If you are a marketer, it is evident that you are already accustomed with the term ‘marketing automation‘. Despite the hype this term has, less than 10% of companies have actually implemented it.
That’s pretty sad metrics. If you are thinking of the statistics that said more than 50% of businesses have implemented marketing automation, then you are misreading. That 50% actually represents the adoption rate of ’email marketing’. For the most of it, email marketing and marketing automation are not interchangeable terms. Rather, email marketing is just one of the many components of marketing automation.
In short, marketing automation encompasses everything you can think of while marketing your product- starting with email campaigns to drip emails, conversing with your users, social sharing, content marketing and so much more-but all automated!
For those who think, automation means spamming your users, it’s time we let go off such myths.
Here is how Wikipedia explains Marketing Automation:
Marketing Automation: Marketing automation refers to software platforms and technologies designed for marketing departments and organizations to more effectively market on multiple channels online (such as email, social media, websites, etc.) and automate repetitive tasks.
Another touch point to understand is that Marketing automation is NOT a software. When someone says, they are expert in marketing automation, it is more like rephrasing the statement that they are expert with any particular marketing automation tool, not necessarily the concept.
In The Definite Guide to Marketing Automation, Neil Patel and Ritika Puri mentions
Marketing automation starts with understanding the difference between ‘strategies’ and ‘tactics.’
Once you get the concept right, any software can be a ball-game for you. Now that we have discussed what is marketing automation and how to go about it, lets understand the basic queries you must have before you think of implementing marketing automation for your business. Here is a list of 21 important questions to go through.
1. When should I start implementing marketing automation suite?
As your company grows, it becomes difficult to continue one to one interaction with lead or prospects and keeping record of the conversations. Even if you hire a bunch of marketing and sales professionals, it will ultimately be more like drain of wealth. That time when manually managing your brand relationship seems to be at stake, marketing automation will save the day!
2. What are the basic features I should look out for?
Contrary to the popular understanding, marketing automation is more than just email marketing. So, before you decide on a software application, it is important that you understand what features you will need. On a general note, features like drip email campaigns, auto responder, lead tracking and scoring, CRM integration, social media integration, marketing asset management are vital.
3. What do I plan first after purchasing marketing automation app?
After purchasing, comes proper setup and configuration of marketing automation suite. Its wise to connect with the support team as soon as possible and configure your choice of marketing automation application with you own domain name online. Generally, all of these software have easy configuration processes, with few DNS updates, but you never know when you will need a technical help!
4. Does it have social plugins integration option?
Until now, most marketing automation suits do not include this vital part of online marketing, like social media. Social plugins are very essential if you want to actually automate your marketing. Your social presence needs a strict monitoring now and moving forward.
5. What other software apps can I integrate?
Multi-tasking is not just a nice word to use in lectures. You will need a host of apps to use when you sit to automate your marketing plans. Many apps may not come integrated by default. Hence it is important to see if your choice of marketing automation application has the option of integrating all the apps that you might need as you proceed or have been using already. Most of the time, you need very close integration with CMS, Social Media, external applications.
6. What kind of support will I get from Marketing Automation vendor?
You should check what all support options are available and in what time zones. This may include, email, phone call or real time chat support. Most of the time, you can get email support, but a realtime chat and phone call support is added benefit.
7. Can both sales and marketing team use it?
Marketing and sales goes hand-in-hand. Hence, the application will be required by both your teams, the sales and marketing. Dig in deep, do a lot of research and see if the application you purchased will be useful for both your teams. You should check how many users can added and how emails can be sent out from the tool.
8. How a marketing automation tool is different from a CRM?
CRM and marketing automation tool are not same but complimentary to each other. It is vital that you understand the fine line difference between these two tools. While CRM has been mainly designed for sales purpose, an automation tool is designed for marketers mainly. You can read here how a CRM is different from marketing automation tool.
9. Can I customize the Marketing Automation suite as per my needs?
Customization becomes a vital necessity in the long run. You might want to change some settings or add/delete some sections of the application you are using as per your immediate need. Make sure the software you purchase gives you the liberty to tweak it as required by your business.
