Three deadly marketing automation mistakes – and what to do about them

Pratik Dholakiya is the founder of Growfusely, a content marketing agency specialising in content and data-driven SEO. He regularly speaks at various conferences about SEO, Content Marketing, and Entrepreneurship. Pratik has spoken at the 80th Annual Conference of the Florida Public Relations Association, Accounting and Finance Show, Singapore, NextBigWhat’s UnPluggd, IIT-Bombay, SMX Israel, SEMrush Meetup, MICA, IIT-Roorkee, and other major events. As a passionate SEO and content marketer, he shares his thoughts and knowledge in publications like Search Engine Land, Search Engine Journal, Entrepreneur Magazine, Fast Company, The Next Web, YourStory, and Inc42, to name a few. He can be found at Twitter @DholakiyaPratik.

Marketing automation is a relatively new concept which can work magic for businesses of all backgrounds. However, of the companies who invest, many fail to maximize their return from that investment, or even utilize marketing automation technology to its full capacity. The truth is many of the ineffective strategies boil down to several common mistakes.

In this post, we will discuss some of the most frequently-committed blunders and how to fix them. Let’s dive in.

Not segmenting email lists

This is one of the most common mistakes that will kill your ROI. Perhaps the biggest advantage in today’s marketing mix is, you have the means to put the right content to the most interested eyes. According to a study by the Direct Marketing Association, segmented and targeted emails make up for 58% of all revenue. Throughout your database of leads, your prospects will inevitably be in different situations. You must keep up on these insights and divide your lists accordingly.

There are many ways to segment your email lists. In addition to demographics, you will need a firm understanding of where people are in terms of the buyer’s cycle in order to target and automate emails properly. If you have certain people who have been long-term customers, you will need to approach correspondence in a much different way than you to would someone who has just signed up.

For B2B companies, chances are, you have clientele across a plethora of industries and organization types. Therefore, your messages must speak directly to your leads’ line of work.

Using Hubspot’s Visual Workflows App, you can automatically group your email recipients with segmentation logic based on previous interactions. In turn, you avoid the long, tedious task of sorting your emails one by one.

Focusing on selling instead of nurturing

Barraging your audience with automated promotions is a surefire way to end up in the trash folder. Going back to the buyer’s cycle, you need to be sensitive to where your prospects are and emphasize education in your messages.

During the awareness stage, you want to address common issues and grievances related to your industry. Start by sending content that showcases your expertise in the field and that you are trying to help them, not explicitly sell to them. This can be things like whitepapers, e-books, or even links to articles you’ve produced.

When the prospect is in the consideration stage, you should provide more in-depth resources to help them learn more about their potential purchase. Think about sending hands-on material like instructional videos or product specs. These automated messages need to be crafted with the thought that recipients are committing to solving their problems and are looking for all the necessary information to help pull the trigger.

For the conversion stage, you need to focus your messages on validating their decision. This can be post-purchase surveys, product recommendations, or simply a message asking if they have any further questions.

If you run an e-commerce website, conversion is all the more important. You absolutely need to send automatic follow-up emails after every abandoned cart. Bayard Institute recently gathered 37 different studies on cart abandonment rate and found the average cart abandonment rate is nearly 70%!

The ecommerce platform underlying the website makes all the difference here; a full-featured one like Shopify will ensure your shopping cart gets all the required functions right:

The purpose of marketing automation is to guide people down the sales funnel in a seamlessly helpful way. Using it solely for the promotional aspect will render your strategy much less effective.

Overlooking internal communication

An extremely common misconception about marketing automation is you only need to set it up and the platform will take care of the rest. There is A LOT more to it. Marketing automation is meant to cover nearly every aspect of your business’s online experience, from your website all the way to social media. It will get out of control in a hurry if you fail to keep frequent tabs on your campaigns.

And that needs people from all departments to manage tools and communicate results with one another.

You will quickly learn that marketing automation is a constant game of analyzing every reaction to your actions and pinpointing roadblocks across the board. Before you even begin implementation, be sure you have a reliable internal system in place. Monitoring progress will likely require input and contributions from every department.

Project management and collaboration tools like Workzone are built for these kinds of tasks – you can ensure everyone stays on the same page throughout every aspect of a campaign. From content creation to customer support, you need 100% involvement so nothing slips through the cracks.

At the end of the day, marketing automation does a lot to save time and resources when it comes to monotonous tasks. However, you need to be watching the whole process like a hawk to interpret results and plan your next move.


Automated marketing is a true taste of the future in business operations. While it’s still very new, it can take a good amount of time to establish a rhythm. Do you best to avoid these common mistakes and you will see your ROI increase.

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