One of the great things about technology is that it gives small businesses a wealth of marketing tools which can be easily combined with traditional outreach practices. However, with numerous high-tech marketing tools out there, small business marketing campaigns can become stretched thin from a lack of financial, technological, or human resources.
Luckily, the relatively young field of marketing automation allows small businesses to streamline marketing and sales tools, making it possible to perform the work of an entire marketing department when such resources are not available or financially practical. Offered as software or browser-based technology, marketing automation allows users to intermingle a variety of outreach tools, including social media, email campaigns, data analytics, call centers, and sales staff to work off one another with less confusion.
For example, a marketing automation program can automatically notify a member of a sales team to make a phone call send a greeting email message when a prospective client has joined a company’s Facebook page.
There are several advantages that marketing automation can bring to a business, including:
1) Client Monitoring – Track the health of a client relationship by monitoring sales numbers and interactions, which the program can then use take a specified action, like reestablishing contact with a client who’s been gone too long.
2) Less Repetition – Automatically notify staff to add a prospect to a mailing list, or send an introductory email without a go-between.
3) Improved Timing – Reach an individual at the key moment by setting up rules for making contact, such as when a client hasn’t made a purchase after a certain period of time or when an individual has subscribed to an email list.
4) Finds the Best Contact Method – Use the best tool, online or offline, to reach someone by deciding what criteria should be met before a phone call, text message, or personal tweet is made.
Marketing automation can be a great tool for the small business that relies on communication. Nonetheless, before purchasing marketing automation software, decide if it would be beneficial by considering:
1) Costs – Many of these programs were originally intended for enterprise-size companies, and their prices reflect that. However, some companies, such as Whatsnexx, offer “pay as you go” pricing that can accommodate smaller users.
2) Practicality – Marketing automation can be a great tool when a business utilizes several marketing methods. But if a business is only using Twitter and a mail campaign, financial resources could probably be put to better use elsewhere.
3) User Friendliness – Seek out customer reviews, and ask for a trial version or demonstration. Don’t get stuck with a program that requires the skills of a rocket scientist.
Additionally, before choosing a marketing automation program, call the vendor with any questions, and ask if there is a discount for new users. For example, Loopfuse offers a free version of its marketing automation program, which may be suitable for the needs of many small businesses.