Why Small Businesses Need Marketing Automation
BY: LUCINDA WATROUS ON MONDAY, AUGUST 29, 2016
Marketing automation may seem like a buzzword to you, but the truth is, if you’re not using some kind of marketing automation software, your marketing will suffer. Data suggests Best-in-Class Marketers are 67% more likely to use this approach, and 87% of the top-performing firms use this type of technology. It leads to fuller sales pipelines, and an average 14% overall growth in revenue.
Marketing automation allows you to streamline and automate marketing tasks and workflows. As such, your operation runs smoothly and more efficiently. Let’s take a closer look at the reasons why your business needs marketing automation, and then provide a quick overview of the top tools out there, so you can choose the best one for your needs.
Save Time and Money
Yes, you’ll no doubt spend money on whatever platform you choose to use, but when you consider it allows you to streamline and automate, you spend less time on marketing overall. This means you can maximize your marketing budget in other areas, and shift your focus to other important business tasks, like customer engagement and customer service, which when improved, can also help decrease overhead while increasing revenue.
As your business grows, your marketing automation platform grows with you. All too often, small businesses experience bursts of growth they can’t necessarily keep up with, which could lead to issues with everything from product inventory and order fulfillment to customer service. Using automation, you can more easily manage, measure, customize, and optimize your customer experience throughout all stages of the funnel. This keeps everything cohesive and allows for scalable growth you can not only keep up with as it happens, but sustain over the long term to continuously grow your business.
The use of marketing automation can increase your revenue by more than 400%. Though the data is from 2013, we’ve seen the technology continue to grow and thrive, suggesting the information still holds true. Imagine earning $100,000 this year, and up to $400,000 by the end of next year. With the right marketing tools, it’s certainly possible.
Comparing the Top Marketing Automation Tools
One of the most affordable solutions out there, GetResponse has all the features any small-medium-sized businesses would need to better acquire and nurture new leads,including email and landing pages for just $15/month. Those who need additional services can pay for larger packages that also include webinars, and the ability to track user behavior to reduce instances of shopping cart abandonment. If you’ve already got an established email list, you can import the data and integrate it with other platforms, including PayPal and Amazon. GetResponse uses a mind-map type interface to help you plan your automation campaign. The included analytics make it easy to see how well your campaign is working at a glance, and help you with reporting at the end. Whether you’ve got less than 1,000 email subscribers or more than 100,000, GetResponse can work with you – allowing you to grow sustainably.
Source: Constant Contact/Brothersoft
A well-known email marketing tool, Constant Contact is ideal for basic functionality. It’s easy to use and affordably priced. The only issue is it focuses solely on email marketing automation. If you just want to start there, that’s great. But, if you have plans to expand your automation beyond email, a more inclusive platform is the better choice for the start. Pricing starts at $15/month.
HubSpot has a nice mix of free and paid tools. The customer relationship management (CRM) platform remains separate from the rest of the marketing tools, but allows you to see how the platform works. If you want to include marketing automation, you’ll be required to pay for the Pro or Enterprise packages, as it is not included in the Basic. With it, you’ll get a variety of services including: email marketing, analytics, social media tools, content creation and optimization, along with custom workflows, salesforce integration, and more. The Enterprise package includes even more options, but with pricing starting at $200/month, it can be cost prohibitive for many small businesses, especially startups.
Marketo has an impressive number of features for marketing automation. It goes beyond standard email marketing to help sales teams, as well. It, however, is better suited for businesses that are growing away from the small side, into more of the medium or enterprise level, simply because of the advanced level. When you consider pricing starts at $1,195 a month, the cost alone is prohibitive for many small businesses, even if there are plans to move to a more advanced platform like Marketo in the future.
Marketing automation may sound scary, but the truth is, it’s much simpler than it appears. If you just want to get your feet wet, start with basic email marketing automation, and as you become more familiar and your business grows, move into automation of other aspects of your marketing campaigns. Use the reporting data to further fine-tune your marketing efforts, and you’ll be surprised at the growth you’ll see.
Featured Image Credit: Adobe Stock