Marketing teams may juggle multiple software platforms to manage different functions and needs. Mailchimp may be used to distribute newsletters or mass emails. Another software may be used to manage media contacts. Yet another could track SEO results.
Multiple systems mean that information is scattered across many different platforms. Some team members may have access to all, while others might have no access at all.
Communication drives success, and marketing automation systems serve as a master resource that holds all the tools necessary to optimize results, successfully manage current client needs and drive new business.
What do you Need in a Marketing Automation System?
It’s important to pick the right tool, so what should you look for?
Here are key features your team needs from your automated software:
- Auditing capabilities
- Topical communications
- Automated workflows
- Editorial calendar functions
- Instant and unlimited file sharing
Email is passé. Teams don’t have the time to drop an email to each other; this increases the likelihood that information will be lost in the black hole of the inbox.
Automation means automated communications, too. Team members should be able to communicate within the software.
The project or task page should allow for back and forth information between the team to facilitate information sharing. How much time have you spent trying to track down that one comment about a project made in Skype or Slack?
How much time have you wasted trying to figure out exactly what’s happening with a particular project? Send a direct message on the task page to the delegated team member.
Does the client need to clarify next steps? Let them drop a note within the task or project page.
Instant communication keeps everyone on the same page, facilitating dialogue and allowing the free flow sharing of ideas and updates.
The next step should be given on any project. No one should be asking: “what now?”
Automated workflow allows the team to establish the entire road map of a project. Once one step is completed and checked-off, the project automatically moves to the next phase.
This type of automation nudges the next person on the project that their role in the project or campaign is needed. Automation allows for everyone to know when their role begins and where it ends.
Workflow automation also shows the deadline for every individual task and takes the lead in facilitating next steps. For team members, this means no emails or phone calls to the next person on the task because next steps and team assignments instantly generate.
Most importantly? No missed deadlines because someone forgot to create the next step in a project. Tasks will be automatically, keeping projects relentlessly moving forward.
Yes, marketing teams can create their own spreadsheets to track influencers and media contacts. But all those spreadsheets become frustrating, especially if team members don’t take the time to make updates.
Automated tools should allow the team to keep all contacts in one space. Update contacts throughout the campaign regarding outreach efforts and coverage success.
Keeping contacts in the software lets the team know who is a right source for a project and who you can mark off the list. Then use the list to select influencers and media and start making contact!
As team members are moved around, the right system will keep all of the communications between a particular influencer or person in one place so anyone keep grab the baton and continue the conversation.
Editorial Calendar Functions
Editorial calendars track all communications efforts for any given time—this could be a year or just a month.
Teams often plan content for company blogs and social media in advance, and editorial calendars help automate content management.
Plan press releases, blog content or articles via the editorial calendar and then use the system to automate tasks related to the editorial content. This is how brainstorming becomes action!
Unlimited File Sharing
Marketing automation systems should allow for unlimited information sharing, and this should include large files of data.
Many teams need to upload videos, high-res graphics and/or sound files. Software should offer the capability to share unlimited files, no matter the size or format.
Files also should have a space within each task or project so that the data is accessible to everyone on a project team.
Marketing automation systems serve as a one-stop shop for all the tools marketing teams need for success and growth. While the features of software may differ, teams should look for systems that integrate tools for on-page communication, outreach data, SEO capabilities, file sharing, editorial calendar functions and automated workflow.
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