Building marketing campaigns can be very beneficial to any business, but it isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Sometimes you need some help with the process. Here’s where marketing automation platforms can really make a huge difference in the way you market your business. Marketing automation platforms allow your company to streamline, automate, and measure marketing tasks and workflows to increase your efficiency and your revenue. They can help you generate leads and convert those leads to sales. Sounds great, right?

Now that you know what marketing automation is and what it can potentially do for you, you need to know what to look for when you compare marketing automation platforms. You want your marketing automation to increase sales and revenue while optimizing your marketing budget. It should take some of the tedium out of repetitive tasks like sending emails and managing social media accounts. Essentially you should be able to set it and forget it, freeing you to focus on other aspects of your business or brand.

Think Business Goals Not Features

Whether your business is just getting started, small or quite large, marketing automation is an option for you. According to Forbes, it allows smaller business to better compete with large enterprises for customer attention. When choosing a platform, you will need to consider your business goals and its specific needs. You will likely be tempted to consider a platform’s individual features and functions, but features and functions that you won’t use because they’re not in line with the goal of your business or company are pointless. Think about what your business wants to accomplish through marketing automation.

Another factor to consider when making a decision on which marketing automation is for you are pricing. Price doesn’t always equate with quality, so stick to your marketing budget and choose an affordable platform. Some platforms offer to price according to the size of your business. And if you’re a marketing agency looking for marketing automation to provide your clients, you’ll want to pay particular attention to price. You want to be able to attract businesses to your agency with competitive pricing.

Scalability

Make sure that the marketing automation platform you choose is scalable. When you are a startup or a smaller business, you want there to be plenty of room for growth. The goal of every business is to increase and generate a healthy ROI (return on investment). Having marketing that will grow with your business can save you money in the long run, because you don’t have to make multiple purchases.

If you’re a smaller business, it helps to be able to see the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns. This allows you to see where you need to focus marketing efforts as well as what’s working and what’s not. Keeping track of your marketing data can help you to see a better ROI. When growth is what you’re after, having the ability to build high quality and engaging emails and landing pages or even a drip marketing campaign should be part of your plan.

Larger companies will benefit from the streamlining of their customer relations management as well as the integration of the current software already in use. It enables you to simply eliminate old contacts that are no longer of use to make room for new leads that will ultimately lead to increased revenue. Any larger business that is managing multiple websites and marketing campaigns should see a marked difference in the organization and the data provided when they choose a marketing automation platform that is right for their business.

Contracts and Terms of Use

When you’re considering a marketing automation platform to help push your business forward, you’ve got to read the fine print. Depending on the goals of your business, you may not want a one size fits all kind of platform. You may require a more customized marketing Automator, which means a more unique contract between you and the platform that covers the needs of your business. Whichever route you choose, be sure to take a good look at what the contract entails.

A contract should spell out the terms of using the platform specifically. You need to know whether or not the partnership is long term and if there are any upfront fees, recurring fees or per-service fees. And in the event that there is no contract, be sure to read through the terms of use. Know what to expect from your marketing automation platform, and know what is expected of you and how you may or may not use the platform.

Customer Support

This is a big one. Sometimes things get a little weird when technology is involved, and your business is depending on your marketing Automator to help you stay in touch and engage with your clients, customers and prospects. It’s nice to know that if something happens there is a support staff that you can turn to. Having 24-hour support that is reachable by phone may be the most comforting, but support comes in many forms. Make sure you take the potential platform’s customer service system into consideration because when something goes wrong, you want to get everything back in line as soon and as painlessly as possible.

Customer Reviews

Always look at a marketing automation platform’s reviews and testimonials. You may even want to look for case studies or well-known companies that are using it successfully. This can help you to decide if it is the right fit for your business. You may come across reviews that detail how the platform solved a particular marketing issue or see how it has improved the growth or reach of another company.

With a case study, seeing what problems a business had with marketing, getting a detailed report of the automation solution and seeing the results of that solution can help sway your decision. You may even come across a model that is very similar to yours, allowing you to piggyback their strategy with a few minor adjustments specific to the needs of your business.

Look around the website and see if they offer any videos or tutorials on innovative ways to use their platform. If there are any, take a look at them to see if it is something you or your team can handle. Think about how you might apply the principles or features shown to your marketing campaigns or strategies. And if you have any questions (it’s a good idea to come up with a few), contact their customer support and judge their performance yourself. This may help you in making your decision. A poorly handled query may be telling of deeper customer service or support issues.

Features

Earlier we discussed choosing a platform based on your business needs, but now that you’ve done that, it’s feature time. You want your marketing automation platform to be feature rich so that you can cover whatever eventuality may pop up. But be realistic when it comes to features. Not every feature is a good fit for your company no matter how cool it may seem.

Another thing to consider about features is whether or not they are static. Find out how often upgrades are made. Ask how often new features are added to the platform. If you enter into a contract with the platform, it’s a good idea to know whether or not any new features will be made available to you and at what cost.

Look for demos or request a free trial, so that you can truly get a feel for how a marketing automation platform can transform the way you do marketing. Technology is constantly pushing us forward, so be sure that the marketing platform you choose is doing the same thing.

A Comprehensive Solution

Choosing marketing automation software that you can integrate into your current business software is important. Your business can experience improved efficiency when everything comes together seamlessly. With a comprehensive marketing automation solution, you can have marketing content and customer relations on the same page. This will allow multiple departments to be clear on the goals, plans and the path forward. The right marketing automation means that you won’t need any additional marketing automation platforms to take care of missing needs. Having API access is also something that can make software integration possible in the future.

Customization

Your business is unique, so it makes sense that your marketing automation platform can be tailored to fit your individual needs and preferences. A one size fits all approach may not be the best thing for you, and that’s okay. When you’re setting up your automation you want to be able to upload your logo, brand colours, fonts and other defining characteristics of your business.

When you’re looking for ways to streamline and grow your business, whether it’s a micro business, startup or large company, introducing an intuitive marketing automation platform into your current marketing strategy can change the way you interact with your customers and potential client base. When you use your marketing automation platform to its fullest growth, increased revenue and client engagement will likely take your company to new heights. Are you ready?