It’s important to know which features are critical for your business when choosing a marketing automation software solution. For those who are not familiar with the software, below is a brief explanation of the most common features.
Segmentation is the practice of dividing your customers or audience into groups based on a common factor like demographic information, buying behavior, needs or interests. Segmentation helps you target your marketing so customers receive content that is interesting and relevant to them.
With more people than using mobile devices, marketing automation software helps ensure that your content is sized to fit mobile screens and is scrollable. This is also a key SEO consideration that is important so your web content ranks highly on search engines.
Also referred to as split testing, with A/B testing, you run two different versions of the same campaign to test audiences to determine which version performs better. Marketing automation software sends the tests, analyzes the results and automatically sends the better-performing version to the rest of your customers.
With this feature, the software tracks, segments and communicates with your leads to convert them from a prospect to a customer. Lead-nurturing capabilities vary from basic to advanced depending on the provider. Basic capabilities include segmentation and lead scoring; advanced capabilities include cross-channel engagement tracking and journey flows.
With drip campaigns, customers are sent a series of pre-generated emails or texts that encourage them to complete specific actions, such as make a purchase or subscribe to a newsletter.
Task automation and alerts
With this feature, employees are notified when a task is completed or needs their attention. For example, when a drip campaign is sent out to customers, the marketing automation software can send an alert to the appropriate employee to check that the campaign was sent to the correct groups.
Lead scoring ranks prospective consumers based on certain factors to determine how likely they are to engage with your company and buy from you. Scores are calculated based on the type of communication the lead receives from your business, the frequency of that communication, as well as the customer’s demographic and behavioral information. The score helps you know when it’s time to contact a prospect directly during their buying journey.
Automatic lead assignment
You can program the software to automatically assign a lead to one of your sales representatives to continue moving the lead through the sales funnel.
Visitor tracking informs you who is viewing your website, how long each visitor spends on each page, as well as what content the visitor engages with. Visitor tracking helps you see what types of visitors are attracted to your content and which content performs the best.
Marketing content hosting
This feature allows you to host (i.e., upload and publish) content for your website through the marketing automation tool.
Marketing content tracking
By hosting content through the software, you can track its traffic and performance, which can provide you with valuable information about which content is and isn’t working and where you need to make improvements.
Forms are a great way to capture leads‒ if they are the right length. Progressive profiling decreases the number of fields in forms to only those that are strictly necessary, shortening the amount of time leads spend filling out the form. After the lead has been created, they are shown additional fields that they can choose to fill out.
Dynamic content allows you to display custom content based on who is viewing your site. Dynamic content can be used on landing pages, emails, web forms and templates.
Contact management stores and organizes your contact lists so you can segment and pull contact information for your audience. It also enables you to view customers’ buying and contact information, and save notes from sales representatives.
The ability to integrate with other tools can further synergize your productivity and bolster the capabilities of your marketing automation software. Popular integrations include webinar connectors, social media, URL shorteners, communication tools, paid advertising and CRM.
Analytics and reporting
Analytics and reporting features are an integral part of any marketing automation software, since they inform you about what is and isn’t working, with detailed reports on campaigns, costs and followers.
Ease of use
“Ease of use for marketing departments is huge, as many companies are seeking a solution to offload a lot of work delegated to their engineering and analytics team,” said Talreja. “Does the software allow marketing associates to create segmented audiences without the use of SQL? Is there a drag-and-drop functionality built in to set up campaigns? And how easy is it to personalize campaigns for the customer?”
Key takeaway: Some of the main features you should look for in a marketing automation software solution are analytics and reporting, integrations, contact management and visitor tracking.