Marketing automation refers to the use of technology to streamline and automate repetitive marketing tasks, such as email campaigns, social media scheduling, and lead generation. For small businesses, implementing marketing automation can have numerous benefits. Firstly, it can save time and resources by automating manual processes, allowing business owners to focus on other important aspects of their operations. Additionally, marketing automation can improve lead generation and lead nurturing efforts, which can help increase sales and revenue. By using data and analytics, small businesses can also gain valuable insights into their target audience and improve the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns. Overall, marketing automation can help small businesses increase efficiency, save time and resources, and improve their marketing efforts.
The best marketing automations for small business don’t have to be expensive. They an be affordable, and streamline marketing processes while positively impacting your sales or leadgen.
I’ve been automating marketing technology solutions before “Marketing Automations Tools” were even a “thing”. Whether it was developing cgi-based (perl) contact forms that were able to dynamically send data to differentiated points of contact based on context, or adding dynamic data to databases for dynamic content surfacing.
Marketing automation platforms have become far more advanced in the last 10-15 years, however that same advancement has also caused overwhelming confusing.
That’s why I put together this list of 3 things that I believe every business should implement when it comes to marketing automation.
CRM – Email Automation & Subscription Form
Mailchimp, Hubspot and most other CRMs or Email Automation platforms have a “freemium” version which means you can sign up and store up to a certain amount of emails for absolutely no cost. You can easily add a “newsletter subscription” form to your website from your account as well. The one thing that most businesses miss, is an automated email. I recommend setting up two automations by default. The first is an automated response to the subscription. This will ensure you have a marketing message communicated to anyone who signs up. The second is to setup an email to send to the same user list 30 days post subscription. This will remind potential customers about your brand.
Total time for setup: 3 hrs
Website Contact Form Submission Response Automation
The first thing, best practice is now to use contact forms on your website vs displaying an email address. Contact forms making contacting your business easy. Easy is better for customers and potential clients.
If you have a contact form on your website, you should setup an automatic response on any submission. This just means that when a potential customer submits a message on your website, it will be emailed to you (or your operational team), but also email the customer back from your email address and gives you the opportunity to provide additional information (potential discounts, web links, more marketing or storytelling, etc..)
If you are using wordpress, this can be incredibly easy to setup with a plugin.
Total time for setup: 1 hr
Website Contact Form Submission Lead Databasing
If you are accepting contact form submissions on your website, one thing most businesses don’t do is capture all of those submissions into a CRM or simple database. If you are not using a CRM and paying for that type of technology, you can easily integrate your contact form with Google Sheets using extensions, code (API), or connection tools like Zapier. This way, you will have a spreadsheet, outside of your website logging all of the contact submissions (leads) your company has received. These can be helpful for email deployments and many other marketing tactics in the future.
Total time for setup: 2.5 hrs
Here are some other examples, some more complex, of ways to automate marketing with automation tools:
- Email marketing (complex workflows and messaging with dynamic integrate into your digital eco system can be a ton of upfront hours, but generate serious ROI over time)
- Zoom Webinars (you can setup free webinars for leadgen, and link forms to google sheets, CRMs and more with simple integrations)
- PPC Dynamic Data (using an integration with Google, you can setup PPC campaigns to automatically pull content from your website as you update it)
Here’s a list of popular marketing automation tools:
- Salesforce Marketing Cloud
- Zoho Campaigns
- Agile CRM
These are just a few examples of the many marketing automation tools available in the market. Each tool has its unique features and capabilities, so it’s important to evaluate your specific needs and budget before choosing one.