Small Business Marketing Automation
If you run a small business, you understand the concept of wearing too many hats. While it may sound cliché, any business owner can relate. One hour you’re a social media manager, the next a top-tier salesman or even an installer, and everything in between. You simply have too many tasks to tackle every day.
Marketing automation allows you to automate some of your daily tasks, so you can focus on what really matters – running your business.
What is Marketing Automation?
Marketing automation is just as it sounds: an automatic marketing strategy that saves you time by setting marketing tasks to run on autopilot. Instead of performing marketing efforts manually, this software automates campaigns in various forms, including emails, social media ads, webinars, and much more.
A marketing automation system is an essential component for small businesses that are often already stretched too thin. For example, you may not have time to focus on individual emails or social posts, so this process allows you to take a set-it-and-forget-it approach. By triggering set marketing tasks, you don’t have to spend time doing manual entry, allowing your clients to see better marketing results without weighing you down.
Examples of Marketing Automation
Social media automation may involve advertising your product or services across multiple platforms, including Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram. It may also involve creating a marketing campaign that encourages current customers to promote your brand for you through social sharing.
For example, if you set your automation software to run a promotion, customers who purchase through social media efforts may be prompted to share their purchases with friends.
Social media automation may also mean auto-scheduling your posts through software or automating likes, comments and shares across your entire social media network to boost engagement.
Email marketing is another form of automation that allows you to target interested leads by sending out an email based on predefined rules. For example, let’s say someone visited your website and signed up for a free trial. You can set an email marketing tool to automatically send them an email (or series of emails) to keep your brand top of mind.
You can also set automation rules to send email marketing campaigns based on time, location, purchase history, and much more. This allows you to segment your marketing efforts so that each campaign is sent out only to the target audience most likely to convert.
Click funnels are also another form of automation that leads customers down a specific path by showcasing marketing content along the way. For instance, someone might click on one of your social media ads, which then triggers marketing content that leads them to a webinar or an opt-in form.
So many opportunities are available to small businesses today with marketing automation at the helm. The automation you choose to utilize is entirely up to you – just make sure it’s relevant. This means your marketing team should spend time perfecting the campaign so that it sends customers down a funnel where they are more likely to take the actions you want them to take. This is often the most challenging part of the whole thing, but it is well worth it once it’s set up.
Marketing Automation Improves the Customer Journey
Once you set up marketing automation, it instantly improves the customer journey, helping them convert from casual browsers to loyal customers. You simply need to set up your “flows” or automate different digital marketing tasks, like sending out welcome emails after a new lead has signed up for your newsletter or posting regularly to social media.
Sound good? It gets better because marketing automation doesn’t just help you “automate digital marketing” but also helps you target your digital audience more effectively through the use of data. If someone has signed up for your newsletter, they are likely interested in what you have to offer. This digital marketing tool enables you to market your digital audience more efficiently.
Tools for Marketing Automation
After you determine which functions you’d like to automate, it’s important to select the right marketing automation platform for your needs.
There are countless marketing automation tools & software for small businesses on the market. However, they each do something different: some focus only on emails, some only on social media. Sometimes these tools can be all-in-one, but choosing the best one really depends on your specific needs. Some of the most popular marketing automation tools include:
Autopilot is a marketing software that enables users to create visual marketing campaigns while managing lead conversions. In addition, it offers multi-channel marketing capabilities, such as online, email, in-app, SMS, and traditional mail communications.
HubSpot is another popular automation tool that covers multi-channel marketing. However, this app also incorporates sales-oriented CRM software and web-building capabilities. It’s a robust lead management system that can really help you grow your business.
SeedProd is an automation tool that automatically collects leads for your marketing funnels while you’re still building your website. In this way, you won’t lose any potential customers. It’s a helpful lead generation tool while you’re getting things up and running.
How to Pick the Right Marketing Automation Tool
There are dozens, maybe even hundreds, more automation tools than those listed. In truth, we can’t guess the ones that your small business will need. Your company is unique, so the software we may recommend is unique as well.
One of the best pieces of advice when considering a marketing automation solution is to not focus on the individual features. Instead, focus on the business results and the long-term partnership that may arise.
Follow these suggestions when considering a marketing automation system:
1. Plan: Consider your overall goals for marketing software and let this guide your strategy.
2. Get opinions: As a small business owner, ask other small business owners in your circle which programs they have used and their opinions on them.
3. Create a budget: Marketing automation provides value to your company, but make sure the price aligns with your budget to avoid surprises.
4. Consider public reviews: Check out software reviews from customers worldwide to see if their experiences are in line with your expectations.
5. Test them out: Most automation systems have a free trial period where you can try them out yourself to see if they are right for you before you go all in.
Benefits of Marketing Automation
The marketing automation process enables you to collect customer information in real-time, which is one of the key benefits. Another key benefit is that marketing teams can concentrate on more important tasks while the software handles the other tasks.
Marketing automation also automates marketing content, which is very helpful for small teams who are manually posting content across multiple platforms each day. This means they are able to focus on creating quality content instead of spending time looking for places to post it, uploading content on social media channels, and so on. Digital marketing campaigns created through marketing automation tools are also cheaper than if they were done by a marketing team internally.
Drawbacks of Marketing Automation
The downside of marketing automation is that some unoptimized campaigns can be too targeted and “pushy,” which leads to fewer conversions and a dissatisfied customer base. However, marketing automation companies also allow you to manually adjust marketing campaigns and even run reports on the campaign data.
For small businesses with limited marketing budgets, marketing automation is the tool that provides the most value for money. It helps small teams better target their customers while also improving the customer journey, which leads to an increase in sales. Marketing automation tools are also relatively affordable, allowing small businesses with limited marketing budgets to use them alongside other digital marketing channels, like social media marketing or SEO.
Costs of Marketing Automation
Marketing automation tools are relatively affordable for small businesses but do have a cost associated with them. Their cost depends on the specific tool, marketing campaign type, team size, campaign frequency, and automation data frequency.
These tools also have a learning curve associated with them, so teams need to be willing to learn the software and get used to it before marketing efforts can expand.
Marketing automation is a great way to stay organized and on top of marketing efforts. It can also save teams time by automating repetitive tasks, such as uploading content across social media channels or email marketing blasts. However, it does not come without drawbacks: marketers need to be willing to learn how the software works before they start using it for their company’s marketing campaigns.
If you want to be more efficient and effective with your small business’ marketing efforts, consider marketing automation software today. For help with your digital marketing process, call the staff at Make It Loud for a free consultation today.