What makes you perceive a brand as trustworthy?
Marketing automation isn’t just about simplifying the lives of marketers, driving revenue, and having the hard numbers to prove it (although these are all significant plusses). It’s also about being able to personalize marketing on a scaleable level. It’s about stepping into your prospects’ shoes for a moment and ensuring that you’re providing the information they need, when they need it. And this, ultimately, will establish the trust with your prospects that is needed to closed deals and drive revenue.
But while marketing automation tools provide important opportunities to build trust with a prospect, using them improperly can (like any tool) have the exact opposite effect of what you’re going for. Let’s take a look at four surefire ways that using automation the wrong way can cause you to lose the trust of your prospects — and some best practices to help you avoid these situations.
Send spammy drip emails.
Remember that the primary focus of drip emails is to establish your brand as a credible source of information as a prospect educates himself or herself on your product — not to send sales-y emails to people you’ve never met under the guise of a personal email. Make sure your emails are providing real value, and are tailored to a prospect’s stage in the buyer cycle. In fact, ideally, initial emails shouldn’t mention your brand at all, and should focus on a prospects’ pain points and provide high-level, product-neutral content that can address these pain points.
This brings me to my next point: any email can seem spammy when it comes from a company you’ve never heard of or shown an interest in in any way. We’ve all received those emails — from an individual you’ve never met, who offers no explanation of how they found you, trying adamantly to set up a call to discuss their product. It doesn’t matter how valid their pitch is, all you’re left wondering is how did you get my email address? Avoid buying lists, and, for best results, always start drip emails by clarifying where you got their email address and why you’re reaching out (“Thanks for stopping by our booth at last week’s conference! I just wanted to reach out with this infographic that I thought you might enjoy…”).
Put social media on autopilot.
The social posting capabilities that marketing automation provides can have a powerful impact on your marketing team, allowing businesses with limited resources to maintain a social media presence without a lot of time investment. However, this is no excuse to put social media on autopilot and not engage with your followers. Remember that social media is supposed to be, in fact, social — and if your followers get the sense that you’re filling their feeds with automated promotions, they’re going to feel deceived. If you’re scheduling out Tweets in advance, make sure you’re checking in at a few points throughout the day to respond and interact. Furthermore, be as transparent as possible with your interactions on social. If you’ve messed up, admit it; this can actually go a long way towards making your company seem human and trustworthy.
There’s really no other way to put it. With prospect tracking, social lookups, and real-time sales alerts, marketing automation provides a great deal of insight into your prospects’ interests and activities — insights that can help you tailor conversations and personalize the buyer’s journey. But use this information in the wrong way and you go from seeming helpful and credible to seeming like a downright stalker. For instance, using social lookups to mention a recent sports game from your prospects’ alma mater can give you an opportunity to discuss common interests; using social lookups to friend a prospect on Facebook crosses the line of ‘creepy.’
For more information on using marketing automation to personalize the buyer’s journey and build trust with your prospects, check out our interactive infographic, “Understanding the Buyer’s Journey.” And be sure to share your thoughts in our comments section!