When you’ve been working with a marketing automation platform for a while you begin to notice a few things: Sometimes they’re good, sometimes… not so good.
Good marketing automation is all about timing and content.
It’s when an email is just there waiting in my inbox first thing in the morning, or when social media schedules have been worked on tirelessly to reach me just when I’m on my boring commute home.
It’s when blog posts have been scheduled to hit my screen just as I head on my lunch break, or when that reminder email from that abandoned shopping cart pokes its way into my email box to tempt me just as I unwind in front of the TV.
Marketing automation works best when it’s non-intrusive, informative (because you’ve paid attention to my browsing and know that the content is exactly what I am interested in) and I don’t feel any overt pressure or push to get me to the buying stage (just a little nudge).
I know how many hours, days, week and even months those marketers work so that they seem so effortless, and I appreciate it. I like those brands, because they are approachable, not pushy, but still they remain in the forefront of my mind. It’s a balancing act, and a difficult one at that.
But then, there’s the dark side of marketing automation…
The Dark Side of Marketing Automation
When you’ve been working with an automation platform for some time, you will undoubtedly also start to notice when things just aren’t right, and it makes you cringe and hide in a corner.
So here’s the thing about marketing automation, generators, auto-responder emails, robots etc. They’re the best tools that you’ll ever use when used correctly. But people don’t use them correctly, which has meant that it’s gotten such a bad name for itself.
It really is shocking how many people who automate everything, rely solely on generators to produce compelling titles,
Marketing automation (and the myriad of other tools that go along with it) is a far cry from a “build it and they will” come type deal. You can’t just schedule your emails, blog posts and social media sharing and then just walk away from it.
Marketing automation requires constant care, monitoring and awareness for it to work well. It’s supposed to work as a tool that will compliment and supplement your marketing strategy, not as a replacement for your entire marketing strategy altogether.
And when someone doesn’t get this right, it can be really annoying. Unsubscribe kinda annoying. Bleugh kinda annoying. Sending angry emails, posts and tweets kinda annoying.
Do You Want to be an Awful Marketer??
Does this sound like your absolute dream? Do you hate it when customers that enjoy your content? Shy away from your growing email list? Think you’re earning just a little too much money?
Well, I’m here to teach you how to completely suck at marketing automation! Just follow these steps.
Or, you know… don’t. (Seriously, please don’t follow these steps.)
Headlines Are From Generators, Not From Your Brain
Headlines are probably the most singularly important thing when it comes to content marketing. On average, 8 out of 10 people will read your headline, but only 2 out of 10 will continue to read the rest of your post.
That means your headline can potentially make or break you.
So, of course, don’t come up with an original one all by yourself.
Instead, type in your keyword into one of the many title generators out there and just use the first one that comes up.
Don’t change a thing. It’s probably perfect.
I mean, robots know everything, right?
They never make mistakes.
Let the generator handle this.
Nothing could go wrong.
Keywords Don’t Come From Your Brain Either
Selecting just the right keyword for your content is super important. It basically allows for people (and Google) to know what your content is about, and find it easily and quickly. The better (and often, more specific) your keyword, the more chance you have of people finding you through organic search results.
However, finding the perfect keyword for your blog post isn’t always easy, so it’s best if you check out the tools that are out there to help you out. For example, Google Adwords, Wordstream, Ubersuggest, Soovle and Freshkey can help you figure out what keywords will work best with your content.
So, of course, since it takes a lot of research, time, effort and analysis to really get the best keyword for your content, even when you use these tools, your best bet if you want to really suck at content marketing is to just choose any old word that pops up, such as “yellow” or “money”.
It’ll likely be a keyword that is very general, with tons of content already written about it, with very few people even searching for the term. Choosing these types of keywords will guarantee that no one will find your content.
Success!!! I guess?
Spam the Bejeebus Out of Them
Firstly, all you have to do is just automate the recipient’s name. That’s all the customization and personalization that you need. Or, sure, if that’s even too hard, just use some generic “to sir or madam” type salutation. People love those.
