3 Marketing Automation Challenges (Totally Solved)
Marketing automation is pretty great. It takes over repetitive, time-consuming tasks, freeing up marketers for more strategic, creative endeavors.
But like any technology, it comes with a few hiccups. Let’s look at common hurdles you might need to overcome before hitting your marketing automation stride.
Automation Challenge #1: Incomplete or Deficient Onboarding
The beauty of this tech lies in its time saving ability. But often, when the software gets rolled out, marketers have to spend significant time setting up and troubleshooting their automated campaigns.
This initial time suck can leave them frustrated, making it tempting to continue hand creating campaign elements. Not to mention, lack of mastery often leads to general distrust of the tech.
To avoid this challenge, consider a few tips:
- Choose a vendor who’s committed to your team’s success. You’ll know you’ve spotted a good one when they offer extras like training workshops and readily-available customer service experts (preferably humans).
- Give your team time to play. Though it might not work with every platform, letting folks play around with tech—before official training starts—can help them get familiar with the basics. Since people learn differently, this approach can anchor those who prefer hands-on learning.
- Set realistic goals and timeframes. New tech is rarely easy in the beginning. Understand that you’ll likely need to customize and tweak your systems to find features that make the most sense for your people. While you should look for software that fits well with your existing martech stack, you should prepare for at least some internal resistance. To ease the stress of new tech, allow plenty of time for minor setbacks and even failures. In the end, patience and understanding will get you everywhere.
Automation Challenge #2: Subpar Data
For your marketing automation efforts to advance, you need clean, relevant, verified data. That means your customer management platform or CRM needs to stay as immaculate as possible.
If you aren’t sending the right messages to the right people at the right time, no amount of automation will save you. If you have customers in your system who haven’t engaged with your business in over two years, why flood their inbox and mailbox? And how do you treat unsubscribes? Do they sit in your database? Are you monitoring and dealing with bounces?
Yes, having clean data will make your lists shorter, but you’ll have recipients who plainly want to interact with your brand.
Here are some tips for maximizing your precious data:
- Perform a database cleanse at least once a year.
- Consider removing bounces and unsubscribes. You can’t do anything with them until/unless they choose to accept your marketing efforts.
- Study unengaged prospects and look for opportunities to get them back.
Automation Challenge #3: Integration Frustration
At this stage in martech’s evolution, you have countless options to choose from. Not only can this massive variety leave you feeling overwhelmed, but it can make you lose sight of the few integrations that will help your team become an unstoppable machine.
How to help:
- Understand your business and marketing goals. Automation helps you do more with less, but that doesn’t mean every task should get automated. For example, depending on the size of your company, you might have social media and content experts who thrive building your audience organically. While automation makes sense for some elements (scheduling), in this scenario, you likely wouldn’t need it for content creation or responding to comments on social media. When you focus on your core needs, it will be easier to find helpful technology.
- Start with the basics. Before anything else, prioritize automation that easily integrates with your existing CRM. This first step will ensure you can properly manage leads and send them through the sales funnel.
- Keep integrating. Once your automation software and your CRM become friends, you’ll need to expand the group. Other essential integrations include your website, social media accounts, and phone systems.
More Marketing Automation Tips
Depending on your setup, you may face different issues. Whatever the situation, here are a few marketing automation best practices to consider along the way:
- Create superior content. It will never be enough to streamline your emails, social media posts, and direct mail. The messaging must be fueled by exceptional, custom-made content. Because it won’t matter how easy it is to send messages if no one wants to read them. With that, avoid the more-is-better trap of content strategy. You’ll get farther with fewer well-researched blogs and emails—as long as they’re highly personalized and relevant.
- Focus on email deliverability. When it comes to email campaigns, deliverability refers to the overall health of your efforts, including delivery rates, click rates, inbox rates, and ROI. If your messages get sucked into the Spam folder abyss or delivery fails altogether, you have a problem. If you have poor engagement rates and frequent bounces, deliverability issues might be to blame. Fortunately, with a little elbow grease (and perhaps some seed testing), you can set things right
- Diversify and conquer. This tip works for any marketing strategy, not only automation. Because people interact with businesses in a variety of ways and on different platforms (website, social media, in person), it helps to diversify your communication efforts. For marketing campaigns, combining email and direct mail is one of the surest ways to reach the right audience at the right time. Good thing there’s automation software for both!
- Measure effectiveness. Don’t get too comfortable with your new-found free time and forget to monitor the efficacy of your automation tech. The simplest way to avoid this trap of apathy is to have clear goals set up beforehand, then measure and learn from the data regularly (quarterly or yearly).
Getting your marketing automation software working like you want it to doesn’t have to trigger a stress migraine. When you understand your company’s needs, set realistic goals, and partner with an experienced vendor, you’re halfway there already.
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