Every day in our businesses we encounter tasks that are repetitive and need to be done with each client. Marketing automation for a small business is a critical lifesaver to reduce cost and time of carrying out various tasks and processes. In addition, businesses that utilise automation become more efficient and focused as opposed to those that do not. The amount of time and resources freed up from manual and repetitive tasks can be used to chase more clients, provide customer support and improve your business.
For a long time, marketing automation was an expensive venture for a small business, but, guess what? It is 2020 and it's now ever easier for small businesses to automate too. Knowing what you need to automate, choosing the right software and talking to the right experts will make your marketing automation efforts worthwhile.
In this article, we will discuss what marketing automation for a small business is, why it is important for you, the tools you need and how to get started.
1. What is marketing automation?
2. Why your small business needs marketing automation?
3. Best marketing automation tools
4. How to get started
Marketing automation involves using software to automate marketing activities. A lot of times, these activities include but are not limited to marketing ads, social media marketing, content marketing, mobile messaging, email marketing, e.t.c.
In most cases, automating your marketing involves creating funnels and triggers that rely on more than one app or piece of software. In addition, a lot of marketing automation relies on the “if that, then this” condition.
For instance, if a customer subscribes to email list A, then send them this email.
In the past, once someone subscribed to an email list, you had to spare half an hour from your packed day to manually send them an email.
Marketing automation makes that a breeze now. Just set up this automation and the software will do the rest automatically, and without your involvement at all.
A second example, if a customer signs up, add them to Google Spreadsheet A. Once the entry is successfully made on Google Spreadsheet A, create a new card in an existing Trello board.
Do you notice how much human work and time that would have taken if we were doing it all manually? We would need to hire an extra employee just to run these tasks on a daily basis. But thanks to an automated workflow with specific instructions, we have connected our website to a Google Spreadsheet which has then connected to a Trello board.
That is the power of marketing automation for a small business.
Growing a business is like caring for a garden. Small and big steps every day make the garden better tomorrow. Marketing automation is a big step that combines many small steps into one automated process to make your business efficient and focused for tomorrow.
You are probably asking, “why do I need to do marketing automation? What’s the point? I’m just running a small business, nothing big.”
Hear me out.
Personalised messaging is how both small and big successful businesses will be defined in the years to come. In the age of the internet, there are a lot of people blasting email marketing to contacts on a massive scale. Whether they are selling or spamming, it is happening and reports indicate that consumers hate it.
Here is why personalised messaging has become a big deal:
In summary, personalised messaging is how your business wins. Marketing automation plays a big role. Sending personalised messages to each client at every stage of their journey takes time if done manually.
It is also highly susceptible to human error. You will forget to send a message sometimes. Other times you have to type a new message every time because your communication poorly streamlined. Sometimes, you will send a message to Matthew and mistakenly say “Hi James”.
Marketing automation gets rid of all these human errors. No more misquoting a customer’s name. Because you have automated the whole process, you will nurture your customers better into endless conversions.
Since customers receive personalised messages every step of the way, you will have fewer complaints and healthier customer relationships in return.
While chasing for new prospects it is easy for marketers to forget about the existing customers. As a result, the existing customers end up having a terrible experience with your business. Therefore, they cancel their subscriptions or business relations with you.
To understand the impact of losing an existing customer, here are some stats:
We have established why your business needs to retain its customers. How does marketing automation help with that?
To begin with, nurturing customers is a lengthy communication and support process. This may include monitoring the customer’s behaviour, sending personalised messages informed by their behaviour and upselling or cross-selling them in various stages of their customer journey.
Some businesses automate feedback collection. Feedback is important for understanding how customers received your product or service. Furthermore, it gives you first-hand data upon which to improve the value of your offering.
You can automate feedback collection by sending surveys to customers at various customer life cycles. Using automation customers can send you their testimonials or product reviews. Consequently, these can be useful for social proof on your website to attract more business.
Most times to do all this manually you would need a team working a couple of hours a day. With marketing automation for a small business, you only need a great setup between various software to get it going.
When you make the decision to set up marketing automation for your small business, you free up lots of time usually spent doing consistent and repetitive tasks.
Freed up time for your team allows them to focus on the important work that actually needs their attention.
If you run a content agency, your team needs to spend 99% of their time writing. For web development agencies, your team needs to be writing code all the time. Your sales team needs to focus on selling without repetitive tasks taking up close to 30% of their time.
In order for the automation process to work seamlessly and reliably, you need to use the best software in the market.
There is no software that will house your whole marketing process. There is a high likelihood that your business runs on more than one software or platform. This could be your website, an email marketing platform to collect leads, a spreadsheet for data feeding and storage, a payment processor and a customer support platform. This is the reality of today’s businesses.
What you need is a software that holds all the other software together. As a result, they work jointly without you manually transferring data from one platform to another.
This software includes:
Zapier is the most popular app-connecting tool in the market. It focuses on automating workflows between various applications. We call these automated workflows - or zaps, in Zapier jargon. In the platform, they can be customised to your needs, most times without writing code.
Some of Zapier’s features include connecting over 1,500 applications, a user-friendly workflow editor for creating zaps, built-in applications, conditional logic and multi-step workflows among others.
We're Zapier Experts and can help you automate your business with Zapier.
Integromat is an alternative to Zapier. It is described as the glue of the internet. It glues the apps running your business together to create automated workflows.
Integromat also boasts a user-friendly visual editor that allows you to connect various apps without writing a line of code. It supports hundreds of integrated applications and workflow templates that can be customised to suit your needs.
We're Integromat Experts and can help you automate your business with Zapier.
Marketing automation is no longer optional. Studies and stats prove that automation is the future of businesses. It is better to get started now to increase your team’s productivity, send personalised customer messages, increase customer retention and grow your business.
Follow the steps below to get started:
a) Be clear about what you want to achieve with marketing automation.
b) Know your customer journey and define the important touch-points.
c) Figure out which parts of the customer journey can be automated.
d) Find out which tasks in your processes can be automated.
e) Setup your automated workflows using the right software.
f) Analyse results over time and keep improving.