When you hear the word “automation,” what do you think about? Lightening your workload? Getting things done more quickly? Adding efficiency to a long process?
Yes, in many cases, the term “automation” means getting something done more easily, quickly, and efficiently than if you had to do it manually.
But with marketing automation software, it’s important not to jump toward the temptation that comes with the thought of easy, fast, and efficient marketing.
What you should know and do before diving into an investment in marketing automation
When “Automation” Leads to Misconception
As we said, it’s easy to fall for how great the word “automation” sounds. In fact, many marketers and business owners invest in marketing automation while under the false impression that the software holds all the answers to their organizations’ problems.
We have news for you: marketing automation software will not do your marketing for you. It might make your marketing efforts more efficient and it might free up some of your time, but in the end it all comes from YOU.
The truth of the matter is that automation software won’t generate leads for you. A well designed strategy based on buyer persona development and keyword research is key to attracting the right people to your business online. Then the marketing automation software can be helpful in carrying out the marketing tasks that help nurture contacts and pull them through your sales funnel.
Because of the misconceptions about marketing automation software, many businesses that invest in it end up wasting their money completely. The software is not what provides the results. Rather, success lies with the implementation of the software and how the software fits into your company’s overall marketing strategy.
Before Diving In…
Now that you have a better understanding of what marketing automation can and can’t do for your company, let’s talk about what you should do next. There are three main steps you should take before making a purchase.
Step 1: Set goals and a plan.
The first and most important thing you should do before diving into a marketing automation investment—or any type of large investment, for that matter—is set goals and a plan for successful implementation.
You should sit down and spend the time to really understand the digital marketing space; the time and investment it requires. What do you want to get out of digital marketing and how can investing in marketing automation software contribute to your goals? Do you have staff with the expertise to build and deliver on a marketing plan?
Knowing your overall objectives is important to deciding if marketing automation is right for you. For instance, if your company’s goals revolve around lead generation and you want to turn your website into a lead generating machine, marketing automation software can streamline these efforts and provide the measurements and analysis needed to determine and improve ROI.
Step 2: Investigate and compare your options.
As with other marketing tools, there are many options available to you when it comes to marketing automation software. Here are some of the questions you should ask that can help you learn more about your options:
- How much does this option cost?
- Can it integrate with your current website? How easily?
- What kind of training comes along with the software?
- What support does the software provide after purchase?
- How complicated is it to learn and utilize?
- What kind of reporting does the software provide? How in-depth is this reporting?
- What capabilities and features does the software have?
Step 3: Determine your company’s internal marketing capacity.
One last important question to ask is this: does your company have a team internally to manage and utilize marketing automation software?
Marketing automation might seem like a simple solution to streamline your marketing efforts, especially if your marketing department is sparse or nonexistent. However, in order to be successful, marketing automation requires a team of knowledgeable, experienced marketers to do the work behind the automation.
Want to better understand how marketing automation can benefit your business. Contact us for a free consultation!