Automation is one of the biggest marketing strategies.
However, the image most people get in their heads when they see the word “automation” added to anything is often not a pretty one.
With marketing automation, the idea of having bots do most of your communication for you, convincing your customers that they are talking to real life people who have taken time out of their day to focus on just them, can be hard to get used to.
As a content developer (or self-published author like I am!), I’m sure you experienced your own share of shock when you discovered how much automation can be achieved in marketing.
The reality is, in this day and age, you can’t afford to conduct marketing without including a significant amount of automation.
In an Adestra vs Machine report, it was revealed that marketers consider the biggest benefits of automation to be saving time (74%), increased customer engagement (68%), more timely communication (58%) and increased opportunities including up-selling (58%).
Automation tools come with benefits that have helped many of us grow our businesses to where they are today. New, improved functionalities are also being tested and released daily.
Marketing automation is no doubt a very important tool, but you have to be careful when using it to make sure it doesn’t backfire.
If you’re not working with real-time, personalized data, you run the risk of actually sounding like a bot, and losing subscribers and followers who eventually get tired of the irrelevant information being sent to them.
Here are a few examples of how that could happen:
In this case, a marketer crafts amazing email offers at the beginning of the month and schedules them to be sent weekly to the company’s email list.
The last email contains discount offers but when a subscriber clicks the link, they either find that the product is out of stock, or discount codes are expired.
Because the marketer did not work with real-time data, they failed to realize they were sending out expired offers. A high percentage of the people who clicked that link are likely to unsubscribe in anger or lack of trust for that company.
Having a generic welcome email batch for new subscribers is not enough.
If I subscribe to a store after buying baby supplies, and they send me discount offers for wedding items in subsequent emails, I will most likely unsubscribe after viewing them.
Not because the offers are not great, but because it is obvious enough that the company does not understand my needs.
Pre-programmed social media interactions
Social media allows for pre-scheduled posts, but those could easily go left. In this case, the Washington Post had this scheduled for Friday the 13th. Unfortunately, that was the day of the Paris attacks.
Imagine having this tweet go viral from your brand’s page *insert cringe*. It will show a crass lack of empathy, intentional or not.
Clearly, no business should have generic, one-size-fits-all (which never fits all) messages being spouted out to their email lists and social media followers.
In a survey conducted by Ascend2, 51% of marketers said that enriching contact data quality is their most significant barrier to achieving email marketing success.
There are several methods that can be applied to your marketing automation process to boost positive results. You can achieve this when you make messages more personal, and establish a real connection with your current and potential customers.
Method #1- Apply segmentation strategies to your email lists
Segmenting your email lists improves clickthrough rates when you present each person with information that is relevant to them.
According to this MailChimp user data report, segmented campaigns get 14.64% more opens and 59.99% more click that non-segmented campaigns.
The only way you can successfully segment your email list is by applying every data collected from each subscriber. This includes:
- Demographics; age, gender, income level and interests
- Previous purchases
- Location (apart from available products, time zone also determines the best time of the day to send them emails)
- Average engagement with previous emails
- Survey results
Using this information, you can divide your email lists into further sub-groups where you can send targeted emails that resonate with them.
Method #2- Target social media ads
Social media websites provide the option of displaying targeted ads to visitors. On Twitter, this feature is called “Tailored Audiences”. It can be run using information from website visitors or your email list.
Facebook works with a MailChimp integration that can be used to design an ad campaign to further promote an email campaign. After designing your email campaign using MailChimp, you can go ahead to customize a personalized campaign to reach your subscribers on your email lists.
Method #3- Real social media interactions
Restrict your social media automation to uploading scheduled posts. Make sure that actual interactions are done by a person. You can hire a social media manager to engage your followers.
If that is out of your budget for now, dedicate five minutes, three times a day to send out replies on your social media platforms. That’s 15 minutes out of your day, but it will be well worth it.
Consumers expect the best quality in the most convenient way possible. Making them weed through irrelevant information to find one that suits them is not convenient, and can drive them away forever.
Any business that understands this is on its way to building a long-standing relationship with its customers by applying better strategy with less effort.