Marketing automation software is fast becoming a priority for competitive businesses—companies that want to improve customer happiness, increase ROI, and operate more effectively.
Marketing Automation (MA) is a set of tools and capabilities that enable automated, triggered events such as text messaging, email, lead scoring, variable content, communication processes, and so on. MA can coexist with customer relationship management (CRM) on a single platform or in two (or more) systems that communicate data bidirectionally. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all answer. That is part of the difficulty in determining the appropriate system(s) for your individual needs.
So, without any further delay, let’s get down to how you can find the best automation software.
1. Consider the native integrations and features
Every marketing automation platform has different features to offer, so it’s critical to ensure that you choose one with the capabilities that fulfil your requirements. Additionally, you should spare some thought for your business’ existing technologies, as you might want to integrate what you have with the new automation software. You should ask yourself the following questions when you compare different platforms:
- Is the new system able to integrate natively with whatever technologies you’ve already got in place? If it is, it can help you to transfer data more easily.
- Are all necessary features available, i.e. features necessary for your business? Before you choose a specific platform, it’s important to make a list of features that your business requires.
- Is there an open API? This is an important consideration for custom asset creation.
You may also have an eCommerce business on a separate platform, and in this situation, it’s important to ensure that there is native integration between your shop and your marketing automation software. In terms of setting up lead nurturing campaigns, this will make things easier for you.
2. Take a look at the user interface
Some platforms have simple user interfaces, while others have overwhelming interfaces. Even though most platforms will tell you that their interfaces make the software easy to use and intuitive, you should test them individually. During the testing process, you should ask the following questions:
- How simple are the simplest tasks? In some automation software, even the simplest tasks can be complicated, which can lead to efficiency problems.
- Does the software provide contextual information? Some platforms offer contextual information for certain confusing elements such as titles.
- Does the software have clear navigation? The software’s navigation should be simple and to test it out, try the simplest processes such as analytics access and/or email creation.
Of course, when you’re learning to work with a new platform, there always are certain challenges involved. However, the user interface should allow you to get over those learning challenges without making things excessively complicated.
3. Check for availability of learning resources
While learning to use a new marketing automation platform can be challenging, learning resources can make things easier. For instance, there are some platforms that offer how-to videos, guides, and webinars. These resources can allow you to make the most of the automation tool. Before deciding on a platform based on the availability of learning resources, you should ask the following questions:
- What things can you learn from the resources? Are they comprehensive or do they only offer the basics?
- Are the learning resources based on the latest trends? Ideally, you wouldn’t want to learn from resources that are a few years old.
- What about accessibility? Many automation platforms provide learning resources that are easy to access, i.e. you only need a stable internet connection.
4. Ensure that there are enough customer support features
Even with all the learning resources, you may struggle to get the best out of your new marketing automation software. This is where customer support features can come in handy. All marketing automation platforms come with technical support. However, they may differ in terms of the support type. So, you should ask:
- What are the available forms of customer support? Some platforms combine live chat, email, and phone support features. Ideally, you should opt for a platform that allows you to get in touch with a real human for resolving issues.
- Is customer support available round-the-clock? While some platforms offer round-the-clock support, others don’t. If you choose the latter, you can bridge the gap through online documentation and/or community forums.
- How is the response? It’s great if it’s immediate, but many platforms respond within a 24-hour period.
5. Spare some thought for the pricing structure
Typically, pricing structures vary from one platform to the next. Some of the questions you should ask in terms of the platform’s pricing include:
- What is the scalability of the contact database? This involves analysing existing data to observe contact database growth, which you can use to predict the money you need to spend in the days ahead.
- How much is the platform’s base price? The base price of the platform is likely to be dependent on the size of your existing database, i.e. the bigger the database the more you have to pay.
- How is the pricing affected by features and/or benefits? Opting for some additional features and/or benefits may raise the price while choosing the most basic features can keep things affordable.
6. Read the reviews
Even though your choice of platform boils down to what your business needs are, it’s always helpful to go through reviews. Some things you should look for in the reviews include:
- How customers’ experiences have been – look for video testimonials and/or case studies.
- Trustworthy sources that encourage star ratings and peer reviews.
Going through comprehensive reviews can help you understand the pros and cons of different platforms along with the value they provide based on their pricing structures.
If your business has never used marketing automation software before, choosing one can be challenging, especially when you consider the range of options available nowadays. However, if you keep in mind the tips we’ve shared with you in this article, and more importantly, put them into practice, you can find an ideal software that fits your business’s needs.