OH AND CAPITALIZE EVERYTHING.
Once you have that set up, you have to figure out how often you should email them and what you should include in your emails.
The 2 most common reasons people unsubscribe to emails is:
With marketing automation, you can now do both of these things at once!
When you first capture a lead, send them 3 emails in the first 10 minutes. Then another 2 within that hour. The next day, try and aim to get 5 emails to them and keep up this routine for a week.
Then don’t plan anything else. You can probably just leave it for a while.
But when you do finally decide to email them again, make sure that it’s for something completely unrelated. That side project that you started? I’m sure they want to hear about that. They signed up to comment on a post? Definitely send them a coupon.
Oh and don’t forget to not A/B test anything! Remember: You just set it and forget it, so what’s the point in testing for improvements?
Use Marketing Automation to Give You More Free Time to do Nothing
What would be the point of marketing automation if it didn’t free up your time? That’s the entire point, right?
As Ardath Albee from Marketing Interactions says:
“The beauty of marketing automation is that it can relieve marketers from manual tasks.”
And while she suggests that:
“this free time should be redirected into monitoring and refining, to continuously improvement the programs run by your marketing automation platform. Even if you’ve done the research and groundwork to create your content strategy, it’s still a ‘best guess’ until it’s in execution. With continuous improvements, marketing campaign performance can reach heights you might not have thought possible. Don’t settle for good enough when you’ve got the potential for greatness.”
I say: PIZZA PARTY.
Automate Messages Regardless of Timing
Obviously, if you’re not closely monitoring your automation, and tweaking and improving it as it’s in progress, you’re not going to go in there to change it up when something occurs that might make your content inappropriate.
For example, if you have a robot set up to leave comments plugging your dating service on all YouTube videos that mention “girls” in it, just go ahead and let that run even when news stories about missing girls appear.
Ahem – This guy – Ahem
That’s totally inappropriate and you’ll definitely get no more customers.
Natural disaster? Maybe you should just keep tweeting and sharing posts like nothing has happened. Concerned friends and family definitely won’t hate you.
Auto-Respond to Everything
Recently, a friend of mine applied for a job. She spent about half an hour tweaking her CV and then another 20 minutes on her cover letter, and then another 20 minutes on crafting the perfect opening email. She sent it off and was greeted with an almost instant reply.
In the email, the prospective employer in question asked for applicants to send in a sample of their work by writing a blog on a specific subject (one from the list that he suggested).
In her confusion, she asked me my opinion on the matter.
Of course, I told her that an auto-response to a well-crafted and time-consuming application was a great time saver for the employer, and that she should definitely give him much more of her time completely for free without so much as a single touch base with the actual human being behind the bot.
I mean, who could pass up such an awesome opportunity?
Weeks later I was really irritated after I clicked into a post, only to find the post was completely unrelated to the headline.
I really hate that.
Turned out, it was the same guy! My annoyance completely disappeared and I started trying to concoct ways that I could get a job with him. He just sounds so great.
Ok, Ok. I’m sure you’ve had enough of my sarcasm to last you a lifetime, so I’ll stop now.
But I hope I got my point across.
Marketing automation and other tools that we use to make our jobs as marketers a little bit easier are not meant as replacements for our time and energy. They require constant care, monitoring and adjustments.
Relying too heavily on marketing automation, generators and bots will get you nowhere.
The opinions and comments expressed above are designed to demonstrate to you guys just exactly why you should not be relying too heavily on marketing automation. Marketing automation will definitely make certain (more tedious) tasks a lot easier, but by freeing up your time with one particular job, you have to step up you game with other areas.
Game. Think of it like gaming.
Once you get to the next level, you don’t just sit back and relax. You step up your game and work even harder in order to get to the next level again. You need to hone your skills, become more complex, more creative and more determined than ever before.