5 marketing automation missteps and misconceptions

By Lisa Hirst Carnes | August 2017

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This month we’ve been talking about marketing automation. As we’ve pointed out in other posts, marketing automation is amazing because it saves so much time and helps you meet and exceed your marketing goals. That being said, if in the wrong hands, marketing automation can go from a time-saving tool to a brand destroyer. Like most things, there’s a fine balance to strike and best practices to adhere to in order for you to get it right.

Don’t make one of these 5 marketing automation missteps.

1. Not understanding your audience

Most marketing automation platforms encourage you to build out personas. These fictional representations of your audience bring both clarity and inspiration. While it might be tempting to skip this step and just start sending emails and setting up workflows, resist the urge. This type of audience development is paramount because it helps identify main goals, challenges, content offers and much more.

2. Not segmenting your lists.

Email list segmentation will reduce email churn because you’ll be sending tailored messages that recipients care about and find value in. Without it, your messaging will fall flat and come off as generic and a waste of time. Read about how this can even land you in the spam folder (read about this risk), hurting your deliverability rates.

3. Sending too many emails

Marketing automation makes sending email super easy. But be judicious in your use. If you over-communicate, your audience will either unsubscribe from your email or stop paying attention to what you have to say. Too many emails can even be damaging to your brand.

Give your audience a chance to breathe. Email frequency depends on factors including your industry, what you’re trying to communicate and your content offers. If in doubt, a general rule of thumb is to limit your messages to once every 10 days.

4. Not knowing when to stop

Marketing automation platforms are great because they allow you to grade and score your leads based on behavior and demographics (use our free guide for how to do so). If someone has never, ever clicked an email or  told you “no, they’re not interested” remove them from the workflow.

5. Not involving an inbound strategy

Marketing automation relies on a solid inbound strategy. Recognize that you can’t do marketing automation without content. Valuable content is the cornerstone of marketing automation. You can’t simply send your leads to your old, tired website. It’s going to take some effort. 

So, roll up your sleeves and start writing. Focusing on creating valuable content with clear calls-to-action will not only lay the groundwork for a successful marketing campaign, if optimized properly, it will also increase your organic traffic. 

We're proof of that: we quadrupled our blog traffic in two years and have seen just how much that has impacted our business. 


Once you get into the thick of it, it becomes clear that marketing automation software doesn't do all the work for you. You need to listen to your audience, build up your content and hone in on your approach in order to really take advantage of it. Once you do, you'll see just how powerful the combination of creativity, strategy and technology can be. 

Topics: Marketing Strategy, Digital, Marketing Automation

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