If you already know the benefits that marketing automation can bring to your eCommerce store, the only thing that may be holding you back from implementing it in your company are the costs involved. Is access to a marketing automation platform the only expense you need to prepare for?
What other costs should your company consider? Read on to find out!
Due to its complexity – but also to ensure the convenience of development and user-friendliness – marketing automation software operates in the SaaS (software as a service) model. This means that it is a cloud service, made available to customers directly on the provider’s servers.
Therefore, you don’t need to install anything on your own servers (if you have any) or even on your computers. Also, you don’t need any additional hardware to be able to use such software. To enjoy the benefits of marketing automation you only need a computer with Internet access – and there are probably a lot of these in your company, right? 😉
There is, of course, an exception to this rule. If you run a business that, due to the nature of the data it processes, must use your own servers (e.g. banking, insurance services, etc. – anything that has to do with sensitive data and strict legal regulations), some marketing automation platform providers can offer you on-premise service. This means that marketing automation software is installed entirely on your company’s servers, so you have exclusive access to it and you can provide your own security standards, as expected by the industry and required by law. In this cooperation model, the license for using marketing automation software is usually settled by a one-time fee.
Cost of Access to the Marketing Automation Platform
By default multichannel marketing automation software is owned by the provider and is hosted on their servers, meaning you have to pay to access it. And since this is not a one-time service, such a fee is subscription-based, and usually paid monthly. So how much does marketing automation cost and what does the price depend on?
The price for using marketing automation software depends on many factors, including:
- The amount of traffic in your online store – that is, how many user sessions there are in a month.
- The size of your contact database (both customers and your newsletter subscribers; a contact is an email address and/or telephone number.) AKA: people who agreed to receive your marketing communication via email or SMS.
- The number of communication channels you intend to use when sending messages to your contact database. A good provider will offer you an email, SMS, web push, and pop-up notifications (in the web browser), mobile push (in the mobile application), and even a chat on your website.
- The number of actual mailings to your contacts that you will send in a month – these are often included in the price list as a “from-to” package.
In general, the higher the values for the above-mentioned items, the higher the fee, but at the same time a lower cost per message sent (this is called a volume discount). In addition to those listed above, you also need to take into account the one-time setup fee for your account on the chosen marketing automation platform.
Cost of Additional Services
The most experienced marketing automation software providers understand that when running an eCommerce store, you don’t need to know everything and be fully independent in your activities. That is why they offer you additional IT, analytics, and marketing services which are provided for an extra charge. What are the fees and how much are they exactly?
Depending on the needs of your company, a good marketing automation software provider offers support in, among others, the following:
- Conducting a full audit of your current marketing activities in your eCommerce store.
- Analysis of the data on your online store user/customer behavior.
- Creating data-driven user segments that share certain characteristics.
- Advanced IT support in the configuration of your account on the marketing automation platform.
- Help in developing a road map for integrations of your marketing automation with other systems, e.g. your CRM (Customer Relationship Management).
- Design and implementation of marketing creations (content, graphics, layout) for specific campaigns.
- Planning and configuration of fully automated marketing campaigns using the following channels: email, SMS, web push, and mobile app notification.
- Creating advanced automation scenarios (workflows), defining the rules, governing them, and analyzing their performance on an ongoing basis.
- Conducting A/B tests in search of the best converting creations and marketing content.
- Analysis of current activities and optimization of indicators essential for increasing conversion.
You can then assume that the cost of using marketing automation software will largely depend on the scale and frequency of your activities, as well as your knowledge and experience in running multichannel marketing campaigns and the scope of support you will need.
Other Factors Affecting the Marketing Automation Cost
Remember that some marketing automation platforms offer discounts when purchasing annual plans or packages to be used for several months (e.g. quarterly or semi-annual periods) compared to monthly payments. Also, some vendors allow you to tailor their solutions to your needs, which has an impact on the final price. This means that you can, for example, choose features according to your preferences, resigning from those that will not be useful to you. It is a particularly convenient option in the case of large companies operating outside the box, which cannot be easily handled by a standard configuration of the tool (the so-called enterprise model).
Additionally, the best providers offer a free system demonstration and even a three-month trial version of their product. This allows you to see how the tool actually works and whether it meets your expectations before signing a contract for a longer period and incurring a larger expense.
Cost of Access to External Services
To take full advantage of multichannel marketing automation software, i.e. to be able to send text messages to your contacts and customers, you need to use external services, such as SMS gateways, which will allow you to send your text messages in different countries. By using gateways and engaging customers in interactive conversations, you can enrich and increase the effectiveness of your communication scenarios. Sending SMS not only facilitates the loyalty of active customers but also helps reactivate the inactive ones. But since this is a third-party service, you need to keep this additional cost in mind.
Cost of Your Time and Effort
Yes, we know, this is what you value the most! The reality is, implementing marketing automation software will take some time and work – both from you and your team. Depending on the stage of system configuration and implementation, you will need to involve colleagues from the IT department, marketing, or sales department. Just like you will have to invest some time in learning to use and mastering the full possibilities offered by the chosen marketing automation platform.
But in return, it will allow you to create comprehensive campaigns, manage and optimize them. You’ll be able to collect and analyze customer behavior data, as well as design and implement marketing creations for your campaigns, and then fully automate them. You will also be able to measure the results of your activities in detail and test various solutions using A / B tests.
Marketing automation software will not only greatly support your work by automating many tedious tasks, but it will also open up previously unavailable possibilities, such as dynamic customer segmentation or the integration of customer data from all online and offline sources into a single customer profile. Thanks to this, your work will become much easier and more efficient. In the long run, this frees your energy from repetitive manual work and will allow you to do more – saving you time, effort and money!
Marketing automation is now a standard tool used in everyday work by marketing and sales teams in eCommerce stores. For companies wanting to skillfully manage their activities in these areas, you need this just as much as you need a CRM. When planning the implementation of multichannel marketing automation software into your company’s marketing strategy and deciding on a specific pricing plan, take into account the possibilities described above. Also, check out what you already use (e.g. SMS gateway) so you don’t duplicate the costs of selected tools or services.
Remember that the costs of implementing and using marketing automation software will be relatively low if you compare it with the time and energy that you will save thanks to such an investment. This is saving tens of man-hours each month!
And when you think about how the quality of your marketing will improve, boosting the effectiveness of both acquisitions and retention, and how the sales in your ecommerce store will increase – the purchase decision becomes a no brainer.