Marketing Automation for Small Business: A Complete Guide

Marketing automation has seen a meteoric rise over just the last few years. What was once deemed necessary only for large companies is now used by companies regardless of size or industry.

With 80% of marketers reporting that marketing automation helped them increase leads which contributed to a 14.5% increase in sales productivity, it's easy to see why this technology has been widely embraced.

Read on to learn about marketing automation for small business.

What is Marketing Automation for Small Business?

The problem is that marketing automation sounds like the worst kind of marketing; impersonal and robotic. This could not be further from the truth. Marketing automation makes it easier to treat customers according to their unique needs. This is better than treating them as if they're all the same.

Marketing automation tools are software that take over repetitive marketing actions. Consider the time it takes you to manage your social media accounts or set up your email marketing campaigns. Marketing automation helps you complete these tasks more effectively so you can focus on actually running your business. This also allows you to pursue tasks that actually move the needle for your business, instead of being caught up in the minutia.

Unfortunately, marketing automation will only get you so far. You'll still need to participate in your marketing efforts with things like creating a great content strategy and testing your email campaigns. The best way to think about marketing automation is to see it as a supplement to your marketing plan.

The Benefits of Marketing Automation

You don't need to be a marketer to take advantage of the benefits of marketing automation. With more tools at your disposal than ever, it's easy for a small business owner to get started and enjoy the following benefits and more.

You Can Spend Less Time on Marketing and Focus On Your Business

The biggest benefit of marketing automation is that it takes over some of the repetitive daily marketing tasks. If you have a social media or marketing manager, that's great. But if not, how many hours a day are you spending on social media or writing individual emails to your clients? What about follow ups?

Imagine if you had to sit down every hour to post on Twitter, every other hour for Facebook and once or twice a day to Instagram. For each of those posts, you need to write the copy, find an image (or edit it for performance) and then post to the correct account. With a social media automation tool, you can spend an hour at the beginning of the week creating and scheduling those posts ahead of time.

You Can Anticipate Customer's Needs

While marketers are often focused on acquiring new leads and converting them into customers, it's important to look after your current customers as well. Remember that keeping your customers is definitely cheaper than attracting new ones!

Marketing automation software offers analytics that can be used to discover insights about customer behavior. Using these insights, business owners can try to predict customer needs and offer relevant products to their customers.

One example of this is when you sign up to receive emails from your favorite consumer goods stores. When your birthday is approaching, often these companies will send you an email offering you a discount on a product as a way to say happy birthday.

You Can Monitor Your Campaigns

Marketing automation software tracks a variety of data for your campaigns. If you're not tracking the performance of your campaigns, then how can you determine if they're successful?

Social media automation software gives you much more insight than just the number of interactions or followers you have on a platform. For example, you can use analytics on Instagram to see which of your posts led to people visiting or following your profile.

Email automation software is really an absolute necessity if you're running an email marketing campaign. The software gives you data on a range of metrics. This can include the number of times your email is opened and at what time, how long people spend reading it and whether or not they are following any of the links.

You wouldn't want to be wasting time on an email campaign and learn that no one is even reading your emails!

What to Look For When Researching Marketing Automation Tools

Ultimately, it's impossible to rank marketing automation tools. It really depends on where your focus is. Some marketers are looking for tools to help with lead generation and lead nurturing.

Others are focused on customer engagement or marketing productivity. Regardless, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind when choosing the best marketing automation software for your business.

Once you've narrowed your selection down to a few tools, you need to get a full understanding of how the licensing fee will work. For example, email marketing automation software is usually charged based on the size of your email list.

Additionally, how long of a license do you need to purchase and does it need to be paid in advance?

Once you find a platform with a license that matches your business, look at how other similar companies have fared using the software. The company should be able to provide you with case studies highlighting businesses that have used their software in the past. And don't just trust the company on this one.

Request contact info for these companies so that you can get a first-hand account of their user experience.

Finally, find out if user training is included. Often it is charged separately so you'll need to factor that into your marketing budget.

Marketing Automation Will Help You Achieve Your Marketing Objectives

Lead generation through email and social media marketing is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many other uses of marketing automation for small business. It's ability to improve campaign targeting and measurability will help business.

Looking for more ways to generate leads? Contact us today to talk about how you can improve your digital marketing strategy.