Marketing Automation Selection Criteria

Marketing Team Working on Vendor Selection

Choosing a marketing automation vendor can be challenging. Whether you are jumping into marketing automation for the first time, or are re-evaluating your current system, it can be a difficult and daunting task – especially with how many options are out there these days. Marketing Automation Selection Criteria can help.

The vendor you choose will have an enormous impact on not only your Marketing Department and marketing efforts, but could easily touch other areas as well such as Sales, Customer Service and IT. It is important to consider these other groups when evaluating various vendors, as they may have requirements, obstacles and questions that should be taken into consideration.

To help make the evaluation process a little easier and more effective, here is a recommended process to follow: Read more

Top 5 User Experience (UX) Myths BUSTED!

A “build it and they will come” approach to web design is an uniformed approach. Still, some people ignore UX completely or forge ahead with limited knowledge only to find out later that users are bouncing off their brand new web pages like ping pong balls.

Then there’s mobile UX concerns to think about. With mobile devices proliferating and their users becoming more adept at using them, expectations are high. Not only are you expected to have a responsive mobile design, but the overall experience you deliver must be fast and easy for users.   

Even if you understand that UX is an essential part of web design and internet marketing, you may still be operating under some misconceptions. Are you really following UX best practices? See if you’ve subscribed to any of these UX myths:

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Robo-Advisors and Capturing the Next Generation Investor

Many independent financial advisory firms are at an inflection point, facing disruptive changes from technology and generational transitions.

Technology-Driven Transitions

  • Emerging “Robo-Advisors” who are seemingly adept at gathering assets from Internet-savvy millennials
  • Digital Nation: Increasing use of social media and mobile devices among all generations, and most effusively by millennials
  • Real-time access to almost anything

Generational Transitions

  • Generation X or “Generation Now”: Following on the heels of existing pre-retiree and retired clients is Gen X ages 30-45, who currently control nearly $3.5T in investable assets (Cerulli – Lodestar, 2012E.)
  • Generation Y:  77 million strong, on par with Baby Boomers, constitutes 24% of the US population (Nielsen)…clients of the future…the social generation defined by technology – always on and mobile.
  • 71% of affluent Gen Y investors report having $100K-<$250K in total investable assets and an additional 5% are already millionaires. (Cogent Research 2013)
Population by Generation

Source: Nielsen

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5 Reasons Why CRM Is Essential in Growing Your Business

It’s all about the customer.  Cultivating and managing your customer relationships is essential for effective marketing campaigns, sales, and repeat business.  But when your contact list becomes unwieldy or you find that several people within your company are reaching out to the same contact, you know you need to get organized.  Customer Relationship Management (CRM) programs enable you to respond to your customer base with timely communication, targeted marketing campaigns and strategic follow up.

3-Tips-to-Using-Email-Thread-for-Smooth-CommunicationMy Pet Peeve: Email Threads

How often have you needed to check a customer detail that was in an email thread you received days or weeks ago? You’re hustling to get to a meeting and just can’t find that all important message.

CRMs centralize, store and organize detailed customer data and history logs for easy reference. Help your salespeople improve their effectiveness by sharing information with your team or designating members to manage a particular lead or customer.

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How to Determine a Website Cost and Scope

The cost of a website is a bit like the cost of a car. You can spend $5,000 for a ‘get around town’ car, $50,000 for a luxury vehicle or millions for a  transportation fleet!  With today’s open source platforms like Drupal, Joomla, WordPress (among others) and with a vast array of design templates, a small business can deploy a professional responsive website for under $10,000.  But take advantage of professional help to incorporate design and technology customizations, and a site can cost a lot more.

RevenueArchitectsWebsiteSo how can you estimate a website cost and scope and plan the right approach?  How do you effectively work with a web consultant or write a website RFP?

The answer is to  understand key factors and deploy your website in phases.

A phased approach reduces risk and helps align your business needs and budget along the way.

Start with a planning phase to make sure the business goals are clear and the people involved agree on the vision and plan.  For a small business, this phase can be days. But for an enterprise, the strategy phase can be months.  Right-size this phase and use it to develop a clear budget and plan for the subsequent design and build phases.

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How Digital Strategies Can Supercharge Your Referral System

It has been well over a decade since the digital revolution went mainstream. However, according to Google, 55% of small businesses don’t even have a website. The vast majority of those that do, have a website that lacks key features necessary to make digital a revenue generating channel. A common reason for this lack of focus is the belief that real business comes via traditional channels like referrals.

How to supercharge referrals

The problem is that referrals are heavily influenced by digital channels. Your client base needs to know exactly what makes you great and be energized to make a referral. Digital channels provide the necessary energy. A well thought out digital strategy is vital to guide the referral process.

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What’s Makes a Good User Experience?

John Stone from Revenue Architects asked me this question over lunch. The answer I gave him got me thinking about a conversation I had at a conference a few years back.

I was approached by a business executive who asked me what is the difference between usability and user experience. My answer: Here’s the big difference, user experience is all about ROI (Return on Investment).

Integrated Digital Strategy

Source: RevenuePerform.com

The start of any good user experience begins with a clear business goal. Whether it is a mobile app, website, or even a physical product a good user experience fulfills that need. Start by asking yourselves the hard questions – What do I want my users to do? What do I want them to accomplish? What is the call to action? Given that end goal, a good user experience optimizes the path and flow that they will need to take.

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Revenizer mobile responsive web example

3 Ways to Increase Website Conversion

Getting a web visitor to take action is the main objective of any web page. Unfortunately, many businesses see still a website as a brochure and do not take into account the way that web usage has changed and what the real purpose is. They spend all their time on design and not enough on usability and website conversion optimization. Pretty is good but conversion grows a business.

