The term “marketing automation” is deceptive. The name implies that it is as easy as 1-2-3, and is something that anyone, without any experience using the software, can do. But it’s not that simple. The truth is that while marketing automation is a powerfully robust tool to have in your arsenal, it can have a pretty steep learning curve. For the average business owner (who is inexperienced using the software), using marketing automation tools can be like navigating a foggy jungle. There are so many features, and some of these features will be misused or neglected entirely.
Even with all of that, marketing automation software has its place, and can be incredibly useful to someone who is looking to get the most out of his marketing. It’s also great if you want to free up more of your time. Your time is money, so if you can reasonably streamline your marketing processes, why wouldn’t you?
What is marketing automation?
In layman’s terms, it can be described as a system or process that manages leads. The leads will come in the form of a list—like an email list. The list is often segmented into different groups, and messages and content are sent to these different groups. In some cases, you can even isolate certain members of your list down to the individual, and you can send them content based on their past actions and behaviors.
You can review and analyze real-time marketing data, and you can utilize that data to optimize your marketing systems.
Along with coordinating messages with email, you can do the same with different social media platforms.
With the segmentation that marketing automation allows, you will be able to split test your campaigns, and see which one works the best.
Those are just some of the features that you will have at your disposal should you choose to use marketing automation software. See the appeal?
If you see the power behind those features, great! This blog post will give you five essential tips to get you started with this software.
Don’t choose the software randomly; choose wisely
There are tons of marketing automation tools out there, and some are better than others. This post is not going to delve into the absolute best marketing automation software, because the “best” may depend entirely on how your marketing system is structured. What I can do is give you a few suggestions from what is believed to be the industry’s most used and favored tools.
High end (expensive) marketing software:
Both Marketo and Eloqua are over $1,000 a month. Both are highly touted as the best in the industry for the suite of features that both of them have. Though both work well for small businesses, they work best with larger, enterprise-level companies, due to the myriad of robust features that are available.
Both Infusionsoft and Hubspot are excellent options for small businesses. The price range is more digestible (both having pricing options under $1,000). And though they may not have all of the bells and whistles of Marketo or Eloqua, they are arguably better suited for small businesses that just want to optimize their marketing campaigns.
You need to build your list
It is better to build your list from the ground up than it is to simply buy one. Buying email or marketing lists can be a tricky proposition—the people on the list will be cold to your email content since they do not know you. Take the organic approach and build your email list.
You may need to hire an expert
If the talk of marketing systems and processes confuses you, then you should hire a professional that is well-versed in managing this type of software. Marketing automation, though complicated, is not impossible, but if you’re inexperienced then it may be better to bring someone on that can use all of the robust features competently.
Nurture your list
Using marketing automation software doesn’t mean that you have to be robotic with your actions. As always, you should be nurturing your list with valuable and positive interactions. This means that you need to map out how you want these interactions to go. The best way to nurture your list is to provide useful content in consistently, while also delivering sales messages and product offerings. You need to find a balance, and marketing automation software enables you to that.
Use the tracking options that you have available
One of the many perks of marketing automation software is the ability to track the behavior and actions of your list members. If you use this properly, you can deliver content that is tailor made for specific members of your list. You can design campaigns that are poised to perform well, as you have a wealth of salient information on the members of your lists.
These automation tools are fantastic if you want to take your marketing campaigns to the next level.
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