A lot of small businesses owners and managers at SME-level companies are often cautious about approaching marketing automation.
How come? The name itself is part of the reason, believe it or not. ‘Marketing automation’ sounds like an incredibly complicated practice, and a simple search for it in Google throws up numerous articles about algorithms, deep targeting and more which can turn off the average SME owner.
The truth is though that marketing automation is phenomenally helpful for business growth and, most times, is only as complicated as you want or need it to be. That’s why SME owners and managers often partner with an experienced agency to deliver a bespoke strategy focused on business growth.
There are countless success stories of marketing automation helping SMEs move to the next level. More often than not, implementing a marketing automation strategy is essential to success. Its importance to business growth simply cannot be overstated.
Marketing automation’s everywhere though, isn’t it?
It’s easy to think that. Marketing automation is fast becoming THE buzzword to attract SME owners and managers.
Take MailChimp, for instance, whose pitch on their PPC ad is simple: ‘MailChimp’s Automation Tool Helps You Target Your Customers & Sell More Stuff!’
MailChimp says its automation service can help build a brand, connect brands with new contacts and sell more products. We won’t dispute that, it probably can – to an extent.
There’s a problem, though. This is a small level of automation that focus exclusively on email and, specifically, MailChimp’s service. It will be able to perform certain limited tasks to make life easier if you focus exclusively on MailChimp like importing new contacts and personalising campaigns.
It may be able to increase the odd sale here and there with focused, consistent email campaigns. What it won’t do is look at the wider picture. It won’t make the most time-consuming and difficult business tasks easier for your team to handle, segment the best-quality prospects, nurture leads and more.
Marketing automation is designed with efficiency in mind
A great marketing automation strategy designed to take businesses to the next level thinks about every process in the business and makes generating more leads, driving sales and proving ROI easier than before.
Internally, a great marketing automation strategy can:
- Help to identify anonymous web traffic
- Qualify leads based on their position in the sales cycle
- Gain invaluable insights of the interests and attributes of leads
- Send highly-personalised and targeted messages to open a dialogue with leads
- Provide and produce highly-visual and digestible analytics
- Save money and time by reducing wasteful business practices
And much, much more. That last point is especially important; investing in marketing automation brings internal teams and departments together, giving them campaign access through a single hub to save time and get everybody reading from the same page.
Automating through a single platform is infinitely more beneficial than automating processes separately through ‘free’ services like MailChimp and others.
How to reach the next level with the right automation strategy
And here we come full circle. As we said at the start of this post, marketing automation can be as simple or as complicated as you need it to be.
Even if you need it to be quite thorough, working with an experienced agency can help integrate processes seamlessly and make it as easy as possible for you to understand when you want to begin competing against the big boys.
Some feel that they don’t need marketing automation and would rather use Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software instead, believing that it’s better to build relationships with a market instead.
That’s fine, but again, it totally misses the point. A marketing automation strategy can do the same things as CRM software and even go deeper to turn potential customers you meet online into long-term customers.
CRM software is great at importing and scoring leads based on sales readiness, and recording deals that have been won or lost. Marketing automation can do all that and more, including:
- Building relationships AND building complete lead profiles with dynamic form fields
- Better qualifying leads based on their readiness to buy with your company
- Receive automatic notifications when leads are sales-ready
- Automatically segment those leads based on their behaviour and brand interactions
- Monitor lead activity on- and offline
- Get automatic results in real-time and ROI calculations
Again, techniques essential to accelerating business growth, learning more about your market, collecting data in the right ways and using that information to approach new leads and attract them to your business.
The positives of automation far outweigh the negatives
For SMEs and managers, that can be a lot more complicated than it sounds. What marketing automation boils down to is that it saves you time, saves you money, lets you learn more about collectives and individuals in your market, reaches out to them at the right times and boosts your sales potential.
It can be highly personalised, both within and outside a business. It can bring team’s closer together and make common goals more achievable and accessible. It allows people to concentrate more on the jobs they’ve been hired to do instead of wasting time on admin and maintenance. It can streamline and optimise virtually any internal process and boost your business.
It can personalise, segment and speak directly to existing and potential customers. It can keep your brand in their minds when they look to make a purchase without overloading them with spam. It can direct them to the right places when they have an issue that needs resolving and keeps customer satisfaction high. It can do all that and more in totally transparent, ethical ways.
If you’re an ambitious CEO or marketing manager at an SME looking to take your market by storm and really believe you offer a better service than your competitors, marketing automation provided by an experienced agency will get that message out there consistently with the right strategy to accelerate your growth, save you time and money, and boost your overall ROI.
Marketing automation is the key to unlock your business’s potential and take it, you and your team to the next level. Speak to a Webpresence specialist to find out more.