10. Does the MA suite provide API support?
Be completely sure that the automation suite provides complete API support. Without technical backing, it might be an issue in the long run when your marketing activity will require more speed, new apps and more integration in coming future.
11. Can I automate my social media outreach?
Importance of social presence needs no explanation. However, when you are investing in automating your marketing strategies, it is better to see if your social presence can be enhanced. Can you reach out to more better and targeted user base through your social media profiles using your automation tool? if yes, then smash it!
12. Will I get analytic integration with MA suite?
Marketing strategies have its backbone in analytics. Without the numbers and metrics of your competitors, how can you possibly etch a full-proof marketing plan? Make sure your automation application has analytic integration in it.
13. Can I get weekly or monthly data-based reports?
Regular updates is essential to understand the fast-paced user demand and how your competitors are handling it. Your status in the market and how far or near, fast or slow you are in the race. Make sure you have the option to avail weekly or monthly detailed reports.
14. Is marketing automation only for email?
No. If an application claims to be a marketing automation application, yet has just email marketing listed down in its feature list, then, you should check if they have plans to integrate other form of communication like SMS or Mobile app notification in near future. Marketing automation is much more than just email marketing, which is otherwise a component of marketing automation.
15. Can I automate the complete lead nurturing?
Analytics and reports will go in vain if lead nurturing is not done effectively. Lead nurturing branches out into many activities that are not possible manually when you have many users to cater to. Your marketing automation application must have all the facilities, starting from acquiring to retaining your users.
16. Can I track registered lead behaviour on our website and landing page?
See if your automation application gives you the option of tracking your leads’ behavior on your webpage and website. If this option is not present, probably you should keep looking for other alternatives! As, this is must have feature of a Marketing Automation suite.
17. Is Marketing automation app multiple device friendly?
Your users are not on one device ONLY. They use smartphones, laptops, tablets and every other smart device to stay connected. Hence, if your automation app isn’t compatible with any and every device (at-least with those that majority of people use), then it will be a waste.
18. Can more than one person work on such a tool? As in, can a whole team (between 5-100) use it?
Team collaboration is mandatory when you are trying to market your product. If your marketing automation tool does not allow more than one user to collaborate, then marketing will be a costly affair and also time taking.
19. Should I do research on the company profile whose automation tool I am to purchase?
Before investing in marketing automation tool, make sure you have an in-depth knowledge about the company who is making the product. Its not because your decision might backfire, but simply because by understanding the company’s background and history, you can have a fair understanding of how the tool might shape up in future. Your knowledge about the company will be helpful in knowing which industry exactly they are targeting, who are their immediate competitors and how long can the product survive in the market with complete support.
20. Will my MA tool have more promising features in future?
When you decide upon an automation tool, apart from all the above queries, you should also check whether it will have more promising features in the future. Email marketing is just one part of marketing automation. You should check what else your tool would be able to offer in future. If that aligns with your business effectively, then you have made the right choice.
21. Should I choose an automation tool based on price only?
Budgeting is important but make sure you do not limit yourself. That obviously doesn’t mean you will go ahead and splurge, but taking a decision solely looking at the price chart may incur more cost in the future.
While we are still talking about whether price should affect you or not, there is a new entrant in the marketing automation market: Aritic. This tool is designed solely for a marketer. Starting with designing drip email campaigns to creating simple yet effective landing pages, Aritic has everything organized in its dashboard. The best part of this tool is that it allows you to integrate your existing CRM, and also social media plugins, leveraging your social media outreach manifold times. Along with that, you can set auto response, nurture your leads and convert them into paid users. The lead scoring feature is an added advantage in this scenario. On road-map, Aritic has plans to integrate their MA tool with predictive and recommendation based marketing with help of artificial intelligence.
Although new, this tool has a lot of potential to give shape to the real concept of marketing automation. The free plan includes almost all the features while the paid plan starts at $69/month only!
Sign-up for FREE and experience automation in advanced level.