When you are thinking of choosing an automation system, you have way too many options.
How to choose the right one for your needs?
How to identify if it’s the right time for you to have an automation system?
1. Have you used other non-automation solutions for your business and you outgrew them?
That’s a good sign to consider an automation system.
2. Do you have a list of at least 300 people?
It’s better to think about it after you have more than 500 contacts, but mainly it depends on your income and processes.
3. Is your income enough to pay for an automation system?
A proper automation system starts around USD 99 and can go up to USD 2600.
Not talking about the onboarding fees, if any applies, or the setup fee, if you need initial help with it.
If you don’t want any outside help, that could work of course, but you have to invest more time in learning the system to a level where you can be comfortable in using it safely.
I can tell as I’m not the geek in the business but invested 2 years in learning and practising Infusionsoft, that I still find myself in challenges. But I rely on a professional who can help me out in tricky times.
4. Can you use a free solution until you get on a professional automation system?
When you are starting up, and don’t have enough money to invest and maintain an automation system I suggest to use a free application.
So far we found MailChimp is a good option for it. For a new small business, it’s better to save some money where they can.
And a professional automation system is not where you need to start.
But when you outgrow the preferences a free system can provide you, which will hopefully happen to you soon, it’s time to consider a professional one.
5. Are there any professional systems that can grow with your business and your needs?
Yes, there are some out there. I found that there are automation system providers who offer a free option when you start using them.
But be careful because, in the end, you have to pay more for their bigger packages, than for others.
Just an example, Infusionsoft starts at USD 99 and the max monthly fee you can pay for it stops at USD 299.
Meanwhile, you could see that with the same number of contacts this price can go up to USD 2600 at other service providers.
6. How much effort is it to change from one system to another one? What are the risks?
You have to know the capabilities of both systems. What are the differences?
If you change from a simple email automation system to a professional one, it’s very uncomplicated.
You just have to download your lists in a .csv format, add the segmentation tags in a separate column and upload it to the new system.
If the first system had campaigns or funnels built, without tagging options, (and maybe with tagging options), it’s hard to move your contacts to the right place in the middle of a funnel in a new system.
But, with decent planning, many things can be managed well. All depends on the complexity of your existing system and your goals with the new one.
What does a professional automation system know? And what should I look for when choosing one?
Well, it knows a lot!
It has a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool.
It helps you to know your clients on a level that helps you to market to the right people at the right time, which is one of the most important things in marketing.
It has Email Marketing with campaign or funnel building options.
Email Marketing automation helps you to build rabbit holes to guide your prospects through a customer lifecycle that’s beneficial to them and makes them become your raving fans.
It is scalable.
For example when you outgrow the contact limits of your system, and you need more contact allowance or more system preferences it must be possible and easy to do.
It has many extra apps built for that particular platform.
Usually, you can add other platforms to a good automation system, but if they are not custom-made to communicate with the one you chose you can face some extra challenges.
These apps can provide you unlimited options to grow with the trends or just create what you have in your mind.
It has a sales automation platform.
Not all of us need these, but if you have a sales strategy and you want to automate it, see who is where in your pipeline, then a sales automation will be your friend.
It has an e-commerce platform.
In case you want to make it easy to your clients to buy your services, then an e-commerce platform will be beneficial for your business needs.
Extras like referral automation are just the cherry on the cream.
What mistakes should you avoid?
Don’t think it will be a solution to all your business problems.
An automation tool can be an astounding solution for any business, but you shouldn’t underestimate the work you need to input to get it right.
If you don’t have your business strategy, then don’t expect it to be automated.
Don’t forget to put leads into your new shiny funnels.
If you just focus on building great content, impeccable campaigns and forget to target leads and direct them into your funnels, it won’t help you to generate more income.
Before you try to find the best-fit automation system, determine what you want to achieve.
There’s a lot you can think about, and a complex system can be a great answer to your needs, but it can leave you with confusion if your goals are not clear.
You need enough quality content.
If you don’t know what to send to your leads, well that’s not a good sign.
It will leave even a perfectly built campaign useless when you don’t have enough content to complete it.
You can ask for help to get excellent content, or you can make it yourself. It’s up to you, just make sure to have it in place.
It will need maintenance.
Time to time you need to make some changes or build new campaigns and content for your audience.
Maybe you will find some new interesting marketing approaches; you want to try, then you need to think about to manage it.
It will not be done by itself. You can do it yourself, or outsource it.
Don't forget to ask for help!
Ask for help from a professional service provider.
But, there’s support available for many of the automation systems also.
Not all of them are great, but we chose Infusionsoft with good reason.
And we are always here to help you.
Automation amplifies what you put into it.
If you want to make time and money, you need to put in some time, some money, enough quality content and some leads with your strategy.
Then you can hit the publish button on your campaign and start leveraging all the energies you invested.