What SMBs Get Wrong About Marketing Automation (And How To Fix It)

Your company has invested in a marketing automation platform. It has all the bells and whistles and your marketing team in particular loves how so many of their tasks can now be automated. And yet, it doesn’t seem to have made as much of an impact as you thought it would. It seems like there should be more leads and more measurable outcomes than you are seeing. 

It’s possible that you are making some of these common mistakes with your marketing automation tools.

Mistake #1: Not Paying Attention

This is the most basic and surprisingly common marketing automation mistake that Small and Medium-Sized Businesses (SMBs) make once they get their systems set up. There is often a lot of excitement and expectations around the new automation platform. However, one thing that can get lost in the shuffle is exactly who is going to monitor the notifications the platform sends out indicating when a human needs to get involved. 

Another variety of this mistake happens when someone is given the responsibility to monitor important events and notifications. In many SMBs this is often someone on the executive team. However, the scope of their responsibilities is often broad and any messages generated by the automation tool land in a full inbox. They get read, but with the assumption that someone else is tasked with carrying them out. 

In the end, the automation tools are monitored well, which on the surface looks like a success. However, there is a disconnect between the person who sees the notices and the people who need to see the notices to act on them. It's a simple review within your company to see who is getting notified by the platform to understand if the right people are getting the information or not. 

If your automation has taken a person from an interested prospective client and has brought them to the point where someone needs to call or talk to them, the automation platform will tell you. Someone, a person or a team, needs to have ownership of the monitoring tasks. 


Mistake #2: Locking out the Sales Team

Automation isn’t just for marketing! After all, marketing is pointless if it doesn’t result in sales. Sales and marketing should be joined at the hip, and your automations should support this. All too often companies will focus their automations to take a potential customer from prospect to hot lead but then fails to set the sales team up for success.  

Here’s one example of how automation can benefit the sales team. A comprehensive marketing automation tool will be able to assign and track tasks. It has an inbuilt system that allows one team to move leads to another when it's time to focus on setting up personal touchpoints or closing the deal. 

These tasks can be assigned to individuals or groups. They can be open-ended or have due dates. Accountability, scheduling, and reminders are built in. You get a whole workflow from the top of the sales funnel all the way to closing the deal. 


Mistake #3: Ignoring the Potential of Experimentation 

When marketing develops messaging, there is often more than one way to implement it. Wouldn't it be nice if you could send out different versions of your campaign and see which one performed best? You can! Modern automation platforms have the ability to experiment with your marketing campaigns. They make A/B testing and experiments in cadence and timing simple.

Automation makes things efficient, but with that comes the danger of stagnation. It is easy to “set it and forget it.” However, if you develop a culture of constant experimentation and testing, your marketing will benefit from choices made using real data unique to your situation. You should never be afraid to try something new!


Mistake #4: Not Following Up with Conversions

You’ve heard about email drip campaigns. Your automation tools are capable of making decisions about which follow-up email a prospective customer should get based on how they interact with the email currently in their inbox. Any content on your website or social media that requires a person to enter their email address is a great gateway for bringing people into a deeper relationship with your company. 

Many businesses do a great job of capturing leads. Most of these same companies have successful drip campaigns running. However, every once in a while we come across an SMB that hasn’t set up their automation platform to automatically enroll the captured lead into the drip campaign. That’s a lost opportunity! 

If a prospect trusts you enough to give you their email address, then they want to learn more about what your business offers. Having an automation that keeps your business in front of them is key to nurturing that relationship and increasing your chances of turning them into a customer.


Mistake #5: Unfocused CTAs

It always pays to have a plan. One final mistake that SMBs make is less about making use of capabilities and more about how technology can compound a mistake. Too often we see follow-ups without a clear Call to Action (CTA) (does “hope to hear from you soon” sound familiar?). An SMB that has an effective lead capture strategy with a well-monitored and fully automated drip campaign will not reach its maximum potential if the CTA is weak. 

We’re all about quantifying success here at 1 Bold Step, and the best way to determine the success of your automated strategy is to have a very intentional and measurable CTA. Do you want them to sign up for your newsletter? Download an ebook? Like your Facebook page? Knowing what you want your automation to accomplish helps you focus your efforts and figure out if those efforts worked. 

A great way to test your call to action is through A/B testing (does that sound familiar?). Run your content and campaigns for a given time with a couple of variations and discover which CTA seems to resonate the best and generates the most activity. Then once you have the data to make an informed decision, an effective CTA can be paired with your most effective content.

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Automations that Work

Mistakes are a bummer, but they do happen. Even the best-automated system is being set and run by humans. Taking the time to double-check to ensure your automation flows are set up correctly is worth it. At that point, you get to focus on the cool stuff: automations that work. 

The whole goal of automating your marketing is to increase both the quantity and quality of your leads. Forms, newsletters, and downloadable resources are all great ways to capture user information and get them into the email workflow. A well-designed drip campaign will begin to help you qualify your leads, eventually weeding out the tire kickers and proving your sales staff with people who are ready to buy. 

Another benefit of modern marketing automation software is the ability to automatically move prospects through the customer funnel via lead scoring. What’s lead scoring? Each interaction a person has with your content is assigned a value. The higher the value, the more likely the person is to deepen their relationship with your business. This helps you prioritize leads and intervene at crucial points in the sales process. 

If you run digital ads in your business, you will also want to make sure you are taking advantage of the benefits that automation provides. The farther upstream you can begin to track and score leads the better. It will provide insights into how effective your ad campaign is and also provide better data on the closing potential of any individual lead. 


Do you need a partner?

Marketing automation has opened up a lot of opportunities in the SMB world. Once you take the time to explore all that modern marketing automation tools have to offer, just be wary of common mistakes so you can avoid them. Then sit back and watch the quantity and quality of your leads grow over time. 

With any marketing automation platform, there is a learning curve, and it's easy to miss a few of the features that get built into them. An internal review of how your marketing and sales teams are utilizing your automation tools will be a useful exercise in itself. You may identify opportunities for increased efficiency, capturing leads, and closing deals. 

A second set of eyes is helpful, too. 1 Bold Step has a team of marketing automation experts, ready to help your prospects move through any stage of the funnel. You give us your goals, and we’ll give you the tools to take advantage of the increased efficiencies of marketing automation. Drop us a line to get started!

About 1 Bold Step

At 1 Bold Step we believe that everything can be more efficient, but especially marketing. Acting as an extension of a client’s marketing department (onsite or virtually), we help create systems, order, and accountability. With a focus on increasing sales and proving return on marketing investment, we’re determined to change marketing from overhead to value add. 


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