Technology has radically transformed the way businesses operate. Automating email workflows, for instance, can allow you to expand the scope of your outreach manifold. And do so with far fewer resources. As this paradigm shift lends a competitive edge to businesses across the board, relying on manual processes of creating and sending out brand promotion emails no longer cuts it when it comes to putting your business on the map.
That’s why 88% of marketers are likely to embrace automation workflows in 2021, a 21% rise from two years ago. And 9 out of 10 such marketers rely on more than one automation tool to streamline workflows in setting up campaigns based on the customer journey.
By allowing organizations to digitize bulk and repetitive tasks, automated email workflows not only enhance overall productivity by enabling your marketing team to focus on more complex tasks but also reduce the risk of human error as well as certain mundane tasks such as scheduling emails falling through the cracks.
While all this can make embracing email automation seem like a Utopian dream, this shift from manual to digital approach can be riddled with complexities. If not handled correctly, these complexities can impede your ability to harness automation benefits optimally.
What are these complexities and how can these be tackled correctly? Let’s find out.
5 Top Complexities of Automation Workflows
The process of automation can be riddled with myriad pain points, especially when you’re first making the shift from legacy systems to digitized ones. If you’re taking the first steps toward automating some of the workflows, here are the top challenges you need to be mindful of:
1. Taking workflow steps for granted
Undertaking automation of email workflows without thoroughly defining end goals or getting a reality check of your current ecosystem can severely impact the efficiency of the process. Is the organization ready to embrace smarter working processes? Is your marketing team equipped to handle these changes? Will the shift contribute to uplifting the quality of services and products? These are some of the questions on which the decision to automate must be based. It is equally crucial to define each step of the process to ensure the right conditions are fostered to trigger the right sequential actions. Cutting corners in this process is a common tendency that costs dearly.
2. Undertaking extensive automation at once
Considering the effectiveness of email automated workflows, the temptation to overhaul the entire system at once can be natural. However, doing so often proves to be a stumbling block in your efforts to digitize workflows, as it leads to confusion, chaos, and disappointment on account of your marketing team being unable to keep up with such an extensive change.
3. Not setting and measuring goals
Are the automated email workflows working? Are they yielding the desired results? Are they helping your organization achieve its objectives more efficiently? You cannot know the answers to these questions unless you base your automation strategy on clearly defined goals. The complexity of automating workflows is augmented by the fact that many organizations tend to treat ‘automation’ as a goal unto itself. This eats into the ability to gauge results and measure progress.
4. Choosing an automation software that’s too complex or inadequate
Automation of email workflows is often about striking that tricky balance between costs and requirements. Choosing one that fails to address your business needs for the sake of cutting costs ends up defeating the purpose of automation. On the other hand, a powerful automation tool may come with a steep learning curve, leaving your employees struggling to use it effectively. Deviating from that fine line that ties up automation software to your organizational needs can get in the way of automation yielding the desired results.
5. Set up and forget approach
Forgetting all about your automation platform once it has been set up and takes off is also one of the common mistakes that augment the complexity of digitizing workflows. This leads to unforeseen problems mushrooming at the most unexpected times, disrupting your email marketing strategy, and in turn, eating into your email ROI. Unless you track how much a new automated email workflow has sped up your processes, how effectively it has cut back on error rates or eliminated other pain points, it’s impossible to weed out unexpected and unnecessary disruptions.
5 Steps for Efficient Automation of Workflows
The myriad complexities that email automation workflows can throw at you can be weeded out by simply committing to diligent legwork before taking the leap. Carefully identifying repetitive steps that you want to automate and defining business objectives clearly is a good start point. Beyond that, here are 5 simple yet effective steps that can help ensure that your email workflows operate smoothly and efficiently:
1. Select the right automation solution
There are a plethora of email automation solutions out there. However, not all automation software is created equal. While some can be decidedly better than the other, even the ones that are comparable and on par in terms of the value they add to workflows may not fit into every business ecosystem equally well. The key is to zero-in on one that is the ideal fit for your organization. To be able to do this, you must first identify three to five platforms that seem like a good fit for your needs, and then, dive deep into the pros and cons of each to identify which one fits like a hand in a glove.
2. Invest in automation management services
Even if your email automation software comes with plug-and-play functionality, hiring an email automation management services provider or outsourcing its management to a dedicated resource can enhance the effectiveness manifold. The reason? These are trained professionals with specific expertise in handling email automation tools. As such, better equipped to tap into the not-so-obvious functionalities of your automation platform to leverage it optimally.
3. Work with experts
Similarly, skilled automation experts specializing in the workflow that you’re seeking to automate can also streamline this transition. These experts can create tailor-made workflows designed keeping in mind your business requirements, your ESP, and the expectations of your target audience. For instance, if you’re automating the email marketing workflow, an automation management service can tap into individual customer profiles to help augment your ability to communicate with your target audience in a highly personalized manner.
4. Train your workforce
Just because you’re working with trained professionals with a special skill set in handling automation workflow, doesn’t mean you can keep your employees out of the loop. After all, your team of marketers would also be interacting with the automation tools day in and day out. So, it becomes imperative to involve the end-users in the transition process and keep them abreast with the changing workflows as and when implemented. This can not only make the transition smooth but also motivate your workforce to embrace the automation software without resistance.
5. Continually improve workflow
Once the email automation tool is in place, you must reach out to your employees – or any other users – for feedback on the efficiency and ease-of-use. The first-hand experience of these users can prove to be a gold mine of insights that help you weed out any pitfalls before they take hold and start impacting the effectiveness of your email campaigns. Institutionalizing KPIs, and continually measuring your automated workflow results vis-à-vis these KPIs is a healthy business practice that can eliminate bottlenecks and shine the spotlight on areas that require improvement.
Efficient automation of email workflows can prove to be a key differentiating factor in your marketing initiatives. That’s why it is crucial to go through this process with due diligence and deliberation. Choosing and working with the right experts with the skill sets necessary to further your business goals can make all the difference. Need expert help with the automation of your email workflow? Our experts are only a click away.