Unless you’ve been locked away in an underground bunker fearing a Zombie apocalypse, you’ve likely taken some initial steps in your digital marketing journey.
Along that journey, no surprise here, you’ll discover a fork in the road. But this time it’s multiple forks going off in five, even ten different directions. That’s because each of those paths represent the many different choices of tools, apps and technologies to get your online business to the promised land.
If you’re like me and many other digital marketers (at all skill levels), these critical choices and decisions are often determined by your level of digital marketing experience.
Technology stack-wise, I’ll bet you possess some of the necessary digital marketing and eCommerce components needed… and, yet, you know there is something more, something better out there.
So, you’re examining ALL your marketing automation software options and prioritizing the best for your needs and your budget. And, truth be known, you want to temper feelings of overwhelm and avoid a full-on freak-out.
Not to worry! You’re in the right place. This blog post series comes with both therapeutic and tangible value on all fronts.
Case in point: you need to decide if building a technology stack requires multiple platforms from different vendors or if you can consolidate enough marketing firepower all into one?
In the first Buyer’s Guide to Marketing Automation Software blog post, I shared the many benefits of adopting a certain “evaluation criteria” mindset as you look more closely at marketing automation software that’s available today.
As a reminder, and to get us on the same page, to find the right marketing automation solution, you’ll need to overcome an ever-persistent barrier. This barrier includes software out the wazoo, a learning curve to match and numerous integration pitfalls that lie ahead.
You see, it’s those very pitfalls that sabotage your ability to scale your online business because you’re buried under the task of bringing it all together. Now, if that doesn’t sound familiar, it will very soon.
So let’s change that narrative here and now. Let’s shift from working IN your business (and getting trapped by it) to breaking free and working ON your business for real gains across the board.
Marketing automation makes that outcome not just a possibility, but a true reality. Because when your software automates the delivery of the right messages at the right time based on what your prospects and customers prefer, that is where you begin to reap the benefits and the revenues that come with them. In essence, with your software automatically tracking behavior actions, you see what worked and what was a waste of time before it becomes a bigger waste of money.
Now, in this second Buyer’s Guide to Marketing Automation Software series, we’ll look under the hood at what actual components make sense based on an all-important qualifier…
It’s one that originates with you, and not the automation software you’re evaluating.
What’s Your Level of Experience as a Digital Marketer?
With traditional marketing as well as many other disciplines, level of experience and expertise is most commonly segmented into the following areas:
As you might expect, prioritizing the digital components of any marketing automation platform is best served when viewed through the prism of your own experience level. And yes, I know you aspire to greater things — that’s why we at Genesis Digital create tools and platforms to help get you there.
Now, what if you prefer to outsource the marketing automation of your online business? Well, the more layers of understanding you have first, the more efficient the process will be, whether performed by you or via your team under your guidance.
The suggestions that follow are by NO means meant to lock you in — either to a marketing expertise level or the choices you have of marketing automation options.
The goal here? Simplify your choices to accelerate development and shorten the distance between your current state of online business and one with more consistent “hands-off” revenue streams. Sound good?
Beginner Digital Marketers – You’re UP!
If you’re already doing some online marketing, you probably have a few of the marketing components and pieces from any number of different software and product/service vendors.
For folks like you, here is an ideal way to get started with marketing automation software…
Beginner level experience >> targeted outcome:
A marketing sequence that builds your list — automatically
What is a digital marketer’s #1 marketing asset? A mailing list! A list is your most powerful asset because it’s the foundation for everything you’ll do. Your list helps you become an authority. You can share ideas, content, provide real value (that’s easy to create); all to entice prospects to provide their name and email.
To create a proven marketing sequence like this you’ll need the following:
- A “lead magnet” which is content you give away for free. It could be something as simple as a checklist or cheat sheet. If you’re more ambitious, a short ebook or action guide.
- An optin page with a form that collects the lead and adds it to your list.
- An initial email that begins with thanking the prospect for opting in and provides a link to access or download your lead magnet.
- An email sequence (2-4 additional emails) that help your prospect consume the information you sent them.
- Tracking analytics that show you how well your optin form is performing and that your emails are getting opened.
So, here’s a recommended list of marketing automation components that are absolute musts to achieve this outcome: email software, a “lead magnet” optin page creator and marketing analytics.
MEGA Bonus tip: copywriting not your strength? Not sure what to write or how to get your emails opened and clicked on?
Platforms that go the extra mile and beyond to provide professionally written content / swipe files can give you a real jumpstart on getting results. Pre-built campaigns are a bonus beyond the raw platform – you can jumpstart your business and learn faster as you customize them to your specific needs.
For example, Kartra comes with done-for-you campaigns written by some of the most renowned experts in the business with market-proven success factors built right in that you can use in your business.
Intermediate Digital Marketers – Suit UP!
As a digital marketer of intermediate experience, you already know firsthand some benefits of marketing automation software. You’ve got some pages already online, and you’re even making some money in your sleep – you just want to expand your enterprise.
For those at the intermediate level, here are some recommendations:
Intermediate level experience digital marketer>> targeted outcome:
A multi-channel, multi-step funnel with affiliates promoting your products or services
You’ve received referrals from your business network at some point, right? Well, selling through affiliates takes referral marketing to another level. An affiliate signs up to promote your product or service. They get a trackable link and when someone clicks and purchases via that link they earn a commission.
Now, think about this for a moment. You’ll have an army of affiliates selling for you. That means your marketing system automatically takes orders and pays commissions all while you sit back and collect a consistent and growing revenue stream.
