Act-On Marketing Automation Software Review
Forms & Landing Pages
Landing pages and forms can be custom built, created from templates or imported. When built within Act-On, landing pages and templates can leverage and reuse components from a central library, and as with the email editor, landing pages can apply smart content blocks during construction.
The most recent software update included simple Search Engine Optimization (SEO) by permitting meta-tagging (for page titles, descriptions and keywords) on landing pages. More interestingly, the SEO function also permits the marketer to create custom URLs that include keywords in the landing page URL string. These keywords are appended to the end of the URL.
With identified leads, such as with recipients clicking through an email link, landing page forms may be pre-populated with lead data. The marketing software can pre-populate data values based on the referring URL parameters, but unfortunately cannot alter data or presentation based upon lead's database values. Nonetheless, any pre-population is a simple but effective tool in increasing conversions.
Act-On landing pages and forms can also include e-commerce payment components. Act-On forms can collect credit card payment information using your PayPal, FirstData or Authorize.net account information.
The company's partnership with WebEx has resulted in a tight integration and data exchange for online meetings and webinars. Marketers can create a webinar campaign and transfer campaign data to their WebEx account. They can further create and integrate a registration page, registration form, email invitation, auto reply message and reminders. Once the webinar is complete, the attendee list can be imported from WebEx back into Act-On marketing software.
Like most marketing software solutions, Act-On normally hosts the landing pages and forms, however, it is possible for forms to be displayed within non-Act-On hosted web pages (i.e. the customer's website) using iframes. However, a word of caution with this approach as some tracking ability (i.e. sources and volume of viewed reporting) and functionality (progressive profiling) will be lost with this approach.
Unfortunately for the creative types (which are certainly plentiful in the marketing profession), there are significant restrictions on landing pages and forms designs. For example, the landing page and form builder does not support multi-column structures and layouts. There may be import and other workarounds for this, but those workarounds also include other limitations.
In the most recent marketing software update, the company filled some nagging voids, most notably progressive profiling. More advanced capabilities such as content management functionality (i.e. expiration dates, version control, check-in/check-out file management and security permissions) and the ability to modify or update a landing page template—and have those updates cascade through to landing pages based on the template remain absent. Similarly, the marketing automation software offers simple A/B testing for emails, but not for landing pages and forms.
The lead scoring engine is extremely simple—which may be either an advantage or disadvantage depending upon your sophistication or precision in identifying sales-ready leads.
Lead scoring configuration uses a simple table whereby lead activities are assigned point scores. Lead scoring can be driven down to designating point scores for visits to individual pages on your website or specific content downloads.
In addition to assigning numeric scores to landing page click-throughs, form submits and the like, Act On offers a unique scoring element for webinars—which are highly indicative of purchase intent. The Act-On integration with WebEx allows marketers to assign point scores to webinar activities such as registrations and attendance.
The lead's score is also displayed in the Salesforce.com lead record—thereby giving sales staff or CRM software users visibility to the sum tabulation as well as drill-down into a pop-up page that displays website, email, forms and other online interactions.
While the simple lead scoring may suffice for many SMB's automating their lead management and marketing software for the first time, it is less likely to accommodate B2B companies that sell sophisticated or big ticket items as well as multi-product businesses that seek to score leads by solution or where solutions vary by company/line of business/geographic location.
While Act-On lead scoring criterion can reference both lead profile (explicit) attributes as well as behavioral (implicit) activities, permits negative scoring and updates lead scores in real time, the marketing software is missing several standard lead scoring capabilities, such as the ability to permit multiple lead scores for the same lead, assign a letter grade or indicator (i.e. A, B, C or Hot, Warm, Cold) in addition to lead score, calculate a company-level lead score (for contact leads across a company), depreciate the lead score based on periods of inactivity (i.e. reduce the score if lead goes silent for 30 days), put a cap on a data scoring element (so that repeated activities don't inflate and distort the score) or limit how often a data scoring element is counted (for example, only count a maximum of four website visits per day.)
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