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Why Marketing Automation Makes a Ton of Sense for Small Business

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April 22,2016

By Jim Higgins, Higgins Marketing Group

 

There’s no question. Growing a small business is tough work.  Owners and employees are required to wear many different hats to effectively meet the demands of serving customers, while also tending to the health of their own enterprise.

One area that often gets pushed to the backburner is marketing.  Business owners know they SHOULD be proactively marketing, but there never seems to be enough time or resources to make it happen in a consistent way. That’s where marketing automation can help.

Marketing automation is essentially what it sounds like… creating an automated process that handles all the marketing for you!  Marketing automation systems typically include integrated elements of contact management, email marketing, content publishing, lead scoring, sales and opportunity management, behavioral tracking, and reporting.

But aside from all the “whats,” HOW can it help your small business grow?  Here are four of the biggies!

 

It Automates Lead Capture

Have you ever provided your contact info in exchange for a great white paper or free guide?  If so, you’ve seen one common method of capturing leads.  Marketing automation allows you to capture contact info from anywhere (online and offline) through the use of integrated forms and other techniques.  Then, through the magic of the technology, prospects are added to your database and provided with the resource they’ve requested… ALL without you doing a thing.  One of the biggest assets any business can possess is a high-quality contact list, and a marketing automation system helps you grow and monetize your list!

 

It Nurtures Folks Who Aren’t Ready

What percentage of your prospects become customers during their very first interaction?  If you’re like most businesses, it’s a pretty low number – maybe 10%.  Businesses typically do a great job with the 10% who are ready to move right away, but they fail to seize the massive opportunity they have with the other 90%.  Too often, these contacts just fall into the big black hole, never to be seen again.  This is a huge lost opportunity.

Marketing automation allows you to connect in a personal way over time, and “nurture” these folks.  Through automated email campaigns that are specific to the prospect’s timeline and interests, you can educate prospects and build credibility in a very helpful (non-pushy) way. It’s truly a win-win for both parties.  Can you imagine what your sales pipeline would look like if you started capitalizing on the 90%?

 

It Delivers the RIGHT message at the RIGHT time

Though its integrated behavioral tracking, you’ll come to learn A LOT about your prospects over time.  For example, what links are they clicking on? what content are they viewing on your website?  On a scale of 1-10, how engaged are they with my content right now?

This information is gold!  When properly organized and segmented in your contact database, it allows you to provide messages and sales offers that are laser-focused on a specific individual’s needs and interests.  It also helps you to determine the best time for more proactive follow-up, such as a personal call from a sales professional.  This is a big deal.  It ensures your sales folks are spending their efforts on your MOST qualified and interested prospects – NOT having lengthy conversations with tire kickers.

 

It Helps You Track Marketing Effectiveness

One of the biggest problems with traditional marketing is that there is often no precise way to track effectiveness - meaning too often you are left to make a educated guess about whether a campaign is working. Not only can this cause you “to throw good money after bad” (in the case of an ineffective campaign), it’s also detrimental to a small business to go a long time without attracting new customers.

Automated marketing allows you to accurately measure the effectiveness of your campaigns by tracking lead sources as well as behavioral specifics – for example, what email or link prompted a prospect’s action, what social media channels resulted in the most requests for your free guide, etc. This type of information allows you to adjust your marketing campaigns “on the fly” in order to attract more customers and improve your effectiveness.

 

Really… this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the benefits of marketing automation for small businesses. In many cases, it’s truly a game changer. It’s been a part of Higgins Marketing Group’s strategy from day one.  I can’t imagine running the business without it!

 

 


 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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