The automation dilemma

“Marketing automation” is a huge buzzword right now.

It seems like everywhere you look someone’s offering to build you a Rube-Goldberg automated funnel that stamps out new customers like a convict cranking out license plates.

This creates a dilemma though:

When you automate some piece of your marketing, you’re trading effectiveness for efficiency.

Here’s a simple example:

For a couple of weeks on this list, I deliberately disabled my welcome email.

Instead I set up my email provider to send me an alert whenever a new subscriber joined my list.

When I saw that someone joined my list, I’d do a bit of quick Google-fu to see if I could discover something about them.

Maybe they signed up with a custom domain and I could learn what their business was.

Maybe their LinkedIn profile would turn up, and I could see what their skill set and specialization was.

Once I had a bit of info, I’d write a short, CUSTOM welcome email just for them, mentioning something specific about their business.

The reply rates on an email like this compared to a static welcome message are night and day—even when the automated message also invites replies.

The personal messages might get a response that’s 1000% higher.

By using an automatic welcome message, I’m becoming more efficient by avoiding the research I was doing to craft personalized messages.

I’m also slashing the effectiveness of my welcome emails in terms of building real relationships with new subscribers, maybe by as much as 90%.

Which means I need 10X more new subscribers before the automated welcome email generates the same number of conversations with new subscribers.

What a lot of people don’t understand is how truly massive this gulf between personal and automated can be.

When making a decision about what to automate in your marketing, keep this in mind.

And ask yourself whether you can generate enough new subscribers to make up the difference.