You started your business with the thought that you’ll make money, streamline your business operations, and bring in some sort of a systematic way to continue to bring in cash and keep those elusive profits pouring in.

You had a dream. You set out to achieve it. You did everything you possibly could (given your own constraints, circumstances, strengths, and weaknesses).

Sadly, for most business owners, it’ll end up being a big fat dream. Most small business owners find themselves tired, stretched, and absolutely burnt out with their own businesses.

Today, the combination of technology and the digital media allows you to automate or semi-automate your businesses.

Despite the hype, the promise of marketing automation doesn’t seem to appeal to business owners any more since all the work that you have to put in to make marketing automation work feels intimidating to many business owners.

Automations sequences, workflows, campaigns, tags, and linking this and that – all this is a little too much for an entire generation of entrepreneurs who aren’t even comfortable with computers, technology, or the new age digital marketing.

Even for those who seem to be in the know and those who’ve caught up with the digital marketing promise, marketing automation is still a little too complex to setup, run, and manage.

If you think of marketing automation as a possible solution to ease your pain, to help you build systems, to make your business easier to manage, or to achieve whatever you wanted to achieve with it, it seems like it only gets harder now.

There are too many SaaS tools (that promise varying levels of automation for you to choose from) and various parts of your business calling for attention, and multiple levels of business problems begging for you to solve them.

It’s all getting way too complicated than what you bargained for. So, should you give up on marketing automation?

No.

You just have to learn to get choosy and dumb down on the marketing automation hype a little.

 

Here’s how you can make marketing automation work for you:

Don’t start If you Don’t know what you want

No technology, fancy tools, marketing software, CRM systems, and email marketing automation tools can ever help you if you don’t know what you want these interlinked systems to achieve.

As if that wasn’t enough, you have some those stupid marketing automation myths to deal with.

You thought this was obvious? You’d be surprised.

Many businesses have no clue about what they want to achieve with any available marketing automation platforms out there.

Every action, every piece of content, every social update, every email, and every campaign (which includes landing pages, analytics, and tracking) should have a reason to exist.

If you don’t know what that landing page is live or what a specific email marketing sequence is supposed to achieve, you are not going to make it.

Figure out and write down what you want to accomplish first. It’d then be easier to find ways to solve problems.

The tendency to over-complicate

I am a part of various forums and communities – some are generic ones focused on businesses and startups and some others are communities around regular tools and services I use for my business (or those that I am just a big fan of).

I always see someone posting updates about how to do this or how to do that. Regular questions or doubts about “How this works?” isn’t an issue. In fact, it’s healthy and expected.

The trouble stems from questions like:

“I want Drip to Work like Mailchimp”
“Can I include Images in Drip?”
“I’d like to build a complete website with Unbounce”
“I have a landing page which is linked to Google Sheets which is linked to Zapier. When triggered, Zapier adds data to my CRM”

Online tools, web-based applications, and software – they all come with limitations. You can’t expect one tool to behave and work like another.

Doing this only complicates your basic marketing automation needs.

Find tool, will automate?

I can blame myself for this method or approach and it’s totally flawed. Since I chronicle and write about SaaS tools at Groovywebtools, I have this nasty habit of taking a gander at a SaaS tool, Web application, or a piece of software and then try to see where that particular application or tool fits into my business workflow.

If I find brand new website design builder, how can I use that for my agency?

Just came across a sales funnel tool. Can I launch a productized service business around it?

I come to depend on an email marketing automation tool, Is there a way I can use it to make my existing email marketing campaigns better?

See? There’s a huge problem with the “find tool first, see what you can do with it later” approach.

Like WordPress templates force you to design WordPress websites within the confines of the template, finding a tool first forces you to limit yourself to what the specific tool does.

Your business is far more complicated than a tool.

To make marketing automation work, you’d have to consider digital marketing minimalism. That’s at least a proven way to get things to work for your business.

How complicated or simple does your marketing automation work?