So you've decided you're ready to take your marketing to the next level by investing in a marketing automation tool — congrats!
But as you start your research, you soon discover there are 7,000+ marketing automation solutions available as of 2019. How will you know which is the right platform for your ecommerce business?
Like with every tricky business question, the answer is: it depends.
In this post, I'll cover seven factors to consider when comparing different marketing automation platforms. These factors will ultimately help you make a more confident and informed decision about the future of your tech stack.
But first, let's discuss why ecommerce businesses should always use some kind of marketing automation platform.
Marketing automation uses online software to automatically execute your marketing tasks, like sending emails, growing your database, and collecting data to help drive your strategy. Although it's commonly known for making the lives of digital marketers easier (which I can completely attest to), it also helps your ecommerce business scale.
At Campaign Creators, we help ecommerce brands leverage the power of marketing automation. Here's a list of some of the immediate benefits we've seen our clients reap after implementation:
With thousands of marketing automation solutions available, it can be difficult to choose the right one for your company. Because the buyers journey and sales cycle differ between ecommerce and other types of businesses, some platforms may lack the tools and features you need to manage the customer lifecycle.
Start your research by examining marketing automation tools that have a specific solution for ecommerce businesses, including:
Then, use the following seven factors to guide your evaluation process and help you make the best purchase decision.
First, consider how simple or overwhelming the platform's user interface is designed. Many, if not all, platforms will claim they have an intuitive and easy-to-use platform — but this isn't always the case.
To determine whether the platform's user interface will be easy for you to learn, ask for a demo of the platform. When testing each platform, ask yourself:
A learning curve often exists when jumping onto a new platform. As an ecommerce business, you'll likely have other priorities such as fulfilling online orders or launching other campaigns. So, make sure you're able to test the user interface of the platform to determine how quickly you'll be able to get up to speed — and get to work.
Each marketing automation platform will offer different features, so make sure you're choosing a platform that has the capabilities you need. Also, consider the existing technology you already have. You may have existing technology you want to integrate with your new platform.
When comparing platforms, ask yourself:
As an ecommerce company, you may have your online shop on a different platform, such as Shopify. If this is the case, it's essential to make sure your shop natively integrates with your new marketing automation platform. This will make it easier to set up your automated lead nurturing campaigns that are based on your contact's website activity.
When jumping on a new and unfamiliar system, you'll want to receive the best help possible. It's important to recognize that technology isn't perfect and that things may break — so having that extra help to resolve your unique issue can be critical.
When purchasing a new marketing automation platform, some kind of technical support is usually provided, however, the type of support available can differ.
Especially if you don't have the time or extra help to figure out an issue, customer support can be an essential factor to prioritize when comparing different marketing automation platforms.
When purchasing a new marketing automation tool, having online resources available can help you get the most out of your new system. Some platforms have guides, how-to videos, or even webinars that can help you learn how to use the tool.
For instance, the HubSpot Academy is a great online learning resource. Within the Academy, you'll find all kinds of how-to videos that teach you how to become an advanced HubSpot user.
When choosing a platform and researching their learning resources, ask yourself:
Although choosing the right platform for your ecommerce business really depends on your company's personal needs and goals, you'll want to understand how other users of the tool are making the most of it.
Look for case studies or video testimonials that have existing customers speaking about their experience with the tool. To get a more authentic review of the platform, use outside review sites such as G2's Marketing Automation Software Comparison. G2 is a trustworthy source that encourages peer reviews and star ratings of business products. Check out their grid below, which ranks the top marketing automation software products.
When researching each platform, ask yourself:
Pricing structures can differ from platform to platform, but most will have a certain price per number of contacts. When researching pricing for different platforms, ask yourself:
As a rule of thumb, the simpler and more transparent a company is about their pricing structure — the better. Jumping on a call with a sales rep can also be an easier way to figure out exactly what the price will be based on the size of your database, the features you need, and the goals you've set for your company.
Once you've purchased your new marketing automation platform, there's no doubt you'll need some kind of assistance getting up and running. However, the assistance offered varies between platforms.
When researching about a platform's set-up and onboarding process, ask yourself:
Ultimately, ecommerce companies tend to have larger databases that scale quickly, so make sure you're considering a platform that will benefit you in the future, as well.
To make life easier for you, take a look at Campaign Creators' Marketing Automation Comparison Guide. While research can be tedious, this chart will make it easier for you to digest and compare multiple platforms at once. The more you know prior to choosing a platform, the easier it will be to choose the right marketing automation system for your company's needs.