Entrepreneurs and small business owners use a variety of different systems and technology to run their business — especially when it comes to marketing automation. That being said, one of the toughest tasks for any new entrepreneur is figuring out exactly what tools to invest in.
As an entrepreneur in the tech space, I personally work with a wide variety of systems and technology, such as ActiveCampaign for marketing automation. I have a lot of conversations with other entrepreneurs about the tools they’re planning to use for their own businesses, yet many often struggle with having to pay for better tools. Many times they opt for a cheaper or free tool instead.
In this post, I’m going to touch on the-ever important topic of why it’s important to invest $10 to $20 now versus $10,000 to $20,000 later on. In other words, I’m going to show you how investing in the best tools and technology for your business upfront can save you loads of time, effort, and money down the line.
Free Versus Paid Marketing Automation Softwares
One of the most common themes I’ve found among new entrepreneurs and small business owners alike is that those who opt for cheaper tools, in the beginning, must eventually migrate to better tools down the line.
This is why I believe it’s ideal to set up your business with the right tools from the start — and avoid having to do a migration altogether.
While there are many wonderful free services available online, most of them come with their own set of limitations.
I, for example, am a certified consultant for ActiveCampaign, the marketing automation software I use to run my email campaigns. ActiveCampaign is a paid email software that costs about $20 a month to start. Meanwhile, our biggest competitor, MailChimp, is free.
So why, you ask, do I spend the extra $20 when there’s a platform offering the same service for free?
This is one of those situations where spending a bit of money upfront will prove highly beneficial in the future. MailChimp’s free services may work just fine when you’re first starting your marketing automation. Yet as you grow, you’ll soon find that it too has its limitations.
A paid service like ActiveCampaign offers a plethora of features that aren’t available on MailChimp. As you grow your email list, you’ll likely find a need for these extra features. In other words, you’ll eventually outgrow the free software, at which point it’ll be time to explore a new tool.
Migrating To A New Tool Can Be a Hassle
Here’s the catch. Now that you’ve already invested so much time and effort into a free tool like MailChimp, your transition to a new marketing automation tool like ActiveCampaign can be quite painful.
Many people don’t realize that when you start selecting your systems and technology, you’re actually beginning to build the foundation for all of your workflows. The tools you choose are called your tech stack.
I believe that you should build your tech stack based on your business’s long-term vision. Where do you see your business in three to five years? What are the right tools and services that will help you get there? When you are selecting technology for the first time, think about that long-term vision.
The problem with choosing technology based on your short-term vision is that there’s a big chance you’ll outgrow your starter tools. Then, you’ll be forced to go through an icky migration process.
I can tell you from personal experience that migrating from one tool to another isn’t easy. And it’s certainly not cheap. This is why I always recommend setting up your business with the right tools from the very start.
Choose Tools That Easily Integrate With Others
The main tool I use for marketing automation is ActiveCampaign, which costs me $20 per month. One of the main reasons I chose ActiveCampaign is that it can be easily integrated with other tools.
I always recommend picking tools that are very robust, with good interactions and integrations with other services.
In this case, ActiveCampaign offers a multitude of integration capabilities with third parties, such as checkout services, membership and course platforms, and CRM tools. This allows me to use several different tools to achieve the best results within my marketing automation.
If you’re using MailChimp’s free marketing automation software, however, you’ll be quite limited on integrations. It’s something you’ll notice becomes increasingly important as you grow your email list. You’ll soon realize you’re stuck with a tool that really doesn’t integrate with anything.
This can be a problem if you’re getting ready to launch your next product, such as a membership platform, yet you’re not able to integrate the correct tools needed for your launch.
You’ll then be forced to migrate to a brand new tool to get your product off the ground.
This is exactly what I don’t want to happen to you! My best advice when selecting technology for the first time is to think about your long-term vision. Sometimes choosing the cheapest or easiest tool to implement can negatively impact your business in the future. Think about what you actually want to create and what tools are going to best support that.
I’d love to hear from you! Have you recently invested in a tool for your business? Do you agree with investing in the best tools right from the start?