Have you ever seen a “one size fits all” piece of clothing that would actually fit everyone? Probably not. It’s because we all have different needs. And that’s okay, we just need to find the things that fulfill those needs and ultimately help us achieve our goals.
Just like with clothes, there’s no such thing as a “one size fits all” marketing automation platform – no matter how many solutions claim to be one. Each platform caters to a specific type of company, and it’s your job to determine which platform is right for yours.
Before we define your marketing automation platform “must-haves” and choose the right platform for your business, let’s go over what marketing automation is (and is not). Navigating through these common misconceptions can be a task of its own.
Many are under the impression that marketing automation is simply the practice of setting up emails to send automatically one after another to a targeted list of recipients. But, it’s so much more than that.
Marketing automation is the term used for software that allows you to streamline, automate, and measure your marketing efforts to help your business increase operational efficiency and grow revenue faster.
Marketing automation platforms include features like:
- Email Marketing
- Customizable Landing Pages
- Campaign Management
- Lead Generation Tools
- Lead Scoring
- Lead Management
- CRM Integrations
- Social Media Marketing
- Marketing Analytics
In the ideal scenario, a robust marketing automation platform houses all of these features. Information is easily passed along from one action to another, guiding users on your brand’s journey from lead to customer.
Does this sound like something your organization could benefit from? Let’s discuss the three crucial steps to consider when first diving into the world of marketing automation technology.
Step One: Define Your Goals
Behind every good marketing strategy is a set of goals you’re aiming to achieve, and a marketing automation strategy is no different. Consider the metrics you’ll use to define success. Do you want to generate twice as many leads as last year? Or re-engage with past customers who haven’t purchased in the last two years? Or maybe you’re looking to increase revenue by 50%.
Another great way to define your goals is to think about your company’s processes. If hard metrics like conversion rates aren’t top priority right now, that’s fine. Your goal could be creating a smoother transition from marketing to sales, or a more measurable ROI.
Whatever your goals may be, they should form the foundation of your search for the right marketing automation platform. If a platform won’t help you achieve your goals, move on to the next option.
Step Two: Identify Your Requirements
With your overarching goals in mind, it’s time to create a comprehensive list of your “must-haves.” This list should include everything from technical features to ease-of-use.
Questions to consider when writing out your requirements:
- What other softwares does your company employ and will they need to be able to communicate with your chosen marketing automation platform?
- What current integration options exist?
- Which features are “must-haves” and which ones are “nice-to-haves?”
- Who at your company will be using the technology?
- Does the platform offer comprehensive training or tutorials?
Pro Tip: Identify your requirements before researching your platform options. This way you’ll have a list of what you truly need as opposed to a list that’s cluttered with dazzling features that aren’t necessary for your company and its goals.
Step Three: Think Beyond the “Now”
Where your company is today is not where it will be five years from now. With this in mind, it’s important to consider platforms that will grow with your company and adapt to its ever-changing goals.
Your database may only have 500 names now, but in five years it can easily grow to 10,000+. When it comes to marketing automation, scalability is key. You want to choose a platform that won’t break the bank as your contact list grows (yes, many platforms charge based on number of contacts), but can also easily segment your contacts as they move throughout the buyer’s and customer’s journey.
Once you’ve considered all of these questions it’s time to buckle down and start researching the platforms that fulfill your criteria. We’ll give you the heads-up now: marketing automation platforms can get expensive, but we advise you to look past the price tag. Marketing automation can generate impressive ROI. According to Regalix’s 2015 State of B2B Marketing Automation, “64% of marketers say they saw the benefits of using marketing automation within the first six months of its implementation.”
Choosing the right marketing automation platform is vital to implementing the strategy that will achieve your company’s goals. Remember to stay focused on what your company really needs and avoid getting overwhelmed by features that are unnecessary to your endeavors.
Unsure which platform is best for your company? Start reaping the rewards of marketing automation by teaming up with 829 Studios. Our email marketing & marketing automation team is experienced in a wide variety of automation platforms and is ready to help you make the best choice.