Developing an effective inbound marketing campaign is essential if you want to produce substantial and beneficial results that boost sales and profitability. Nowadays, marketers actively utilize technology to gain a better understanding of their customers' needs and preferences. Marketing automation tools, in particular, help marketers expand their reach and achieve better results with less effort.
However, as beneficial as marketing automation can be, there are right and wrong ways to use it. In fact, if implemented badly, automation tools can slow down your efforts or even impede results altogether. Below, you will find some of the more common marketing automation mistakes that can easily backfire and derail even your best marketing efforts.
1) No Segmentation At All
You may have amassed an incredible amount of data about your customers, but if you are using marketing automation tools to simply blast emails to everyone on your contact list, you are doing it wrong. Ideally, all of your emails should be personalized to meet the needs of each specific contact on your list.
Segmenting your audience based on demographics and other relevant factors allows you to tailor your message so it is meaningful, relevant and appropriate. Email segmentation may sound complicated, but the reality is that even the most basic marketing automation tool can assist you with this process. Having a rudimentary segmentation is better than having no segmentation strategy at all. With this in mind, remember to make the best of your tool’s segmentation capabilities.
2) Not Taking Advantage of All The Features
Using marketing automation tools to send out emails in a fast and convenient way is probably one of the most common applications for this type of program. However, there are other, equally important features that can help you maximize the efficiency of your marketing activities.
Each marketing automation tool comes with different features and capabilities, so take the time to learn how to make the best of its untapped potential. Consider the time and energy you spend on tasks such as social media post scheduling, lead scrubbing and more. When you automate these processes, not only will you save a substantial amount of time, but also ensure that they are not overlooked and are completed promptly. You may also benefit from analytics and other advantages.
3) Failing to Align Goals With Your Marketing Strategy
Another common marketing automation mistake is using the tools before developing an effective strategy. Instead, you should create specific goals for your automated efforts and align them with your marketing strategy. For whatever purposes you are using your automation software, make sure it complies with your long-term goals.
Remember that marketing automation should never compromise your overall marketing plan. It should be viewed as a means to an end, not a strategy. In order to achieve the best results, make sure your entire content marketing and social media strategy is tied together with the goals you have set for your automated efforts.
4) Not Keeping The Sales Team In The Loop
The sales and marketing teams must collaborate. When data sharing occurs in both directions, both teams can deliver a cohesive message to the target audience, and also create a uniformity that avoids unnecessary confusion.
Ideally, your marketing efforts should be aligned with sales strategies, and your sales team should be able to tell how far down the funnel a prospect is and why. One way to accomplish this is to integrate your marketing automation tool with CRM software. This way, both teams can have access to all the data on leads and use it to make timely decisions.
While data between the sales and marketing departments should be synced, you do not want to risk data loss. In fact, having the data damaged or altered during integration is a common concern for most marketers. Even though full integration with CRM carries the risk of data loss, there are some steps you can take to can ensure your data remains safe.
5) Using Too Many Different Tools
While some marketers skip automation altogether, others use far too many different tools. The problem with this is that it is time-consuming and may further complicate things. For example, your marketing team may spend ample time updating different spreadsheets or databases, analyzing data and only then proceed to use marketing automation software.
An all-in-one marketing automation tool, however, can tackle most of these tasks with ease. Look for software programs that come with the capabilities that fulfill most of your automation needs. Keep in mind that by using the most basic tools, you may be missing out on an incredible opportunity to automate your marketing activities.
While marketing automation tools can streamline your marketing tasks considerably, their improper use can have damaging consequences. By learning how to leverage the potential your marketing automation tool has and aligning its goals with your marketing strategy, you will enjoy greater results without wasting time or resources.
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Ashley Wilson is a freelance writer interested in business, marketing, and tech topics. She has been known to reference Harry Potter quotes in casual conversation and enjoys baking homemade treats for her husband and their two felines, Lady and Gaga. You can reach Ashley on Twitter @ashleygwilson.