You can have the best idea, the greatest product, the most innovative thing ever, and it will still fail if it isn’t marketed right.
Marketing used to be a creative process that only a select few could do it, but marketing automation software has changed this completely.
Automation can make marketing significantly easier. However, selecting a marketing automation software is not an easy task.
44% of marketers are not fully satisfied with the marketing automation tools they use.
I know it’s confusing to go through all these options, trying to find the best one. This is why in this article I’m going to help you.
Let’s see how to select the best marketing automation software for your business!
How to Choose the Best Marketing Automation Software for your Business?
There are 7 main points you need to cover to make the right decision:
- Ease of Use
- Customer Reviews
A good marketing automation platform will allow you to categorize your audience and leads and then target them by any criteria.
Segmentation is important because it allows you to do better targeting and customize your messages more – both of which will lead to more conversions and better ROI.
Some tools also have advanced segmentation. This enables users to divide their audience by any combination of categories such as behavior, referral, location, demographics, device, and more.
When marketers have this sort of segmentation at hand, they can do much better with the same resources.
- A/B Testing
The thing about marketing is; it’s not an exact science. There are many guidelines and so many ideas to choose from, but good marketers always know that there’s a better version of anything.
A/B testing allows marketers to test different simultaneous versions of your emails, landing pages, ad copies, titles, or any other marketing material.
This allows marketers to see which version is getting the best results. This makes it easy to analyze the version with the best results and use the conclusions to get better results in their campaigns moving forward.
- Social Media
A useful marketing automation tool must give marketers a dashboard where they can check the status of their accounts on multiple platforms.
Many marketing automation software options now even allow users to use the tool to draft and schedule their campaigns. The tool will then send out these posts in the time set by users.
This campaign management feature has proven to be a great time and effort saver for marketers who handle large numbers of campaigns.
Some tools even have “social listening” features that can gather what people are saying about you and your competitors on different social media platforms.
There are also marketing automation tools that enable users to engage with their audiences on different social media platforms from the solution’s dashboard and without needing a dedicated CRM system.
- Email Marketing
Email marketing is still one of the most reliable marketing tools for any marketer. The tool should be able to send emails in response to specific triggers – such as when someone subscribes to your email list or buys something from you.
Some marketing tools even have built-in custom email builders that users can use to build email campaigns using drag-and-drop functionality.
The tool should also be able to track those email marketing campaigns and show you things like the open and bounce rates.
If you are interested in email marketing, check out those 5 free email marketing software solutions for small businesses.
- Text Messages (SMS)
Even in the world of Messenger and Whatsapp, SMS text messages still matter to sales and marketing teams. Some marketing tools will allow users to send text reminders and promotional messages to customers.
More advanced marketing tools will be able to help users launch full campaigns and integrate them with other channels at different touchpoints.
Retailers and local businesses can use email marketing tools with geofencing to send text messages to customers that are in their areas.
- Analytics and Reporting
Reporting and analytics have, thankfully, turned into a must-have in any marketing automation system.
Analytics help users understand their audience and campaigns so they can optimize their efforts in the future. The more advanced the tool, the deeper its analytics is going to be.
High-end marketing tools will have a shareable dashboard, customizable reports, and integration with other analytics tools. These features make it possible for marketers to share their data with their managers and stakeholders easily.
- Digital Ads
Basic Ad automation is an excellent addition to any business. It can help users create digital ads.
Not all marketing platforms support all digital ad platforms (Google’s display and search ads, Facebook and Instagram ads, TikTok, LinkedIn, etc.), so you need to make sure to choose a tool that supports the platform you use the most.
Tools that support digital ads also have segmentation to help with the targeting of those ads. Those tools also support unique campaigns such as remarketing and retargeting.
Some e-commerce automation systems can help with things like creating upsells & cross-sells and generating single-use coupons for customers.
More advanced tools will also have cart and inventory services. They will be able to track critical data such as cart abandonment rates and can allow users to do retargeting using this data.
Affiliate automation is necessary to help transactions between your brand or business and those who promote it using their brands and companies.
This feature can considerably speed up the vetting and payment processes and make it easy to track affiliate links. Some tools also have automatic payments of affiliate link click-throughs.
- Landing Pages & Forms
If a marketing automation tool offers landing pages and forms, it will provide some templates and a landing page builder so you can create them easily.
Landing pages can be used for lead generation by capturing the leads that go through it. Advanced marketing tools will also offer A/B testing of multiple versions of your landing pages so you can track their performance and optimize it.
