12 email marketing automation mistakes you're probably making

Matt Geary in Marketing automation on 25th of Jan 2019
Marketing Automation Mistakes

Marketing Automation Mistakes

Automation makes your email marketing better. The ability to reach more customers, faster, with more accurate messaging, is undoubtedly a good thing.

But many marketers are still making mistakes, from tiny typos to head-splitting data problems. Here are some of the most common mistakes you'll make as a marketer using email automation software.

Mistake #1: you've become a spammer

Nobody likes spammers. Spammers don't even like spammers.

When automation makes things so quick and easy, the temptation to blast your contact list with emails is hard to resist. The metrics might even be looking good — but I guarantee it won't last.

Irrelevant, continuous emails hurt your business one by one until your customers hate you and your brand image is totally diluted.

Just because you can send emails frequently, doesn't mean you should. Email automation is perfect for sending relevant, personalized emails at the right time and place. Not annoying spam.

Mistake #2: you've become a robot

Yes, it happens. Email automation saves you time on manual processes, but you should never cut back on writing empathetic, personalized messages. Your customers are human, and you're human — keep it that way!

The average click-through rates for personalized emails are 2.5x higher than non-personalized emails (RichRelevance), so not engaging personally is a huge mistake. Use automation as a chance to speak to your audience directly, and with your unique personality.

Mistake #3: you're focusing on the wrong metrics

"My open rate is high, so I must be doing something right!" Yes, but don't get swept up in vanity metrics. Open rates are all good and well, but what about your conversions? Click-throughs? Unsubscribes? And how are they performing in relation to each other?

It's better to see a 10% open rate with 5% conversions than a 50% open rate with no conversions. A 10% open rate means the subject line probably needs some work, but conversions are what drives business value where it counts.

Don't get complacent — look at your metrics realistically and find places add value.

Mistake #4: you're not testing

If you're not testing, how do you know that your strategy, campaign, or customer journey are worthwhile? Short answer: you don't.

Making the most of email automation software means using testing wherever possible. Otherwise, you'll never know which idea is the best performing.

Variations you can test include:

  • Subject line
  • CTAs
  • Landing pages
  • Device compatibility

Tip: you can test email variations with AB testing integrations, and you can test landing pages with an app like Instapage.

Mistake #5: you've let your customer data go stagnant

If you've implented a tracking code, created beautiful lead magnets, and generally captured your customer's data, you're sitting on a treasure trove of information.

Not making the most of it is very, very silly.

Take the time to review your customer data, segment it, and use it to its full potential. It's the key to effective, personalized marketing strategies that have brought brands like Netflix and Spotify to the top of the data-driven food chain.

Mistake #6: you're paying too much

You may have convinced yourself that email automation is highly-expensive. This only true if you're using "all-in-one" automation software. These all-in-one platforms have insanely high subscription costs under the guise that they "do everything."

Yes, these automation products "do everything" but they don't really do any of it particularly well. The phrase "jack-of-all-trades, master of none" comes to mind here.

Unbundled marketing automation software doesn't pretend to "do everything." Instead, it integrates best-of-breed applications (Salesforce, Typeform, LiveChat, Twilio, etc.) into a single platform — and you only pay for what you use.

Mistake #7: you've lost sight of your existing customers

When it comes to retaining your customers, all hands should be on deck. They're your most important asset — much more valuable than new leads.

Prevent losing your existing customers by setting up automated journeys that nurture, retain, and connect with them. This automation journey sends customers a survey email 90 days after they've become a customer. You can use customer feedback to improve your product, customize your content, and reveal marketing opportunities.

Mistake #8: you've bought an email list

At any level, buying an audience is a mistake. You're essentially forking out for a list of people that are highly-unqualified, are likely to churn, and probably don't want to hear from you. It's a strategy that costs a lot of money and provides little-to-zero long term growth.

Instead of buying lists, opt for an inbound marketing strategy supported by a strong content rollout. Organic customers are more likely to buy from you, and more receptive to lifecycle lead nurturing. It's slower, but highly effective, and much more sustainable.

Mistake #9: you're batch and blasting

I'll be fair — batch and blast does have a couple of applications. When you're a brand new business, you don't have many other decent options. But once you have your target audience mapped out, you're much better off segmenting your audience into lists based on data like demographics or past behaviors.

Some good use cases for segmenting your email lists:

  • Create a segment of customers that have clicked on certain content a set number of times, so you can reach out to them with more content that interests them
  • Create a list of people who have abandoned carts in your checkout, so you can ask them if they're still interested in buying
  • Reach out to website visitors that have visited your pricing page multiple times, since there's a high chance they're interested in buying (see this in action below)

Mistake #10: you forgot about your sales team

Sales teams don't operate in a vacuum. In fact, they're a critical part of the marketing funnel. In many businesses, they're a critical part of closing deals. So don't leave them out.

When you're creating automated email journeys, get your sales team involved with collaboration features like Annotate and Collaborate. They can give you extremely valuable input into the bottom of the funnel, including follow-up procedures, turnaround times, suggested messaging frequency, and more.

Mistake #11: you're only automating emails

Automation doesn't end at emails. You can automate every part of the customer journey, from the moment a customer lands on your website, up until they convert, and as they continue down the path of being a loyal customer.

Autopilot's unbundled automation software helps apps like Delighted NPS, Segment, Typeform, and Pipedrive play together with your email strategy. You can also automate internal processes, like Slack messages, Trello projects, and more. See the full list of integrations.

Mistake #12: you're not automating at all

Your customers are spread out across multiple channels, devices, and apps at all times.

Keeping up with them is becoming harder and harder to do.

Without automation to take care of all the datasets, audience segments, touchpoints, and tedious manual tasks, you risk falling behind. With automation, you'll have more time and capability to drive conversions and maximize your business' ROI.

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