Starting Steps for Finding a Marketing Automation Tool That Integrates With Your AMS
To better serve members and improve efficiencies for staff, it’s important to have a marketing automation platform that works in tandem with an organization’s association management software. Asking questions and understanding current processes can help associations select the right marketing tools.
As more associations turn to marketing automation tools to support their digital marketing campaigns, it’s important that it integrate well with the organization’s current association management software (AMS).
“It’s a great way to do work,” said Amber Worthen, CEO of ASW Communications. “For example, if there’s membership turnover or people changing categories, you have live data, so you can approach those groups differently for your marketing efforts. Integrating these systems also helps save staff time.”
However, if you don’t approach the integration thoughtfully, systems can go haywire. That’s when Worthen gets called in to help.
“Typical issues we see after an unsuccessful integration are that unsubscribes aren’t working or audience lists are missing huge chunks of people,” she said.
According to Worthen, evaluating processes upfront will help associations select a marketing platform that integrates with their AMS.
Understand Current Processes
To pick the right marketing automation tool for your association, start by conducting an audit of current processes and tools. Auditing your current systems will also help you check that everything you’re currently doing translates after the integration.
“Dive into each section of the current platform, essentially asking ‘how, what, and why’ multiple times to ensure core processes are captured,” Worthen said.
For example, when looking at your current automated campaigns, consider how many you have, what triggers them to run, and what you like and dislike about the current way you design emails.
“Ensuring that these campaigns will still trigger the same or can easily be adjusted is important to not inflict a lot of new work when the change is made,” Worthen said.
She also recommends asking the team that uses the current email platform share what they like and dislike about it, as well as features and shortcuts they rely on to do their job well.
“If current processes aren’t recognized, they can quickly be disrupted with a new system,” she said. “Some processes definitely will get disrupted, but this way you’re prepared to make those changes because you’ll know that they’re going to happen.”
Do Your Research
Once you’ve picked a frontrunner for your marketing automation software, Worthen recommends reaching out to them and your current AMS provider to ask questions about the integration process before making a final decision. This research can help associations ensure that both systems will integrate well.
“Ask your AMS company if the integration will work with the specific email provider, how it works, and if there’s any problems to be aware of,” Worthen said. “Also, ask them if there they have any current clients with the same integration who they can connect you to.”
She also suggests asking the marketing platform the same questions about the AMS. After talking to both, call up clients who went through the same integration.
“Ask whether the integration actually worked, what roadblocks they faced through the integration, and how the integration is working for their association today,” Worthen said. “These clients aren’t going to lose money when being honest about the process, so you can get a good idea of the process.”