3 Things B2B Marketers Shouldn't Automate
Let's face it - there are some things that B2B marketers just shouldn't automate.
Although technology has advanced to the point that it's tempting to try and automate everything under the sun, there are some areas where smart marketers must get involved and you simply can't leave it to the robots.
Besides the obvious marketing elements that require speaking to other humans, when should you hesitate before you automate your B2B marketing efforts?
#1 When you plan your campaign
The language you use to describe your service may not match the language your buyers use when they're looking for ways to mitigate their business problems. If you throw money at keyword research based on how you describe your solution (as opposed to how your buyer describes their problem), you risk missing the mark with your messaging. Instead, do it the other way around.
- What are the biggest problems my buyers have that I solve?
- Are those the problems I'm best at solving? If not, which ones are?
Then, put yourself in your buyer's shoes and brainstorm what you would search for in their position. It's essential that your keyword research stems from your buyer's pain points, because if your buyer isn't in pain, they probably won't buy. It's your job to help them solve that pain by addressing it and troubling them about it - enough to get them to think of you when they're ready to buy.
Getting the messaging around your buyer's pain right is essential to the success of your campaign, and it has to be specific to each buyer.
#2 When you create content
So obviously, you need people to write words for other people to read...right?. Unfortunately not always. Believe it or not, content automation is prevalent in cyberspace. Many supposedly "white hat" linkbuilding services promise to up your rank on Google's SERP (Search Engine Results Page). The problem with that is they do so by trying to manipulate Google's search algorithm.
Here are examples of content automation, sourced from Google's official blog:
Hard to believe, but yes - those are actual web pages! You just can't automate copywriting, and that includes all the technical aspects of SEO. Google are taking an increasingly strong stand on these dubious tactics and are penalising businesses that use these tactics.
Content curation is a grey area, because there are ways to automate content around certain topics using RSS feeds. We don't do this at g2m, but if you choose to, make sure to actively monitor what's being aggregated. How do you ensure it's on message?
#3 When you engage on social networks
Whether it's a Direct Message on Twitter, or a response to a customer support request, no one likes to be contacted by an automated anything, much less respond to them.
It's called a social network because people go there to socialise with other people. It doesn't do much for your image if you fail to set aside the little time it takes per day to engage like a normal human being, especially when it's so easy to tell the difference between a generic post and a well thought-out comment.
Of course, there are some elements that you certainly can (and probably should) automate:
- Analytics. If you're a marketer and you're manually calculating analytics, not only do you run the risk of your brain exploding, you might make human errors. Since reports on traffic sources and conversion ratios are key to measuring and improving your marketing efforts, they need to be accurate.
- Social media updates. Can you imagine manually Tweeting/Facebook-ing/LinkedIn-ing, not only for your own company, but for clients, too? In reality, it's a poor use of your time. Collate the copy and schedule it in.
- Lead nurture campaigns. Timing is everything in the buyer's journey, and you're already time-strapped as it is. How can you keep track of how many days it's been since 50 different leads filled in a form!?
- Form notifications. Setting up email notifications for certain landing page forms will allow you to take action in real-time if there's a hot lead or some other time-sensitive issue.
If you would like to learn more, here are some posts related to marketing automation, or you might want to check out our other free resources.
How do you feel about marketing automation? Let us know in the comments below.