At the same time, it gets more and more important to understand how clients tick to be successful in an industry. Analyzing every communication channel and their results individually is a lot of work. The result also only shows pieces of the puzzle instead of a holistic view of the costumer-product interaction. Fortunately, there is a way to get on top of this situation: the solution is called Marketing Automation. In this blog post, I will explain why particularly small and medium businesses need a marketing Automation tool and how they can benefit from this technology.
Before we get started: What is Marketing Automation?
When you use Marketing Automation you will be implementing software and web-based services. This system set-up is in charge to execute, manage and automate marketing tasks and processes you used to do manually or with the help of several single systems (your email marketing tool for example).
The purpose is not only to save time but also to have all relevant data from multiple channels in one place (such as email, social media, websites, etc.). This enables you to get a holistic view of your customers and how they interact with your brand.
Why do SMEs need a Marketing Automation tool?
Here are some quotes I often hear from my clients when I am talking to them about Marketing Automation: “I am way too small for that!” Or: “I already have my CMS, a Facebook Page and my Newsletter-Tool, this has to be enough.” I also hear this a lot: “I don’t have time or money to implement tools like that.” Even though I totally understand all these reactions, I know that they are mistaken. Especially if you want to grow your small business, Marketing Automation is exactly what will help you to get there.
Here are four big advantages you will have when going down the Marketing Automation road.
Advantage 1 Save time
Have you ever tracked the hours you spend per day performing repetitive tasks? Searching and reaching out to potential clients, sending out follow-ups to your leads, updating excel sheets with customer data, posting in social media channels, making website updates, reviewing your analytics, the list is so long. It takes you a lot of time per day, am I right? Instead of putting so much effort in these jobs, you should be focusing on your growth strategy and come up with new business ideas. With a Marketing Automation tool, most of these tasks will disappear or will only take a small percentage of the time you put in it today. The system will take care about the follow-ups, automatically send out confirmation and up-sell emails to customers who just purchased a product and update the customer data in your CRM.
Advantage 2 Make smart marketing investments
Growing your business without spending money on marketing actions is nearly impossible. The crucial decision, however, is not how much money you want to spend but where to invest it to generate revenue. You have to find out which channels and what kind of marketing message will attract the most customers. As there are a lot of marketing channels and communication possibilities out there, it could take you a lot of money and time to try them out and understand which ones are the winners. Hence, you need a tool that shows you where you should invest your marketing budget and how much revenue you get in return. You guessed it. A Marketing Automation tool does exactly that. You will have all information about your campaign budget and results in one place. And with the help of automated A-B-tests, you will be able to optimize each one to drive more revenue into your bank account.
Advantage 3 Thoroughly understand you customers
Collecting and maintaining customer data is a big challenge for every company. I have seen it all: Names and addresses on post-its, some details in excel files, some in outlook, different data in the email marketing tool. If you have your customer information scattered in various silos, you can’t make use of the information. But data is only valuable if you can interact with it.
With Marketing Automation, you will have all data in one place, and it will be automatically updated without any effort from your side. This way you can get a detailed picture from all your customers with only some clicks in your CRM. Now you can quickly identify where your customers are coming from, what it is they are looking for and if they are just at the beginning of the sales funnel or have been valuable long-term clients. This knowledge is key for growing a successful business.
Advantage 4Marketing Automation = more personal communication
Don’t raise that skeptical eyebrow yet because you think that the opposite is the case. Let me explain first. If used in the right way, Marketing Automation will reveal a lot of information about your clients. This gives you the chance to react to the different problems or wishes a person has. Did the user already purchase a product and doesn’t understand a certain detail? How many users already bought more than three times on your eshop this month and are about to turn into loyal customers? You will have all this information in your CRM and will be able to help customers instantly or send out a thank you note for being such a loyal shopper. You can segment your user base in a million different ways, ensuring that your users receive the right message at the right time and not whenever you think that it is time for the next monthly newsletter. This way, your communication plan will be more customer-focus and more personal. And, as you have ditched a lot of those manual to-dos, you freed up a lot of time you can use to reply to your customers individually.
Still not sold? Let me give you some hands-on examples.
You are still not sure if I am right with what I am saying? Perhaps these hands-on examples can help.
Get more leads
A very common way to generate leads is to advertise on a marketing channel, for example on Facebook. Often, you will want to guide your users to a dedicated landing page where you offer some incentive (e.g. a white paper or a webinar) in exchange for their email addresses. Voilà, you got yourself a lead.
This is what could happen if you used a Marketing Automation tool:
First of all, it will track where the user was coming from (in this case from your Facebook ad). It will then store the user data in your CRM and label it as a new lead. The tool will then send out the campaign workflow you have defined upfront. This could be sending out an email with the white paper link and perhaps additional information about your product. Some days later, the person will receive another email with more information on the topic she was looking for. This is a way to gradually “warm up” your lead by showcasing the value of your product and how it can help solving her particular problem.
Another great thing about this technology is that you can set up your contact strategy upfront. It will send out personalized messages – based on the user behavior – to your contact and “automatically” take care that your lead will become more interested in your product over time and finally convert to a paying customer.
Sell more products in your online shop
Marketing Automation and eCommerce is the perfect combination. You may have heard about selling strategies like abandoned cart where you send out an email to a user who put items in the cart but didn’t proceed to the check-out. There are a lot more possibilities to sell more products online with Marketing Automation. For instance, you can automatically analyze which kind of products the user is looking at on your website and based on this data send out a message with even more product recommendations in the same category. All this can help to grow your business significantly.
Increase customer loyalty
Winning a new customer can be very expensive. Thus, it is important to keep your customers happy and become more loyal. One way to do that is to reward them for staying with you for a certain amount of time. With the help of Marketing Automation, you can segment all customers who, for example, spent more than 100$ in the last two months. You can send out a special offer to these customers as a thank you. This will make them feel valuable and at the same time could even help you to sell more.
To sum it up
Here are the advantages at a glance:
- More relevant communication
- Save Time
- Save money by concentrating on the right marketing channels
- Actionable and up-to-date customer data
- Increase customer engagement
- More timely communication
- Opportunities for cross-selling and up-selling
- Increase revenue
Where is the catch?
Yes, you will have to invest money and time to set everything up. There is a technical site where you have to make sure that the tool is working flawlessly. And, of course, the system only performs what you tell it to. So you will be in charge to define the workflows and Automation processes.
The good news is that in the last years, several Marketing Automation tools have been developed for the needs of small and medium-sized businesses. They are a lot cheaper and easier to use than the big player like Marketo, Salesforce or HubSpot and have all the functionalities to up your marketing game significantly. And please keep in mind that once the set up is done, your tool will save you an enormous amount of time and generate more revenue (have I said that already?).