Marketing automation solutions have been used by big corporations for a while now. But for small business, it’s still a tool that’s just starting to gain popularity. In fact, a Leadpages and Infusionsoft Small Business Marketing Trends Report shows that as much as 47% of small businesses still try to handle their marketing efforts by themselves.
With today’s innovative marketing automation solutions, that may not be the case for long. As marketing automation becomes more available and tailored to small businesses, it’s only a matter of time before small business owners realize the benefits that come with having this tool at their disposal.
Small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) make up the fastest-growing segment of marketing automation software users, and this trend is consistent in numerous industries.
When you think about it, it’s not hard to see why — 62% of businesses in the U.S. have five or fewer employees, so finding ways to reduce the number of manual tasks is an essential part of business growth — and even survival.
What is Marketing Automation?
While you may have a lot of questions about the exact functions of marketing automation, at its core, marketing automation software is designed to help companies improve the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns. It’s meant to maximize the ROI of lead capturing funnels, email marketing, social media and almost all other parts of your online marketing efforts.
Marketing automation helps companies make their marketing and sales tasks such as campaign creation and lead qualification more efficient and effective. It’s all about making marketing as simple and intuitive as possible for small business owners and their employees.
What’s great about marketing automation is that once implemented, a lot of the otherwise manual tasks can be left to run in the background, making the entire process more efficient. The end result of a properly implemented marketing automation solution is more sales for you with much less effort.
While marketing automation management platforms were originally focused on improving email marketing campaigns, the software solutions that are available today offer a wide range of tools for improving multiple marketing channels. In addition, they also provide advanced analytics tools for understanding what works and then implementing the necessary adjustments.
The software allows you to specify the exact criteria and desired outcomes for various tasks, which it then uses to increase the effectiveness of the campaigns.
With marketing automation, it’s easier than ever to automate your entire sales funnel, from lead capture to the sale itself. And since marketing automation for small business solutions are usually web-based, its implementation is relatively easy and cost-effective, while still offering tremendous upside in the long term.
Here are just a few ways that marketing automation can help small businesses:
- Lead Generation –– Marketing automation software helps you get the most out of your lead generation strategies while improving cost-effectiveness.
- Lead Qualification — You can easily sort and prioritize your leads based on numerous metrics.
- Email — With marketing automation, you can have complete control over your email marketing campaigns It’s now easier than ever to track and improve them with the help of reports and advanced analytics.
- Lead Nurturing — Seamlessly moving your leads along the sales funnel has never been easier. Marketing automation management software can help you greatly reduce the manual work required in the process.
- Report on Your Campaign Success — With the advanced reports available from some of the leading marketing automation software solutions, you can gain new insights into where your best customers are coming from, how to increase conversions and much more.
- Improved Relationship Management — Customer retention is one of the key factors of business success. With the right marketing automation tool, you can personalize your relationship with each prospect.
How Do You Know If It’s Time to Invest in Marketing Automation?
There’s no question that there are numerous benefits to adopting marketing automation software, but how do you know if your business already needs it?
Well, to get a better idea if it’s the right fit for you now, you can ask yourself some questions to see if your business could already utilize the benefits that the software offers.
First off, if you have a steady and consistent stream of new leads and are looking for ways to scale your lead generation campaigns, marketing automation software can make a big difference by helping you get the most out of each potential customer.
Another good indicator that you need marketing automation is if your sales staff can’t handle the number of leads coming in. This usually means that there are too many manual tasks related to lead nurturing, which can be automated with the right software. This frees up the time of your sales team for more productive activities.
Finally, if you feel that you’ve found the strategies that are working and you’re ready to scale, that’s where you can benefit the most from marketing automation software. It’s very difficult to maintain a personal relationship with all of your clients, especially if you want to grow as a company. Marketing automation can help you gain control over your entire marketing funnel, allowing you to scale more easily while increasing efficiency and decreasing the amount of time required for manual tasks.
What Should You Look for in Marketing Automation Solutions?
Finding the right marketing automation solution for your business can be tricky – there’s a wide range of features that are often catered to businesses of different industries and sizes.
However, here are some of the core features that are essential for any comprehensive marketing automation management solution, so that you can gain some understanding of what you’re looking for:
- Incorporate smart content (also known as dynamic content) that can recognize the patterns and interests of each user and provide a personalized browsing experience
- Provide advanced segmenting and sorting options so that you can categorize your audience according to their interests, personal details and pre-defined behaviors
- Provide integration with multiple marketing channels to improve user experience and maximize conversions
- Develop user profiles that allow you to develop targeted, relevant offers
Obviously, marketing automation software can offer much more functionality, but these are some of the essential core features that can have a huge difference in how you approach your marketing.