For a lot of small businesses, the company budget calls the shots more than the business owner. And, let’s face it, budgets as CEOs tend to demand a lean ship, forcing management to take a conservative approach to any type of capital or labor investment decisions. Which leaves many of the little guys at a disadvantage, especially if they haven’t yet started using the most powerful modern business growth engine – marketing automation software.
This can end up being exactly what holds a small business back from reaching a point of healthy growth. Nothing stifles a little startup or challenged mom and pop shop like the hesitation to access the tools needed to nurture leads, better understand customers, and to offer a superior customer experience at scale.
Without the benefits of marketing automation, small businesses will always struggle to survive in a customer-centric environment. The truth is, the key to growth isn’t having the best products or services. It’s not even pricing strategies, nor is it customer service.
It’s customer experience. It’s being able to connect with customers, motivate leads by giving them exactly what they want, and make people feel special. It’s that personal touch, which successful companies – even the large enterprise operations – are able to pull off with the help of technology like marketing automation.
Without it, you’re always at the mercy of your competitors’ business and marketing decisions. With it, you have a lot to gain because you’ll have the tools you need to grow and sustain your business. Here’s a look at the benefits small businesses can experience with marketing automation.
Enhanced Personalization to Make Your Customers Pay Attention
In a customer-centric world, it’s not a new product, not a promo code, and not even a flashy video that will make your audience react the most. It’s knowing their name and what matters to them.
Look at these statistics:
- Personalized emails deliver six times higher transaction rates and result in 29 percent higher unique open rates
- 79 percent of consumers claim they are more likely to engage with an offer if it is personalized to reflect previous interactions
- 78 percent of internet users say personally relevant content boosts the likeliness that they’ll make a purchase
When you implement a content marketing automation solution, you can segment customers into groups to help send out and share only relevant content. You can also personalize emails with specific customer data, including their name, preferences, and transaction history. This way you can give customers what they are likely to be interested in. Which means, they’ll be more likely to respond.
Access to Insightful Customer Data
What do you know about your customers’ wants and needs? What are their barriers to making a purchase? Do you know when their expectations change?
With the right marketing automation platform, you can collect, organize, and analyze your customers’ data, offering a wealth of information at your fingertips. You can then use this information to create better buyer personas and to continually update them, to make smarter business decisions, and to create a better customer experience.
Enhanced Customer Experience
Getting customer experience (CX) right goes far beyond personalization. It’s about knowing what’s relevant to your customers. What channels they want to engage through. And what they expect at each touch point along the customer journey.
Any big brand marketing expert will tell you, delivering a customer experience your buyers can’t resist isn’t easy. There are a lot of moving parts because you have to factor in different buyer stages as well as buyer segments – and what is trending in your industry right now.
That’s why marketing automation is not just useful for CX, it’s necessary. Marketing automation is your central CX command hub. It’s the platform from which you send out relevant email marketing campaigns and personalized follow-up messages. It’s where you can track your online interactions and use A/B testing to learn what actions and what content resonates the most with your customers. You can even launch, monitor, and refine your webinars and event marketing registration. Marketing automation helps to simplify, and bring down to earth, the complexity of customer experience.
More Effective Lead Nurturing
With your marketing automation software, you can nurture the leads you’ve worked so hard to generate with your content marketing strategy and other demand generation tactics. The benefit of your marketing automation is that you are able to clearly identify elements of high-performing nurture content when you keep a close eye on open, click through, and conversion rates. When you can see what is working to convince your leads to convert, you can further those elements in other areas of your marketing.
Another advantage is, you can spot any possible bottlenecks in the customer journey. When you build your lead nurturing campaign with your automation software, you can go through the stages your prospects and leads will take, getting a bird’s eye view. You can also see where your customers are along the pipeline – if leads are getting stuck at one stage, you know exactly what area you need to address.
A lot of small businesses jump into marketing automation in the first place for this benefit – more efficiency. With the right technology, you can streamline your workflows, get more done with fewer resources, and cut costs. And this is where your investment in software starts to pay off.
But, this is also the benefit you want to examine closely when deciding which marketing automation platform is right for your organization. Marketing automation tools are an investment. The trick to not overextending your budget is to identify what you need and start there.
Ariela Freed of Canadian Marketing Association’s Digital Marketing Council offers small and medium-sized businesses some advice, “Small and medium-sized organizations with a tighter budget need to consider the individual components and determine which will create the biggest customer-band for the budget buck.”
Start with the tools that you can directly apply to your marketing. Get to know your software inside and out to get the most out of it. Grow, expand, and repeat.
The Biggest Prize of Automation Is Control
With the help of the right marketing automation software, you can convert more leads into customers and retain more of the customers you already have. Which means, your business grows and your budget expands. What’s more, you get to finally take control of every decision – and stop leaving the fate of your business in the hands of an insecure budget.