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A Guide to Marketing Automation for Small Businesses

Marketing automation is a software tool that sales and marketing teams use for efficiency purposes. It’s mainly used for emails and social posts, you know, those repetitive tasks. Keep in mind, this is a software and not a strategy. You’ll still need to maintain and put out quality content for your target audience.

One concern that small business owners have when considering marketing automation software is losing the personal touch with their customers. When done correctly, marketing automation can actually provide more of a personalized experience for your customers. In fact, 75% of email revenue is generated from personalized campaigns. A few things for small businesses to keep in mind when it comes to marketing automation are lead generation, the type of software, and analytics.

Leads

Marketing automation will not generate leads for you. Nurturing your leads is a different story, but you must organically grow your leads in order for automation to be successful. The bigger your pool of leads, the better the chance is that automation software will positively impact your ROI. This poses the question, when should you invest in marketing automation software? HubSpot recommends asking these questions:

  • Are you generating a steady flow of new and qualified leads?
  • Has Marketing and Sales agreed on what conversations should happen with marketing and which with sales?
  • Do you have a content strategy mapped to your buyer’s journey?
  • Are you tracking your leads’ digital body language across every touch point and marketing channel (not just email)?
  • Do you have a proven lead nurturing strategy that you want to scale?

The bottom line is, especially with small businesses, to make sure you have a large enough pool of leads to make nurturing them with automation software effective. This is best showcased in email campaigns. You can send out personalized emails to different leads with a call to action or follow up depending on where they are in the sales funnel.

Expensive Software Does Not Equate to Superior Software

Expensive marketing automation software isn’t always better. Small business owners may look at all of the features and offerings of one package compared to the simplicity of another and make decisions based on tools and analytics they may never use. Look for the best fit for what you need and what you know you’ll actually use.

For small businesses, or really any sized business, this software can be pricey. Take advantage of the free trials that are usually offered and pay attention to the ease of use. Look through this list to see which platforms you’d like to try out.

Monitor & Analyze

The human element of your business is still the most important. Once you get the hang of your marketing automation system, don’t just schedule content and set it aside. Be sure to analyze the results of your marketing campaigns and test out content that may work better if the numbers aren’t what you’re hoping for. Monitor your social posts and engage with those who have reacted or asked questions. The automation software is an addition to your digital marketing strategy, not a replacement.

Conclusion

Marketing automation is an amazing tool that has the potential to increase your productivity and revenue. Most of the legwork is done upfront by your lead generation strategy, and once you have a substantial pool of leads, automation systems are ideal for nurturing those leads and even upselling them. Ease of use, as reported by 86% of marketers, is one of the most important things to look for when selecting a platform, practicality outweighs frills. There are many reasons to automate, speak with your marketing contact today about the next step.