1. Use of Strong Visuals

Images need to have a purpose not just be decoration. Derek Halpen at Social Triggers put together a great article on the effective use of images.

He pointed out the following potential reasons for using images.

-To show a key product or service feature

Derek points out how genius the image of Apple Air in the envelope is. Apple is selling the “thinness” feature and nail it with the image. If you are selling a service, a good graphic can explain your offer.

MacBook Air image example for web conversion

-To direct attention

Images can be used to direct the web visitor’s attention. Images of people looking at or pointing can emphasize a key headline or call-to-action like a sign up form.

-To build trust

Using pictures of real people involved in the business whether they are customers or team members builds trust. Derek points out that people want to deal with real people. Stock images just don’t cut it. Customer testimonials have a lot more credibility if they have an image of the customer with them.

Revenue Architects testimonial example

2. Get the Headline Right

Another key page element is the headline. Copyblogger found 8 out of 10 people read only the headline. The promise of the headline must be compelling enough to turn a browser into a reader and then a sign up. Copyblogger offer a 11 part course to help with this. You won’t get the headline right first time. Optimizely lets you to test different headlines (and images) with no coding required. Testing should be an ongoing process.

3. Be Mobile Friendly

The big movement right now is towards responsive design. This means that a web site will reconfigure to be usable for any device from laptop ti smart phone. Website builders from Virb to Wix and Squarespace now offer responsive solutions. Excellent responsive themes are available for WordPress.

Revenizer mobile responsive web exampleDespite this, only 6% of small business websites are mobile ready according to a recent survey. The same study calculated that the lack of mobile readiness is costing US small businesses $1T each year. Mobile is now 28% of all web traffic. 4 out of 5 of these visitors will leave a site if it is not mobile optimized.

Make sure your emails are mobile optimized also. 70% of users will delete an email if it does display well on their smartphone. 75% of users open emails on smart phones.

 

Looking for help with improving conversion. Contact us at Revenue Architects.

For more ideas, go to Revenizer for 400+ more tips on optimizing digital + real time stats on your marketing performance.

The article summary is below.

Revenizer web conversion tips

Email Service Provider or Marketing Automation Selection?

sw_selectionA lot of businesses who use Constant Contact or Mailchimp or a similar app for email marketing are now recognizing limitations for expand digital and email marketing and more automated inbound programs. To address the selection of a new email service provider (ESP) or marketing automation solution is not easy. It is critical to understand business needs especially when there are different business areas involved. Some business areas may want to run their own campaigns from sales using a CRM like salesforce or MS dynamics or SugarCRM. Others may expect marketing to run campaigns and hand over qualified leads or flow them directly into the CRM. Without  considering longer term strategic direction and the needs of each business group, the choices are not fully clear and this makes a confident selection more challenging.

A further challenge is that today’s revenue technologies are evolving rapidly, and solutions range from email marketing point solutions to integrated marketing automation. As the industry consolidates and new entrants emerge, there is increased importance on ensuring that any solution will fit into a longer term ‘revenue technology ecosystem’.

We are often asked us whether a Marketing Automation solution should be considered over an ESP. While many of the capabilities of a marketing automation system can be found in ESP, Web analytics, and website CMS solutions, marketing automation systems offer additional levels of integration by combining features in a single product. This brings additional capability, including:

  • Behavior / known visitor tracking by maintaining a profile of website visitors and other activities of individuals. While Web analytics products capture page and session statistics, they do not link these to known individual identities. Marketing Automation houses the contact databases and links website visits. This helps inform lead scoring and prioritization.
  • Lead Scoring with website visits, downloads and other behaviors help to build a score to measure the quality of a lead or prospect. Priority leads can be provided to sales departments with greater levels of intelligence. Scores can include attributes (title, company, location, etc.) and behaviors (email responses, Web forms completed, pages viewed, etc.).
  • CRM integration and data exchange. A two-way exchange of contact, campaign and lead information between the marketing automation system and CRM or CIF systems are critical for master data management and intelligent contact and lead management. These capabilities help to ensure that marketing and sales are working from the same information.

OS2

To address these questions and ensure that the process fully considers business and technical requirements, you can use a selection process that reflects both short term and longer term business needs. An objective solution selection process uses an iterative and traceable process to move from requirements through to final selection:

  1. Identifying requirements including key business and technical dimensions
  2. Collaborating to establish the right criteria upon which to evaluate options
  3. Developing a long and short list of potential solutions based on key criteria
  4. Supporting the solution evaluation by engaging vendors where appropriate and applying industry experience, market insight and technical expertise
  5. Identifying a short list and supporting the due diligence process as required.

Want to learn more and get a selection checklist for Marketing Automation? Sign up here.

Pipedrive Review – A CRM That Works With You

There are an incredible number of CRM Apps out there. I have looked at several and wanted to mention Pipedrive as a great option for companies looking to focus on sales. It does a great job at pipeline management – with a nimble sales ready focus and good integrations using Zapier.

Companies like it because:

Pipedrive

1. The visual pipeline is powerful. The pipeline view is fantastic- visual drag and drop pipeline

2. Sales always needs an orchestrated next step. You can easily set that up and when an action is completed, it prompts you for the next step.

3. Managing contacts and companies is always a difficult challenge. the contact and company data management and synchronization is easy and tailored.

4. You need to track pipeline health and hygiene performance to meet goals. You can set up pipeline velocity metrics and track performance

5. Most CRMs are so cumbersome, they don’t get used. Pipedrive is built for the sales person.

6. If you are an Apps user, this is a no brainer. Pipedrive syncs with Google Apps.

7. Not expensive.

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