3 Things To Consider When Shopping For Marketing Automation Software

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I came back recently from visiting with a potential client today with a few questions in my mind about their growth strategy. My concern? I don’t think they want to grow.  This may sound like an odd observation, but if I were a potential client I would think they are a struggling business or perhaps a start-up. Their approach to sell their service is outdated.  When in fact, this business has been in place for over 20 years and has a healthy profit margin.

Many things have changed in the past 20 years. Marketing and sales methods have evolved but the small to mid-size business owner still struggles with digital approaches. Why is that? This particular business owner has a website, almost as a statement in point to say that “I have a website” means something. I visited it several times and offered to do a marketing analysis to provide feedback and I got the impression that he would rather not know the results. Almost knowing that the results would not be favorable.

I tend to think that as a business owner myself, that growth is part of the game. Right? I mean, we can set up and run on an operation plan and advertising budget but growth is not just for profit. It’s also a measurement of the business value and mission. Are you providing the service or product that you intended to provide? What are your strengths and do they compensate for your weaknesses? Or, would you rather not know now and find out later when competitors come in with a better business value?

The reality is, your competitor is investing in inbound marketing software that works. Research today tells us that word-of-mouth methods of marketing and local networking are not leveraging results for growth. In fact, this is a masking of what people are nowadays politely avoiding to say publicly, “Your product or service really does not meet my needs.” Why are they avoiding telling you this? Because you just might not be a part of their conversation. You just might be out of the content funnel they are currently in. The content marketing they are reading and informing themselves on for a better business value and proposition is not yours, but your competitors. 

Get on to content marketing, if you haven’t already. The investment in creating compelling content for your subscriber base and potential leads is imperative for your branding and online presence. To do this properly and with proper analysis you need software and consultation. 

Consider these 3 things when considering to invest in marketing automation:

1. Software support

Supporting your software is more than just a technical undertaking. Sure you need to be an implementation specialist but the company that designed the software needs to be an expert in the blogging or content marketing field. Why? Because you will, without a doubt, have questions and some of them go out of the realm of the software and into methodologies. How do I know this? Because I did it myself. When I first started using my choice for inbound marketing software, I was comforted to know that if I was stuck on a subject that my software support could answer my questions, even if had nothing to do with the software. That is support!

2. All-inclusive packaging

I love all-inclusive vacation resorts! If you haven’t had a chance to experience one, make it a point to do so! My wife introduced me to an all-inclusive on our honeymoon and I was hooked. You make the booking, arrive at your destination, and you never have to reach for your wallet again. It is that simple. If you come across blogging software, make sure it can provide you with more than the essentials - it will make your work-life less frustrating. The marketing platform I use gives me the choice of working on my blog, reviewing my site analytics, developing landing pages and call-to-action buttons, starting a new email campaign, as well as keeping up with my social media posts -  all in the same browser. Life without these kind of integrations seem unnecessary if you can have it all in one place.

3. Scalability

Sometimes you find that your campaign stretches the limits of your initial plan. For instance, you might have thought that a blogging campaign coupled with email marketing would be a good start but find you need to include PPC. Is this manageable within your marketing software? It is much easier when you can analyze and track PPC campaigns all from within the same portal. 

Considering all your options, because there are many out there, be cautious because companies promise to deliver big items that end up being false imitations. Ask users in forums or in articles like this one. Personally, I did the research and found Hubspot to be the best bang for my hard earned dollar. Depending on your budget, you can't go wrong as they are very well know to deliver on their features. You can post a questions to this article as well, if you prefer.