As efficient as marketing automation has made generating leads and closing conversions, there remain plenty of missteps that trip up even the most focused marketing teams. Let’s take a look at seven common concerns, and what you can do to avoid them.

In the pursuit of your marketing goals, it’s easy to get ahead of yourself and lose sight of where you need to be.

Worse, in chasing down every lead or responding to every social media post, your team can make costly marketing automation mistakes. These errors not only set your efforts back but can put you behind competitors that have overcome their own problems.

So how do you get back on track?

Let’s take a look at seven costly marketing automation mistakes, and what you can do to correct them.

1. Lack of a Cohesive Plan

Automating your marketing benefits your company in a number of positive ways. However, you’ll waste even the best lead management software or CRM platforms if you don’t have a definitive plan for how you will use them.

You first must develop a list of goals; figure out what it is you want to achieve and how automation will get to you there. Once you’ve figured that out, take a step back, start small, and avoid automation early on.

Avoid automating?

Yep. Avoid it – at least in the beginning, because you are unlikely to need it.

Early in the development of your marketing, you probably have very little to market, so you need to build up your inbound efforts first. Endeavors such as:

  • Optimize your website to push your organic rankings
  • Creating content like blog posts or info-rich videos to enhance your web presence
  • Promote current offers through both your website and social media
  • Develop campaigns that have clear calls to action for your target audience
  • Build landing pages that capture user data and push them further into your marketing pipeline

As your leads increase and your baseline activities cultivate more and more prospects, you’ll reach a point where automation starts to make sense.

Scalability will become a necessity, and you’ll be in a better position to make use of what automation has to offer. Not only that, but your ROI will be far more attractive when you are using platforms you actually need.

2. Lose Sight of Your Purpose

Automation is a revolutionary step forward in how we market to consumers, and it’s turned many decent marketing teams into well-oiled machines.

However, the best of the best are the ones who haven’t lost sight of to whom they are ultimately marketing – people.

Yes, automation is great, but it’s worthless if those on the other end don’t respond to it due to lifeless engagement, messaging and content that misses the mark, or communication schedules that seem only to be checking a to-do technology box.

Your audience is human. Make sure your messages convey that. Generate content that gives your brand a level of warmth and openness that your clients want to engage with.

Personalize your approach so that you connect with and speak to your audience versus just talking at them. Remember that your customers are unique individuals each with different tastes and pressure points. Use that uniqueness to your advantage.

Don’t be afraid to segment your audience either.

You can generate individualized messaging based on specific wants or needs and allow your automation software to regulate who gets what and when – and it all be custom-tailored to the end user.

Consumers want to conduct business with companies that appreciate and reflect their values. If your engagement with your customers is genuine, they will return the favor.

3. Your Focus is Far Too Narrow

The world is a reasonably dynamic place. Regardless of what business you’re in, there’s a good chance you also have a reasonably dynamic customer base. So why are you only limiting customer engagement to a few marketing channels?

Is your email marketing strong but your general web presence lackluster? Or do you have top-notch online and social media engagement, but with little usable contact data to show for it?

Your customers are everywhere, and they all have different needs in how they want to engage with your company. Build a cohesive approach to your communications and automate them so you don’t overlook a channel that could prove beneficial to your long-term ROI.

Find out where your audience is, how they want to interact with your brand, and then go get them.

In addition, focus matters for the automation tools you use. If you’ve grown beyond a platform that only helps you automate your email campaigns, but not social media, it might be time to look at a more robust solution.

4. Your Focus is Far Too Broad

A tough pill to swallow, not everyone cares to buy whatever it is you’re selling. We know that runs counter to the mantra that everyone is a prospect.

The hard truth is your products and services will appeal only to a specific clientele, and you’re wasting time by not focusing your efforts directly on those would-be buyers.

Determine who your audience is and use your automation tools to filter your traffic down to only the most desirable leads. Those are the consumers you want nearer your sphere of influence.

The more time you can spend with people who are motivated and interested in your brand, the greater the chance for a successful conversion.

Of course, just as we touched on in a narrow approach, there can be too much of good thing if you’re using too many automation tools at once. In fact, overloading your team with too much tech may result in inefficiencies.

Instead, look at what your group needs to succeed and identify an all-in-one platform that automates multiple aspects of your marketing.

Can’t find something that fits every need? Find a major platform that best suits your initiatives and pick up the slack with specific software or applications that can fill in the gaps.

5. You Become Annoying

Okay, maybe that’s a bit harsh, but consider for a minute how much you appreciate spamming from businesses with the contact info that you at one point in time trusted them with.

You don’t.

Automating lends itself to a set it and forget it attitude, dealing in volume instead of meaningful communications. Avoid this trap with regular monitoring of your campaigns, specifically those that deal in email, voice, or direct messaging.

Fashion your communications into meaningful avenues of engagement.

Create relevant and personalized pieces of information that are valuable to your target audience.

Build in actionable items, so you get feedback from your audience (it also helps determine if they’re looking at what you produce).

Yes, such an approach requires a bit more effort on your end. The result, however, will be more worthwhile and productive customer relationships instead of the boilerplate message that gets dumped in the trash.

6. Working on Charm Alone

Unfortunately, “if you build it, they will come” only works out in a cornfield in Iowa, and only in the movies at that.

When creating your marketing campaigns, even if you think you’ve created a deeply affecting piece of engagement you won’t honestly know until adequate testing of multiple versions of it. Let your automation tools do some heavy lifting, so you look as good as possible.

A/B testing allows you the space to determine the best elements of multiples versions of the same piece of marketing. Paying attention to what works – and what doesn’t – before launch ensure you get the most out of your efforts.

Not only that, but the opportunity to tweak specific elements before they go live to the masses means you’ll not only put forth the best messaging, but also the best design, most effective calls to action, and the most user-friendly interface.

7. Allowing Hard Earned Data to Collect Dust

Marketing automation helps you do a number of things very well. One of its best attributes is the data you can gather from it. Critical points such as:

  • Detailed lists of contact information
  • Website or landing page activity
  • Performance of different marketing campaigns
  • History of transactions that shows what sells, what doesn’t, and what’s somewhere in between
  • Successful sources or lead generators
  • Demographic information that reveals who you perform best with and which areas need work

That’s a lot of useful information that, applied correctly, can turn a good marketing department into an amazing revenue generator for its company. So don’t sit on it.

Take time to delve into not just the numbers, but what they mean and how they can work for you.

Perhaps you need a bit more A/B testing on one of your campaigns.

Maybe a once top-selling item needs an update or at the very least a fresh rebranding.

Or your latest batch of website inquiries reflect a new set of demographics taking an interest in your product line.

Data is a tremendous asset to your business, but you have to be the one to make it so.

Final Thoughts

Automation is an incredible step forward in how we connect with consumers and make the cumbersome process of marketing far more efficient.

If we’re not careful, it can also result in complacency.

Remember, automation is meant to enhance how you connect and engage with your clients, not replace those interactions. Make sure you:

  • Set goals
  • Bring in automation when the time is right
  • Don’t lose sight of the human element
  • Understand where your focus needs to be and don’t fall too far behind or step too far ahead
  • Take a measured approach
  • Test your efforts to ensure you use promotions that prove most effective
  • Utilize your hard-earned data to your advantage

Let your competitors make all the mistakes. Follow these seven core principles to avoid common missteps and ensure that you get the most out of your marketing automation.Opinions expressed here are the opinions of the author. Influencive does not endorse or review brands mentioned; does not and can not investigate relationships with brands, products, and people mentioned and is up to the author to disclose. VIP Contributors and Contributors, amongst other accounts and articles, are professional fee-based.