We’ve all been there. The latest tech gadget comes out with a long list of “amazing” features – used by super cool people in sexy ads – and we decide we can’t live without it. So, we rush out and buy it, thinking “This gadget will change my life!” But, most of us only use a tiny fraction of those “amazing” features.
Why? 1) We don’t have the time (or patience) to read the user’s manual; 2) Complication leads to frustration; 3) Old habits die hard; 4) It takes longer to figure out how to use it properly than to do things the old way; etc.
This is exactly what happens when many companies invest in marketing automation (MA). It’s a powerful tool capable of generating and converting leads and building customer loyalty, but most users do not take advantage of all it has to offer.
In our experience, clients either learn to use marketing automation properly, often with the help of a consultant, or muddle through on their own. This “learn as you go” approach typically leads to some bad habits, including:
1. Automating Everything—Like a kid with a new toy, it’s tempting to use MA to automate every process. We urge you to step away from the software and create a plan. Automating inefficient processes will only amplify the inadequacies. Focus on what works and eliminate what doesn’t.
2. Ignoring Analytics—With MA you have the means to see which aspects of a campaign are hitting the sweet spot and what areas are falling short. Analyze the data so you can make adjustments and improve the next campaign.
3. Failing to Clean Your Data—Imagine driving with a dirty windshield—this obscured vision could lead to some poor choices, such as careening off a cliff. Keeping customer data up-to-date and eliminating duplicate and incorrect data can be a chore (much like scraping bugs off a windshield), but it will give you a clearer view of your customers, which will lead to more insightful marketing decisions.
4. Sending Emails to Everyone—If you’re sending the same message to all the customers in your database, you’re not utilizing the power of MA. You also risk diluting your credibility. Today’s customers are accustomed to receiving personalized messages, and MA gives you the ability to do that. Trust us, it’s worth the effort.
5. Hiding the CTA—Clicking on your call to action (CTA) should not feel like a game of “Where’s Waldo!” Instead of hiding the CTA at the bottom of emails and landing pages, put it where the readers’ eyes go first, which is “above the fold.” Make the CTA easy to find.
6. Sending Daily Emails—You know that annoying kid who keeps asking, “Are we there yet?” Well, that’s how a potential customer feels about receiving constant correspondence. Remember, sometimes less is more. Create a schedule and use it effectively.
7. Being Mobile Unfriendly—Who isn’t reading emails on mobile devices these days? Design your emails and landing pages to be mobile friendly (i.e., easily and quickly downloadable, images designed to view on small screens, etc.) to avoid losing readers—or at least causing unnecessary aggravation.
8. Asking for a Life Story—Requesting more than four fields of information is considered too much. The goal is conversion, so again, less is more.
We feel obliged to encourage best practices when it comes to MA, because we want you to get the most out of your investment. If you find yourself falling into bad habits or would like to prevent them from starting, give our certified Pardot Specialist, Jeremy Sterling, a call at 734-546-5434 or drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
In the meantime, I’ll be trying to learn how to use my new virtual assistant. (If only Alexa could write blogs!)