So your marketing automation hasn’t gone according to plan. Well, they say ‘no plan survives first contact with the enemy’ and it is to be expected you might run into some difficulty but this is something different.

This is a disaster.

In fact, it has gone completely wrong and you’re afraid to show your face in the breakroom, just in case you run into one of the sales team.

What do you do now?

There is only one thing to do, chalk this up to experience and learn how to do it better next time. I’m sure there’s plenty of motivational phrases about a phoenix rising from the ashes but first you need to know why you got burnt. This blog will look at ways in which marketing automation can go wrong and what you need to avoid.

You’re Using the Wrong Bait

One of the biggest and easiest mistakes to make is that you’re dressing your hook with the wrong bait. That piece of content, the whitepaper or guide, is bait to lure potential customers into being interested in your business’ products or services.

Well, what is wrong with your bait?

Most of the time, it’s just too vague. What makes your bait content wrong is that it’s too broad, covering large areas of your industry, and doesn’t cover specific pain points or key areas.

For example, your business makes printing presses. If you produce a downloadable guide about your range of printing presses, essentially a product guide. There’s nothing wrong with that content, it could be a useful piece of content but it is very broad as you can focus it down further. You could do a guide about your lithographic printing presses or a whitepaper on “Why Printers Prefer Lithograph Presses”.

What does that mean for your marketing automation?

It means you’re building an email list of prospects who are interested in lithographic printing. It is easier for you to set up your marketing automation to be optimised for someone interested in lithographic printing. While a general guide or piece of content would still give you their email and they can be still interested in purchasing a press but you don’t know what product they’re interested in and are left to guess.

Having very niche content helps you to remove the guesswork from the email marketing and build a better list of high-quality leads to nurture.

This Isn’t Email Marketing

I created an online account with The Works’ to order some books and stationery, and since then I’ve been plagued with around three emails a day about ‘flash sales’ that are ‘exclusive’ to me. They land in my inbox every day to the point I could probably set my watch to it.

In my opinion, it’s awful email marketing  – if you offer someone a sale every day, it loses any real value to that person very quickly, but a great example of what email marketing is and what marketing automation isn’t.

Email marketing is about getting a quick conversion, that’s why it’s a great marketing strategy for e-commerce sites who are looking to drive traffic to their site and sales. Typically, products featured may not be very expensive and can be purchased on impulse. Marketing automation is different, the products or services you’re trying to sell can be quite expensive and require a little more thought.

So sending emails about sales and offers is not always going to work. Setting up your marketing automation to send highly relevant and useful content about the products or services the customer is interested in will nurture that lead and yield better results – that is what marketing automation is all about.

Not Solving Pain Points

Does the content you’re putting in front of your audience solve their pain points? If not, then your marketing automation is not properly nurturing your leads. Most leads are interested in your product or service because it may solve their problems, and you can nurture that lead by producing content to outline that. You are in a direct, 1 to 1 conversation with your leads so make sure your content seeks to solve their issues.

Using the earlier example, you have prospects that are interested in a lithographic printing press. Big expensive machinery. No one wants a printing press unless it solves their problems and you need to think, how does it?

Do your lithographic presses;

  • Produce work at a higher quality
  • Print faster and more efficiently
  • Require maintenance than competitors

That’s why, through detailed and specific bait content, you will know your prospect’s key pain points and can target personalised campaigns to solve their problems. Whatever the USP of your product or services, your content needs to push these points in your marketing automation. So what kind of content should you use?

  • Case Studies
  • Infographic
  • Blog Articles
  • Whitepapers & Reports

Your content shouldn’t be a sales pitch but educational pieces that provide information about your business’ products and services.

Lacks Quality

One of the worst things you can do to sabotage your marketing automation campaign and turn away good prospects is to be lazy, sending out half-hearted content that lacks in quality. Not taking care with the content that you send to your leads is an almost self-destructive act.

It makes creating and developing the content that convinced your leads to give you their email a complete waste of time if you are not willing to produce and send out consistently high-quality content thereafter. Especially if you’ve invested a lot of time and money in creating these whitepapers and pushing them through your marketing channels to get those emails. If your content is not up to scratch, you turn away leads.

There is also the actual design of the email. Simply having a regular template with a bit of text and a link is not going to cut it. It’s especially ridiculous that some companies do not take the time to develop a decent subject line to make people want to open the email. Designing personalised email templates for a range of problems/solutions with optimised content is going to get you better results.

A/B testing is available on most marketing automation platforms, so why don’t you use it? It is a great way to fine tune your campaigns, so you can find what works best your audience and optimise your emails for them.

Remember that, from a user perspective, there is a very thin line between a useful, valuable email and spam. You’ve got to make yours valuable.

No Call to Action

When it comes to closing your prospect, you need to have an optimised call to action that effectively seals the deal with your nurtured leads, engaging them to make an online sale or begin a direct dialogue with your sales team.

Your CTA can come in many forms. Being the end of your marketing automation campaign, a well written sales pitch could be the perfect call to action but there are other options. A link or button, driving them to a highly optimised landing page that bridges that conversation between your prospect and your sales team.

Again, unlike an ecommerce site where they can simply click buy, you need to have landing pages that are written to support further communication. This can be in direct email form or a contact form, something that helps them engage with you.

The fact that some marketing automation pieces don’t have a CTA is astounding. A CTA should be included on every email you send to your leads, again, to bridge that conversation between them and your sales team. It doesn’t need to be a loud, sales pitch but a simple way of letting them know who they can talk to or who can help them.

Simplicity and clarity is the best route to take with your CTA. Any attempt to mislead or be deceptive when will damage that lead and even that whole business; they are unlikely to consider your business’ products and services in the near future.

Food for thought?

One or a combination of these things is likely where your marketing automation has been going wrong: but now you know, which is the most important thing.

If you’d like to find out how else Ricemedia can optimise your marketing automation or help you generate more high quality leads, get in touch today.