Work smarter, not harder. This new productivity mantra has become increasingly popular among marketers, especially since they can streamline a great portion of their work using some widely available marketing automation tools.
The truth is that marketing consists of a number of repetitive, tedious tasks that play an important part in every effective campaign.
What’s even worse, all these seemingly low-level tasks are time-consuming, which means that marketers can’t properly focus on the more creative aspect of their work.
Therefore, email marketing automation tools, social media management tools, CRM platforms, as well as lead generation and nurturing tools successfully pick up the slack and take over all these tasks, thus freeing up marketers’ time.
But, it would only be fair to admit that marketing automation comes with a set of challenges. Here’s what they are and how to overcome them.
1. Failure to Effectively Utilize Automation
This is one of the biggest challenges that marketers face when it comes to automation.
It’s not easy to pick the right tool or platform, implement it properly, and train your team to use it. This entire process can be complex, especially if a vendor doesn’t offer free onboarding. Small businesses, which usually need marketing automation the most and can greatly benefit from it, in many cases don’t have the right expertise to implement and start using these helpful tools.
When marketers aren’t properly onboarded, they will need more time to set up and manage their new automation tool, not to mention that this lack of mastery can lead to disappointing results for their campaigns.
While it’s true that the purpose of marketing automation is to simplify and streamline marketing tasks, this initial step requires a significant effort. That’s why marketing teams should be committed to learning how to use a marketing automation tool in-depth, as only advanced users can expect to effectively utilize it and gain a competitive edge.
To overcome this challenge, opt for a solution that provides great customer support and care, as this way, you’ll make sure that your marketing team will get the best onboarding experience and be trained to take full advantage of marketing automation.
2. Lack of Engaging Content
Engaging content is the core part of every marketing strategy, and yet 65% of marketers struggle to create it.
No wonder this is so when there’s so much existing content on every possible topic you can think of, meaning that you need to offer a unique perspective if you want to attract potential readers and provide value to them. That’s why it’s important to learn how to start blogging and why this activity is essential for the success of your digital marketing strategy.
However, it’s not enough to simply automate and streamline your emails and social media posts – they need to be fueled by exceptional content tailored to the needs and preferences of your audience. Think about conducting a content audit that will tell you what you need to improve in order to drive traffic.
Also, don’t fall into the trap of churning out several blog posts a week only for the sake of it. It’s better to have fewer but well-researched blog posts and send out fewer but personalized and targeted emails.
Another problem with content lies in the fact that even if you produce high-quality content, it’s not enough if you don’t promote it and make it more visible. In other words, all your blog posts, videos, and other content pieces will be practically useless if you don’t promote them and boost their Google rankings.
3. Relying on Subpar Data
In order for your marketing automation efforts to be successful, your data has to be clean, relevant, and verified.
Sending an email campaign to a list that you purchased on the internet can result in more than poor deliverability and open rates. Such lists are packed with obsolete and outdated information, which means that many of these email addresses are now defunct.
Email service providers leverage these dormant addresses and use them to plant spam traps, so when you send an email to any of them, it raises red flags. If this happens more than once, you’ll be marked as a spammer, and your email messages will be automatically sent to the spam folders of your recipients.
Another dangerous practice is sending unsolicited emails. With GDPR and similar regulations that require companies to follow strict personal data protection protocols and guidelines, you should only send electronic messages to recipients who have given you their consent.
All this means that your list should be regularly scrubbed because if you reach out to somebody who unsubscribed from your newsletter, you risk being fined.
Similarly, if a recipient never opens or responds to your email message, you should remove them from your list. The same applies to hard bounces, that is, emails that can’t be delivered.
It’s true that cleaning your data will make your list much shorter, but on the other hand, you’ll be left only with recipients who are clearly interested in receiving your messages and updates.
4. Automating Tasks That Shouldn’t Be Automated
Marketing automation is great because it helps you do more with less, but not every task can and should be automated.
Take social media as an example. While you can automate and schedule the publication of your content-based posts in advance, you can’t do the same when it comes to responding to your followers’ comments. It’s something that requires a human touch and a real-time reaction.
Similarly, content creation, although resource-intensive, shouldn’t be automated. Although there are some tools that can help you put at least a certain part of your content creation process on autopilot, it’s important that you do it yourself.
Pre-defined, customizable email templates seem like an excellent way to create your campaigns, but without adding your unique perspective and communicating your brand values, such messages can miss the mark, fall flat, and disappoint your recipients.
Despite these challenges, marketing automation is worth your time and resources as it will give a huge boost to your marketing strategy and efforts. Persistence is key, so make sure to give it time until it starts yielding results.
Michael has been working in marketing for almost a decade and has worked with a huge range of clients, which has made him knowledgeable on many different subjects. He has recently rediscovered a passion for writing and hopes to make it a daily habit. You can read more of Michael's work at Qeedle.
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