Buying the best marketing automation tool in 6 steps

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12, February 2020

What is the best marketing automation tool for your organisation? The choice is not always that easy, because solutions for marketing automation are available in various shapes and sizes. The one that best suits your organisation depends on a number of different factors. This may make it difficult for you to choose the right software. The following tips will help you find the best marketing automation tool for your organisation in six steps.

Step 1: know what you want to achieve with marketing automation

Before you start to compare the various marketing automation tools, it is important to have a clear idea of what exactly you want to achieve. What activities in the area of marketing automation do you want to carry out? And more importantly: why do you want to carry these out?

Here are a number of questions that will help you gain a clear picture of what you want to achieve with marketing automation:

  • What are your marketing and business objectives for the short and long term?
  • How extensive are your ambitions in the area of marketing automation?
  • On what channels do you wish to be active?
  • Do you eventually want to set up a complete cross-channel flow for the entire customer journey? Or are you mainly looking for an email marketing solution?

Step 2: get a good idea of the functionalities

It may seem obvious that you have to look at the various functionalities of the software when buying a marketing automation solution. Even so, it’s advisable to take your time with this and to take a critical look at matters such as the following:

On what channels can you deploy the tool?

When choosing a solution for marketing automation make sure you look at which channels the solution supports, keeping the objectives from step 1 in mind. Can you, for example, only use the tool for email marketing, or can you also use it for setting up promotion and landing pages? In addition, is it possible to use the tool for text message marketing or social media, with or without an API connection?

Can you set up responsive campaigns?

The majority of the world’s population uses their smartphone to go on the Internet outside the home on a daily basis, and even more use their computer or laptop to go online at home or at work. Designing your marketing automation for use on only one type of device is therefore not an option.

Ensure that the marketing automation tool offers the option of constructing email or website templates that automatically adjust to the recipient’s screen. When doing so, look at more than just the dimensions. Is it also possible to adjust the content itself? For example, by showing mobile users a shorter text? Or by removing a ‘ring now’ button for computer users? There are countless other examples of things that should be taken into consideration.

What data can you use?

Successful marketing automation involves more than just personalising the salutation. Therefore, take a good look at the type of data that you can use for your marketing automation. Is it just standard data such as names or addresses? Or can you also personalise based on other things, such as the pages visited on your website or the type of email content in which someone has previously shown interest?

Integrations

If you are planning to raise your marketing automation to a higher level, there is a good chance that you will eventually want to link your solution to other software. For example, to your webshop software so you can send emails reminding people of an abandoned shopping cart. Or to the CRM that your colleagues in sales use. This allows your marketing department to use sales data for profile enrichment. In turn, sales staff get a better picture of when a lead is ready to be approached. It is therefore advisable to find out which integration options the solution provides.

Step 3: take a good look at user-friendliness and support

It can be difficult to see the wood from the trees in the day-to-day use of marketing automation solutions, especially with those that provide many functions. Therefore, always ask for a marketing automation demo, and make sure you look at the user-friendliness of the interface. Do you think that you can use the tool on your own, without having to continually ask for developer support?

You should realise that even the most user-friendly of marketing automation solutions available may raise the occasional question or issue. Check what sort of support and training possibilities the supplier of the tool offers. Check the language in which support is given and whether the support staff are located in a time zone that is convenient for you as well.

Aside from the user-friendliness of the solution itself, with marketing automation you may come across other challenges. Problems to which you as an organisation may not always have the answer without the support of a specialised company. When choosing the best marketing automation tool, see if the supplier has a partner network of specialists who have a good understanding of the software.

Step 4: look at the analytics possibilities

Analytics is essential for good marketing automation. After all, without an insight into the results it is difficult to determine whether your automation activities have succeeded. It is therefore advisable to check whether the solution you are looking at has an analytics dashboard and to see what sort of reports you can produce with it.

Better still: examine the options a marketing automation tool offers you for A/B testing. Is it possible for you to assess the results both manually and automatically in order to determine the eventual version? And what criteria can you use here? Is it restricted to clicks and views, or can you also take actual conversion into account, for example?

Step 5: don’t forget to look at the technology

‘Looking under the bonnet’ may not be the most exciting part of a marketing automation solution, but it may determine the success of your campaigns to a large extent. So when choosing the best tool for your organisation, don’t forget to examine the following aspects:

Email deliverability

Email is one of the most important instruments of marketing automation; however, the emails that you send must not end up in the spam folder of your recipients. Check whether the supplier of the tool has a deliverability team.

Also check whether it is possible to set authentication data and if the supplier has an anti-spam policy. The latter is important if you want to avoid the actions of other users having a negative effect on the delivery of your emails.

Stability

Naturally, you want to be able to rely on the fact that the marketing automation tool you buy actually works. Therefore, take a careful look at the uptime that the supplier provides in their service level agreement. You can google the name of the software you are considering to buy, in combination with the word ‘fault’. You could also check for mentions on social media to see if the suppliers experienced many technical problems in the last year.

Step 6: stay GDPR-proof

Data is the fuel that powers marketing automation, which means that you cannot avoid the GDPR. Because of this, check whether your data is going to be stored in Europe and whether the supplier offers the possibility of a data processing agreement.

It is also important that you can show that someone has given permission to use their data. Choose a solution in which you can see at a personal level how and when someone has issued their opt-in. And if you want to keep track whether someone opens your emails on a personal level, your recipients need to be informed about this. Nowadays, most organisations look for marketing automation solutions that have the option to deactivate tracking pixels.

Also bear in mind that the GDPR stipulates that you take sufficient action to ensure the security of your data. It is therefore advisable to investigate what security measures the supplier of the tool takes to protect your data. Does the company have, for example, the relevant ISO-certificates?

Want to know more about marketing automation?

Do you wish to know more about choosing the right marketing automation solution for your organisation? Are you curious as to how Webpower can help you with your marketing automation? Then download our product brochure now. Or ask for a free demo today!

 

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