Introduction to Marketing Automation for Small Businesses

If you’re a small business owner or a part of a small business marketing team and fairly new to the benefits of marketing automation, there’s one vital statistic you need to know before we go any further.

B2C marketers who have chosen to make good use of marketing automation have reported seeing conversion rates as high as 50%. That alone should cause your small business to examine your marketing automation plans.

If, on the other hand, you’re one of those small businesses that have already attempted marketing automation but are not completely sold, it could be that you’re not doing marketing automation right. At least, not taking full advantage of the benefits. You’re not alone. Currently, the average number of companies using marketing automation lies around 51%.

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Despite the potential for higher conversion rates, some small businesses obviously are not tapping into the right formula for marketing automation — or they’re working with a software platform that’s not working out for them.

Whether you’re a novice or an intermediate learner of marketing automation, take a look at these five facts that all small business owners need to know about marketing automation to ensure you’re in a position to boost conversion rates.

1. Get the best results with seamless integration

Note that we said “seamless.” Most marketers realize the benefits of integrating marketing automation with CRMs, APIs, and other systems to create a successful campaign. By integrating with CRM, for example, you’ll have the tools to target your subscribers better. However, if the integration is not optimal, you may be suffering from lackluster results.

2. Measure results for even better results

Imagine yourself as a track star. If you’re not trying to exceed your previous personal best record, you’re not likely to improve your performance. The same thing goes for marketing automation.

This requires your team to track and compare. It’s essential to use your reports to measure data and track your progress; it’s the best way to figure out how to improve your results. Depending on your current marketing strategy, this could mean monitoring:

  • Email performance
  • Social media performance
  • Website performance and more

Each platform will provide your team with the necessary data, and while all those stats and figures could seem overwhelming at first, you’ll quickly begin to notice trends that can help you improve on your various campaigns.

With marketing automation, the data is all there. You just need to commit to a plan to analyze it and tweak your strategy.

3. Extend marketing automation to social media campaigns

Marketing automation is not only for getting your emails out. You can use it to launch social media campaigns as well. By gathering additional data on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn, you’re enhancing your ability to get better results.

Our friends at Campaign Monitor recently did some research into the current state of small business and found out that when asked where their brand’s greatest opportunity for creating brand awareness was, the majority of respondents stated social media was the frontrunner.

Most small businesses see the greatest opportunity for creating brand awareness on social media and through email marketing.

Source: Campaign Monitor

Combine that with the fact that consumers in the U.S. spend just shy of two hours a day on social media, and it’s clear that social media marketing is worth investing some of your marketing team’s time and budget.

However, that doesn’t mean head over to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp, and any other social media platform you can think of and start up a profile. That’s not how it works. If you are going to take the time to automate your marketing efforts, it is going to require a budget, and simply spending time and resources on dead-end social media pages isn’t worth it in the least.

That said, take the time to get to know your audience members genuinely. Once you do that, you’ll be better capable of finding out where they are spending most of their social media time. While younger consumers seem to populate Instagram more, older consumers flock to more traditional social media, including Facebook.

This graph breaks down the demographics of Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

Source: Pew Research Center

Know where to go! Once you know exactly where your targeted audience is spending their spare time, you’ll be better able to create campaigns that focus on them and their needs.

4. Take the time to create quality targeted content

The word “automation” in marketing automation doesn’t mean just set it and forget it in the world of marketing. It’s not a dishwasher or washing machine. It takes some time and effort to get your messages right for your segmented audiences.

True, marketing automation saves you plenty of time compared to the alternative of sending individual communications. However, design and words should be crafted based on the data you’re receiving about your subscriber segments.

Say, for instance, your brand is centered around theater and entertainment. If you’ve segmented your emailing list according to geographical location, you can personalize event recommendations for each of your readers depending on what is showing or playing in their designated area.

An email from Broadway.com that offers recommendations based on location.

Source: Campaign Monitor

Send thoughtful messages that speak to your service, products, and brand. Make those subscribers feel special.

Now, when we talk about creating content, that doesn’t necessarily mean only via email. Depending on which channels your marketing team is focusing on, this could mean creating content to share on both social media and on your website and blog.

5. Capture customers through cart abandonment strategies

If you’re in the commerce business, this is an essential one. Marketing automation can help you capture the interest of those shoppers who put items in their online carts … and then sort of forget about them before completing the purchase.

About 70 percent of consumers have this tendency, according to the Baymard Institute. Talk to your marketing automation vendor to develop a strategy to nurture those consumers in coming back and completing the sale. Businesses that have adopted an effective cart abandonment strategy have been able to capture those customers’ attention — and significantly boosted sales, as a result.

Now, in order to build an effective cart abandonment strategy, marketers need to understand why consumers are abandoning their virtual shopping carts. While it’s true that many consumers simply start a cart to “save” items and then forget to come back later, there are several different reasons why these carts are left unattended.

Baymard Institute offers reasons for abandonments during checkout.

Source: Baymard Institute

A successful marketing automation strategy requires understanding what it takes to communicate to your subscribers in a meaningful way. Again, it’s not a set-it-and-forget-it solution.

We’ll help your small business get on the path to better conversion rates.

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