28 bad marketing automation habits

Blog Stop Marketing Automation Bad Habits

Written by Caitlin Poliska

June 7, 2016

Updated June 2020

Bad habits are like a comfortable bed: they are easy to fall into, but hard to get out of.

I continuously work with clients who have bad marketing automation habits, and as their consultant, it is my responsibility to tell them to STOP doing them. I hate to say ‘no,’ or ‘don’t,’ or ‘stop’ to a client, but I also need to help them get the most from their invested platform.

I polled our entire group of Revenue Engineers at The Pedowitz Group and asked, “What do your clients need to STOP doing?” I was going to compile a Top 10 of the most cringe-worthy items, but after receiving more than 25 responses, it became clear that every item needed to stay.

Although long, this is a vitally important list! These poor habits have led to wasted potential revenue for so many companies … and they’re costing you, too, if you’re guilty!

Bad marketing automation habits you have to STOP:

  1. Using impersonal communication. Marketing automation platforms are designed to use personalization to increase response rates.
  2. Failing to analyze your metrics. If you don’t review, you can never improve.
  3. Failing to clean your data. MAPs won’t work well if your data is dirty.
  4. Using No-Reply as your email return address. If you want your message delivered to an inbox you need to optimize, first up is removing those no-reply addresses.
  5. Asking for more than 4 fields on a form. Remember, conversion is the goal. Less is more.
  6. Doing A/B tests and NOT learning from the results. What’s the point of testing if you don’t have time blocked on your calendar to review the results and make improvements?
  7. Forgetting to clean up the text version of your email. If someone sees it, shouldn’t it look good?
  8. Using ‘cutesy’ language for your unsubscribe button at the bottom of the page. Be honest and straightforward; if they want out, let them go.
  9. Sending emails to everyone in your database because a new asset has been created. Opt for relevant and segmented messages to get better return.
  10. Putting too many CTAs in an email or landing page. Drive to conversion, again, less is more.
  11. Having too many images in your emails. You want balance, both from a design and deliverability perspective.
  12. Trying to put proprietary fonts into emails/landing pages. Use web-safe fonts so that everyone sees them and doesn’t receive funky results you didn’t test for.
  13. Blindly uploading and sending to list purchases. Seriously, do we have to explain this one?
  14. Sending daily emails to leads. Set a communications limit. People don’t want to be spammed.
  15. Putting full site navigation into your emails or landing pages. Again, this is about conversion. Drive to a simple, clear goal that a reader can understand in just a couple of seconds.
  16. Batch and blasting. Start with relevant, segmented, well-reasoned communications and you’ll see strong results.
  17. Writing novels in your emails. Who wants to read War and Peace on their iPhone? Keep it short, sweet and to the point.
  18. Leaving important links and CTA at the bottom of the email. Three words: Above. The. Fold. You want the important stuff where people look first.
  19. Unorganized folder structures in your tool. Tidy MAPs lead to better reporting.
  20. Using non-responsive emails and landing pages. Who isn’t reading on a mobile device these days?
  21. Having Marketing and Sales silos. One team, one goal, no ignored leads who are engaging with your content. Marketing and Sales UNITE!
  22. Ignoring the stack. Your existing technologies may work better together (i.e. Google Analytics, Omniture and your MAP). The modern marketer embraces the technology and its integrations, instead of pretending it works best in silos.
  23. Ignoring mobile rendering and responsive design. It’s necessary for your audience, no matter if it’s B2B or B2C. Again, who doesn’t read on a mobile device? Your messages should reflect that.
  24. Losing leads through nurturing by not developing a seamless end-to-end strategy. Have a plan for lead management and nurturing, don’t hope for the best.
  25. Treating lead management like a one-way street. Let the conversation flow between sales and marketing. “One team, one goal,” … say it with me!
  26. Automating inefficient processes or no process. This only magnifies the inefficiency and doesn’t magically make marketing better. Eliminate the things that bring no return and focus on what will.
  27. Failing to configure SPF/DKIM. These are critical setup steps for seamless deliverability.
  28. Going wider than 650px wide in your email. Emails should be optimized for delivery. This is the beginning, not the end of that quest.

STOP these marketing automation bad habits and start following best practices! You invested in a technology that is capable of great things, but you have to configure it, organize it and use it properly to get the most out of it.

Are you guilty of any of these? It’s okay … we’ve seen all of these (and more). The good news is, now you can make improvements and continue building the best habits possible within your marketing automation efforts.

But you should read on about nine myths of marketing automation all the same…

If you like this content, you may also enjoy our practical guides to starting with Marketo, Eloqua, and Pardot, or some of our other marketing automation resources!

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