Why Marketing Automation Still Requires a Human Touch
Imagine you have decided to up your digital marketing game and purchase a sales and marketing automation system for your company to help increase your lead conversion and boost your sales. You are probably feeling pretty hopeful that this system will be the change that’s needed to make a difference in your sales. If your business has been struggling to find a consistent method to nurture leads and close the deal, marketing automation systems can appear to be a seamless and efficient solution. And they really can be, as long as you understand some key points about the way they work.
As with anything in your business, you and your staff need to be sufficiently trained on any new program or process in order for it to be effectively used. While marketing automation systems do a lot of things–automatically, there are still elements that rely on the human for it to work the way it should. While watching training videos and reading through training documents is great to get the basics of the system, it shouldn’t replace training sessions in the actual software, with your team, and possibly with your new program representative. The last thing you want to do is send a bunch of videos to your staff to watch on their own time, and then throw them into the new system blindly the next day, expecting them to run with it. That’s a recipe for confusion, time wasted, and mistakes. Take the time to do in-person trainings, and if you can have all of your staff together at the same time–all the better. Ensure everyone has time to ask questions, test out the new environment, become familiar with the process, and execute test campaigns or messages. When you are ready to launch your marketing campaigns, you can then be assured that everyone in your company is on the same page and fully understands how the system works.
Your Marketing Automation Software Becomes Your New BFF
When you first start using your system and launching campaigns, emails, and messages to your leads, you need to be watching it all closely. This is when you will learn and understand the idiosyncrasies of the system and ensure mistakes aren’t inadvertently made. For example, let’s say you are using a text messaging system to execute your campaign. You entice the lead with a teaser text and ask them to reply ‘FREE DEMO’ to receive your fantastic offer. But the person replies ‘freedemo’ without a space, or ‘free demolition’, thanks to autocorrect. The system will not recognize those replies as the code word to kick off the next step in the campaign and it will do nothing. You as the smart human, need to be watching the replies and when this happens, you will need to manually add the person to your campaign. Not a big deal, but something to be aware of so that your prospects don’t sit waiting for a demo they wanted, but never receive.
Another area you need to watch is opt-outs. We have all been there: we get a spammy text or we no longer want to receive texts from a company and we type the words that we think will put an end to the nonsense. But those words can vary among different people. Most people will text ‘STOP’, and the system is usually coded to automatically opt them out of future messages. But what about when they reply, ‘STOP’ with a stop sign emoji right next to it, or ‘please don’t send this anymore’, which would be what my very polite Mother would write. Or they write, ‘I don’t want this’, or ‘you have the wrong person’. These are usually outside of the system’s parameters and the person will continue along the campaign and will receive the next text in the automation which might say something like, ‘We see you haven’t taken advantage of our free demo yet, when can we schedule you? Offer ends soon!’, which will only serve to anger the person who thought they opted-out and now you’ve earned yourself a Smarmy Reputation. So make friends with your system, get to know it well, and learn to adapt to its little quirks.
Use Language Your Prospects Would Use
If you go with a system that is tailored towards a certain industry the campaign messaging may come with pre-loaded messages to use in text and email. But look through the auto messages and ask yourself: would that message resonate with me if I received it? Does this language make sense for my business? For example, the pre-loaded text may use the term ‘appointment’ to describe what you are offering. But if you are a fitness business that is offering free class demos, the word appointment may confuse your audience and really isn’t the right word. The communication and campaign are not helpful if people are confused and have to text back ‘what do you mean by appointment?’ When necessary, customize the messages to your industry and ensure the wording makes sense for your audience.
Emojis Do Have Their Place
Even though emojis conjure up thoughts of silly text messages with your friends, they do have a place in modern marketing. HubSpot recently shared an article which demonstrated that including emojis in your marketing communications actually increases open and click-through rates. If you are using text messages in your campaign you know the challenges of texts: you lose tone of voice and abbreviations give a feeling of being rushed. A relevant and well-placed emoji can actually soften your message, make it more human and fun, and increase the chance that you will get a response.
In conclusion, automating your marketing efforts can be effective, time efficient, and increase your lead conversion rates. However you will need to keep the above points in mind, and that no system, no matter how smart, can fully replace human communication. So let that human shine through in your digital marketing strategy and your prospects will feel more of a connection to you and your brand.