Entrepreneur who chased success against all odds. Proud Father. Author of “How To Grow Your Startup And Small Business” Quarterly Global
Marketing automation can help a business make the most of their online marketing efforts. Today’s business owner is busy, and not every small business can afford an entire marketing department. Automation is designed to streamline the marketing process and provide a more hands-free experience.
With marketing automation, sales teams can focus more on nurturing customers and leads, and customer service people can follow up and make connections with new clients to help them find their way. From email campaigns to pop-up ads, business owners can automate just about every aspect of marketing.
With more than 10 years of experience in public relations, marketing, advertising and marketing automation solutions, and as the founder of Quarterly Global and various other marketing and advertising-focused enterprises, I believe this guide will help other business owners learn everything they need to know about marketing automation.
What is marketing automation?
Put simply, marketing automation is the process of putting various marketing tasks or efforts on an automated schedule or platform. Rather than implementing all marketing efforts manually, businesses can set schedules and deploy multiple tools to manage and monitor all marketing efforts. This can help make online marketing more straightforward and more efficient.
According to Salesforce, those who use automation can see conversion rates increase by 30% or more. Marketing automation can also help employees save time, increase productivity in sales by more than 14% and reduce marketing overhead by more than 12%.
And with scalable technology growing in availability, there are more solutions for small-business owners and entrepreneurs who don’t have a corporate budget or marketing department.
Working Smarter, Not Harder, With Automation
Marketing automation can make things easier for the business and its marketing department. Automation tools are available for landing pages, email marketing, lead management, analytics, social marketing, pop-up conversions and much more.
Through my company’s own automation strategies, I know there are a few common use-cases for automation you might consider, such as using automation to create dynamic content that is “smart” or “adaptive.” This type of strategy involves using content in ads, emails or websites that change based on user behavior or preferences. This creates a fully customized experience for the user on the spot.
A few other potential use cases for automation may include:
• Automating team collaborations: Some automation tools can aid in collaborative efforts by transmitting information in real-time, which helps departments communicate and keep everyone on the same page.
• Setting up automated nurturing: Not every user is ready to become an immediate customer. However, they might be prepared to learn more information, get a coupon or sign up for an email newsletter. Automated nurturing tools can help companies create a variety of conversions along the sales funnel based on a specific user’s behavior.
• Using email sequencing for follow-up: Creating a sequence that nurtures the lead and invites them to explore more can be especially helpful in a time when people are inundated by spam and junk newsletters.
• Automating list segmentation: Manual segmentation is possible, but it is time-consuming and can also result in errors, which is why some might choose to use automated tools for this task.
• Automating analytics: Business owners can’t measure the success of any marketing efforts without analytics and metrics. There are affordable and free resources online to measure campaigns that can help ensure reports are current and data is fresh.
Choosing The Right Tools For Your Business
Most marketing automation tools will offer some benefits to almost every business. However, some are typically going to be more useful or relevant than others. Here are some questions to ask yourself when searching for the best fit for your company:
• Is it a full-service automation platform? Business owners don’t necessarily have to choose this type of automation tool. However, if they intend to automate multiple marketing elements, it could be easier to have everything in one place.
• Does the automation software include the resources that are required? Although most will cover a variety of automated tasks, some limit their offerings. Review the tools and resources out there to find the ones that deliver precisely what your business needs.
• Am I receiving a one-time charge or a regular fee? Some automation tools can be free to use with limited access. Others might have a one-time use or purchase fee. Still, others may have a monthly or semi-annual fee involved.
• What challenges can I expect along the way? Be particular in analyzing whether the goals of the automation tool are the same as your business’s goals. For example, it wouldn’t make sense to implement an email campaign autoresponder if improvement in website sign-ups is what is desired. That would require automation of a pop-up campaign or another type of conversion optimization.
The numbers don’t lie: Those using marketing automation may see improvements in engagement, conversions, sales, productivity and other aspects of business operations, therefore creating a win-win situation for everyone involved. Automation can also increase a company’s return on investment and free up your sales team’s time so they can focus on nurturing relationships and working through the customer life cycle.
While there is a wide selection of solutions from which to choose, it’s important to ensure the solution you’re considering makes sense for your business. In doing so, organizations can adopt useful automation software and offer an engagement-focused approach to building and growing customer relationships.
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