Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
What is one pro or con of marketing automation for an early-stage startup?
1. Pro: You Can Scale Quickly With Minimal Resources
Marketing automation can be a lifesaver for an early-stage startup that has to gain traction quickly because it allows a startup to quickly reach a large number of prospects with minimal manpower. Marketing automation has come a long way, and there are many hacks to ensure that yourcustomers still feel like they are getting a customized or personal message, despite the automation.
2. Pro: It Sets the Stage for Efficiency from the Start
While many stress that they don’t have enough hands to take care of all the work in a startup, it’s good to think lean and efficient from the start with as many marketing automation tasks as possible. This gives you more time to develop your messaging and personalization strategies as well as access greater amounts of data than if you had focused on manual marketing tasks.
3. Con: Automated Tasks Are Too Easy to Forget About
When you’re starting out it’s important to save time and work efficiently. Marketing automation makes sense, but it also makes it easy for you to forget the process. Unless you’re automating menial marketing tasks like data entry, I recommend doing your marketing manually until you get a good understanding of the process and everyone involved.
4. Con: You Don’t Know Who You Are Yet
Sending out automated messages about your brand before it is fully formed is a mistake. During this time, who you are and what you offer could change. Without a personal touch, you might only confuse your audience. It’s better to wait until a later stage when this identity if more fully formed.
5. Con: You Don’t Get to Know Your Audience
Brands that automate too soon may risk the advantage that comes with getting to know your audience on a deep, personal level. People buy from people. So to sell toyour ideal customer, you have to understand every single thing that motivates them to buy from you over yourcompetitors. Engagement is the only way to do this. Be certain you know exactly who your buyers are before you automate.
6. Pro: No Audience Is a Bad Audience
Using automation to grow social accounts is great for early-stage startups. Whether the growth is targeted or not, having a following in itself encourages growth. Of course, engagement will be low, but it’s better to have a decent following with low engagement than it is to have no following with no engagement.
7. Con: You Can Lose Focus on the Main Objective
Automation is great, but it can also lead to distraction and lack of focus. A good example of this would be if you were focusing on customer support and built a knowledge base to essentially “automate” any and all support questions. If you completely automate this process, you’d be lacking in support and missing out on the user experience. This same principle applies when starting a business.
8. Pro: It Helps Startups Define Engaging Language
While direct human interaction is critical in the early stages of learning about acompany‘s ideal customer profile, automation can also provide big wins in helping define engaging language and offers. With a thoughtful and well-defined conversion funnel up front, startups get the advantage of quickly gaining insight into what offers drive responses.
9. Pro: You Improve Efficiency
With the limited resources usually associated with early-stage startups, it’s important to maximize efficiency from the beginning in order to accelerate growth. Startups that invest in marketing automation from the very beginning can do more with less. Reducing labor overhead is a massive savings for startups, who can then use savings to invest in sales and marketing.
10. Con: You Don’t Know What a Good Lead Looks Like
Good marketing automation requires an understanding of leads and their behavior, which differs for every company. The major benefit of marketing automatization is the ability to send personalized marketing content. But, unless your business understands what a good lead looks like and which content is likely to increase conversion rates, it’s difficult to design effective automation processes.
11. Con: It’s Easy to Make Mistakes
It’s easy to spread yourself out too thinly as an early-stage startup. Marketing automation might sound great, but it takes time and expertise to set up properly. If you have no experience with automation or cannot hire an expert, you risk sendingyour customers the wrong emails at the wrong times. Your customers will know that software is really behind your email messages.
12. Pro: You Get Valuable Data for Later
Using marketing automation as an early stage startup is the immediate collection of data. By automating your marketing processes up front, you will get data collection early on without having to spend too many hours on marketing. This data will become more and more valuable as you growyour company.
Source: Y Combinator