Marketing automation is always an AHA! moment when we speak to clients and prospects about the cool things that they can do with it. It seems like the magic ingredient to inbound success that so many businesses have been missing–a way to nurture and educate your leads without reaching out to them all directly, as you would with Outbound (Not sure about the difference? Check out our blog about Inbound and Outbound Marketing!). The use of marketing automation tools cannot only automate time-consuming tasks, as an added bonus, they can also free up resources that can then be focused on other marketing and sales matters.
Did we mention that marketing automations tools can also help improve marketing accuracy and deliver quicker results?
BUT WAIT, before you decide you only need a marketing automation tool to do everything, it’s important to remember that automation in itself is not a strategy, it’s a tool that should be used as part of an overall marketing strategy.
Before Using Marketing Automation…
The following points are a few things that you need to keep in mind before you begin investing in marketing automation tools:
1. Marketing Automation won’t fix a bad strategy.
Marketing automation can help improve a good strategy, but it’s not going to fix a bad strategy. You can use marketing automation to schedule your content to automatically publish at certain times and on certain days, doing this makes it easier for readers to keep up with new content, but if you haven’t done your due diligence to see what days and times will get you the best engagement, then you’re still not going to see improvement by implementing a marketing automation tool.
2. Successful marketing automation is dependent on good content.
Automation isn’t a substitute for good content. Good content that’s relevant to your buyer persona is a requirement to help nurture your leads through the sales funnel. Automation can help to streamline that process and make it more efficient by helping create automated content streams by persona or topic; however, if your content is bad or irrelevant to your audience, no amount of automation is going to help.
3. Unnecessary automation can be a drawback.
Automation isn’t one-size-fits-all solution. Different companies have different needs, which means that you may benefit from some automation tools and not from others. Using the wrong automation tools can actually be a drawback. First of all, the use of an automation tool that doesn’t greatly improve efficiency or accuracy will end up being a waste of time, bandwidth, and money. Secondly, you may be better off doing certain tasks by hand in order to ensure their accuracy and provide a personal touch. If a prospect has turned into a hot lead, you’ll want to step in and start a dialogue instead of simply letting them continue on a nurture workflow and wait for them to come directly to you.
4. You have to know what you’re using it for.
To get the most of your automation tools, you need to know more about them than just what their basic benefits are. For example, automating your reports will provide you with real-time access to helpful marketing metrics. But to actually make these metrics useful, you need to customize your reports to display the data that’s actually helpful for your team to see and to know what the data that’s being displayed means. Each automation platform has its own set of features, make sure to review them carefully to ensure you’re choosing the platform that’s the best fit for your business now and in the future.
5. Your marketing and sales teams need to be on the same page.
Your automation tools can often be used across marketing and sales departments. However, if one team isn’t aware of its use, then the benefits are lost. If your marketing team employs lead scoring automation to identify high-quality leads, then your sales team needs to know about it so that they can engage with those leads based on their scores. Marketing and Sales should still have Smarketing meetings and keep in contact about campaigns. Things like lead scoring, workflows, and metrics are all there to help enhance the work that is being done, not get the job done for you.
Marketing Automation *Does* Solve Some Problems
At the end of the day, marketing automation tools help solve very big marketing problems but they’re just that: tools. A great wrench doesn’t make a great plumber, just as a marketing automation platform won’t automatically transform you into a wonderful marketer. Time, research, experience, and planning still need to be done in order for your marketing plan to come to fruition.
Have questions about different marketing automation tools and strategies? Reach out!