This is it! Your business has started turning over a positive ROI. You, or your team, are slowly becoming an expert in all of the channels you are currently using: SEO, Email Marketing, Content Creation, etc. But, you are wasting time. Importing all the data from place to place, system to system… This is wasting time you could be using to get actionable insights from SEO and using it in your CRM campaigns. Minutes and hours wasted that could be spent improving your profit margins.
It’s time that you started looking at the marketing automation systems on the market.
Marketing automation can simplify many aspects of your life and business. Imagine that you are running an eCommerce store, and a previously registered customer reads one of your blog posts on your new product. Automatically, an email is sent to this customer after a few days, reminding them of your new offer. Receiving the email, they then decide to purchase. Your marketing automation then sends an email to one of your on-call guys, and they follow up with your new user, making sure everything is alright with them and, yes, maybe up-selling some of your other offerings.
All of this is possible. Automatically.
Unfortunately, marketing automation is a fairly crowded, and competitive, space at the moment. What you do need to know is that there are three main tools for the average business:
You probably already know
The Hubspot tool prides itself on being a one stop shop for all of your marketing needs. Use a CMS, such as WordPress? Hubspot can take over for you. Send out mails using software such as MailChimp or Campaign Monitor? Hubspot fills the needs of these, while using all of the data you have already built up from all of your other marketing efforts.
One thing that your content creation guys will quickly appreciate is the easy to use drag-and-drop system Hubspot uses for content creation. They will no longer have to beg your development team (or buy them multiple lunches) to get the new campaign pages launched.
It is the Keyword Research Tool that sets Hubspot apart from all the other competitors. Your SEO and PPC guys will love the whole research suite. Using Hubspot, doing Keyword Research and uploading new content straight away is as effortless as a few clicks. Your CRM guys will instantly start seeing the fruit of this labor, as Hubspot can keep track of your potential acquisitions all the way through the marketing funnel, sending tailored emails depending on how long a person has been on your site for, what pages they have visited, or even what they have written in their profile while signing up.
Your technical guys, however, may not be as happy with your Hubspot acquisition. Unlike using individual tools, Hubspot can be restrictive in terms of customization. There are some things you can do with MailChimp or WordPress that you simply can not do with Hubspot, and if you can, it’s not as easy to code.
One other thing to think about with Hubspot, however, is the support. This is another area where Hubspot really shines against the competition. You aren’t just buying a powerful piece of software, but the support of the whole Hubspot team. They will take you through every piece of your sales funnel, and give you (very good) suggestions on how you can improve it. In fact, sometimes your call with the Hubspot rep will not mention the Hubspot tools at all, and instead talk about your current marketing strategies.
If one of your key sale pillars is social media, Marketo Inc (NASDAQ:MKTO) should be at the top of your list to consider. The social media tools included in this powerful piece of marketing automation software can really improve every element of your campaigns.
One problem when you are focusing on social media marketing is integrating all of the information from your different social networks and separating it out buy who shares what, who just visits, who just clicks like, etc. Marketo combines all of this information clearly, allowing you to get to actionable insights without having to waste time getting all of your data together.
If one of your lead acquisition devices is capturing your potential customers’ information at a key sign up point – Julybe for a download, or a white paper – then Marketo takes all of the set up away from you. After requesting someone to sign up with a social network, it is easy to use Marketo to create a form and capture the additional information you need, like the critical telephone number.
Just like Hubspot, you can also integrate all of your social leads into easy to use automated email marketing campaigns, targeting people based on their specific actions on your website. The templating tools for creating these emails, however, are not as powerful for non-coders as those you can find in Hubspot.
The other really powerful feature of Marketo is the analytics on offer. Although, of course, all three pieces of software provide a range of insights, the visualizations and integrations of Marketo really set it apart from all of the other marketing automation software available.
What is especially valuable in Marketo is the ability to link all of your different data sources with the easy A/B testing found in Marketo’s CMS. You can respond very dynamically to your current testing data, meaning that it doesn’t take long at all before you can start seeing your tests work for you in creating more revenue.
Another thing to consider with Marketo is the current CRM that you use. Out of the box, Marketo offers integrations with many other powerhouses in the marketing mix, including Salesforce, Hootsuite, Magneto, and many others.
If Marketo is king of social content, then Salesforce.com, inc. (NYSE:CRM) Pardot is king of Video, which is really worth considering as internet analysts predict that by 2017 over 70% of internet traffic will be for video. Pardot offers incredibly powerful integrations with the video widget Wistia.
Using Wistia and Pardot together, you can very quickly target customers based on what users are watching in the video, and if these videos caused any of these users to engage with any of your call to actions. Furthermore, if you are already using Wistia for your video analytic needs, Pardot makes it very easy to provide any customer data you have gathered into the Wistia system.
The heat map feature that Pardot offers for videos is also a god send. We’ve all watched videos where we are skipping between parts; either because we want to get to the meat of the pitch or because we need to re-watch something to fully understand it. Pardot shows a very elegant and easy to understand map that shows exactly which parts of your video users skipped, watched, and rewatched, as well as which video parts are key in leading your customers to conversion, allowing you to replicate the content for further successes.
As well as video, one very key reason to consider Pardot for your Marketing Automation software is it’s integration with Salesforce. Coming from the same company, it is very easy to link up your existing Salesforce information with Pardot. This can be essential f you are already using Salesforce to manage your CRM.
Pardot also makes it really easy to implement drip campaigns. This can be vital if your business is one that slowly nurtures your prospects, as opposed to turning the prospect into a convert shortly after they visit your website. One way it helps out with this is the powerful tools it offers in creating dynamic pages. The CMS allows you to completely customize your pages based on the data you have already gathered from that particular user, allowing for a customized browsing experience that can lead your business to the vital conversions that you need.
One disadvantage of Pardot is the help offered in setting up. Unlike all of the other marketing automation software solutions, Salesforce are very hands off in helping you integrate Pardot into your current systems and work flows.
Once you have decided which tool to use, one piece of advice is that after a trial to only go for the lowest package. This offers two advantages. The first being that if it doesn’t work out for you, that is less money wasted. But the second, which is playing the system a bit, is that these companies will be anxious to have you convert to one of their higher paying tiers, meaning that you may get more support from their teams.
This is important as you can expect a bit of downtime in your company from integrating these systems. As well as setup, there will also be a training period for all of your members of staff. This can be migrated by talking to your sales rep, and making sure that you have proper processes in place at your business, such as determining which department follows up on the call-leads from your new marketing automation software.
But the gains can be more than worth it. Using marketing automation software allows you to do online marketing in ways that just simply wouldn’t be possible with unconnected tools. Every day tasks become that much simpler, allowing you to design and execute marketing strategies that leave your competitors in the dust.