New marketing technology is created almost daily. In this growing web of services and tools, how does a business choose the right ones? We've put together this list of the 10 most important things to consider when choosing marketing automation software for your business.
- The number of users you can manage and scale
As your business grows, your platform should grow with you. Make sure you choose a marketing platform that will seamlessly accommodate an increase in users without becoming cost prohibitive.
- Ease of use and setting up the workflows
Marketing automation technology has evolved so that you no longer need 40 hours of training or thousands of dollars for consultant fees. The best tools today require little more than 2-3 hours of training and provide ready-made guides with attentive hands-on support. This allows you to leverage pre-existing expertise in less time, saving you the effort of having to figure things out on your own.
- Tagging or Flagging
Once you start using marketing automation, you will have some challenges moving people from one journey to another when they take certain actions. You will need to create multiple workflows to respond to their behavior and you will notice that these different journeys may rely on each other. One common error is sending a “trial expiry” email to someone who just signed up to your system and paid. Choose a platform that includes “flagging” to make sure your journeys change as a user takes different actions. The best tools allow you set these up with simple filters in a few clicks.
- Spam Compliance Rules and Setup
Spam compliance, and general rules for online marketing, are often updated as regulators try to protect consumers more. Make sure your marketing automation platform stays on top of new regulations, and also make sure your tools include easy set-up for specific items. Examples include SPF and DKIM for email spam compliance. Sender Policy Framework (SPF) is used to prevent sender address forgery and is concerned with the “mail from” header. DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) is an email authentication method to verify email messages with some technical steps that are as if the sender has signed the message, both headers and content. Your email tools in any marketing automation platform should include these, and you should also ask the company how regularly they update their software to reflect new rules and regulations, for all of their tools.
Personalization is an important way to increase engagement with your emails and content. Addressing individuals by name is one way to make your campaigns feel more human. Cold, impersonal messaging is a common complaint with marketing automation, but the best tools today make it easy to personalize. Your tool should also allow you to strip down last names with fallbacks.
- Number of triggers
The more triggers the better. Altering your customer journey based on as many actions your potential customer takes as possible, increases your ability to meet their needs and lead them down the sales funnel. You should look for tools that will give you the flexibility to launch a workflow based on every interaction a user takes, especially beyond just emails. Some examples include: watching a video on your site, spending 5 minutes on your blog, or even falling off into inactivity.
- Number of actions
It’s critical to choose a marketing automation platform that doesn’t limit how many different actions you can choose for your journeys. The most powerful customer journeys will have many steps and scenarios, which will reflect the multitude of ways your potential buyers will reach a decision. The more data points you have, the more clear it becomes where to optimize, and what your buyers need the most.
- Integration with third parties and APIs
Being able to connect your platform to different CRMs and external systems is critical for the performance and analysis of your overall funnel. Finding a platform that's compatible with your current tools, will mean you don't have to change a lot of other processes you already have in place. Ask specifics about integrations and third party sync options when choosing your marketing automation software. You want to make sure your team and your workflow will be minimally disrupted.
- Hyper-Segmentation and simple list management
In addition to personalization, managing multiple lists and hyper-segmentation are essential steps for increasing engagement. Your marketing automation platform should allow you to have as many lists as you need, and the set-up should be quick and easy. By hyper-segmenting into granular details on your contacts, you’ll be able to deliver incredibly tailored content that addresses your user’s needs and leads them down the funnel.
- In-depth analytics and tracking conversions
To optimize your marketing campaigns, your automation platform must provide in-depth analysis on all your leads. This is especially for the journey they are taking to become a customer. Look for tools that will arm your sales team with data on every touch-point a prospect has with your company. The more information your marketing and sales teams have, the more personalized consultation they can offer. This will increase the rate at which leads convert into customers, as well as customers into loyal brand followers.
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