I’m a big fan of automation, particularly as I hate having to do the same thing twice. I’ll go out of my way to avoid that scenario, which is why when autoresponders and email marketing came along well over a decade ago I decided that it would be a ‘good thing‘ to use them in my other business.
They’ve worked well over the years and continue to serve my clients regular doses of useful information that help them make sense of issues they have. They appreciate it and the business benefits.
But here’s the thing. I’ve noticed that as the use of this simplest form of marketing automation has increased over the years, the corresponding nurturing of those relationships has decreased. I’m sure the two are correlated as businesses assume that technology is now ‘taking care of the clients’ for them.
In the last couple of weeks I’ve been on the receiving end of two examples sitting at each extreme and, as a result, realised that there are only three rules we need to remember when it comes to marketing automation:
- Not everything in marketing can be automated
- At the end of every campaign is a human being
- It’s not just about email.
Let me share the two experiences I had.
In the first, I did the usual thing. You know you spot something online you’d like to learn more about so you share your name and email address to get access to it. It’s something I do at least once every day as I try to research the things I need to understand and the services to help me do things. I signed up for something that was from someone well respected in his field and who makes huge amounts of money as an ‘online marketer’. I received the information I needed; was sent (and opened and clicked) some nurturing emails that helped to clarify the information I’d already got. And then I get an email that says ‘I notice you’ve not bought ….. it would be great to know why ….. please let me know ……’.
So I did.
I replied to the email.
And then nothing …. not a thing … not even an automated follow up! And nothing since either.
Now, I don’t know about you. But to me, that just seems a little rude.
Perhaps it’s because I assumed he’d be like me. I mean, if someone ever contacts me as a result of a message I send out I always reply; even if it’s just to say thank you. Mostly though I reply to answer their question. The reason I do this is that I know there’s a human reading my email messages. A human being with needs and wants and expectations of me and my business and it’s up to me to appreciate that an email is just the start of the relationship.
Fast forward a week and I’m on another website sharing my contact details again!
Yes, I get the email; and I get the information, and then I get a phone call a couple of days later. Brilliant, the chap on the end of the phone can answer my questions and I’m able to schedule a demo of the software I’m looking at.
I appreciate that a phone call that early might be a little intrusive for some people, but you can always say ‘thanks, but no thanks’ if it’s still too soon.
Viewing both of these experiences in such close proximity to each other has made me review what I do with my clients and customers. I find myself considering important concepts like respect, trust, honesty and loyalty (me to them, as much as them to me). Marketing automation has to consider each of these, there is no one size fits all approach to the human race and human interaction.
So the next time you’re considering putting in a little bit of ‘marketing automation’, even if it’s a simple email auto-response system, think about the human being at the end of the campaign and make sure you plan for their interaction with you in other places and ways too.