Digital Marketing can be an overwhelming task for a small business owners. Typically, smaller organizations are focused on growth, creating new products to sell, and hiring (or deciding when to hire) team members. This all has to happen before even thinking about marketing. With all that to do, it can be difficult for a small business to run integrated digital marketing campaigns by themselves. However, there is a solution and it’s not reserved for fortune 100 companies anymore. It’s called marketing automation and the price has come down to small business levels. Marketing automation refers to software that performs day-to-day business functions like email, social media and other tedious website actions. It makes monotonous tasks easier and more efficient, giving a business more control over its marketing activities. Here are four reasons why marketing automation is perfect for a small business:
Quality Over Quantity – Generate Good Leads
Inbound lead generation is useless unless you have quality leads who are actually interested in purchasing your product or service. At Edgewater, we hear it all the time from small business owners: “I have plenty of leads, but they aren’t actually leads. They are just random inquiries with no intent to buy. We waste so much time replying to people who aren’t interested in buying or who never even respond.” A good marketing automation platform can help generate leads and more importantly can help you “score” those leads, by matching a person’s digital activity against the activities of people who have previously bought from you. This data helps you predict who is most likely to buy and who is just “kicking the tires”. This way, you only spend time reaching out to leads who are ready to convert. With a marketing automation platform, you can track people, who view your newsletters, download product brochures, read your blogs or engage with your website, and then automatically customize your content or ad campaigns to bring them closer to the point of purchase.
Keep ‘Em Coming Back: Nurturing Leads
Lead nurturing helps convert your website viewers or leads into sales by keeping them engaged and interested. It’s the process of getting a viewer back to your site with remarketing ads (You know, the ads for those slippers that follow you around the web after you looked at them once on Amazon?) It’s getting an email address for a download of a white paper and then sending email newsletters to those people on related topics. The challenge with nurturing leads in this way is that it can be very time consuming. With a small team, you may not have time to even think about how to do it, much less do it. Thankfully, marketing automation allows you to nurture those leads without all the manual effort. For example, you can set up a series of emails to go out to someone as soon as they click a link for one particular product, perhaps they even see that product at the top of your homepage when they come back to your site from an ad that was following them around. Yes, you can automate that and should.
Less Time Spent, More Relevant Emails Sent
You might say to yourself, “I can send marketing emails and track open-rates and click-through rates easily enough.” True, but how much time do you spend setting up each email and manually tracking who is clicking through and when? Marketing automation simplifies email marketing with lead scoring, analytics, multi-step campaigns, landing pages, web forms and even lead nurturing, all built in. Small business owners typically do not have the time to send individualized emails to customers, so quite often, it’s the thing they know they should be doing, but don’t. With automation, your email platform automatically triggers messages to customers who have taken specific actions on any of your other platforms. Automation allows you to develop closer relationships with your customers by sending them timely and relevant communications.
“Money, money, money, mon-ay!” Increase Your Revenue
On average, an automated marketing system gives a return of 800% for each dollar spent, which is a great return on investment for any marketing effort. After all, you decided to run a business in order to generate profit right? (Unless of course you are a non-profit and then you measure ROI differently, but you get the point.) Gartner research reported that organizations who use marketing automation saw a revenue increase of 10% or more over 6-9 months. Growth is good.
Truth be told, there are many more reasons than these. We’ll likely be talking about them in upcoming posts, but in short, Marketing Automation is no longer a toy reserved for the 500 lb corporate giants with billion dollar budgets. As with all technology, it becomes affordable in time, for the rest of us mere mortals on main street. We know. We use marketing automation at Edgewater, and we help our smaller business clients use it as well. You should see what we do with it.
Are you using marketing automation for your business yet? If so, share your experiences below. If you have questions, comment or contact us directly. We would love to have a conversation with you.
Sean Rieger is Chief Marketing Officer for Edgewater Digital a boutique digital agency in Houston Texas. Before taking up the torch for small businesses everywhere, he built digital teams, tactics, and strategies for Honeywell, Rice University, the Houston Rockets and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Everything else about him is kind of boring, so we’ll skip it.