Small businesses have lower annual incomes, fewer employees (usually less than 50) and limited resources. Not to mention, small businesses are constantly under pressure to compete with larger enterprises with much larger marketing budgets.
In the competitive world of today, if a small business wants to sustain in the market, the only way this can happen is if it can achieve more with less.
Therefore, technology and automation are the two methods businesses can employ to achieve more with less; it can help them cut costs and increase efficiency. Unfortunately, many small businesses still don’t understand the necessity of marketing automation that could help them spread their thin resources optimally.
What is marketing automation?
A business cannot survive without marketing its products and services in today’s time and age. It needs to showcase its products to the right consumer market for success. On a daily basis, marketing personnel engage in repetitive tasks that includes sending emails, crafting engagement strategies for social media, creating subscription lists, writing blogs etc. Each of these tasks takes time and effort – both of which can be minimized with the help of marketing automation software.
However, the magic of marketing automation is not confined to everyday marketing tasks. The main goal of the software is to generate leads, nurture them in a highly personalized manner and convert prospects into customers and first-time customers into delighted, loyal ones. This sounds complicated, time consuming and expensive; but in reality, it is the very opposite.
In short, the top functions that marketing automation offers to organizations are;
- Lead scoring
- Targeted emails
- Website integration
- Customer profiling
- Lead nurturing
Amazon is a great example of this;
- Amazon sends emails requesting customers for product ratings and reviews a few days after a product is shipped. This is a great way to assess customer satisfaction levels and also provide useful content for the website.
- Amazon uses marketing automation to display more shopping choices on its webpages based on a customer’s recent purchases.
- Amazon also shows you what other people have bought and what is popular on the website. This helps customers make additional purchases.
Marketing automation is growing leaps and bounds with each passing day. A report published in April 2017 states that 49% B2B companies are using marketing automation. Moreover, 91% users agree that marketing automation is vital to company success and growth.
Image source: emailmonday.com
Why should small businesses adopt marketing automation?
As mentioned earlier, small businesses are weighed down with many predicaments. At the small business level, it is not a priority to automate marketing practices, budget constraints being the main reason. 25% UK companies have revealed that they face marketing challenges due to budget limitations.
However, marketing automation can benefit small businesses even more than large enterprises by giving them a chance to compete with the big fish in the industry.
According to Nucleus Research, marketing automation resulted in sales productivity increase by 14.5% with a 12.2% decline in marketing overheads. Hence, with the help of marketing automation, small businesses can decrease costs while increasing productivity levels thereby optimally utilizing their marketing budgets.
Below are some reasons why small businesses should adopt marketing automation;
1. Smaller sales cycles
Marketing automation helps close deals and leads to final consumer purchases. Hence, the time gap between a consumer expressing interest in a product and the purchase is significantly reduced with the help of marketing automation.
Organizations claim that the process of converting leads into customers is much faster with marketing automation. Aberdeen Group State of Marketing Automation 2014 research states that 88% companies are successful in converting leads to sales with marketing automation. These statistics will surely help small organizations achieve their sales targets faster and more efficiently.
2. Increases productivity
With the help of marketing automation, a small company can better leverage its employees and can experience a much needed boost in productivity levels. This is because a software can take care of marketing tasks that are repetitive such as sending emails to customers, conducting surveys, developing strategies to enhance customer experience, overseeing online advertising etc. HubSpot offers a wide variety of tools that can automate many of these processes.
Moreover, the software provides innovative solutions for mundane tasks. This gives the marketing team an opportunity to concentrate on other tasks that require human skill and attention.
Hence, small businesses can benefit a great deal by using marketing automation. In other words, business can now get much more out of existing resources.
3. Enriched customer retention
It is vital to engage customers at every step of their lifecycle in a pertinent and customized manner. However, customer retention is a constant struggle for companies. Marketing automation has a solution for this business dilemma as well. One of the main functions of marketing automation is to turn leads into customers and first time customers into loyal ones.
Marketing automation keeps customers engaged and updated via personalized emails. Using customer data, small businesses can now understand exactly what a target audience segment requires at a given moment and provide exactly that. ‘Being available at the right place and the right time’ increases purchases and thus the bottom line.
Also, advanced marketing software are able to gauge customer intentions and predict understand a customer is looking for and tries to encourage them to buy what they want in a shorter span of time. One such marketing automation software that helps with customer retention is known as Windsor Circle. It uses customer history of purchases to create personalized marketing that connects with the customer on a deeper level, thereby ensuring that the customer keeps coming back.
4. Helps with lead conversion
Generating leads is easier than understanding and converting them. However, marketing automation is able to deduce the web pages that a lead visits, emails they open and products that interest them. This vital information can be put to great use by displaying only that content to a lead in which they showed interest. This way, you can nurture leads and convert them into loyal, returning customers. Infusionsoft is a great software, built especially for small business aimed at boosting sales by gathering leads
5. Monitoring marketing campaigns
Former campaigns, whether on ground or social media, need to be evaluated for their successes or failures. This task, albeit important, ties up useful resources in calculating tedious numbers and analyzing data.
However, marketing automation software such as TEO (TargetEveryone) can do this job efficiently for the company. TEO uses measurable data to track expenses of a campaign as well as the ROI. It also monitors and analyzes the response rate received following a campaign to deem whether it should be continued or not.
These are just a few ways small businesses can take advantage of marketing automation. However, if used to its maximum potential, the sky is the limit.
Alycia Gordan is a freelance writer. She loves to read and write article related to health and lifestyle, sometime on health-tech as well. She is crazy about choclates and you can find her on Twitter: @meetalycia