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Small Business and Marketing Automation: A Match Made in Heaven!

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August 4,2016

By Jim Higgins, Higgins Marketing Group


For most small businesses, every lead and every contact is vitally important. But, let’s be honest – most are strapped for resources and they’re working crazy hard to manage the day-to-day of their business. They don’t have the time to manage every connection point with each potential lead.  As a result, many make the logical choice to spend their efforts on only the hottest leads, hoping to secure the sale – the low hanging fruit.


Believe me, I get it… but what if there was a way to do A LOT more in less time?


You can, and it involves marketing automation.


What Is Marketing Automation?

First, let’s start by breaking down what marketing automation is. It is a system that relies on technology-based processes (and smart humans who put the processes in place) to generate and manage your leads. Done correctly, it can help you:

  • Attract new leads.
  • Captures lead information for your business to use.
  • Automatically “nurture” those leads, turning them into true prospects.
  • Earn the initial business, upsell, and generate repeat business.
  • Reach new customers through referrals.

How Does This Directly Impact Small Businesses?

All of this sounds “good” but doesn’t answer the key question: How will this impact your small business’s bottom line? The good news is it offers a direct return on investment, and from our experience, this is true in nearly every situation and nearly immediately. It’s simply a smarter way of doing business. Here’s how marketing automation enhances your ability to market efficiently and effectively.


You Can Market Heavily Without Spending More

There’s no question, if you wanted to accomplish all that marketing automation could offer without using technology, you’d need to onboard additional employees. That may be a good idea until you realize you’ll need even more people as your business grows. The bottom line here is – you’ll spend less on marketing over the long term simply because you need fewer people and fewer resources to maintain it.


Your Leads Are Better Targeted and Sequenced

On your desk you may have a long list of leads.  Some may be hot prospects… some pure tire kickers and time wasters (just being honest).  Some of those prospects may need just one of the products you offer; some may need several.  Some may be having a bad experience with one of your competitors.  Who knows?  With properly tuned automation, the system can organize your leads so that you can better target them with special offers or incentives. Additionally, you can use the details and behaviors of your leads to gauge their interest.  All of this allows you to personalize every message you send to your prospects in such a way that they are more likely to react. You’ll send the message they need at the right time.


Your Sales Team Works at Its Best

Here’s where it can really impact your bottom line. With marketing automation, you get to turn more leads into sales. Because your sales team is working on nurtured, developed, and more highly motivated leads, they are more successful with every call they make.

The benefits are pretty sweet!

  • Better quality leads
  • Lower overall costs associated with marketing
  • Better return on investment
  • Less time spent on people that don’t need or want your services
  • More time spent on growing your business, working with customers, and innovating


Bottom line - when you put your early-stage marketing in the hands of automation, you have more time to nurture and grow your business while seeing better results.


So What Does Marketing Automation Cost?

My quick answer is… a small fraction of what it’s worth to most businesses. But as for the hard dollars, you can generally expect to pay two types of fees:



This covers the front-end work to get your system up and running, things like branding, importing your contacts, setting up lead forms and integrating with your website, creating email content and automation sequences, and configuring your reporting/dashboards.  In many ways, the level of expertise and effort you bring to this stage in the game will determine your overall success.  The content and processes established during this phase will likely be used for months/years down the line, so don’t be cheap.

Fees for expert implementation can vary dramatically based on the role you require them to play – Are you experienced with automation and only require a bare bones “quick start”, or will you need to rely on an expert to truly help you create an automation strategy, author content, configure custom campaigns, and manage the process?  On the low end, you can expect to pay a one-time $1,000 - $1,500 for implementation.  As you require more expertise and services, that implementation tends to be more in the $3,000 - $5,000 range… and may or may not warrant a monthly fee depending on what it is you need.


Month-to-Month Use:

Fees for the month-to-month use of the technology will largely depend on the number of users, the size of your email contact database, whether you need integrated ecommerce, etc.  Generally speaking, however, most small businesses can expect to pay between $250 and $400 per month.

So how’s a total investment of say a $4,000 one-time setup and $4,000 a year compare to the cost of hiring a couple sales folks?  Yep – it’s a value proposition that’s pretty hard to pass up for a small business trying to grow without breaking the bank!



Jim Higgins is an experienced entrepreneur and Founder of Higgins Marketing Group (HMG), a full-service web marketing firm serving the needs of small businesses. Follow HMG on Twitter @HMG_Marketing, LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+ for more marketing tips.




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