Why you should guard your company credit card from shiny software.
Here at Pullman Marketing, we desire to steward your money and resources well. Sometimes, we have to tell our clients that they have made mistakes and wasted money. Not our favorite day.
To avoid those days, we wanted to share how to avoid common mistakes that small businesses make when they are looking at automating their marketing and advertising.
Reason #1: Thinking the “Marketing Automation” product is a silver bullet.
This is a bit of a low-hanging fruit since we can blame commissions based sales people (See our blog about why we partner with Automational), but in all honesty it is still your responsibility.
It is still your choice to buy into the software and it is your responsibility to make sure that this product actively solves problems. Its easy to get distracted by bells and whistels that promise “engagement” and increased sales.
But realize that anything can promise you more money.
Putting time and effort in any part of your business can potentially help you make more money, it is your job to evaluate whether or not it is the right one.
Most marketing automation software, like Infusionsoft (see example to the right), promise so much, but it only works if you have the time, energy, knowledge and foresight to make the tool useful.
Ways to avoid this pitfall:
- Evaluate the amount of time you are willing to put forth in setting up the marketing automations.
- Consider whether to hire an expert or agency to help you (like us).
- Realistically evaluate what urgent, money losing problems it will fix.
- Develop a strategy and timeline for its implementation. If you don’t have time for that, consider waiting on the purchase.
Reason #2: Believing that Marketing Automation can replace good content.
This idea goes back to the implementation process but more to your overall marketing strategy. Marketing automation software is not able to replace good writing, understanding of your client’s needs, well written automated emails, curated content, etc.
Marketing automation is a tool to be used to help implement what you are already doing well. If purchasing a marketing automation tool to be used as a crutch and not a tool, then we would greatly discourage you from taking that step forward and undertaking that financial burden.
Good content is king. We see this in Hollywood, news, video games, and in business. You have to provided good content that is engaging to people. BuzzFeed is a great example of constantly creating content first and focusing on marketing second. Although we do not believe the quality of the content to be the highest, BuzzFeed has tapped into an audience and actively engages them on a regular basis.
Reason #3: “Its only $Xxx, we’ll make that back in no time!”
As with the Infusionsoft example above, its easy to be sold on software to really improve processes and efficiency with all of its features. The problem is that a lot of software says its can do everything, but that is not always true.
Salesforce for example suggests that “Out-of-the-box CRM for up to 5 users Starting at $ 25 (billed annually)” is all you need for a customer relationship management system (CRM). But the next level at $75/mo/user has:
- Account and contact management
- Opportunity tracking
- Lead management
- Task and event tracking
Those seem like pretty important CRM features to us. This does not even include the industry specific modules for Salesforce that do not even include the pricing on the web page (example)
Technology costs can easily get out of hand, that is a given, but it is up to you as the business owner to evaluate and make the best decisions for your company.
Tips to avoid mistakes:
- Carefully read all of the options and really force the sales people to answer all of your questions.
- Have them clarify everything and really lay every step out. Don’t let them get away with generic or vague answers.
- Evaluate whether your entire team or just a few people need access to the system to keep within pricing limits.
- Make sure the features you want are explicitly available.
- Sometimes they promise a feature but you have to pay extra for that module later on.
- Contact a professional (like us) via our website form or on social media (@AdamMosesJones) and ask us any question. We’re here to help you, even if you don’t purchase our services, we want to be an asset.
- Use a website like G2crowd.com that has reviews and alternatives to popular software to evaluate whether or not that particular Marketing Automation software is right for you.