Picture this: you’re a small online business owner looking to expand. Up until now, you were the lone wolf, the one-man army taking care of everything from managing your store’s inventory, to keeping a pulse on the cash flow. From replying to support tickets to brand building on social media, you’ve been at it, relentlessly, without fail.
However, you’re fully aware that for you to unlock the next level of growth for your business, you’d need to bring complete order to the chaos, and put everything in its right place. You’d want to get more structured with how you approach your growth and marketing, and would surely need to hire talent to manage the different aspects of your growing business.
As you plan to take your team of one to a team big enough to share one eleven inch Pizza (or if your team is already big enough to share one), you’ve got to ensure you do not bite off more than you can chew.
It’s a human tendency to be aspirational and wanting to punch above our weight. In the pursuit of which, small business owners take up too much on themselves, or worse, end up delegating too much on the team, leading to loss of opportunities, as most of the time is spent getting up to speed and doing the bare minimum.
With the advancements made this past decade into business software, the world has really opened up to a plethora of opportunities for businesses to maximize their efficiency and run on their fullest potential. One such piece of technology, which has brought about a paradigm shift into how businesses grow, is Marketing Automation.
In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into how small businesses can leverage it to their benefit.
Marketing Automation 101: What Is It?
In jargon-free, simpler terms, marketing automation is the process of using software and technology to optimise, automate and measure repetitive online marketing tasks.
Many small business’ marketing teams automate repetitive tasks such as qualifying leads, sending emails to new prospects, posting on social media, and more – not just for the sake of efficiency, but so they can provide better brand experience to their target audience and customers.
What’s more? Marketing automation even lets you measure the effectiveness and results of your efforts, all without having to pull your hair out.
Should You Consider Investing In Marketing Automation?
The typical thinking among small businesses is the same – “if we can manage without this expense, let’s do what we can”, which results in you unknowingly increasing your workloads.
In a survey by CMO, more than 90% of the world’s top marketers agreed that marketing automation is very important to their success.
From improving your team’s productivity to streamlining your marketing efforts, companies that use marketing automation enjoy a 25% higher revenue than those who don’t. Yet, only three-quarters of all companies use some kind of marketing automation. As a small business with eyes on fast growth, make sure you don’t make the same mistake.
How Marketing Automation Helps In Growing Your Small Business
Every business is different, but fundamentals do remain the same. Marketing automation tools helps you grab a piece of the pie in the following ways:
1. Boosts Your Marketing (And Sales) Team’s Productivity
One of the biggest benefits of using marketing automation software is that it helps save you time and efforts in doing repetitive tasks. When your marketing and sales team would no longer be required to manage monotonous, routine tasks, they’d be free to focus on their core competencies and do what they do best. In other words, using marketing automation helps you to let your team do what you hired them for – fulfil their key responsibilities and grow your business forward.
2. Optimises Your Purchase Funnel, And Accelerates Sales
Collecting leads or new users is only the first step of your purchase funnel. Turning them into buying customers is something which requires them to be nurtured, which is all about responsiveness. The more your prospect would feel engaged, the more likely they are to buy from you. According to a study from Harvard Business Review, companies that respond to new leads within the first hour are 7X more likely to push them deeper into their funnel. With the use of marketing automation, ensuring this swift response becomes a piece of cake.
3. Delivers A Massive Return On Your Investment
Surely, no investment talk is substantial without ROI, and with marketing automation, the ROI is considerably huge. Marketers who implement marketing automation software see on average a 20% increase in new sales opportunities, according to the Harvard Business Review report we cited above. There’s a reason why 80% of marketers use it anyway.
4. Helps Reduce Revenue Churn Through Customer Retention
Business 101 says it costs you a lot less to retain an existing customer, than having to acquire a new one. Marketing automation gives you the data and insights you’d need to more effectively address your existing customers’ concerns, which can then be leveraged by you to provide better service or support to them, enhancing their loyalty and trust in your business. This also adds to the overlying return on investment of marketing automation and is just one of the added benefits.
5. Improves The Effectiveness Of Your Marketing Efforts
In addition to improving your entire marketing productivity, marketing automation also helps you improve its effectiveness by helping you measure the same, make changes to your strategy, and repeat the cycle. Armed with the knowledge of what is working for your business – and what definitely isn’t – you can course-correct decisions, and always go back to achieving sustainable growth, continually.
