Most businesses have heard of marketing or sales automation, and they agree that it sounds nice, but they are so used to doing things the way they've always done them, that they don't consider implementing it. Fortunately, getting started with automation has never been easier.
There are some popular misconceptions about marketing automation that stop businesses and entrepreneurs from getting started with it. This should clear some of those up so that you can start on your path to automated lead-generation and more time to focus on what matters.
10) It's Robotic and Impersonal
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The most common argument I hear against marketing automation is that businesses don't want to sound "like robots" to their prospects and customers, but that is no problem at all. In fact, automation allows you to segment and personalize your communication to make it MORE personal.
Whether your marketing is automated or not, your marketing materials only come off as robotic as your wording dictates. By tracking and personalizing every prospect's messages, you are able to send the right messages, to the right people, at the right time, through the right channel.
Given you can't manually personalize every customer or client's communications (especially if you sell products), automation actually empowers you to send MORE personal and tailored messaging, in a way that has never been possible before.
9) It's Expensive
While there will always be premium-priced options for any product service, you can achieve successful and effective marketing automation for very reasonable prices. As your business and sales pipeline grows, you will always have the opportunity to grow and maintain a positive ROI.
There comes a point in every business when it's time to scale. Given your #1 resource (time) is limited, automation provides the crucial service of giving you back that precious resource. It saves your time from continuously focusing on social media, on-boarding, lead nurturing, and more.
While providers such as Marketo or Hubspot cost over $1000/month, you have literally hundreds of more affordable options including ClickFunnels and ActiveCampaign. To be fair, saving time and scaling your lead-generation are so valuable that many price points can be justified.
One great presentation delivered via online video, entirely automated, can circumvent normal distribution channels, sell direct to consumers, and be a self-operating income machine.
8) It's Complicated and Technical
This may have been the case once-upon-a-time, but we are well past those days. Not only are platforms and user-interfaces very user-friendly, but the entire purpose of automation to make your marketing and life easier.
Do you need to send a welcome email series? Post on social media? Onboard new customers or clients? Segment messaging to website visitors that took different actions? Marketing automation allows you to automate all of these important processes and more in as little as a week, or even a day.
You will not need to hire new specialized staff, and marketing automation may even replace your marketing agency or some of your existing staff. That being said, working with professionals always helps. Get in touch or apply for a free strategy call if you'd like some help setting your automation up.
7) Set It and Forget It
We can all see that "automation" shares it's root meaning with the word "automatic", and while that's true, you don't want to set up your processes and then ignore them forever, aka "set and forget".
While automation is designed to save you time and make your sales process more efficient, it's extremely unlikely that your very first attempt to automate any process will be the best it can be.
The best word to describe why you can't "set and forget" is optimization. Even if you set up a great onboarding process or email welcome series, you can never be sure that your first go-round is the best way it can be done. It's a simple matter of testing for effectiveness, and it's easy to do as well.
The short story is that markets and customers change with time, and so should your messaging.
6) It's a Luxury
Unless you have found a way to stop the clock, then your time is limited, as is mine, which is exactly why anything that saves your time from doing repetitive tasks should be taken advantage of.
Instead of hiring an agency or an army of marketing assistants to run your marketing and sales tasks, you could pay a few hundred dollars for an automation service to do all those tasks for you. Hiring unnecessary staff sounds like the real luxury to me.
"We're getting along fine" and "we don't need it right now" are fine and dandy reasons to delay marketing automation, but you don't need shoes to run a mile either, but they sure make things easier.
5) It's a Silver Bullet
The best things automation provides your business with are efficiency and optimization. This means it serves primarily to help, but not to fix all problems or save flawed businesses.
If you're already making sales, marketing automation can help you make more sales in less time, but it cannot save your business if you have a weak offer, poor product quality, or bad strategy.
Automating a weak business will help some, but it's like taking workout supplements without working out, or buying premium gasoline for a car that doesn't need it. You need to have taken step #1 for step #2 to be effective. Step #1 is having a business with value to the marketplace.
4) It's Only for Big Business
Another argument against automation is "but we're just a small business with only a few clients". Marketing automation is not reserved for when you're more established, it's how you get there.
In fact, smaller businesses have many advantages over "bigger" ones such as agility, nimbleness, speed of implementation, low cost of project/campaign failure, and more. We've already discussed how affordability is not the issue, but it will take a bit of time to set up your automation.
No matter the size of your business, I'll assume you have a way to find prospects, a way to convince them that you're useful, a way to sell them something, and a way to follow up. Every one of those steps can be automated to save you time and grow your leads, sales, customers, and clients.
3) It's a One-Way Channel
Similar to the (false) claim that marketing automation is robotic or impersonal, some people feel that it is too much of a one-way street, with your business yelling into a megaphone and that's that.
However, segmentation has advanced greatly, and there are opportunities for interaction at nearly every step. You can run surveys and send them tailored content according to their answers.
You can tailor your messaging and content based on their responses, purchases, actions, pages visited, emails opened, videos viewed, Facebook pages "liked" and much more. This makes your customer relationship interactive and gives prospects a very big say in the messaging you send them.
2) It's For New Prospects Only
This is a common myth, not only of marketing automation, but of customer relationships as a whole. The myth is that once a prospect buys, the job of your marketing and sales efforts is over.
However, the truth is that acquiring a customer is ONLY THE FIRST STEP in establishing your customer relationship. As a bit of general marketing truth, identifying buyers and acquiring customers is the most important action of any business, so much so that many successful businesses willingly takes losses on their up-front or introductory products to do so.
In automation as in business as a whole, the phrase "the money is in the follow-up" holds true. Fortunately, marketing automation makes the follow-up step infinitely easier and expandable.
1) It's Just Fancy Email Marketing
While it's undeniable that email is a big part of marketing automation, automation serves your business by doing much more than just sending emails. A short list of other tasks includes:
...and that's just to name a few of its "non-email" tasks. The truth is that marketing automation is not another word for email, but simply the idea of simplifying your processes.
Automation is any way you can set up systems to make your tasks more efficient. Set an alarm clock? You're automating waking up. Driving on cruise control? You're automating your driving.