How to Choose the Best Automated Marketing Tool for the Job—5 Steps
1. Decide what you need to get done
Most automated marketing tools can do a lot of things. The question is: How much of this do you really need? If you start by quantifying exactly what you need to get done, you’ll be less likely to get distracted by everything individual tools can do. You will discover that, while most tools have an array of functions, you cannot practically use most of them. No matter how automated they are, it still takes time to learn to use and monitor them and why waste time on things that you really don’t need and no one at your organization cares about? An example for me was backlinks. I had a great tool that was able to semi-automate the process of getting more backlinks to my clients’ websites. However, it did require regular time and attention on my part and the reality was that it was something my clients just didn’t care about.
2. Determine if there is as way to use what you have now
Aside from the cost of adding additional tools, no matter how automated they are, it also adds complexity to your job. It will actually be much more time-efficient for you if you can find a way to better leverage a tool you are already use. Assuming you are using a CRM, a good start would be to connect with your CRM account rep to see if this is something your CRM can do. Since these CRMs are constantly evolving to deliver better value, you will probably be very surprised to learn what your CRM can now do that it couldn’t six months ago.
3. Research automated tools
Start by Google-ing the specific job you need to get done—let’s say “identify website visitors”. There are usually 4-6 popular tools for every specific job. I always start with the trial. Look to see if there is a free trial—if there isn’t, move on. From there, look at the monthly/annual fee and the required commitment. If it’s obviously out of your ballpark, move on (no sense even starting a free trial). Hopefully you will be left with 3-4 contenders. Start a free with the most expensive option and then continue trials with the others. When you are done with your trials, opt for the one that does everything you need to get done in the simplest way possible for the least amount of money.
When you are done with your trials, opt for the one that does everything you need to get done in the simplest way possible for the least amount of money.
Sometimes the tool you choose will also have a function that duplicates something you are currently using—i.e. a website analytics tool that also has a keyword tracking function you no longer need to pay for.
The bottom line is: stay focused on what you need to get done, whether the new tool can do it, how cost effective it is and whether you can simplify your marketing life even more by eliminating another tool. A good goal is to work with and master no more than 3 automated marketing tools.