As an entrepreneur, you wear many hats. Your responsibilities encompass all aspects of your business, from its finances to its sales and everything in between.
By default, most good entrepreneurs understand marketing. This doesn’t mean that you love executing daily and weekly marketing activities. But it does mean that you respect and appreciate the need for strong marketing efforts.
We live in the age of things such as landing page builders, content marketing software and tools that automate just about anything you’d like to accomplish. As a result, entrepreneurs have more resources at their disposal than ever before.
At the core of this phenomenon lies the need for marketing automation. When executed well, it has the potential to drive significant revenue growth in companies small and large.
But despite this positive outlook, it can end in doomsday. If you’re not careful, you can make fatal mistakes that do more harm than good to your marketing. Even small mistakes can cause your company a bit of embarrassment that’s best avoided.
Either way, it’s not the kind of PR an entrepreneur wants. Avoid it by steering clear of the following seven mistakes:
1. You haven’t established clear objectives.
You probably already know that you’ve got to have clear objectives in any marketing endeavor. But this becomes even more important with automation, as implementing these techniques correctly means you won’t spend as much time invested in your daily campaign activities.
The following are four examples of the kinds of main marketing automation objectives you should be setting:
- Increasing the amount of inbound leads by X percent in [timeline].
- Empowering sales with a steady supply of nurtured leads and powerful intelligence.
- Gathering lead attribution data for a more effective long-term campaign.
- Increasing overall conversions by X percent in [timeline].
Clear objectives can guide you when it comes to establishing, maintaining and improving your campaign over time. Set good goals from the beginning to keep your team on track.
2. You don’t understand your customers.
You can set up systems, attributions and notifications all day, but it’s all futile if you don’t understand your customer. The content you write, landing pages you design and emails you send won’t make a difference if they don’t target the right personas.
When creating your strategy, make sure that you have personas for the following people:
- Industry influencers
- Gatekeepers in organizations
Don’t overlook this vital part of your strategy. You must have this data if you want to create relevant content that speaks to your audience.
3. You didn’t choose the right automation software.
The marketing technology landscape features numerous platforms for marketing automation, making it difficult to find the right tool that will help you achieve your objectives. It’s tough, but it’s definitely possible.
When evaluating software options, ask these questions:
- Will this software help me meet my overall objectives?
- Can it grow with me as I scale my business?
- What challenges will I likely face trying to scale with this platform?
- Do I have enough resources to make this system effective?
- Does this platform match the focus of my marketing efforts?
Create a shortlist of your top three choices based on the answers. Then, make an informed decision based on the information you’ve gathered during the research process.
4. You lack a documented marketing process.
You’ve simply got to have a clear, documented marketing process. If you can’t (or won’t), marketing automation isn’t the strategy for you.
If you want to make strategic improvements to your automation efforts, you need to understand the overall process and how each element supports the overall initiative. This includes elements such as attention, acquisition, conversion and retention.
Each of these areas should play a role in your automation process. Marketing automation software won’t do the work for you. Understanding each of these variables and how they work together is the only way to get the most out of your campaigns.
5. Your marketing and sales teams don’t work together.
Marketing automation is a tool. And all of those involved — whether in sales, marketing or some other department — need to know how to use the tool effectively for it to reach its fullest potential.
There are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind that will help foster a teamwork-oriented environment:
- All stakeholders should agree on the qualifications for a marketing-qualified lead and sales-qualified lead.
- Someone must be responsible for documenting the responsibilities of each department for interacting and nurturing customers at every stage in the sales cycle.
- As a marketer, you should always get input from the sales team when creating a new lead nurturing campaign. Their front-line experience with customers will bring unique insight.
The right software will support your efforts, but only if you have the right team and the appropriate buy-in to make it happen.
6. You aren’t offering the right kind of content.
This is an additional consequence for those that lack insight into their target buyer personas. But even businesses with a decent understanding of the customer can fail to create the right content.
Ultimately, you want to create remarkably good content that solves the problems, pains and challenges of your audience. If your content doesn’t do that, then you’re making the wrong investment. Put the customer first and the right type of content will follow.
7. You’re selling instead of nurturing leads.
Automation works so well because it gives you the opportunity to truly nurture leads. Over time, you learn about their needs, desires and pains. That’s invaluable intelligence for any business.
Just don’t make the mistake of trying to close the sale too fast. One main consequence: it could turn the customer off from your business. But it could also close the sale too quickly, which may lead to poor retention and less revenue over time.
Automation can add a powerful element to your overall marketing efforts. But remember, it’s only a tool.