Marketing automation software empowers businesses to be more ambitious, zeroing in on their core KPIs and increasing product sales. However, there are plenty of mistakes that can be made along the way — leaving you with an array of misdirected marketing efforts, wasted advertising dollars, and lapsed subscribers. Here are seven common marketing automation concerns that can trip up even the most dedicated of teams.


Mistake #1: Not having a proper marketing automation plan

What's the problem?

You've invested in marketing automation software, but it's not generating enough qualified leads. Is this because you picked the wrong software? Not necessarily. This could be a result of not having a proper marketing automation plan down pat.

How can you fix it?

Many eCommerce business owners jump into the marketing automation waters only to find that they didn't bring a life jacket. Don't be like them. While you may be eager to start your automated campaigns, rushing into the process without establishing a clear strategy could lead to poor ROI. Before you begin, spend some time coming up with automation strategies that:

  • support your goals
  • give you direction
  • capitalize on your chosen software's strengths

Developing and fine-tuning an appropriate plan will ensure that your marketing succeeds at every stage. For instance, automation strategies for generating leads will differ from those that increase open rates for emails.


Mistake #2: Not integrating with your database

What's the problem?

Your automation tool and your database (or other marketing data implements) aren't communicating.

If your marketing automation software is working alone, you need to make database integration an immediate priority. Doing so will help you:

  • create targeted, personalized experiences for your leads and customers
  • visualize a play-by-play of the entire customer experience, from start to finish
  • get a broader understanding of what's going on with all facets of your brand

Without bringing the database into the fold, you'll just be wasting time, money, and energy on campaigns that do nothing for your business. Your database needs to be the epicenter of your marketing activities.

How can you fix it?

Any marketing automation platform worth its salt will already have a database you can leverage. The right database can make your life a dream, but the wrong one will send you spiraling into a nightmare of code, security, and network issues. So, make sure to do your due diligence before investing in automation software.

When bringing marketing data into your automation system, start small. Begin by tapping into as much data as you think you'll need.

Most digital marketers use several other technology platforms that come with their own data houses. To make sure your marketing stack is functioning at its full potential, you can use a data management system. These platforms will pull together data from different sources into an overall unified view of the company's customers.


Mistake #3: Continuing to blitz out emails with no regard for customization

What's the problem?

You're using automation software to blast out mass emails that lack any customization. As a result, leads that were once hot and ready to buy are now cold and churning. They're bouncing back from your database because you didn't take the time to segment and personalize your campaigns.

How can you fix it?

Consider segmenting your list into smaller groups based on your customer data. Then, blast out relevant and personalized messages to each group using your automation tool. Segmenting your email marketing lists will help you target specific audiences and deliver messages that appeal to people's unique preferences.

You can also use your automation software to push out customized messages to different customers based on triggers or behaviors. For example, you could set up a command to send an automated message if someone abandons their shopping cart. This could be done the same way Sephora uses VIP status as a trigger to send out exclusive offers once a customer has attained VIP status.

Sephora VIPSource


Mistake #4: Getting on the automation bandwagon too early

What's the problem?

You've been spending too much energy automating your marketing efforts before you have built up the support systems necessary to keep your marketing efforts going.

Automation is great, but before you start making your robots do all the work for you, you have to lay some groundwork. Early-stage startups should focus on getting their inbound marketing on track before automating. If you don't have enough leads or your marketing panel isn't roaring with activity, automation could put you in a bad spot financially.

How can you fix it?

You need to get your business running before you fire the engine on campaign automation. It's not that it won't work, but you need to make sure that your business is humming along smoothly before putting the pedal to the metal. First, you need to get more of your prospects responding to your inbound marketing, and then more of them into sales, and then more of them into repeat customers. Consider automation when these things are coming together.


Mistake #5: Disseminating marketing messages too frequently

What's the problem?

You're bombarding potential customers with too many messages just because you finally have the horsepower to do so.

Automating your communication to prioritize volume over meaningful connections can ruin a potential relationship before it even begins. Constant automated messaging comes off as needy and can get annoying to the point where your customers no longer want anything to do with your company.

How can you fix it?

It's easy to go overboard with automation, which can result in subscriber fatigue and spamming. Spam is a word that comes with a lot of baggage in the online world. So, brands should make sure to monitor their automated messaging processes for any misfires.

Instead of sending out too many messages too frequently, you should leverage the power of automation to nudge your leads along the path to purchase. Serve customers with relevant content at each stage of the buyer cycle through the right channel so you can keep them moving towards conversion.

To explain this better, let's take a look at Nissan. The company knows when its customers' vehicles are due for maintenance, and they know that this is the perfect time to contact these customers. They waited for their opportunity to pitch any services they might have available and pounced at the right time and place.

Nissan reminderSource


Mistake #6: Using marketing automation's superpowers just for emails

What's the problem?

You're not taking full advantage of all the features your funnel software offers to maximize efficiency.

While email marketing is still a powerful tool, don't use your marketing automation software as if it were just another email platform. You'll be missing out on tons of other features that can greatly improve engagement, conversion, and user retention. It's just a matter of putting the right combination of tools and processes together in order to see results — and this is where many companies fall short.

How can you fix it?

Examine and get familiar with all the features of your marketing automation tool. Take time to learn how they all work. Wherever possible, take measures to automate your processes.

While some automation programs can get you started and help you get your feet wet, chances are that you'll soon need to step up your game and get a bit more advanced. In case you find yourself falling behind on specific tasks that you feel could have been easily automated, it might be time to search for a more feature-rich platform.


Mistake #7: Putting too much focus on the wrong metrics

What's the problem?

You're relying on just one or two high-performing metrics to measure your marketing automation's success.

When evaluating the success of your eCommerce marketing automation, it's easy to obsess over one high-performing metric because it's the one you've chosen to highlight. But remember that this is just one part of an intricate story — and unless you're doing it deliberately, you can end up ignoring other equally or more critical factors.

For example, say you have two email campaigns. One has an open rate of 60%, and another has an open rate of 40%.

Now, if you're keeping score based on open rates, it may seem like the first campaign was more effective. That is until you look at the click-through rates. If only a tiny percentage of the people who opened the first email followed the link, whereas half of those who opened the second one did, then the second campaign is actually the more successful one.

How can you fix it?

When it comes to picking metrics, you can pick literally any number. But some will be more important than others. To ensure that your strategy is on track and achieving desired results, it is essential first to identify the metrics that matter most for meeting company goals. Then, track multivariate data through a variety of KPIs to ensure your automated campaigns are on point.


Wrapping Up

Marketing automation is a powerful tool that can boost your marketing efforts and keep your business running smoothly. However, you must implement it with care. Automation mistakes are easily made and often come in the form of simple traps that can sabotage your overall effort.