Marketing automation is hugely popular among marketing teams, but many of them pay for services that don't suit their needs. If you're looking for a “beginner's guide” to marketing automation, there are a few tricks to try before splurging on a premium service.
We asked ten entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) the following question: If I'm new to marketing automation, how can I start slowly and ensure I'm making a worthwhile investment? Check out their answers below:
Put Relationships at the Forefront
Using marketing automation, you can say “hi” to every new follower on Twitter or post a regular update to your Facebook group every Thursday. What good is any of that if you aren’t actually connecting with people? If there’s no value in the communication, it will be ignored. Even relationships can be automated to a point. Use it to build connections, and use technology that helps you do that.
– Ismael Wrixen of FE International
You have to have a solid strategy mapped out, even when starting small. Measure and track everything. Set up conversion tracking and goals within your Google Analytics for every single campaign, even if it's just a simple 0 Facebook ads test. The more data you can accumulate, the more efficiently you can optimize and scale your efforts. Start small and practice analyzing all data points.
– Jonathan Long of Market Domination Media
Optimize One Sequence at a Time
It's tempting to see all the possibilities and dozens of sequences that you could create — an easy way to have half-baked and unfinished marketing sequences that don't convert. Instead, focus on one lead, nurture or client sequence, and make it awesome before working on the next sequence.
– Kelly Azevedo of She's Got Systems
Take Advantage of Free Trials
If you're just starting out, you're probably aware there's more marketing automation software out there than you could ever need. Take advantage of all those free trials and make sure that you've given all of them a good testing. You can find a lot of reviews online to help you track down the first set you'll want to experiment with.
– Adam Steele of The Magistrate
Do Everything Manually First
The best way to “test before you invest” with marketing automation is to do everything manually first. For example, if you are implementing automation to follow up with prospects, test your messages and automated sequence first by sending emails manually. By being on the front lines you'll be able to see what works and what doesn't. Then you can make sure you're making a worthwhile investment.
– Brett Farmiloe of Markitors
Get the Expertise From a Consultant
Spending a year learning how to do something when you need the results now is a waste. Hire someone to help you get the most value in the shortest amount of time possible while you learn at your own pace if needed.
– James McDonough of SEE Forge (creators of FAT FINGER)
Do Your Research and Don't Over-Invest
There's a lot of pressure for newer business owners to run after the next “shiny object,” even if it isn't really what you need. Instead of looking for the biggest and the best, look for a platform that does what you need it to do and that also fits your budget. It's not worth exceeding your budget for a super robust system if you aren't going to be able to fully utilize it.
– Nathalie Lussier of AmbitionAlly
Take a Seminar
Take a seminar or online tutorial that illustrates how certain marketing automation platforms or tools work, including what they can do for your business. Try them out this way and then decide on a few that you feel good about and that relate to your business. Then you can put them to work for your company and see the actual return on investment.
– Zach Binder of Ranklab
Automate Your Money-Making Activities
You can automate a lot, but at the end of the day, does it matter? First, create a list of things that drive your company forward. In our business it's email marketing, outreach, engaging with new sign ups, and creating demos. Walk through your current funnel and seek to automate the process. For example, set up a system for automating setting up demos with new users.
– Chris Brisson of Call Loop
Don't Worry About Making It Perfect
You don't have to be perfect out the gate. Marketing automation takes a lot of tweaking, and expecting to get it right at first will only slow your launch down. Don't worry about being fully automated. If you have to do things manually, that's OK too. Launching is more important than being perfect. You can always correct things on the go.
– Diego Orjuela of Cables & Sensors, LLC
The answers above are provided by members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.