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The Big Risks You Need to Avoid When Using Marketing Automation Whether you're interested in maximizing efficiency or just making sure your newsletter goes out on time, every time, marketing automation tools can help you achieve your goal.However, there are some big risks you'll need to consider and avoid while using marketing automation.

By Timothy Carter Edited by Jessica Thomas

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

I'm a big fan of marketing automation. If you want to grow your business — and do it quickly and efficiently — it's practically a requirement. With the right tools, and in the right context, you can completely eliminate manual effort from the equation, saving time and money while improving consistency and efficiency at the same time. Whether you're interested in maximizing efficiency or just making sure your newsletter goes out on time, marketing automation tools can help you achieve your goal.

However, there are some big risks you'll need to consider and avoid while using marketing automation.

Automating the wrong thing

One risk is automating the wrong thing or orchestrating your automation with a massive mistake in play. Robots and computers are extremely good at doing what we tell them to do; the problem is, if we tell them to do something incorrect or inefficient, they'll follow our instructions dutifully.

If you put together a template that doesn't look professional, or if you write copy that's not persuasive, no amount of automation is going to be able to save your campaign. Excessive automation may make it harder for you to catch the flaws and mistakes in the marketing materials you're sending out.

Related: Why You're Using Drip Emails All Wrong (and What to Do Instead)

Using the wrong tools

There are a ton of marketing automation tools out there, and not all of them are equally useful in helping your business save time and money. Problematic marketing automation tools generally fall into one of three categories:

  • Insecure. If your marketing automation tool isn't secure, you can't use it with confidence. You don't want your competitors spying on your strategies, nor do you want the personal information of your customers to be leaked. Accordingly, security should be one of your top priorities.
  • Unreliable. Some marketing automation apps are unreliable, offering finicky functionality or failing to deliver on their core promises. If the app doesn't work or doesn't do what it promises, it's essentially useless to you.
  • Disproportionately expensive. You may also run into marketing automation tools that work exceptionally well and are easy to use — but they might cost far more money than they're worth. If you end up overpaying for your marketing tools, the cost efficiency of your entire campaign may diminish.

If you're especially unlucky, you might run into a tool that falls into more than one of these categories. In any case, it's important to do your due diligence and choose your tools carefully.

Sounding like a robot

Automatically generated text and automated emails can be great ways to spare human effort and remain in communication with your customers. However, we also need to acknowledge that excessive automation can make you sound like a robot.

If all of your content is automatically generated, and if you're just following formulas and templates, customers will likely doubt your sincerity or receive your messages poorly. You can't rely on automation so much that it compromises your creativity or originality.

Related: Being a Better Marketer Is All About Embracing Failure

Spamming your customers

Marketing spam is still a problem. Most consumers get dozens, if not hundreds of marketing emails every day, and they're constantly hearing from companies they vaguely expressed interest in at some point. Automation makes it easy to send thousands, or even millions, of messages to your contacts, but greater volume isn't always a good thing. If you send your content too frequently, or if you send people who aren't interested in your brand, you could end up getting flagged as spam, hurting your reputation and causing your sales to decline.

Copying bad templates

Efficiency is often a good thing, but it can sometimes trap us in a position that disallows us to innovate. Over time, your marketing automation efforts can give you a sense of complacency, that you're constantly able to reach your audience and achieve a certain result by following a certain formula. But if you follow this formula too closely or too consistently, you'll never branch out or experiment. Accordingly, you might never see your full potential.

Spending too much

One last problem faced by entrepreneurs and marketers everywhere is spending too much. It's common to lust after new marketing apps and systems that promise to multiply your results. And in many cases, adding new apps and resources to your arsenal is a good thing. However, you might end up with a severely exhausted marketing budget by the end of your pursuits, with bloated monthly spending that doesn't reflect how much value you're getting out of your automation tools.

With greater knowledge of the risks that come with marketing automation software, you can use these impressive tools more effectively. Better spending, better tools and better awareness will all lead you to a higher marketing ROI — and greater satisfaction among your leads and customers.

Timothy Carter

Chief Revenue Officer of

Timothy Carter is the CRO of the Seattle digital marketing agency He has spent more than 20 years in the world of SEO & digital marketing leading, building & scaling sales operations, helping companies increase revenue efficiency and driving growth from websites and sales teams.

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