Digital marketing or internet marketing involves strategies, tactics or methods used to manage search engine optimization (SEO), manage lead capturing and scoring, manage landing pages, manage and implement effective email marketing, retargeting and lead delivery through CRM integration. While it will be possible to manually carry out all these for a single or few visitors, it's difficult if not impossible as your business grows larger and your number of visitors increases. Thus the need for and automated system to fully take control of your marketing analysis.
Marketing automation is simply the implementation of high technological marketing tool, marketing software or marketing platform (like Marketo, Hubspot, GetResponse, and Infusionsoft) to handle your digital marketing analysis from capturing a lead down his journey to conversion.
Just like the word automation, this provide for better analysis of your leads, identify the most frequent visitors to your website, offers discount to the hottest leads, send out emails to every lead no matter the sizeor number, follow up on every leads that abandons shopping carts while you focus on other activities of your business or while you are sleeping or on a vacation. Amazing right?
It should be noted here that all these marketing automation tools are not the same or performs marketing analysis process with same accuracy and precision. Some are built to handle large-scale enterprises while others offer a low learning curve for small business users. The differences between marketing automation platform for small business and large enterprise marketing automation tools come down to scope and usage hence the cost and maintenance price.
Marketing automation platform for small business are often designed with less robust capabilities, without some of the more advanced features like built-in reports and lead scoring. It may also have some limits on the number of users or active contacts the programs allows but there are less expensive to buy and maintain which makes it suitable for small business' marketing budget.
On the other hand, enterprise tools strive to provide an advance experience, from integrating your existing CRM to extensive contact capacity, data export, and advanced reporting. All of this comes with a higher price, however, that is often out of reach for small teams.
Here is a short recap of a few marketing automation platforms (MAP) for small business and enterprise.
MAP for small business
GetResponse: Good pricing with measurable marketing and a full automated email marketing platform
InfusionSoft: MAP available at any pricing plan, but like ecommerce and sales automation are only at higher pricing levels.
Leadsius: Usually start with free access to all tools and builds with size of contact list. Much analytics and data discovery added.
MAP for Enterprise
Oracle Eloqua: Complex and complete MAP designed for global enterprises, covering over 700 integrations.
Marketo: MAP packages assembled based on your marketing campaigns focus (emails, mobile, lead…)
Hubspot: Stand-alone marketing, sales, and CRM integrated or combine for the full stack
There are many factors to bear in mind while trying to buy a marketing automation tool or software for your small business. These factors include but not limited to:
1. MAP Content Management
How important content management is to your digital marketing will go a long way to determine the marketing automation tool best for your company. If you’re business is running a full inbound marketing program that relies on consistent content pushed out to the internet for discovery for example, you’re likely to go for a more robust marketing automation tools such as Hubspot and Marketo. These types of tools will integrate all portions of your inbound marketing, including blog/content management.
Thus your search of a reliable automation platform or tool will be focus on identifying tools that;
- Enables you to migrates your existing content
- Allows you to connect and manage the existing content through proxy.
If you have just a hand full of a blog strategy, then an integrated CMS is less important, but that does stop you from still researching on how a given marketing automation platform will connect with your website. Also, some of these platforms may require coding, which may automatically disqualify them from your search.
2. Marketing Automation Analytics
This is in higher demand in the business sector where marketers have to deal with large data and marketing departments have to measure their success to many stakeholders. Marketing automation platforms provides the possibility to compare data across different platforms and also track down historic trends. Less robust automation software provide basic engagement metrics for campaigns for you to be able to track basic reports, and performance the list level.
Whether you may be able to track performance inside the platform directly or have to download a spread sheet, understanding the success of your efforts is a critical step for building future campaigns.
Lead scoring and systems-based data are the next types of analysis you may want to watch out for. Lead scoring can be accomplished manually through CRM data, but having this information in your marketing platform/tool and the ability to create custom rules will reduce or eliminates a lot of redundant effort.
Rule-based tests helps you segment your incoming leads and better understand where in the overall sales funnel every prospect or customer lives
3. MAP Connections and Integrations
The extern to which a marketing automation platform (MAP) connects and integrates with the rest of your sales and marketing technology has the potential to make a huge or significant difference in your returns on income (ROI) or revenue. Till your existing programs or systems you plan to start using, including Retargeting, CMS, CRM, Automated email marketing, Social media management and Analytics and reporting.
Assuming your company uses an existing automated email marketing program, but it doesn’t allow integration and connections with your new MAP, this will generates difficulties when trying to export emails. You should be able to export email contacts without too much effort. On the other hand if your sales team works entirely in Salesforce CRM but your new MAP doesn’t integrate or connect with Salesforce, it’ll be a lot difficult to add new leads to your existing lists.
