Marketing Automation Made Easy For Small And Medium-Sized Businesses
Marketing automation can seem like a hugely ambitious and intrusive undertaking for a small business, akin to fully automating and manufacturing a production line with robots.
Faced with a gargantuan task and not knowing where to start, it’s not always clear for business owners where best to invest their money, especially when funds are tight.
In this article, we explain how to approach marketing automation in a way that suits your business objectives, budget, and timescale.
1) Decide What Functions You Want To Automate
Marketing automation is a category of software application that automates a wide range of manual marketing tasks, reducing the need for human input. The scope of functions that can be fully or partially automated is quite extensive, so to start with, prioritise the core tasks that currently take up the most resource relative to their returns (i.e. the least efficient!) and areas you want to increase productivity.
These could include sending shopping cart abandonment emails, sending newsletters or drip feed campaigns, sending content downloads, scheduling social media posts, researching keywords, importing contact information into your CRM etc.
2) Select The Right Marketing Automation Platform
Prioritising what you want to automate will help narrow your choice of marketing automation platform – because there are plenty of tools on the market to suit different applications and budgets.
If your main interest is lead generation through your website, you may wish to invest in a chatbot application to automate responses to routine sales queries and to encourage more engagement through your site, for example. Or, if you want to save time managing your social media engagements, scheduling platforms such as Hootsuite may be sufficient for your needs.
However, investing in individual applications in this way can work out expensive. As your automation requirements change and expand, you may require several independent platforms to manage your digital marketing strategy – which can itself become a source of disconnect and inefficiency.
In our experience, the best value comes from investing in a full spectrum marketing automation platform, such as HubSpot, that covers all elements of marketing automation within a single dashboard. You don’t have to use all of HubSpot’s tools and features immediately, but the platform’s modular architecture allows you to scale your marketing requirements to match your needs, improving productivity and efficiency in areas as diverse as landing page creation, CRM management, email marketing, blogging, and PPC advertising.
3) Set Benchmarks For Success
Successful marketing automation will save you time and money on business processes and increase your marketing output, leading to higher revenues. So, before investing any money into marketing automation, be clear about what you want to achieve from it and put objective KPIs in place as benchmarks to measure success.
These goals may relate to time saved delivering marketing activities – such as publishing blogs or posting to Facebook – or to results gained, such as the number of social media shares or click-throughs from email marketing.
Marketing automation is an analyst’s dream, and all the leading platforms have a suite of inbuilt data monitoring and analytics tools that help you define your key metrics and measure the results, helping you assess your ROI from marketing automation.
4) Optimise And Improve Your Processes
Your marketing automation KPIs, coupled with a good suite of analytics tools, will let you identify areas for improvement and measure the impact automation has on your business. This enables you to expand your automation strategy in step with your business, cutting costs and making targeted improvements to increase returns. You may be surprised at the impact that even limited marketing automation will have on your productivity and annual profits.
Some of our customers, for instance, reported a 654% increase in lead enquiries per month after working with JDR for just 12 months, while others experienced an increase in website traffic of more than 190%. In real-world terms, these improvements equate to many thousands of pounds worth of new sales, plus the crucial savings that come from being able to achieve more value-driven tasks within the same working hours.
The key to these results is the 360° visibility that comes with using a platform like HubSpot or InfusionSoft, providing real-time insights that let you tweak and optimise your processes for greater consistency and success.
Your Next Steps
By implementing marketing automation, you’ll reduce the administrative burden on your team, helping them achieve more with their time. With key marketing functions facilitated by your automation platform, you’ll be able to deepen the level of personalisation in your marketing communications and respond more promptly to lead enquiries, increasing your number of online sales while lowering your average cost per sale.
To find out more about getting started with marketing automation and how your business could benefit, please call our inbound marketing team today on 01332 343281.
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