Marketing automation software can benefit your business in a number of ways. It is a great way to increase traffic, encourage and educate potential customers, as well was give you a more detailed view of what occurs at every stage of your customer's journey.
While all this sounds good, creating a marketing automation strategy isn't simple and you need a professional to help you with incorporating it into your business' workings. Not only does it require skill, time and effort, but involves a significant investment as well; this is why planning it well is crucial to the success of the effort. Here are a few questions you should be asking before you decide to automate.
#1 Are you attempting to market without a proper brand?
It's a common misconception among small business owners that branding is something they need to be concerned about only when their business grows and turns into a large-scale one. However, what you need to recognise is that it is branding that got companies such as Apple and Microsoft to their current positions.
Regardless of the industry you operate in and the products or services you sell, you need to focus on branding. And for that you need to ask yourself what your target market is, what they expect and what kind of experience you want them to have when they are doing business with your company. You should invest in marketing automation only when you know who your customers really are and what they expect.
#2 How much bandwidth does my company have?
It's important to know what your limits are; you don't really require a large number of marketing executives to handle inbound in an effective manner. However, you need complete clarity about how much content you need to create and the frequency at which you will be creating it. Be realistic about your capabilities and the amount of time you would be able to dedicate to the effort.
For instance, if you have the scope only to put out a quarterly newsletter, it would be a folly to measure your return on investment on the idea that you will be posting blogs twice a week. You also need to personalise and refine content before you post it, and these aspects of marketing aren't automated; this means there is a certain amount of time and effort involved that you need to factor in as well.
#3 Will marketing automation function seamlessly with your existing infrastructure?
Most high quality systems have very solid integrations, but there will definitely be wrinkles that have to be ironed out when you start using automation alongside the tools and customer lists you are currently using. You need to give it some time to become completely integrated and work seamlessly with any systems you have been using for a long time.
#4 Don't take big leaps
You don't need to start on every single marketing automation tool available to you right away. Focus first on all the aspects required to set your marketing engine into motion such as email templates, a few landing pages and probably a blogging tool. You can divert your attention to creating workflows, rethinking your social strategy and working on your website at a later point of time. You shouldn't worry about getting everything down pat right out of the gate.
You also need to factor in costs aside from the amount you pay for the software; the other expenses you need to keep in view include training staff, integrating it into the CRM, swapping out forms on your site and carrying over your feel and look etc. These implementation costs would equal the amount you pay for the software and are something you need to budget for.
About the Author
Ben Fewtrell is a sought-after Business Coach, Keynote Speaker and trainer who has featured in Virgin’s Inflight Magazine and Entertainment Portal, SKY Business and "Secrets of Top Business Builders Exposed". He is also the host of the popular Business Brain Food Podcast where he interviews leading experts on anything and everything business.