Marketing automation is a quite common practice among businesses of all sizes. In short, it’s a series of processes via which software automates many of the tasks involved in a good marketing campaign, including sending emails, scheduling social media posts, and launching ad campaigns at specific times in specific places. Though today’s marketing automation software is pretty user-friendly, you might still be making a few of the following five major mistakes.

#1 – Jumping into the Deep End

For many small to medium-size businesses (SMBs), gaining access to a marketing automation platform is like Christmas. They can’t wait to jump right in and start with a massive campaign because they want to see growth and they want to see it yesterday. There are two big problems here, though. First, you need to come up with a strategy, and second, you need to start with a small campaign just to get the feel of the platform.

#2 – Creating Dull Content

Once you do get the feel for the platform and you start planning out some manageable marketing campaigns, it’s vitally important that every single automated task contains content that is relevant, informative, and authoritative. It needs to be useful to the reader, and it needs to portray your company in the best possible light. Content that is dull or filled with typos will be discarded or ignored immediately, and it may even give your company a bad reputation. Don’t forget to optimize every piece of content for search engines, too. Your marketing automation tools can only do so much and it’s up to you to input the SEO required to make your content work for you.

#3 – Not Using All of the Features

If you’re using a marketing automation platform and you’re not making use of every single feature you’re paying for, then you’re missing out. Be sure that you take the time to visit the provider’s website and absorb the information you find there, then test things out here and there until you’ve discovered all the software’s hidden mysteries. (Just be sure that you’re using internal email addresses as your “test” subjects. You don’t want to spam your actual clientele with test emails, after all.)

#4 – Failing to Pay Attention to Metrics and Reports

Because marketing automation is, well, automated, it’s easy to forget about it and move on to other tasks. However, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is failing to pay attention to reports and metrics. The top overlooked metrics are what are known as the “vanity metrics,” which are open rates and click rates. These can tell you how your content is performing and give you everything you need to improve it in the future. You just have to pay attention to it.

#5 – Landing in the Spam Folder

Most people don’t mind a well-written, thoughtful newsletter with a link to the month’s blog posts in their inboxes. In fact, many people enjoy them. However, if the emails or social media posts you’re automating are obvious spam, then they probably won’t make it past the spam filter. Be sure to keep close tabs on spam buzzwords, too, and minimize their use in your emails and posts.

Marketing automation is a wonderful tool, but only when it’s used correctly. That means taking it slow with your first experiences, creating the best possible content, using every feature that you can, paying attention to metrics, and ensuring that your content doesn’t come across as spammy to either your readers or to email service providers. Avoiding these mistakes will help you get the most out of your marketing automation.