For a small businesses thinking about implementing marketing automation, features like autoresponders, drip campaigns, lead scoring, online forms and website tracking can seem overwhelming. But when you take a step back and look at what really matters, all of the pieces fall into place.
Marketing automation isn’t about building complex email sequences or scoring structures. What it really boils down to is creating more opportunities out of the leads you already have in your reach.
It’s that simple, and when you think of it that way, all of the features and functionality become much more approachable.
Here are 5 simple ways marketing automation can help small businesses squeeze more revenue out of their sales pipeline:
Start a conversation with the people who are visiting your website.
How do you know if a visitor to your site is a good prospect? And how can you start a conversation with them before they bounce on to the next website?
If you have traffic to your website, but no way to connect with the visitors who are a great fit for your business, you’re leaving money on the table.
With marketing automation, you can use online forms to capture contact information from people visiting your website. Think of it as a handshake with your brand. Once you’ve been introduced, you can continue the conversation in their inbox by starting them on a relevant email campaign.
For example, if you run an insurance company and a visitor fills out a form to receive the “Insurance Checklist for Business Owners,” you know that they are interested in Business Insurance – not life insurance or auto insurance. You can automatically put them on a campaign related to business insurance, and help them continue down the path to conversion.
Respond more quickly to inquiries and requests.
Amid all of the daily responsibilities of a small business owner, it can be tough to respond instantly to prospects and customers. If your follow-up process is inefficient, you’re letting good opportunities slip through the cracks.
Marketing automation can respond instantly to actions your contacts take – actions like submitting an online form, clicking on an email link, or visiting a specific page of your website.
If a prospect submits a request for a free consultation, you can automatically send them a thank you email that contains a link to your calendar so they can immediately schedule their appointment.
Marketing automation doesn’t just send relevant, personalized emails; it can also create tasks and alerts for you and your team. So when a contact visits your pricing page, for example, you can automatically create a task to give them a follow-up call.
From autoresponder emails to tasks and alerts, the faster you can respond to potential customers, the more revenue you can capture.
Nurture cold leads into hot sales opportunities.
96% of people who visit your website for the first time are not ready to buy (Kissmetrics). And if you get a batch of new leads – from a trade show, for example – most of them won’t be sales-ready.
However, that doesn’t mean there’s no more money in your list.
There is revenue sitting in your CRM, but you can’t let your contacts sit cold on the sidelines. Marketing automation campaigns send timed emails that are personalized based on your leads’ interests and readiness to buy.
For instance, if you meet several solid prospects at a networking event, you don’t want to start your relationship off with a sales pitch, but you do want to stay on their radar.
So, as a best practice, add their contact information to the CRM. Then, with marketing automation, place these contacts on an introduction campaign.
As you nurture new contacts on the introduction campaign – with your most popular blog content, for example – you drive them back to your website. As they begin taking action – like downloading a lead magnet from your website – and show interest in your business, marketing automation can place prospects on a more sales-focused campaign.
With marketing automation, instead of hitting cold leads with an ineffective sales pitch, you warm them up with relevant, helpful information through the lead nurturing process. Staying top-of-mind with your leads and nurturing those relationships shortens the sales cycle and increases the chances that you’ll be first in line when they’re ready to make a purchase.
Identify missed opportunities.
You might have a database of contacts, but how do you know who to reach out to first? If your sales team is dialing and smiling blindly, they could be wasting time talking to leads that will never convert, while a hot prospect slips by.
Marketing automation can read signals from prospects visiting your website, so you and your team know who to reach out to first. With lead scoring, you separate the hot prospects from the cold leads.
For instance, you might give every contact you track 1 point for clicking an email link, 5 points for filling out a lead generation form, and -10 points for unsubscribing from an email. Now when you look at your list of prospects, you know to call the contacts with a score of 20 or more right away, while nurturing lower scoring contacts.
You’ll be able to prioritize which people you or your sales team should be talking to, ensuring that you never miss a hot opportunity to make another sale.
Stay in touch with customers.
Small businesses are built on repeat business and customer referrals. If you’re not staying in touch with people who have already done business with you, you’re missing out on the opportunity to upsell and cross sell new products and to drum up referrals for your business. Not to mention, you risk losing current customers to the competition.
Nurturing should not stop just because someone has made a purchase. Brand loyalty does exist, but for the modern consumer who has many options of what to buy and how to buy it, it takes more than one sale to create a loyal fan of your business.
With marketing automation, you can continue to send relevant content to your contacts long after they become customers. For example, if you’re a marketing agency, you could send a nurturing campaign to your SEO clients to cross-sell your content marketing services.
Staying in touch with your customers is key to increasing revenue – boosting customer lifetime value while decreasing customer acquisition costs.
If you’re shying away from marketing automation because you think it’s too complex for your small business, consider the opportunities you encounter every day. If you could use help cultivating more touch points and meaningful conversations with prospects and customers, marketing automation is the game changing tool you need for your business.
Looking for Marketing Automation software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Marketing Automation software solutions.