Article

Richard Fallah
Richard Fallah 18 September 2017

10 Features You Must Have in Your Marketing Automation Platform

There is no doubt that marketing agencies have the skillset and expertise to do high-level work, manage a multitude of platforms and campaigns, as well as the small tasks like data entry. But a crucial part of running a successful agency is knowing when it is best to leave complicated and repetitive tasks to a software that is tailored for just that. In the end, it is more feasible and effective to leave it to an automation software, so agency staff can focus on other endeavors within the business.

Simply put, marketing automation software is a powerful tool. These platforms can allow you to streamline a multitude of tasks within the workflow: from landing pages to drip campaigns, to sophisticated analytics, and to social media management-- just to name a few.

In this article, we will cover the top 10 features that agencies should use when employing a marketing automation strategy.
 

  1. Email Marketing

    Hands down, one of the most useful features for automation software. Email marketing is an integral element in supporting a brand’s customer engagement and sales. In turn, the power to send mass emails on a schedule is very crucial to marketers. In addition to this, automation platforms should provide beautiful, unique, and customizable templates to create professional grade emails. Agencies can further drive client satisfaction and sales through providing a seamless email strategy.  

  2. Contact Management

    As many marketers know, acquiring a list of subscribers is half the battle. Marketing automation software should allow you to filter, sort, and organize your lists for more optimal and targeted emails and other marketing strategies.

    Providing agencies with the capacity to do this contact management for clients allows for more targeted and specific campaigns for the audience of choice.
     

    Contact-Management

     

    In addition to this, an effective platform will also allow you to add a pop-up prompt onto your web page. This is a highly effective way of garnering new subscribers to your mailing lists. Contact acquisition made easy!

  3. Social Media Automation

    Of course, most businesses and agencies realize that making posts manually on each platform is far too time-consuming of a task. But, in this category, it’s important to note that a good marketing automation platform doesn’t just automate a post on social media.

    Agencies will reap the most benefits from platforms that allow for edits to be made on the post to optimize it for each different platform it will be posted on. For example, you wouldn’t necessarily use hashtags on a post on Linkedin.

  4. Community Engagement Simplified

    Having all of your social media notifications centralized in one place allows marketers to quickly identify the level of engagement on posts, who requires a reply, as well as trending topics and comments on their tracked profiles.

    Staying on top of conversations and questions occurring on your client’s page will be a great catalyst to build more relevant content, and crafting appropriate responses to engaged users in a timely fashion.

  5. Customer Journey (Automation)

    Building a customer journey is a key part of driving success for a particular goal or deadline. Marketing automation platforms allow for you to map out a particular customer marketing funnel, complete with an end game. The visual aspect of a customer journey builder is also a huge benefit, as you can very clearly see various journey elements as you plan them.

    The main benefit to using this feature is that actions within these customer journeys can be automated. For example, the corresponding emails that have been set up in the pipeline will be sent out as the result of a defined action trigger. This helps agencies provide concrete results for clients.
     

    Customer-Journey-Map
     
  6. Landing Pages

    A key element to a marketing campaign will be a strong landing page. In essence, interested prospective customers need somewhere to land when they click on an ad. Of course, the page they land on must be aesthetically pleasing, simple to understand, conversion optimized, and have a call-to-action button that is clear.

    In addition to this, you’ve probably heard of dynamic content before.  However, choosing a marketing automation software that integrates these variable elements within the landing page you’ve created will get you a higher conversion rate! While dynamic content is traditionally used in email marketing to input interactive content within a message (such as merge tags, conditional filters, active content, etc.) it can also be really effective in communicating with customers on landing pages too.

    In short, an agency brings value to its client when their marketing goals go without a hitch-- and landing pages are an intrinsic part of that.

  7. Customizable & All-in-one Dashboard

    A huge benefit to using these platforms is the dashboard. Basically, it functions as the one stop shop. It’s no secret that marketing automation can have a lot of moving pieces, with a full stack of features. With that, it’s increasingly important to have a good topo-view of projects and other goings-on.

    The dashboard should be fully customized, based on your priorities and interests because no two agencies/workflow processes are alike. No two marketers have exactly the same priorities, so the custom dashboard allows for different users to view what’s most important for them. You can also have multiple, user-specific dashboards at the same time.

  8. White Label Options

    While marketing automation software are essential to optimizing and managing workloads and tasks, agencies are masters in branding, and taking ownership of their relationship with their clients is very important. Using softwares to aid in processes might make agency staff feel like they aren’t empowered.

    But, it doesn’t have to be this way. First and foremost, there is expertise in identifying where in your pipeline you need automation! Secondly, choosing a white label platform will allow agencies and businesses alike to put their logo and their branding on the platform, to make it appear proprietary.
  9. A/B Testing

    It goes without saying that A/B testing is an indispensable step in building a marketing strategy.  A/B testing refers to when you test various types of marketing emails over each other to determine which works best for the target audience. This does indeed require sharp organizational and statistical skills.

    However, a marketing automation platform with A/B testing built in as a feature takes the guess work out of running a test. Simply test; subject lines, sender name/email, templates, different photos, copy arrangements, CTAs, or other factors at the click of the button. Once the test has been completed, you can be sure that the elements and formatting of the email is put together in the most effective way for your needs.


    A/B-Testing-Subject-Line
    Subject-Line-Versions

  10. Analytics

    Gone are the days of painstakingly hand crafting emails to send out into the interwebs, never to hear back or conduct a proper post mortem. Analytics are key to making adjustments to your marketing strategy. Marketing automation platforms can provide insights into different metrics such as clicks, open rates, conversions, bounce rates and unsubscribes. This gives agencies the ability to tweak their campaigns to get the most out of them for their clients.

    The power of analytics is not only limited to email insights, but also a variety of other factors, including conversion rates and social media statistics. Depending on the platform, the stats can be increasingly detailed. For social media, you can get into specifics regarding engagement, follower count, and social clicks. For email marketing and customer journey stats, you can get information on click through rates, conversions, bounce, visits, etc.

    It is essential for agencies to find the marketing automation platform that’s right for their needs in order to optimize their workflow and enable agency staff to take on more projects and serve their existing clients better. VBOUT is a platform that has been masterfully crafted to serve agencies and their clients better, and more efficiently.

Scott Ginsberg
Scott Ginsberg

Great article guys!

Automation has become a controversial topic these days, and I’m so glad you’re writing about it.

I work at a performance marketing agency, and clients ask about this a lot. Wanted to offer my $0.02:

On the paid marketing side, we certainly try to automate as much science as we can, i.e., black and white tactics, hard truths, certain elements of bidding, and so on. Those things don't change, but the context around them changes. And true marketing experts understand context better than most machines do.

Our job is to have deep empathy and perspective. To understand the context regarding what the tools are doing and how we're using them. That's more of an art, i.e., creative writing, image assets, testing, etc. And it takes a human being to understand why campaigns achieve (or don't achieve) certain results.

We wrote about this on our blog, if you want to read more: https://bit.ly/2JSbO3r

Anyway, hope that adds to the conversation. Keep up the great writing!

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