Mautic’s open source marketing automation has all the functions you need for drip marketing, content marketing and scoring web visitors from anonymous to converted. It is available in two flavors: do-it-yourself and hosted. For many, the price for the hosted and managed version is well worth it. Mautic takes care of updates, keeps things working well and handles backups for you. For those with the technical ability, curiosity and time, the self-hosted community version can be a great solution.
Getting Started with Marketing Automation with a tool like Mautic
I suggest starting with visitor tracking and scoring through a few basic elements like downloadable assets (an ebook, for example). Try to collect a bare minimum of data from downloaders so you can identify them and tie them to records in your CRM (email address is often easiest to ask for and good for matching). Load data from your CRM into Mautic so you can start to try dynamic content and conditional email drips based on other things you may know about the target.
In our Conservation and Land Trust focused subsidiary, Trail Websites, we use dynamic content and drip campaigns that leverage CRM data about the state of prospects’ websites. If they are already mobile-friendly, we don’t pop in dynamic content about why that is so important. If we know their site is hand-built and not using a CMS but that they are small and volunteer-run, we add a blurb about the ease of managing content with a CMS based site. This kind of content personalization is useful and doesn’t come across as creepy. If they download our WordPress for Conservation and Land Trusts ebook, we add points to their score that affects drip emails and moves them closer to being flagged in the CRM for the attention of a salesperson. At our scale, this is a good set of automation and a repeatable toolkit we can use to build future campaigns with different assets.
Marketing Automation doesn’t have to be scary or expensive to get started with. Mautic is making it much more accessible. At Lewis Studios, we help customers with their marketing strategies and can help them leverage tools like Mautic to execute their strategies. We also use Mautic ourselves both at Lewis Studios and for Trail Websites. Many thanks to David Hurley and the Mautic team for bringing us this powerful tool.
A few observations on self-hosting Mautic:
- A basic, shared server is probably not going to make you happy — things like dynamic web content need to be very responsive.
- SSH access is essential — things can go wrong with upgrades and updates on shared servers and they are much easier to fix when you can get into a shell and run some php commands.
- Always, always backup before upgrading or updating; better yet, make a local copy of files and database and do the update there then upload it — this is especially relevant if you ignore #1 above.
- Take the time to learn about marketing automation; Mautic offers some handy videos and there is even a “Marketing Automation for Dummies” book that is not Mautic specific but does help with the concepts.