Running a small business can be compared to a very delicate and complex form of art. Our time has become increasingly more valuable, and maintaining a successful company requires implementing diverse and complicated marketing strategies.
While it’s beneficial having access to an array of varying platforms to reach our audiences, it can also be time consumptive and difficult to keep up. It’s no wonder the largest demographic seeking the benefits of marketing automation are small to mid sized businesses.
Can your company use some extra time? Let’s find out.
First things first. What is Marketing Automation?
Considered one of the fastest growing solutions for sales and marketing professionals, marketing automation refers to technologies and certain software platforms designed for businesses to more effectively market online through multiple channels and automate recurring posts.
These services seek to optimize visitor/customer retention, improve conversions, cut marketing costs and perhaps most importantly revamp sales operations.
Marketing processes that would have otherwise been done manually, can now be streamlined to make new processes possible and make old task more efficient.
Taking a look at common product features
Marketing automation is still a relatively new tactic to most businesses, and for that reason it’s important to know which features will best serve your immediate and long-terms sales problems. Below are the most common found in the leading software:
- Lead Management – Leads are the lifeblood of a business; therefore, it’s easy to see why this is considered the greatest challenge and number one goal of marketing pros.
- Lead Nurturing- Increases the upsell-rate by retaining customer engagement, while also automating the qualifying leads process.
- Lead Scoring – Applying metrics to leads and prospects
Web Analytics – Using quality analytic data will allow you to pursue leads based on their web browsing tendencies.
Email Marketing – This is all about sending the right e-mail at the right time through the use of email scheduling. Schedule email blasts to disperse at the optimal time and save time by setting up autoresponder emails.
CRM Integration – Otherwise known as Customer Relationship Management (CRM), this feature is an application that is designed to assist you and your business by organizing all the data that you have on your customers. CRM Integration then is building your website to function seamlessly with your CRM.
As a small business, this is probably the section you were waiting for. When used correctly, marketing automation allows a staff with limited resources the ability to run successful marketing campaigns in a highly personalized fashion that may have otherwise been difficult to do manually. The major benefits include:
- Huge Time Saver – We all have days with less going on and marketing automation allows you to make use of that extra time to create an entire month’s social media posts in one day, so when deadlines are approaching you won’t need to worry about posting content manually.
- Maintain Consistency – Chances are you’re trying to maintain multiple platforms for social media posting, and for good reasons. The spread of our customer demographics have different preferences for social media use and if you’re forgetting to maintain one of them it may be a sign to your followers that your business cannot manage its customer communication or doesn’t care to.
- Easy For Everyone – A large concern for anyone looking to adopt a new technology is, “will it be user friendly?” And the answer is yes. Marketing automation is simple even for those who aren’t technically inclined. Most applications are equipped with easy to use editors, templates, and helpful guiding interfaces.
- Detailed Reports – Automated solutions will keep track of every social media post. Text, email and provide detailed graphs, statistics and other useful data to help you optimize future campaigns.
Selecting A Marketing Automation Platform
Before selecting a provider, here are several questions to consider:
- How Long is the minimum license period?
– Many ask that you sign up for 1 year, though you may want to look into monthly installments.
- What is offered in the minimum license fee?
– Certain platforms cap once you reach a certain amount of contacts in your database, this detail is very important as you expand networks.
- Is there a training manual and customer support?
– Nowadays the number one do not in licensing subscriptions is getting involved with a company/platform that doesn’t offer customer guidance.
There is no software or automation tool that can replace good planning and strategy; however, once you learn how to define goals marketing automation can take on the repetive and analytical taks for you in order to achieve a sustainable marketing plan.
Image Source: http://www.justaminutellc.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/5-13-marketing-automation.jpg