Marketing automation is a big part of the way the internet conducts business. It’s wrapped into every part of the customer journey when deployed properly.
For a company of any size, these efforts can help scale beyond the constraints of your staff, time and money. Whether you’re just starting out or taking your efforts to the next level, having a clearly defined message and goals is the first step.
Before proceeding, it’s worth considering the ugly side of automation. Marketing automation can leave someone with a bad taste in their mouth from the onset. If a customer expects human and is met with a canned message, it could lead to a negative experience with your brand.
One of my least favorite things that exist on the internet is LinkedIn’s ability to trigger an automated message that says “Congrats on your work anniversary!” or “Happy Birthday!” These well-intended messages are not just a nuisance, they make me less interested in speaking to the person sending it.
As you architect your messaging, be sure it resonates beyond the people sitting around the table. Without further delay, here is my list of ways to maintain humanity throughout the marketing automation process.
1. Ensure your customers have adequate ways to self-identify. What are your customer archetypes? For me, they include cancer survivor/patient, caregiver, friend of the organization, and health care professional. If I wanted to go a layer deeper, I could ask what stage of the treatment process the cancer survivor/patient was in. I could also ask the caregiver if they are a mother, father, spouse or other. You won’t have too many chances at obtaining this information, so be sure to distill what you’re looking to find out about leads on signup forms and preference pages.
2. Segment your customers and then segment them again. Having a single signup form on your website is the biggest missed opportunity related to learning more about your customers. When it comes to talking to them, tailoring the message based to be more suited to a specific audience will lead to higher open rates and conversions. Make your customers feel special rather than part of a herd.
3. Give customers an easy out. There is nothing worse than emailing cold leads. Maintaining a list of people who have unsubscribed is equally if not more important than those who have subscribed. You don’t want to create a negative experience by continuing to communicate to people who have moved on from your brand. It’s not you, it’s them. There is also no reason to pay for them to sit on a mailing list.
4. Take customers out of a marketing cycle at the appropriate milestones. There is nothing more embarrassing or annoying than continuing to pitch someone when they’ve said yes or no at an earlier date. Setting automations and triggers to turn off things like a drip email sequence or retargeting campaign when someone has converted is essential.
5. Give customers a moment to breathe. Attention is the oxygen of the Internet and marketers are hungry to capitalize on the moment. While instant emails are nice, there may be wisdom in sending it hours or days later. If a customer is engaging with you on a Friday night, perhaps an email on Monday morning is more successful than one sent over the weekend.
6. Be consistent throughout the customer journey. If you’re spending time and money on the services needed to deliver your marketing, then you need to be thorough. Just like with the possibilities of the preferences page and signup forms, you need to create specific landing pages and forms for your customers. Really bring it home with a tailored success page that speaks to them the same way the opt-in page did. When all is said and done, do you want to send them to a generic page or one that celebrates their decision to convert along with them?
7. Put yourself through the process. With all of the possible configurations out there, it’s easy to move on to another aspect of automation before closing the loop on another. Spending more time in production mode will pay dividends when it comes time to go live.
Marketing automation can take your business to new levels along with some unexpected consequences, both good and bad. By making a plan and sticking to it, your customers will delight in their experience with your brand.