12 Marketing Automation Mistakes You Must Avoid

Over the years, we’ve seen many businesses make these common mistakes when implementing marketing automation in their business.

Don’t let that be you!!!

Marketing Automation is the ability to automate repetitive activities in your business, particularly ones that you’d typically perform manually.

This saves you valuable time and allows businesses to keep and convert more leads with seamless follow up.

Let marketing automation be your friend, not your enemy!

Here are the 12 biggest mistakes made in marketing automation we’ve seen repeatedly over the years.

Marketing automation can truly help propel your business forward faster.

Read through the list and make sure you’re not making these common mistakes and if you are, all good, start doing something to address them.

1. Not Doing Anything!

Many businesses out there aren’t tapping into the power of marketing automation.

I get it, I’m a small business owner as well, and there is so much to do!

There is a never ending to do list!

One of the reasons why you went into business in the first place, is because of your expertise or the passion that you have.

Not because you wanted to be a marketing automation expert, right?!?!

There are often some common reasons why you’re not focusing on marketing automation right now.

Perhaps you don’t know where to start?

You don’t know how to make it happen?

You don’t have time?

Or you don’t think it will work in your business?

Whatever the case, I haven’t come across one business that Marketing Automation wouldn’t or hasn’t worked for.

We’ve seen this setup time and time again that by implementing marketing automation, it will help free up a business owner/team so they don’t have to manually do repetitive tasks anymore.

They can use technology to have those taken care of and not only that, keep and convert more leads, plus create more consistency in your business.

2. No Internal Ownership

Marketing automation regularly fails when there is no ownership internally.

Someone within the business must own or at least be ultimately responsible for marketing automation.

Yes, of course, you can outsource it/engage with experts to deliver this function for your business, however, to make it truly successful, you need someone internally to be the driving force.

This could, of course, be the owner of the business or someone else, it doesn’t matter who really, as long as it’s someone internally.

This is critical to increasing the likeliness of success.

This person needs to champion the need/benefits of marketing automation.

Plus, encourage others internally to adopt marketing automation throughout the business.

At the end of the day, this will allow more results to be achieved from automation.

We’ve worked with businesses that have someone being a champion internally and ones that have no one driving it.

Hands down without except, the business with the champion always gets greater results than the one that doesn’t.

3. Starting with The Wrong Thing!

Implementing any type of automation is exciting, however so often we see businesses focus on implementing the wrong thing.

As a result, they don’t get any quick wins that will really impact their business.

Plus, they have wasted precious energy, time and money.

Not to forget the lost opportunities!

It can be very disheartening and may reduce confidence that marketing automation isn’t going to work in a business like yours.

When the issue was primarily what you implemented didn’t get the win you really needed.

Don’t make this mistake.

What does your business really need now?

Focus on that first!

4. Automating Something Not Proven

We often have businesses come to us wanting to setup different automation in their business, however with no evidence or justification that it’s actually needed.

One example of this is setup a membership site.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the idea of leveraging time and resources to deliver value to multiple people at the one time.

However, in a lot of cases, the concept is NOT proven and a heap of time, effort and money are put in and you haven’t even sold it yet!

We are big fans of building when financially needed, is possible.

If it’s a brand new idea and no one has expressed interest, then it might be worthwhile holding off until you can prove that it’s needed (e.g. 20 people have clicked a link to find out more info or something like that).

Another example that’s proven, if you have 20 clients who need to book in a strategy session with you every month and this is being currently being done manually (taking hours every month to coordinate schedules).

This is proven and absolutely justifies investigating what’s involved in setting this automation up.

Make sure you don’t get into the trap of automating something that you haven’t proven that you need yet.

5. Not Being Clear on The Outcome Before You Start

You’ve worked out what you want to setup, it’s imperative to understand what outcome/goal you’re looking to achieve before you start.

When do you want to achieve that outcome by? 

This allows you to go back and measure after it’s implemented, was the automation successful or not?

Looking at the example of automating schedule of appointments, let’s say your outcome will be to reduce the scheduling time by at least half by automating it.

Before automating it took 10 hours manually per month to schedule appointments with clients.

After the first month following implementation, you’ve measured it takes now only 1 hour per month!

Did you achieve the outcome you set out?


Failure to get clear on the outcome will make it more challenging to determine whether it was worth automating or not.

This could be measured in hours, the number of leads, number of sales, higher retention rate etc.

6. Implementing Too Many Things At Once

The ever-growing list of things to do in your business can include a number of items you can automation.

It doesn’t mean that you can or should automate everything or do it all at once.

In fact, the businesses that are truly successful with implementing automation in their businesses, they are focusing on building one or two initiatives at a time.

Oftentimes, when you take on so many things at once you don’t do them well, you can feel very overwhelmed and regularly you don’t finish them.

In addition, the learning curve can also be too great!

For example, if you implement 20 new processes in your business at the one time.  Can you imagine how big the learning curve is for you and potentially your team to successfully adopt these new processes?

Implementing too many things at once can be too daunting and overwhelming for most people.

Be mindful how many things you’re taking on.

7. Thinking You’ll Do It Yourself….

Marketing automation is incredibly powerful, you see that and you are planning on doing it yourself.

We believe in empowering small businesses and we’re absolutely all for that!

However, we see a lot of businesses get stuck implementing it themselves with no support at all.

Then 3, 6, 12+ months goes by and you still haven’t launched anything 🙁

Not only have you wasted valuable time, but potentially you’ve lost leads, lost sales and still spent hours and even days doing things the manual hard and slow way.

We typically see this happen for a few main reasons:

#1 There are competing priorities and typically everything else gets prioritized first.

#2 Secondly, you don’t know what to do or how to do it.

Remember, it’s ok to reach out for help.

