The digital marketing landscape has become increasingly complex and fragmented. Marketing automation software helps manage this complexity and a good platform offers many indispensible features that can drastically improve your marketing and sales efforts.

8 Indispensable Features a Good Marketing Automation Platform Offers

Previously, we defined what marketing automation is and why it is valuable. In short, it provides marketers a powerful and easy way to integrate all of their digital efforts into one system, while it increases efficiency and intelligence, enables targeted communications, improves measurement and ultimately aligns marketing and sales.

1. Email Marketing

Optimizing your email marketing messages and campaigns can help improve lead generation. Marketing automation systems allow you to create, test, send and measure your email campaigns. It also allows your to segment lists, set up trigger and drip email programs and nurture leads. The software will also track and measure email campaign results like number of opens and clickthroughs.

2. Forms and Landing Pages

Marketing automation software is great for creating landing pages and forms to collect prospect information. Forms allow a prospect to provide contact information in exchange for something of value, like an eBook or whitepaper. The data from each prospect is then saved in the software, which leads to progressive profiling.

3. Progressive Profiling

Progressive profiling is the method of asking questions incrementally to gather more information about a prospect over time. You can set up rules for the software to follow and pick out different questions to ask. For example, if a prospect signs up for an email newsletter, you may ask their company and position. Then, if they go to fill out a form to download a whitepaper, the form will ask them a different question like their biggest marketing challenge. It’s a win-win situation: your company learns more about the prospect and the prospect receives more relevant content.

4. Website Visitor Tracking

Website visitor tracking goes beyond the basic page views and visitor statistics provided by tools like Google Analytics. Before a prospects even fills out a form, you’ll be able to determine what companies are visiting your website, what they are looking at and what brought them to your site. For identified prospects, you’ll gain insight about their interests and level of engagement that you can share with sales, with the goal of generating highly qualified leads.

5. Lead Management/Scoring

Marketing automation software develops your prospects by engaging, nurturing and qualifying leads. Some of these techniques include lead nurturing, lead scoring and list management. You will be able to increase sales revenue and reduce cost of sale by passing these qualified leads to your sales team.

Lead scoring is the method of adding and subtracting points to a lead’s value over time based on their behaviors. This helps you understand where a person might be in the buying cycle. For example, if a prospect downloads a whitepaper (+5), visits 4 website pages (+4) and attends a webinar (+10), then your prospect now has 19 points and may be considered a quality lead for your sales team. Points can also be deducted in a similar fashion if there are other behaviors that sales might deem as disqualifiers.

6. Social Media Optimization

The software should provide social media tools to align your strategies and tactics and track your success. Your social sharing buttons should be included into your email campaigns, landing pages and other channels. Then, you’ll be able to track in website visitor tracking if visits are coming through your social media profiles. Further, some marketing automation platforms allow you to benchmark your social media success against your competitors.

7. CRM Integration

Integrating marketing automation with your CRM system can help close the loop between marketing and sales. It will allow you to see marketing touch points and share real-time intelligence about a prospect’s interests. Further, this system will automatically push leads with high scores into an important list for the sales team.

8. Reports and Analytics

It is important to accurately track and measure campaign performance and website metrics. Marketing automation makes this easy and creates monthly reports for you.   By looking at the data, it allows you to create personalized, relevant and better-targeted content for your clients and prospects so that they are more likely to drive to action.

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As an APEX Agency Partner with Act-On Software, circle S helps clients plan, design and implement effective digital marketing programs across all channels using the Act-On marketing automation platform. We’re going continue to dive deeper into marketing automation in the coming weeks.