and-forget approach, the reality is that it is very practical.

The difference is that your attention is directed to something else. Instead of focusing on output, you can turn your attention to performance evaluation and optimization.

6. Leverage only one type of automation strategy.

Too often, marketers start using marketing automation, become familiar with one set of tasks, and then focus on that. It never expands beyond what they already use.

This is how you lose opportunities to improve your brand. Take advantage of all the features your software has to offer to maximize efficiency.

There are probably lots of small tasks throughout your workday that don’t seem like they take up time individually. However, if you add up all the time you spend posting on social media, updating contact information, and other tasks, you end up with a large portion of your day spent on things that can probably be automated.

Take a look at your marketing automation to see what processes you can make more efficient. For example, in HubSpot software, users can update lead contact information in bulk instead of clicking on each record and changing the details.

The more processes you automate, the more time you have each day to strategize with your team on content, lead generation, and lead nurturing tactics to keep attracting quality customers to your site.

Here are the automation strategies you can take advantage of:

  • Chatbots
  • Task management
  • Main Score
  • Lead nutrition
  • Automation of contracts/quotes
  • Lead rotation
  • Drip campaigns

7. Your automation software doesn’t integrate with your CRM.

A marketing automation system is supposed to make marketing easier. A CRM system is supposed to facilitate the management of leads and customers.

If your automation software and CRM aren’t talking to each other, then you’re doing a lot more work for yourself.

Before you decide on marketing automation and CRM platforms, make sure they can integrate with each other and that you have the budget to make it happen.

8. You have no goals.

Take advantage of the ease of use that marketing automation software offers and invest time and effort in determining your goals first. Once you have them, you’ll want to assign these goals to each automated effort (social media, email workflows, etc.) to ensure it’s easy to track progress.

After all, marketers need a way to measure success when it comes to marketing automation, and one way to do that is to measure goal achievement. For example, here at HubSpot, the Visual Workflows tool allows you to set a specific goal for each automated workflow.

A goal can be a new lead transitioning to a marketing-qualified lead based on certain behaviors, such as downloading a specific number of content offers.

HubSpot Visual Workflows also allows you to track the percentage of contacts in each workflow that reach the goal, which is another great way to measure the success and ROI of your marketing automation.

9. Don’t segment your email list.

You have a database full of qualified leads, but you’re using marketing automation software to send out tons of emails that aren’t personalized at all. As a result, your potential customers are getting agitated because your emails are not helpful to them.

The solution? Develop a lead nurturing strategy that includes email list segmentation so that you send specific emails to specific people who are more likely to open them.

With the right marketing automation software, it’s easy to execute an email list segmentation strategy that delivers solid results. For example, HubSpot customers can use the Visual Workflows app to target their emails based on dozens of criteria, both demographic and behavioral.

Marketing automation is a powerful tool for any business – the trick is knowing how to optimize it and what pitfalls to avoid. Keeping this in mind will ensure that your automation is working to its full potential.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in November 2016 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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