How to sidestep 3 subtle—yet crucial—marketing blunders

If you’re personalizing content based on superficial details or setting generic triggers, you could be missing out on a big sales bump.

Marketing automation mistakes

Marketing automation is powerful, but it’s far from foolproof. You need a robust strategy to guide it.

Here are three common marketing automation mistakes, along with tips to avoid those costly blunders:

1. Personalizing content based on superficial details.

Most automated emails start off the same way. At the very top, there’s a little field before the content that says something like, “Hi [firstname, fallback=there].”

That’s where many marketers’ personalization efforts begin and end. Unfortunately, that’s not good enough today.

True content personalization focuses on more meaningful messaging elements, such as customized body text or tailored offers based on actions a recipient has (or has not) taken.

Personalization should also consider how many emails prospects should receive. For example, you can be more aggressive in sending follow-up emails to people who almost purchased your product than you can with those who haven’t even considered buying just yet.

2. Setting triggers that are too generic. 

Marketing automation excels when it can automatically make smart, strategic decisions for you. It should be like an extension of someone’s brain, taking in each lead’s feedback and reacting appropriately.

Unfortunately, campaign triggers are often too generic to help augment your marketing strategy. Let’s say you send an email offer for a $10 product. The next trigger is usually something like: “Did that person buy—yes or no?”

That’s obviously a good question. However, it misses the realization that most people are not going to buy your product. So, you must dig deeper.

In this scenario, you should have different sequences for:

  • People who added the product to their cart but didn’t buy.
  • People who clicked on the link to the product but didn’t add it to their cart or buy.
  • People who opened the email but didn’t click on the link.
  • Everyone else who didn’t even see the email.

Yes, this requires extra work, but tracking and increasing these “micro-conversions” can add a big bump in overall sales.

3. Not understanding your database math.

Marketing automation campaigns often work well at first—and then stagnate. As existing prospects become less valuable over time, you must continually replace them with new people, just to keep up with your existing sales rates.

This leads people to think the problem lies with their marketing automation campaigns, but the real problem is the inability to continually drive new, qualified people into the sales funnel.

Marketing automation tools can be a boon for your campaigns, but technology alone won’t save you. Savvy marketers must do the hard work of gathering and using data to craft more effective messaging that resonates with customers.

Neil Patel is co-founder of Neil Patel Digital. A version of this piece first appeared on MediaPost.

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