Marketing automation tools are valuable resources for mission-driven organizations. Most organizations are using them to increase the effectiveness of their marketing workflow and provide better overall experiences for their audiences.
Picking the right tool
Making sure you are fully leveraging your marketing automation tool starts with choosing the right tool to implement for your organization. Below are four things you should consider when making a selection of a marketing automation tool.
1. How much does it cost?
Probably the most obvious but important point to consider is cost. This doesn’t just entail the monthly or yearly licensing fee; you will need to look beyond that to see if there are other fees for usage. Evaluate any hidden fees and what could trigger them. For example, many tools have limits set on how many emails you can send or tiers that set limits on the number of mailable contacts you can have in the tool. Make sure you consider this when selecting your marketing automation tool.
2. Does this tool integrate with my other platforms?
The tool you select shouldn’t operate in a vacuum. It needs to talk to your other systems and be a part of your larger digital ecosystem. Make sure you evaluate the integration landscape and that the tool will be able to seamlessly integrate with your other systems. Some integrations to consider include your CRM, CMS, and social media management platform.
3. What future capabilities does this tool have?
You need to select a tool that is not only right for you now but that will be able to scale with you as your marketing programs grows and matures. Some capabilities to consider are website tracking, event and webinar management, campaign management and data management.
4. Is there some customer feedback I can look at?
Don’t just take the provider’s word for it. Talk to similar organizations and that are using the tool and get their feedback. You can typically ask the company to refer you to others who are using it to get a feel for how it will work for your organization.
Listening to your data
Your marketing automation tool should be helping you make your marketing significantly more effective. One key way to fully leverage this is by using the tons of data that your chosen tool collects. Your marketing automation tool should have the ability to generate reports that allow you to analyze this data. Use this data to:
- Craft your marketing communications around user behavior.
Use the data collected to take the guesswork out of when and how to reach out to your audiences including when to send event reminder emails, follow-ups after form submissions, or automated communications based on button clicks.
- Develop better personas to increase effectiveness.
Your data will include information within your audiences on demographics, patterns in digital media consumption and usage, and behavioral characteristics. Analyze this data and use it create personas that define who individuals are, what they care about, and how they use and consume your marketing material. These personas will allow you to communicate more effectively with them.
- Utilize personalization to create a 1-to-1 experience.
Use your contact data to personalize your outreach. Consider things such as using a person’s name in a subject line, mentioning the last time a person interacted with your content, or similar details to provide a more tailored experience to the individual. These details can have a huge impact on the number of interactions and eventually conversions you receive from your marketing content.
Don’t stop optimizing
Automation doesn’t happen overnight and it doesn’t stop after your initial implementation. Your marketing automation tool will constantly be collecting new and useful data that you should consistently analyze and use to optimize your automation. The world is not stagnant and neither are your audiences; use your wealth of data to adapt and change your automation over time.
Don’t get trapped in automation
Using a marketing automation tool has many benefits, such as saving time, decreasing workload, and increasing marketing effectiveness, but there can be downfalls, too. It is easy to get stuck in autopilot mode.
It is important that you keep the human element alive. Make sure that you are consistently updating campaigns and allowing time for human interaction to occur. You need to consider when and where automation doesn’t have a role and where human communications need to be a priority. For example, you may not want to use auto-responders for direct inquiries but instead, use a 1-to-1 response from a human.
Your new marketing automation tool should help you reach your audiences better and despite the word “automation” it will require some human interaction to make it effective. Keep these two things in mind as you are selecting and using one, and you will be in great shape.