What Are The Types Of Marketing Automation Your Business Will Benefit From?
It’s no surprise that small and medium businesses are the fastest-growing segment of marketing automation users today, with the plethora of benefits mentioned above, it’s only a matter of time before businesses of all kinds truly reap the rewards of investing in technology.
Within your company, there can be many different ways a marketing automation tool can create impact and streamline things, we discuss a few of those below.
Manage Your Website And Its Assets
When you first begin to grow your business online, the very first thing you’d need to build a digital presence is a website. In case you’re into ecommerce, your website would be your online store. Depending on how you decide to structure yours, your website would most likely be managed through a Content Management System (CMS) like WordPress, or an online shopping platform like Shopify, which you use to make changes to your website.
By integrating your website CMS with a marketing automation platform, you can create new landing pages for any sales campaign, manage your website’s assets like forms, deploy user personalization basis their behaviour, demographic attributes or other data points you have available, and much more.
Automate Your Analytics From Across Platforms
Imagine having to jump in and out of multiple websites, tools and platforms to collate data on how much traffic you’re generating, from which sources, which segment is performing the most, which segment of your user base needs immediate attention, and more, you get the drift.
With a marketing automation platform, you can simply sync the different sources of data you collect for business analysis. By getting a complete breakdown of numbers on support, sales, social media, marketing, finance, and more, you can slice and dice it as you like, and make smarter decisions, more quickly. Whatever metric you need, it’s available right there on your marketing automation tool’s dashboard.
Leverage The Potential Of Email Marketing
If you haven’t heard, email marketing delivers an ROI of $44 for every $1 spent, and thanks to robust email marketing automation tools out there (seriously, the number of available options is staggering), you can nurture your prospects, acquire new leads, and promote your products and services, even in your sleep.
No marketing tactic has proven itself as much as email marketing, and not leveraging it to its fullest potential would be like leaving money on the table. For example, if you’re a homegrown online store, following are some of the ways you can automate your email marketing using marketing automation software:
- Set up an automated welcome email for any new user signing up on your store (for better results, experiment with giving a discount or deal to entice them better)
- Enrich your promotional emails with the insights your marketing automation tool would have collected on each and every one of your customers, to provide them with a highly engaging, personalized shopping experience.
- Reach out to high intent customers basis their behaviour on your website through email, again, automatedly, without putting any manual efforts.
And so much more, the world is really your oyster when it comes to leveraging email marketing for your sales growth.
Schedule And Automate Your Social Media Promotions
Just like email marketing automation, your social media marketing can also be automated to a great extent, giving you more time to do what you do best – ideate on the strategy. While you can’t really automate any real-time responses or engagement, the rest of your campaigns can be automated with tools like Hootsuite and Buffer. By scheduling your updates based on your preferences, you can go back to doing more important tasks, and not having to keep a tab on it.
If you were to do it manually, it’s virtually impossible to keep track of who engages with your posts, and who doesn’t. However, with marketing automation tools, you can identify and recognize your following list basis who engages with your brand the most. As they say, keep your customers close, but keep your evangelists closer.
Provide Customer Support Even When You’re Unavailable
One of the biggest benefits of using business software, like marketing automation, is that technology takes care of a lot of things, helping you take care of any issues even while you’re unavailable. An apparent benefit of using marketing automation to help resolve your customers’ issues is that it helps quickly solidify their trust in their brand.
For example, consider this scenario: a customer reaches out to you at 2:00 am – which is way beyond your operating hours and is highly frustrated, so they write you an email. Fortunately, you use marketing automation. Which is why you have an automatic reply set-up, assuring your customer that you truly do care, and would get to provide assistance the first thing your business opens up in the morning.
Acing Your Growth Efforts With The Use Of Technology
The world is changing, and how! If market dynamics are anything to go by, businesses of the Post-Covid world need to embrace technology and provide customer experiences which are distinctively unique, engaging, and beyond. Then, and only then, would you be able to grow it the move fast and break things way.
Suffice to say, explosive business growth can not be achieved with manual efforts alone, which is why you need to invest in marketing automation today or be left behind like the 25% of the businesses that don’t.