Every business eventually realizes that much of its marketing can be automated. Gone are the days of remembering to follow up with a lead, or websites that present the same offers to every visitor regardless of how they arrived on the page.
Marketing automation is a no-brainer for big businesses, who might have hundreds of thousands of customers to interact with on a daily basis. For small businesses, whether to invest in marketing automation software is a legitimate question, especially if you’ve never used it before.
For the most part, automating your marketing campaigns is typically a net-positive. It’s still important to understand what is true and what is not about the process so you know what to expect.
Here are eight myths about marketing automation and the truth behind them:
1. Automated marketing is just sending messages automatically
Automated marketing software sends messages to potential (and current) customers through email, web, social media, and text.
But the concept is about much more than sending messages automatically so you don’t forget to. It’s about maximizing efficiency, so you don’t need to write and send the same (or similar) messages to individual customers every day. It’s also about targeting and identifying what visitors to your site or store really need and giving it to them.
Finally, it allows you to study the data behind your actions and decide whether you need to tweak your workflows to better capture the interest and, ultimately, the dollar of potential customers.
2. Automated marketing is easier than manual processes
In many ways automated marketing is better, but does it make your life easier? Not always.
You can’t simply set and forget your automated marketing campaigns, assuming they will guide people from the top to the bottom of your funnel. You need to monitor what each campaign accomplishes, using the data you collect to target specific groups of customers to achieve better results.
Automated marketing removes the need to perform rote actions. Instead, your resources are redirected towards creating more creative and personable workflows and copy.
3. Automated marketing is just for email
As mentioned above, automated marketing is used across a number of channels, not just email.
While email is a great place to start, you can actually use it to open up more options for your marketing campaigns and opportunities for lead acquisition. Continue to collect information on your customers—phone numbers, for example—and find creative ways to market through them using your marketing platform.
Don’t limit your ambitions to just email marketing—have conversations with your customers everywhere they interact with your brand, especially your web site, through contextual sign-up forms.
4. Marketing automation is only for big businesses
No matter how small your business, it’s likely worth the investment to let automated processes take over some of your manual ones, allowing you to focus on higher-level activities.
More and more software providers are entering the market, which means even the smallest businesses will likely find a level of service that matches their budget. Build out your marketing workflows on a small scale and let your processes grow with your business, rather than to try to retrofit them to how you work once you start growing. You can even start with free trials on many platforms to see which offerings make the most sense for your business.
5. Automated marketing comes off as robotic and impersonal
Your marketing materials will only come off as robotic and impersonal as your copy makes it sound. You can personalize your materials to make them speak to your customers.
Another way that you can encourage more personalized content is by sending highly targeted and specific copy to as many customers as you can. Group people in narrow workflows so you ensure that each person receives impactful content related to what they’ve already responded to. This is, in essence, the point of marketing automation—so when you use the software correctly, your content and messaging should come across as anything but impersonal.
6. Automated marketing won’t replace traditional systems
Maybe you feel that your marketing tactics aren’t broken, so you don’t need to “fix” them with an investment.
If you want to compete with the major players in your industry, however, you’ll need to use some kind of automated marketing software: The marketing software industry is growing by 30% annually, and those who aren’t currently using it plan to do so within the next 12 months, according to statistics collected by Emailmonday.
Marketing tech is clearly the future of the space, if not the present, so getting on board isn’t up for debate—it will be necessary in order to stay competitive.
7. Automated marketing will only provide a boost to your marketing
Your investment in automated marketing will actually carry over into other aspects of your business.
For example, marketing automation can help you become more efficient when it comes to sales. According to MarketingSherpa, just 27% of the leads sent over to sales from marketing will be qualified. Marketing automation can help you not just find leads, but qualify them, score them, nurture them, and continue to manage them over the lifespan of their time in your funnel. That way, once sales gets ahold of them, they won’t waste time talking to leads that have no future with your business.
8. Once a sale is closed, the automated marketing process is over
The goal of lead generation marketing is to turn new audiences into customers. But automated marketing is about more than closing the first sale. You’ll create opportunities for upsells, cross-sells, and future engagement leading to repeat business.
You should feel empowered to create post-sale workflows that encourage people to stay connected to your business and look for upcoming sales, discounts, products, and more.
Marketing automation is creating a new era of marketing where the goal is less about the execution of the basics and more about thinking creatively. That doesn’t make marketing easier, but it does make it more exciting. Time to dismiss the myths and embrace the challenge.