Looking for marketing automation software? Here are 10 features you need!

Looking for marketing automation software? Here are 10 features you need!

Marketing automation is now used in all types and sizes of businesses. Years ago, you could count on one hand the number of tools available. Now, there are hundreds of marketing automation platforms and tools. What you need and what is important to you will drive which platform is the best for you.

My 2 favorite tools are Marketo and Active Campaign. For larger organizations (with big budgets), Marketo (and Salesforce as the CRM) is a feature-heavy, very expansive marketing tool. However, Marketo has a steep learning curve and requires many steps to create almost any type of program. For smaller organizations (with lower budgets), Active Campaign is my favorite. Active Campaign is feature-rich but is much more user-friendly.

Here are 10 features that I think you need to be successful:

  • Email triggers – Your email marketing tool needs to be able to ‘trigger’ emails. When someone does something, your system should be able to automatically send an email. For example, someone completes a form, an email is sent.
  • Send by date – Once an email is triggered, you should be able to have a series of emails. Most autoresponders can send an email based on date/time. For example, once your email campaign is triggered, you want to send every 2 weeks on Tuesday at 9 am.
  • Send by behavior – Some programs can send an email based on the behavior of the email recipient. For example, once the email is triggered you only want to send another email if the recipient engages. If someone opens an email, they receive the next one. If someone clicks on something specific in the email, they get more information on that specific topic. This is KEY to getting your email list engaged, increasing your deliverability rate, and (most importantly) delivering the type of content your list wants WHEN they want it. Most autoresponder programs do not have this functionality.
  • Design – You will want a program that has existing templates as well as gives you the ability to create templates. I would recommend getting a program that allows you to access the HTML. Even if you are not familiar with HTML and CSS, it still makes sense. When you can create in HTML, your design flexibility increases significantly. You can get designers to create amazing templates.
  • Forms – Creating forms to add to your site is important. Most email marketing, marketing automation, and autoresponders have this functionality. You will want to be able to create forms easily and have flexibility in the design.
  • Integration – You will need to integrate your marketing automation tool with various apps. It’s important your application can do this (and already has the integration set up). You don’t want to have to pay programmers to create the integration. There are tools out there that help integrate everything like Zapier (very cool tool).
  • SMS/Text Messaging – Being able to text someone as part of your sequence is key. Text messages get opened/read at significantly higher rates.
  • Templates for automation – If you are new to marketing automation, it’s helpful to have sample automations you can just copy. Active Campaign has this, and it makes setting up your automation so much easier.
  • CRM – You will want your marketing automation to have a CRM or light CRM. CRM stands for customer relationship management. It’s a database of your contacts with key information. Your marketing automation tool needs to be able to access the CRM as well as update it.
  • Scoring – The purpose of marketing automation is to help ‘warm up’ leads and provide higher quality and higher quantity leads to your sales team (or to you if you’re the salesperson too). Marketing automation tools should be able to tell you who is ready for your call. With scoring, you decide what behavior is important and you give assign the points for that behavior. For example, you may give 1 point for opening the email, 2 points for clicking on a social media link, and 4 points for clicking on a call to action. Scoring allows you to see to what level someone is engaging over all your campaigns.

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