Tip: Make sure you choose an affiliate program or module that can handle the entire process, and includes terms and conditions language.
Having a number of affiliates that promote your business regularly creates a new revenue stream while you’re off enjoying life.
What other components are needed for your multi-channel, multi-step marketing funnel?
Just like in the beginner example, you’ll need a page creator and email software because now you’re creating both optin and sales pages. Sales pages are longer and have much more content. So make sure you find a page creator that has templates for BOTH optin and sales pages. Next, we’ll add a few extra steps and some magic.
For example, besides an optin page with a text-based lead magnet as the reward, you can also create an optin page with a video as the lead magnet. And since you have videos to share and monitor, you should consider how best to display that video, where to host it and what metrics you can collect from those prospects/customers that view those videos.
As you assemble your technology stack, there are two ways to do this: one-offs from different vendors or one solution that can handle it all.
Finally, since you have multiple products and multiple groups of contacts, how do you handle customer service and support? A built-in helpdesk with online chat can help mitigate issues before they lead to irate customers demanding refunds.
To sum up, for intermediate digital marketers, here’s your shopping list:
- Page creator and/or templates (for optin and sales pages)
- Email software
- Affiliate management software
- Analytics that can integrate and track across all your marketing channels
- Video hosting
- Helpdesk/online chat software
Truth is, few (if any) marketing automation software companies provide all those capabilities under one digital roof and with an integrated dashboard. There is one software platform however ( it begins with the letter K) that can pull it off. 🙂
And finally, we have …
Advanced Level Digital Marketers: It’s GO Time!
For the savviest of pros, digital marketing is something you know well and have done for years. You are uber-familiar with different software tools and deploy them successfully in your online business. And rather than a “side hustle,” your online business is often your main gig and gravy train.
In the process to further grow and optimize your enterprise, you’re ever-mindful of cost-effective, revenue-boosting tools that make a tangible financial difference with every order processed by your shopping cart.
Advanced level digital marketers >> targeted outcome:
A marketing automation system with multiple optin vehicles, multiple products for sale and makes extensive use of tagging prospects and customers
Are you really an advanced digital marketer?
Well, see if this sounds like you… advanced marketers are adept at conceptualizing complex funnels that help customers navigate through multiple entry points and offers depending on their choices at any point along the way.
Advanced marketers want to deploy all the necessary steps with less human effort. They also want to see analytics ROI more quickly and easily. The overarching goal for marketing automation software is what is easiest to visualize, build, test, deploy and then measure results.
To get there, all the software components need to do more than just integrate at the lowest level. They should also seamlessly share data with each other.
Kartra removes the burdens of advanced marketing automation technology like this. That frees you up to focus on scaling your business to grow both your revenue and your profits. And all because you’re optimizing your expertise and spending less time on the technology “parts.”
In terms of actual components, we’ll start where we left off with the intermediate level marketers funnel and build from there.
That means scaling the business: more products, more offers and more automated marketing sequences driven by individual responses from each lead in your system.
With this breadth and depth of product/service offerings, look for marketing automation software that provides a wealth of choices of marketing assets and tools, automated actions and funnels, and analytics.
Additionally, it’s not just that advanced level marketers will demand and use every component they can get their hands on, there is also a felt need for across-the-board testing to yields analytics that go that extra step.
The Power of Tags for Digital Marketing Optimization
While the concept and execution of tagging is worthy of a blog post all by itself, it’s important to recognize the inherent value tagging brings to a business owner and advanced marketer.
Tags help identify a contact, how they entered your funnel and how you’ll market to them now and in the future.
Let’s unpack this a little more because it’s essential to sustained online success. Tags are a way for you to tell the system how to automate your customer experience. You can automatically identify your customer and how to respond to them. Tags enable automation — a tag of X = an action of Y.
Sophisticated, advanced digital marketers understand the significance of tagging. Make sure you use tags in your funnels. If you want to learn extra tricks for tagging, the fourth blog post in this series will provide a deep dive.
For now, here are a few basic examples so you can see how tagging works with the behavior of your prospects and customers.
For those prospects that have watched a good chunk of each video you can tag them to receive a special offer. (Their engagement with your video shows they’re motivated. Target those more motivated prospects with a promotion for best results).
Here’s another example: tag customers that have been on your list for a considerable length of time (6 to 12 months) and have shown interest in opening your emails on a consistent basis. You can thank them for their loyalty with a free gift or even invite them to become an affiliate.
One final example: you can tag prospects that abandon your shopping cart. Since they got that close to a sale, give them an extra incentive to push them over the edge to a purchase, like a time-limited discount.
Again, there are many other ways to categorize and tag contacts. The key takeaway here is that for advanced marketers, you need a tagging system you won’t outgrow and one that is flexible.
For example, Kartra’s sophisticated tagging even gives you the ability to apply expiring tags.
That way, when a contact has changed or evolved, you won’t be locked into a tag that’s outlived its usefulness.
To conclude, I hope you found segmenting the different components of marketing automation software by experience level helpful as you uplevel your business with marketing automation.
Now, in my next post, Buyer’s Guide Part III, I’ll focus on one marketing automation component that every software company provides at some level. It’s analytics! I’m not spoiling the surprise by sharing that all analytics modules are not created equal — not even close.
That’s because any essential analytics package worth its numbers needs to gauge the health of your marketing and its overall success across all these channels: video, funnel, page, broadcast, sales, conversion goal, click-through, tracking links and more.
In essence, with analytics like that, you’re building the ultimate dashboard. And who said analytics and metrics couldn’t be exciting?