By Dolly Howard

The Problem with Email Marketing Automation Today

email_marketing_automation_exampleIn today's marketing world, email automation is becoming more and more commonplace. It is a helpful tool that takes a lot of stress off marketers by automatically sending out follow up emails to leads. Sounds great, right? The problem is that many email marketing automation strategies tend to have a binary approach in the form of a logic tree relying solely on "Yes or No" actions taken by the lead within one email. Additionally, the automated emails are sent out to an entire database of leads making offers general, self-promotional and boring to the receiver. In short, email marketing automation has become a tool of convenience, but not necessarily lead intelligence.

The Next Step in Email Marketing Automation

lead_nurturing_email_marketing_automationThe next step for marketers now is to take this convenient, frankly awesome, tool and turn it into something that really helps you and your company learn about your leads' needs. This way you will be able to not only follow up with each person, but make each individual lead feel as though your emails are tailored to their specific needs, wants, and desires.  When you take this approach you will have a clearer understanding of where your leads are in the buying cycle and what you can give to them to encourage a move toward the bottom of the buying cycle.

So, what do you need to do first in order to adjust your strategy? Here are three simple things you can do to improve your email marketing automation and lead nurturing strategy:

  1. Build customer personas: You should have a solid of understanding of who your best customers are, what triggers their interests, and how they measure success. A role at a company is not sufficient. Understanding the ins and outs of your target personas will make personalizing content for them much easier. If you are not sure how to do this, read our free personas ebook to learn how. When you have these personas, you can start segmenting your leads by the properties attributed to each one.

  2. Understand your sales cycle: Get with your sales team today and talk to them about the buying process of leads and customers. What kinds of questions are they asking the sales team? What is the pain point identified most often? Is it a long or short cycle? Once you have this information, conduct a content audit and make sure the offers answer the questions your leads are asking. Then, analyze what content your contacts are downloading most often and decide what they need next. If you know the questions your leads are going to ask, you can be proactive and answer their queries rather than hoping they see value in a free consultation after the 35th email sent out to them. By understanding the sales cycle, you take the work off of your contact and build trust for your company’s sales team.

  3. Engage and personalize each email communication: A problem with email marketing automation strategy is that it only focuses on a small piece of the puzzle: self-promotion. If you personalize each to the stage of the sales cycle your lead is in, what the behavior is like on your website and the needs of each persona, you willsee success. No, not every email will talk about a consultation, demo, or free quote, but that is alright. You know based on previous information your leads are not ready for that offer right now anyway.

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Dolly Howard

About the author

Dolly Howard was formerly Director of Marketing for SmartBug Media. Previously she worked as a senior marketing consultant leading SmartBug Media clients in strategy for lead conversion improvement and total marketing ROI. As a past HubSpot employee, Dolly is excited to share her knowledge and help enterprise companies grow their business. Read more articles by Dolly Howard.

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