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The Pitfalls of Email Marketing Automation

Previously we discussed the rise of email marketing automation and while marketing automation is great for the busy marketer there are some pitfalls.

Everybody is busy these days and automation makes sense for many. We talked previously about the various ways you can automate your marketing:

  • Welcome Emails
  • Lead Nurturing for B2B Businesses
  • Promotional Series

There are probably other ways you have automated your processes to make sure you’re marketing to your customer effectively without running your team into the ground with too much work.

Today, we’re going to look at a few of the pitfalls of marketing automation because it’s good to understand where the trouble is so we can avoid it as best as we can.

Failure to Update Automated Emails

To save time while still getting response we often create automated emails. These programs are great because they take care of themselves. We set everything up once and then let things go. That’s the point of automation. You can set it and forget it, but this can also be a pitfall of marketing automation.

Each of these emails needs to have the design and the content updated. It’s easy to let the automated emails go for months or even years without making any updates.

Now, it doesn’t make sense to change things for the sake of change so the best way to make changes is to have a schedule for addressing the automated email programs. This could be quarterly. Look at the performance. Talk with your team about ideas for changes. Test the changes for a couple weeks or a month and roll out and repeat again in a few months.

Lack of Email List Cleaning

A second item that gets forgotten with email marketing is list cleaning. Part of the automation with email marketing is that you don’t have to necessarily worry about the list. People sign up and people unsubscribe. These changes are automated so you don’t need to worry about it.

But even with a process like this there are manual changes that need to be made or at least setup to happen from time to time.

The first change that needs to happen is to clean off the list of undeliverable emails. These are email addresses that the system is no longer able to reach. ISPs will track the number of times you try to send messages to these addresses and if that number adds up you could get in trouble.

Second, some people will click the spam button on you instead of the unsubscribe option. Maybe the person didn’t see the unsubscribe link in your email or maybe they were just in a bad mood. These folks should show up in the undeliverable area, but sometimes they’ll show up as reporting spam. Either way, make sure they are removed from the list (if your ESP doesn’t do this automatically).

Inability to Update Software and Services

Over time, email marketing software and other marketing services need to be updated.

The world is always changing, but we tend to get used to the way things are and often we don’t realize what we’re missing by not going through an update.

Now, email partners should be on top of providing updates to the email system, but because processes can get automated it’s easy to forget about updates.

Setup a schedule in your marketing department to analyze the software and services you’re using. This could be every six months or a year. Make sure you’re using the latest version of the software. You’ll be better able to take advantage of updates in features and keep your program safe from any potential security threats.

Final Thoughts on Email Marketing Automation

Email marketing automation is great and necessary, but there are pitfalls. When things get simple we tend to forget that we need to keep a human eye on the processes to make sure things are running as efficiently as possible.

Keep on eye on the three areas above and you should be able to avoid the email marketing automation pitfalls that are common.

Best of luck this year with all your holiday email marketing initiatives!

Scott Hardigree
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  • by Melicerte
    Posted November 6, 2012 9:50 am 0Likes

    I can add that you should monitor the reputation of the IP address of your mail servers by making sure it is not blocklisted in any important DNSBL / RBL. In my company, we use an online tool called RBLWatch to monitor our IP addresses reputation automatically and increase the deliverability of our emails.

  • by Melicerte
    Posted November 6, 2012 10:15 am 0Likes

    Hi Scott, thanks for your feedback and for your insightful post!

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