- Lead Tracking & Scoring
Proper Marketing Automation tools will have basic lead scoring that can keep track of your customers’ behavior through all touchpoints. This includes their behavior on your website, on your social media pages, and in emails.
This will help you prioritize your leads and direct the sales team so they can nurture leads with higher importance first.
Basic blogging automation can go along way in helping your marketing efforts. Marketing tools can utilize blogging and blog posts to generate traffic.
More advanced tools will have full content management systems onboard or will have seamless integration with one like WordPress.
SEO automation can offer things like automatic keyword research and optimization suggestions.
More advanced tools will analyze the competition and provide users with reports on how they can beat out the competitors in ranking for specific keywords.
Contests are an excellent way of generating engagement with your brand. Some tools offer contest automation capabilities and will enable users to set up competitions on their websites.
They will then track entries and allow the users to view them and judge them.
If the tool is more advanced, it will offer email automation with the contests, and it will be able to send the contestants emails that remind them of the date of announcement and confirm their participation and so on.
- Webinars & Events
Marketing tools that offer webinars and event automation features can help users send links to viewers, see how many viewers they have in real-time, and record their webinars.
Some tools can also help users build a format from the ground up, add segments to their webinars, and offer some features for engaging with the audience before, during, or after the webinars.
That’s about everything you need to know about the essential features a marketing automation solution should offer. If you want to learn more, check out these 15 crucial benefits of marketing automation for business.
The cost of a platform is an essential factor in the decision-making process. Learning the price of a solution might look like it’s easy, right? You just look up the pricing on their website.
Unfortunately, many platforms have extra fees and hidden costs. These can pile up very quickly, and instead of finding yourself paying $X, you will be paying $3X.
Some platforms even don’t state clearly what the limitations are on their features, making you go for a specific plan while you need a higher tier.
When choosing a solution, you should look at the upfront cost, the hidden costs (such as for support or maintenance), and be aware of what triggers those fees.
Here’s a tip: You can save more by opting for annual payment with most vendors, but you should test out the solution and its features with their free trial before making the final decision.
Almost every business on planet earth has the goal of growing. And as you grow, your tools should grow with you.
You don’t want to find out that the software doesn’t even offer some crucial function that your business suddenly or have some limitation that you can’t breakthrough, such as the number of senders.
Make sure the solution can grow with you as your business does. You should also look at how much scaling will cost you if needed to be done at any time, not just when it’s time to renew the subscription.
Ease of Use
Time is money, and this includes your time and your employees’ time as well. If you go for a cheap and fully-featured solution that’s difficult to use, it will still be costing you more than it should.
You should choose a solution that requires little or no training. Anyone should be able to use the tool to perform their tasks without needing technical assistance.
The tool should also have a good tutorial library that your users can refer to when they need help figuring something out without needing to wait on the phone for customer support to guide them through it.
For you to implement your marketing strategies and achieve your business goals, your marketing automation platform should be able to integrate with other solutions and platforms seamlessly.
The most crucial integration you will need is a CRM integration. Integration between your CRM solution and your marketing platform is a must.
You should also research the complete scope of the integration capabilities of the marketing platform. This will also help you understand how well the tool will be able to exchange data with other software tools you are already using.
The last thing about integration is an API. You should look into their API and whether you can use it to build your custom integrations quickly, or is it unnecessarily complicated to do so?
Reading the reviews of bloggers and YouTubers is excellent for giving you a feel of what the tool offers. However, if you want to find out what using the software will be really like, you must check for customer feedback and reviews of real users.
Only people who have used the software for a considerable amount of time have gotten to know the ins and outs of it and can tell you about the little things that don’t show up in reviews.
You will find out about certain things like specific bugs, fails, hidden costs, how the customer support is like, and so on.
These things are more important than you think. Even small details can prove to be very annoying. And there’s no way to find out about those little annoyances but customer feedback and real reviews.
Your marketing automation platform will gather a LOT of data for you. This data is priceless, and you never want this data to be leaked.
A marketing automation tool should also offer regular backups so you don’t lose everything in case it crashes, or something happens with it.
Security is one of those things that people don’t care about until it’s too late. Don’t be one of those, the security of your data is crucial even at the start of your business.
Now you know everything necessary, there’s to know about marketing automation solutions.
Take your time researching the solutions. Match the tools you find by the cost and the features you need, but don’t forget about all the other points we discussed.
If you liked this article, I would love to hear your thoughts on it in the comments below. You can also drop me a comment below if you have any questions. Always happy to help.