Marketing for small businesses can be difficult. If you are a small business owner, you understand the challenges of trying to spread the word about what you do while working with a limited budget and staff. Fortunately, we live in a time where software companies are creating opportunities that even a solopreneur can take advantage of.
If you have heard of companies like Marketo, Hubspot, or Salesforce, you have likely heard of the concept of marketing automation. Marketing automation can be the difference between generating leads and staying stagnant in your conversion efforts. This concept allows you to automate specific marketing tasks to increase leads and simplify marketing tasks. Here are some striking stats related to the current state of marketing automation:
- 67% of Marketing Leaders currently use a Marketing Automation Platform. – Salesforce “State of Marketing” (2017)
- Nine out of 10 marketers (88 percent) use more than one martech tool on a regular basis—including single-vendor suite users. Only 16 percent of suite users say it’s the only tool they use. – Walker Sands State of Marketing Technology 2017 (2017)
- Marketing automation technology is expected to grow at a 14% compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) over the next five years. The highest growth for “through-channel marketing automation” platforms will reach 25% annually, with “lead-to-revenue automation” platforms at 19.4%. – Forrester “Marketing Automation Technology Forecast, 2017 to 2023 (Global)” (2018)
The use of marketing automation is on the rise, and many marketers see benefits from it. So, how can you best harness this technology to see a surge in your conversions? Read on for some of the best marketing automation tactics to start out with to generate more leads and spur conversions.
Make a Great First Impression – The Welcome Email
Even though social media, video marketing, and paid ads are popular, one of the best ways to reach consumers is still through email. So, when someone signs up to receive your email newsletter, it makes sense to automate a welcome response to ensure that no one falls through the cracks.
This automation practice is an excellent opportunity to include a reward or freebie, information on the type of content they will be receiving, communication on how often you will email them, and a general thank you for signing up. Not only does this make them feel welcome, but it lets them know what to expect which makes it more likely they will open your mailings in the future.
Reward Your Champions – Score Your Leads
A customer relationship management system (CRM) are great for allowing you to keep track of those who interact with your brand. Many will let you automatically “score” leads based on their level of engagement with the company. Scoring can be based on demographic information, online behavior, email and social engagement, as well as many other factors.
Once you know which leads are the most engaged, you can then automate an email that invites them to join a loyalty or VIP program. This tactic not only shows your appreciation for their participation, but it also encourages them to buy (especially if you are offering discounts).
Keep Your Ear to the Ground – Engage in Social Listening
Customers may not always email or call you to let you know about a complaint or a pleasant experience. This reason is why it is essential to keep track of what they are saying about you on social media. You might not have the resources to have a staff member fully manning social media, and a quick automation trick can make up for that.
Many CRM systems will allow you to set up an automation workflow that notifies you if your company is mentioned on specific social media platforms. This action lets you quickly respond to any grievances or compliments, and potentially pick up new leads. Customers like to know the brands they like are active on social media, so engaging with them there is key to turning them into a lead.
Make Engagement Easy – Use Pop-Ups
Now, we all know pop-ups are not the most popular with customers. However, if they are used effectively, they can help you increase your email sign-ups. Many email software clients allow you to embed code within your website that automatically produces an email-sign up pop-up message. The pop-up itself and the time it appears can be customized with the help of the email software.
While customers may enjoy your content, they may not pay attention to a static email sign-up form. Using a pop-up puts the “email ask” right in front of them which makes it more likely for them to sign-up. Always include an easy way for customers to navigate away from the pop-up, so they do not exit the site altogether.
Plan for Social Ahead of Time – Schedule Your Postings
In case you do not have a social media team, or your time is limited, planning out your social media a week ahead of time is a smart move. Having to stay on a social media platform to post in real-time is not always feasible. So, take advantage of a program like Hootsuite or Buffer to automate your posts ahead of time.
This frees you and your team up to handle other things and makes it easier to stay relevant on various social media platforms. To spur engagement, and attract new leads on social media, you have to be active. So, make your life easier by investing in a social media posting platform.
It may sound daunting at first, but using marketing automation to take care of necessary but repetitive tasks can be a lifesaver for you and your team. Not only does it make life more comfortable, but it increases the engagement you have with your customers (which can lead to an increase in conversions). So, take the time to look at your various marketing tasks and see where you can automate