4. MAP A/B Testing
Generally, as your business marketing automation effort mature, at a given point, you will need to A/B test something (leads, sales…). Although you can always build your own A/B testing tool by using a third party tool like Visual Website Optimizer (this may take some effort), most automation tools provide A/B or multivariate testing. The need for A/B testing will largely depends on how often your team will be using the feature. Most platforms that include site ads and retargeting will offer some kind of comparative analytics.
5. MAP Implementation Fees
Basically, this is not a feature, but definitely one thing you want to keep in mind when you’re researching for MAPs. An implementation fee can make or break the decision for any size company. This is because; it can double or even triple the first month’s subscription. These fees also have some hidden implication that is; the platform will be designed to include some difficulties to its set up such that you will require developers to build your connections. This could simply mean that the initial setup takes a long time, or that replacing, adding, or maintaining the connections is expensive and time-consuming.
6. MAP Campaign and Design Consulting
This is just an extra, but it’s worth looking into if your team doesn’t have dedicated design or marketing staff, or in case you’re moving into a new market. It’s essential for first-time search and remarketing advertisers to get support so not too much money is spent learning what makes a good campaign. While many marketing automation platforms developers offer 24/7 support, others outsource optimization and campaign setup to private enterprises. These outside consultants may charge a fee for their services.
It is clear and worthy noting that the difference between enterprise marketing automation tools and SMB is much more than just the number of user accounts you need and the size your contact list. While many platforms are built to scale, a lot of them reserves the more advanced features for enterprise customers. You can decide which features you want to include with the new system, against what you can take care of using your existing tools.
Marketing Automation Principles
The contribution of marketing automation platforms in this modern marketing and advertising area cannot be over emphasized. Below are some of the significant principles most MAP uses to ease customers journey from capturing to conversion and help entrepreneurs keep track of their marketing and advertising campaigns.
This allows you to create your entire marketing campaigns through a simple drag-and-drop interface, and later execute this campaign over and over again without having to repeat the creation process every time. Freedom in creation of your advertising campaigns with some of the best marketing automation platform for small business and built to handle any idea you can think of such as;
- Automatically personalized communications with every lead
- Triggering emails, calls, and other actions based on leads behaviors
- Building emails, landing pages, and more from inside the Campaign Builder
- Get customized ready-made campaign templates.
- Modifying your campaigns based on what's working best for your business at any time.
Your customers will never feel like just another name in your database. CRM integration lets you use the leads (contact information you've collected) to personalize your emails and inspire action.
- They auto arrange all contact communication history in one place, automated and broadcast marketing messages, single emails, and sales activity
- Keep your communication updated and relevant
- Send series of seamlessly personalized emails
Landing Page Builder
Build in landing pages and web forms help you capture user data, such as name, email address and phone numbers, so you can connect with the leads who visit your website with marketing materials later (retargeting). With MAP, you are able to build and design your landing pages as you desire without having to hire website experts.
- You can quickly make changes without a developer
- You can create professional, branded landing pages for different promotions or campaign
- You are able to test pages against each other within your application
- Use SEO to increase your online visibility
With MAP, you get a deeper view of what's happening on your website and landing pages with integrated tracking tools. This allows you the ability to make smarter decisions based on real data and trends. Due to the fact that tracking codes are integrated with your CRM, you are able to see much more than just the number of people on your site.
- You are able to identify contacts, and visitors, paying particular attention to return customers your pages
- Track every visitor activity from entering to latest purchase
- Get a resume of the total number of customers your latest online efforts or campaign generated
- Assign lead sources to each website visitor automatically
- Capture and calculate average time visitors spend on your page website
- Using visitor system information to identify individual browsing trends
Statistics and Reports
The overwhelming goal of every entrepreneur is to be able to obtain statistics, trends and reports. It's never enough to run campaigns and send emails. You have to be able to identify what’s working (and what’s not). Marketing automation platforms/software collects and analyzes data on every email you send and so much more. Thus you’ll be able to
- Identify the number of emails that get delivered and those that didn’t those that are skipped, opened, clicked, etc.
- Evaluate landing page, campaign performance, web form and ROI
- View campaign analysis report in real time and make adjustments where necessary
- Reshape your marketing strategies to make the best out of every dollar spent
The features and principles of marketing automation can generally allow businesses to unlock and tap into crucial sources of revenue that is too often overlooked that’s your current customers. This is a stable source of revenue and specifically important for growing businesses. Marketing automation can help you ensure you’re securing life- long customers and brand recommendations as you grow your customer base, and regularly leveraging opportunities to upsell and cross- sell. Many small to mid-sized businesses today are using marketing automation platforms or marketing automation platforms to boost productivity, increase revenue and get rid of boring monotonous day-to-day tasks.
They key word to automation is working smarted not harder.