Don’t let another month go by if you can avoid it, this can be more costly for your business doing nothing than taking action.

8. Leads Getting Lost

A lot of businesses go to great efforts to capture new leads in their business, including running paid ads for new prospects.

Unfortunately, their follow up is poor or non-existent and leads go cold and get lost L

Marketing automation allows you to seamlessly follow up with leads.

However, you must make sure leads don’t get lost amongst automation and suddenly your communication with them stops.

It can take months before a prospect is willing/ready to buy from you.

If you’re marketing follow up is only in place for the first week, then you don’t speak to them again, you will easily be forgotten.

When your leads are ready to buy, they can’t remember you and they potentially will purchase from one of your competitors.

9. Overcomplicating It

It’s easy to excite by all the possible opportunities to implement automation in your business.

Please, pretty please….

Make sure you get the basics right first…

And… Keep It Simple!!!

Get some wins and then you can improve what you’ve got setup.

Overcomplicating automation can lead to delays in launching – which could cost you more in labour costs, lost leads and lost sales.

It can also make it more confusing for beginners to embrace and make it harder/more costly to setup.

Ask yourself the question, do you really need all of it?

What’s the bare minimum you need to launch this?

Two common reasons why businesses get caught up over-complicating are:

#1 Designing for all possible scenarios

Sometimes businesses get caught up designing automation for every possible case that may exist.  When actually, if you set it up to cater for 95% of scenarios, then you can deal with the 5% outside of that, you can implement faster.

#2 Using cool features

Yep, there are some cool things you can do with marketing automation – like knowing if someone has watched an offer in a video, clicked on a link, attended a webinar and the list goes on.  If you’re getting excited by those features, seriously consider if you had that information what would you do with it?  Also, do you have the numbers to justify setting this up?  If you only have a handful of leads come through your underperforming funnel right now, does it warrant spending hours setting up some cool feature?  Probably not.

Try not to get caught up over-complicating it.

Check out a recent article we did on lean launching.

Focus on getting some quick wins first and going from there.

10. Feeling Stressed Out About Technology

As mentioned earlier, you’re in business because you’re an expert of what you do or hopefully, at the least, you’re passionate about what it is that you do.

Technology/apps/plugins/software – whatever you want to call it, can often be a very overwhelming and stressful experience for non-techy people.

I get it.

There are parts of my business that completely stress me out.

For me, one of those is dealing with bookkeeping.

I avoid it, I procrastinate on it, and at the end of the day, no action happens.

One of the most freeing experiences I had in my business was outsourcing this function.

Yes, I understand the fundamentals of bookkeeping, but I no longer have to deal with the stress of what do I need to do to record all my financial entries every month.

What a relief!

Plus, I get to focus more on what I do best!

You may also relate to my experience with bookkeeping.

Or maybe using technology to automate your marketing.

You know you want to put something in place but you’re completely stopped by technology.

We see this all the time, so it’s important that you as a business owner make some decisions about.

Here are the main options to implement marketing automation in your business:

#1 Don’t do anything (not advised of course!)

#2 Learn and do it yourself

#3 Get someone on your team and they do it for you

#4 Do it internally (you/someone on your team) and get guidance/support

#5 Get external help to do it for you 

You’ve got to factor in your budget, resources, effort, team availability and when you want to get this done etc.

The big thing here is that there are plenty of ways to approach it.

We don’t believe option #1 is valid for any business who wants to be here in the long term.

If you are going to do it internally, also consider the learning curve that may be required to learn the technology as well.

And of course, there are always options to get help and support from others.

Take stock, what’s your best option forward today to help you propel your business forward faster.

Whatever the approach it doesn’t matter.

Just make a decision and go from there.

11. Not Launching It

Woo hoo!  You have setup some marketing automation – awesome stuff!

However, you fail to do one critical action….

You’ve never launched it!

That could mean you’ve never driven ads to it or promoted it.

Or that you’ve never added any contacts from your database to the automation.

We have implemented the same automation in one business that helped double a business.

We have implemented the same with another business, however, it was never launched and the business missed out on getting any results.

Be sure you don’t waste precious resources by setting something up and never launching something.

Automation is only powerful if you use it.

Remember to launch and get it out there to the world!

12. Not Optimising It

The final yet still important mistake we see made is once you’ve launched some marketing automation, you think that’s it… right?

It’s really not!

In fact, some of our best clients who are generating consistent results have been using the same funnels in their businesses for years.

However, to truly take automation to the next level, it’s important that it’s reviewed.

Typically, a short time after launching, you should review the results.

Did you achieve the outcome you originally set up the automation for?

In addition to that initial review, we recommend reviewing periodically.

This could be based on time or the number of contacts through.

How can you get even more results from your automation?

For example, we have one client who’s been running a free online assessment of their business for years.

This helps capture new leads but gathering helpful information to qualify prospects.

The process is solid and to help get even more results out of this automation, the campaign must be reviewed regularly.

In fact, we had one email that was getting an open rate of 70%, there are others weren’t achieving figures like that at all.  So what was effective with that subject line and can we somehow replicate it?

By reviewing we could identify opportunities with problem emails or other issues with the setup that could generate more results.

Don’t forget this important step when implementing marketing automation.

There are always opportunities to optimize!

Implementing Successful Marketing Automation

In this article, we’ve covered the core 12 biggest mistakes we see on a daily basis why businesses aren’t getting results they are needing from marketing automation.

Be sure to avoid these mistakes and take action today!

(NOTE: Ready to use more automation in your business to make more sales with less effort – even if you don’t have a fancy system? Check out the Marketing Automation Game Plan and discover in this free 3-part video series the proven steps you must follow to successfully transform your business with automation. Learn more now.)

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