Don’t Make This Embarrassing Digital Marketing Automation Mistake

Digital marketing automation can help make your social media and content marketing workload lighter, but be careful to not make the embarrassing mistake I did recently. I sent an automated newsletter with my latest blog post, which contained an announcement for a webinar that took place a month earlier.


I wanted to hide under a rock after that email was sent. I thought maybe I should just switch careers, and pretend I never knew anything about digital marketing. Instead, I’ve written about what I’ve learned from this distressing blunder.

My newsletter is set to be sent every time a new post is published on my blog. However, I manually added an extra note before the last post was sent, and I forgot to change my email template back to its normal status.

After I stopped cringing and moaning “How could I make such a mistake?” (answer: I’m human), I came up with a list of 12 areas where digital marketing automation can help save you time: as well as recommended apps and tools to help.

To Automate or Not?

But first let’s talk about whether digital marketing automation is a good idea at all. Obviously, in the case of my newsletter emailed with an outdated announcement, it is not good. But when you’re a small business owner, or a busy social media manager for several businesses or one big company with little assistance, automation can be helpful, and often necessary.

Automated tasks can help ease your social media and content marketing workload–the small ones, or ones that do not require a great deal of in-depth customization. For instance, using automated social media scheduling calendars from platforms such as Hootsuite or Buffer can be quite a time saver.

This doesn’t mean I recommend auto-scheduling all your social media shares. For example, when I publish a new blog post, after the first round of auto-sharing, I’ll schedule unique shares on my social media pages with different comments, and insight highlights from the post. I’ll also schedule them at different times throughout the weeks and months ahead.

Another area where digital marketing automation may be iffy, is the use of auto-direct messages, on Twitter specifically. Most marketers feel auto DMs should never be sent, and some think certain types of DMs are Ok to use. This post by Janis La Couvee at SproutSocial talks about what she considers as spam DMs, and gives a good example of how to effectively use DMs to handle customer complaints.

But the best people to ask are the subjects, or victims, of automatically sent messages. Alex Howard of Digiphile sent pre-formatted auto-direct messages to 481 people who followed him, and then he posted a question on Twitter on whether it was a good idea. It was done three years ago, but the answers are still relevant:

I’ve used auto DMs here and there, and so far I haven’t found much direct response nor traffic to my site from them. But I’m still experimenting with messages. If you decide to do it, monitor it carefully, and make sure it’s friendly and non-spammy as possible.

One other area where automation shouldn’t be used is with unique social media and content campaigns. A specific strategy should be in place when you’re conducting a unique campaign, whether it’s a giveaway of an e-book, a contest, or announcement of a new product or service. Of course, I contradict myself because I made this mistake regarding my announcement. But it won’t happen again!

What should I have done?

I should’ve left my regular weekly blog posts in that newsletter alone, and stuck with a separate announcement. Or I could have published the announcement as a blog post, and it would’ve gone out in a timely manner in the automated newsletter.

Enough about that.

In Summary

Be careful what you choose to automate in your digital marketing. Also, if you do automate, monitor all your campaigns carefully to make sure you are not losing fans and followers, or worse, embarrassing the heck out of yourself.

PS Go to my blog to get the list of 12 Digital Marketing Automation Ideas and Apps.

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