Is the set and forget mentality of marketing automation at risk of ruining the prospects of Aussie small businesses? Tim Hyde believes it is. According to Hyde, the ‘best practice’ of automated marketing is nullifying the connections between customers and businesses and it’s time to take a different approach.
“The basic idea of marketing automation is that you create a set-and-forget system which keeps in touch with your customers on your behalf,” comments Hyde.
“To this end, it can appear to be a one-size-fits-all way to nurture leads and generate more sales. The problem is that thousands of companies are now on board with this trend. People’s inboxes are topped up day and night with a steady stream of marketing messages. Without the right strategy, your automated marketing will only serve to join the increasing buzz of email and social media white noise.
Here’s how to cutthrough:
Is marketing automation killing Australian businesses?
While a combination of factors will contribute to the downfall of a business, marketing automation can definitely play a role. When done badly, it has the potential to be a waste of time and money. Bad marketing automation can also result in customers actively avoiding your brand. The following marketing automation mistakes are adding to the straws that will break your business camel’s back:
Too much, too little
Even when a customer has willingly signed up for a newsletter, too many messages will begin to feel like spam. This is especially the case if the messages carry no value and only contain the hard sell. At the same time, setting up marketing automation but not setting a regular schedule for communicating with your customer defies the purpose.
“To our valued customer…”
There is nothing that screams ‘automatic’ more loudly than this kind of introduction to an email or text message. This doesn’t give the impression that there is someone at the other end to communicate with and it puts those ‘valued customers’ off.
Lack of customer understanding
If you don’t know what your customers want, what are you supposed to say when you email them? Creating customer personas, mapping customer journeys and seeking regular feedback will help you identify their pain points so you can communicate more effectively.
Automated marketing which worked two years ago isn’t necessarily the answer to more leads and better sales today. While this kind of system can reduce the drudgery of bespoke client communication, you still need to constantly breathe new life into your messages.
How to create marketing automation that will knock their socks off
According to stats from Hubspot, businesses that use marketing automation to nurture prospects experience a 451 percent increase in qualified leads. This is a nice shiny statistic, but it isn’t actually a given. Add the following steps to your marketing automation strategy and you’ll come close to that type of figure:
Build your audience
Investing in multi-functional automated marketing software isn’t worth it, if you don’t have plenty of people to stay in touch with. Marketing automation is the lead nurturing step in your marketing checklist. You need to attract these leads to begin with by advertising, networking and encouraging word-of-mouth referrals.
Create great content
No matter what your message is, your marketing automation needs to say it well. Spend some time creating a content strategy and setting a tone of voice which will resonate with your customer base. Whether it is a text, a social media post or an email, your content needs strong headlines, convincing text and great looking images.
Segment your database
Creating segments allows you to personalise your marketing messages more effectively. For example, many successful retail brands send automated emails reminding people of the exact content of their abandoned shopping cart and giving them an incentive to finish their purchase.
As much as possible, reference the most recent action the customer has taken with your business, be it making a basic enquiry, taking up the offer of a free trial or committing to a subscription. Automate your marketing to appear before and after specific touchpoints and you will improve the overall customer experience.
Soften the sales pitch
A tactic many refer to in the marketing world is ‘give, give’ give, ask’. If you are constantly trying to sell to your customers they will become tired of your messages.
‘Giving’ can be in the form of informative, helpful content or in exclusive deals which entice your audience to remain subscribed to your automated marketing. Make opening your message worth your customer’s while and they will get used to doing so on a regular basis.
Test, measure, revise
Some tactics work better than others so leverage your marketing automation by testing it, measuring results and refining your message. The beauty of most marketing automation systems is that they give you instant data. This allows you to see a dashboard of what messages, headlines and offers have the most traction with your audience.
With careful application, your marketing automation will be a jump-starter for your business, not a death knell.