When it comes to implementing a new software platform within your business it can be an overwhelming experience, especially when it comes to marketing automation.
With many technical aspects to take into consideration, most business owners often find themselves with countless questions to ask when looking for the right marketing automation platform that suits their individual needs.
A recent study conducted by Social Media Today also indicated that 75% of businesses are using some form of marketing automation within their business which means if you’re not in that percentage you’re not only leaving money on the table when it comes so saving time and resources but you stand a strong chance of being left behind by the competition.
With this in mind, we have taken the time to make your research process easier by outlining 14 critical questions to ask before using marketing automation within your business.
We’ve covered everything from common questions you may have about marketing automation to product features, pricing, integrations and set up to ensure you have a comprehensive understanding of marketing automation and how to get the most out of it for your business.
Sounds good? Let’s get started!
Questions to Ask Before Using Marketing Automation
- What is the difference between email marketing and marketing automation?
- Is email marketing still effective?
- Which is the right marketing automation platform for me?
- How much does a marketing automation platform cost?
- What automation features does the platform provide?
- Should I use an all-in-one marketing automation solution?
- What integrations do they provide?
- Do they offer a free migration service?
- How do I import my existing contacts?
- What ongoing support options do they provide?
- What campaigns am I looking to create?
- How do I track the return on investment from my marketing automation campaigns?
- Do I have the experience to build my own campaigns?
- Is marketing automation right for your business?
What is the difference between email marketing and marketing automation?
First up is one of the most common questions people have when it comes to marketing automation, “What is the difference between it and traditional email marketing?”
Email marketing platforms often allow you to send static email campaigns to a list of subscribers that have often opted into your mailing list or requested emails on a once-off or ongoing basis.
With marketing automation, not only can you incorporate email marketing within your strategy but it also allows you to create highly personalised campaigns based upon the actions the individual subscriber, lead or customer takes within your website or sales cycle.
From sending time-specific email campaigns to updating their contact record within your CRM or showing a specific retargeting ad through Facebook, the choices are endless.
Is email marketing still effective?
A big misconception that people often have when it comes to deciding if email marketing and marketing automation is right for their business is that email marketing is dead?
With new platforms and channels appearing almost daily, there were a lot of rumours that email marketing was soon destined for the internet graveyard alongside other game-changers like Myspace and Hotmail. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
While the days of sending irrelevant, sales focussed emails are long gone, sending high value and relevant email campaigns are still one of the best ways for building and growing your own audience and business today.
Which is the right marketing automation platform for me?
Just like choosing any software platform, there is no shortage of choices when it comes to marketing automation platforms available on the market!
While some are often built with specific industries in mind, most platforms are universal and can work across every industry imaginable including accountants, hotels and construction firms.
It’s important to conduct some research on the best marketing automation platforms available and see how they stack up in terms of pricing, features and support for your industry, you may even want to reach out to their platform directly for a personalised demo or sales meeting.
Most will also offer a free trial so that you can test out the platform first hand as well.
How much does a marketing automation platform cost?
Another thing to take into consideration when choosing a marketing automation platform is of course pricing, with platforms ranging from free to thousands of dollars a year it’s important to ensure that you’re getting the best bang for your buck.
Depending upon which platform you choose, some charge based upon the number of subscribers while others charge based upon features so it’s important to factor this in.
If used correctly, marketing automation can be seen as an investment rather than a cost as it works 24/7/365 saving you time and money spent on manual outreach campaigns.
What automation features does the platform provide?
Just like when buying a car, it’s important to check under the hood to see what features each platform provides and at what price point.
Some essential features to take into consideration are:
- Automation triggers
- Personalisation options
- Email templates
- Contact management
- Supported integrations
- Customer support
As previously mentioned, some platforms offer a host of features and simply charge based upon the number of active subscribers whereas others have been known to charge for certain features which may end up costing you more than you had expected so do your homework.
Should I use an all-in-one marketing automation platform?
Another thing to take into consideration when choosing a SaaS platform for your business is whether to go with individual offerings or opt for an all-in-one solution.
While having your entire marketing and sales stack under one platform can be beneficial in terms of data management and time saved switching between multiple tools there can also be setbacks from selecting an an-in-one platform as well.
Often platforms that offer countless features are good at some things but not great at anything which often leads to features not working as well as they do on other platforms so it’s best to compare the pros and cons for each platform before committing to it.
What integrations do they provide?
While most marketing automation platforms offer an extensive array of integrations with other SaaS platforms it’s always important to dig a little deeper and see just how well each of the platforms work together when it comes to native integrations.
Failing this, you can always look to automate workflows between your SaaS platforms using tools such as Zapier or Integromat which in some cases may be a better option as it allows you to keep all of your integrations in one easy to manage workspace.
Do they offer a free migration service?
Most of the leading marketing automation platforms will often offer a free migration service from your existing email marketing platform including the importing of contacts and configuration of your account to make the process easier, however, you will need to create your own campaigns.
It’s best to double-check how your current and existing platforms manage and store data to ensure a smooth migration process and limited downtime.
How do I import my existing contacts?
As mentioned above, most providers will often provide free migration services to ensure an easy onboarding process and make it easy for you to get started on the platform.
In the event you are importing contacts from an external source, most providers will often need to verify how you obtained this data to comply with GDPR and privacy laws as only those who have opted into receiving marketing mastering can be imported into the platform.
What ongoing support options do they provide?
Depending upon your own personal technical knowledge, you may require ongoing support to ensure you get the most out of the platform and can resolve any issues if and when they arrive.
Most platforms will commonly offer support via telephone, live chat, support tickets and email and some may even offer support in different time zones and languages.
What campaigns am I looking to create?
Now that you’ve covered most of the technical and product questions, it’s now time to determine exactly what type of campaigns you are looking to create.
Depending upon your individual business needs and customer profile will impact what type of campaigns you create, however, we’ve covered some of the most common campaigns below.
- Lead nurturing campaigns
- Customer onboarding campaigns
- Customer referral campaigns
- Product launch campaigns
- Event-based campaigns
- Re-engagement campaigns
Take a moment to note down your ideal customer profiles and build a list of what campaigns most relate to them and use it as a reference when creating your campaigns.
How do I track the return on investment from my marketing automation campaigns?
All major marketing automation platforms offer built-in reporting to ensure you can accurately track and optimise your campaigns.
The most important metrics to take into account are:
- Open Rate
- Click-Through Rate
- Bounce Rate
- Conversion Rate
- Revenue Generated
Depending upon what type of business you are and how you track and manage your conversions will determine the outcome of each of these metrics, however, most of these results should be able to be tracked if configured correctly.
Do I have the experience to build my own campaigns?
Next up you need to determine if you have the experience to build your own campaigns or whether it’s better to engage with a marketing automation specialist in the creation of your campaigns to ensure they convert well.
Alternatively, most providers will often provide you with a range of pre-built templates, training videos and more to assist you in building your first campaigns.
Is marketing automation right for your business?
Finally, the most important question you need to ask yourself is whether marketing automation is right for your business and in 99% of businesses the answer is YES!
Whether it’s to save time in managing manual email marketing campaigns, reduce overheads from creating traditional marketing campaigns or simply growing your business to new levels, marketing automation can be deployed across any business regardless of size or industry.
If you’re unsure of exactly how you can use marketing automation within your business consider scheduling a free 20-minute consultation with our team so we can learn more about your brand and provide you with a clear roadmap to using marketing automation with your business.
And there you have it, our comprehensive list of 14 questions to ask before using marketing automation within your business to ensure you make the right decision.