29 Aug Do’s and Don’ts of Marketing Automation
Last week I received a direct message on Twitter, a discount or percent off from a random company I follow. This particular company has sent me a direct message every month for the last four months. I still have no idea what they do or what they are really selling. It’s a marketing automation fail.
This company isn’t the only B2B company blasting out offers to all their Twitter followers automatically. No doubt you’ve also received a share of social media messages sent with an automated message and no real insight into who you are. I find it a bit offensive.
Marketing automation both frustrates and astounds me. We use it in our own inbound marketing agency to schedule out social media posts for ourselves and our clients. We use it to trigger emails based on customer response to specific blogs posts and content offers. It allows us to nurture leads for our own company and our clients who need a method for following up on leads before they are handed over the sales.
However, it also leaves open the way to poisoning your leads before they can really decide if they need your services. Here’s our top dos and don’ts for B2B marketing automation.
Do use automation to schedule a series of social media posts. You want to make sure you have consistent content presented in a variety of creative ways. That doesn’t happen without some advance planning. Automating your posts to go out ensures your followers receive the content you need them to receive when you need them to receive it.
Don’t schedule it and forget about it. A little over a year ago our community experienced a devastating natural disaster. We unscheduled many of our clients’ regular posts and replaced them with more relevant content. Automation leaves you open to seeming insensitive when your community, industry or nation is experiencing a tragedy. Be aware of this pitfall and make sure your posts are relevant.
Do schedule email marketing. Regardless of your industry, you have a list of contacts who will be glad to hear about the changes in your company, your industry, and your product lines. Keep them informed through regular emails.
Don’t send everything to everyone. You very likely have more than one target audience or buyer persona. Sending the same message to everyone regardless of their company size or industry requires your content to be generic enough for anyone–which makes it relevant to almost no one.
Do automate follow up emails with contacts. When a visitor to your B2B website downloads an offer or makes a purchase take their interest as an opportunity to follow up with them. Schedule specific emails to be triggered not only by this one action but by all the data you’ve gathered about them.
Do automate transactional emails. This one’s pretty much a no-brainer, but I had to include it. You can send a personal email later if you want, but consumers expect to receive confirmation emails almost immediately after they make a purchase. Don’t make them wait until you get back into the office to receive a confirmation of their purchase or password reset. You can, however, adjust the text of these emails to fit with the personality of your company. Just because it’s automated doesn’t mean it should be boring.
Don’t automate responses to follows on social media. I do my best to personally respond to every person who follows me on Twitter. It’s grown my follower list and helped me make good contacts. When appropriate I try to throw in a comment about an interest listed in their bio just to make sure they know it isn’t automated. I also avoid responding to accounts that appear to be robots themselves. When you automate responses to follows, you lose the ability to make this personal.
Don’t automate responses to comments on social media. Taco Bell is known as one of the most responsive and best companies on social media. They didn’t get that reputation by having a robot respond to mentions of their brand or industry online. You won’t either. Social media is supposed to be personal. Don’t ask a robot to do what you need to do yourself.
Do automate who receives notification of mentions of your brand online. While you don’t want to automate responses, it’s imperative that someone within your company receives a notification when your social accounts receive a mention, comment or post. You can respond in a timely manner without spending all your time checking Instagram every five seconds.
Marketing automation opens your company up to respond quickly and consistently but used inappropriately and you could find yourself alienating your customers. They like dealing with you because you’re you. Don’t disappoint them by sending a robot in your place.