Marketing automation isn’t a thing of the future — it’s very much a part of the here and now for small and midsized businesses (SMBs) across the world. However, many are unaware of a variety of marketing automation tools that can help SMBs reach customers in a timely and effective way.
In order for SMBs to compete with larger firms when it comes to customer reach, they need to approach their marketing plan with a strategic mindset.
Marketing automation not only provides important opportunities for interaction with the customer, but also saves time. That’s especially important when running a small business. Time saved on marketing means being able to capture new business and have more time to commit to other vital tasks.
Following are just a few of the many benefits marketing automation provides:
- Drives sales productivity;
- Helps guide sales and marketing teams work together for a common goal;
- Increases conversions;
- Boosts ROI by doing the work of a large marketing staff; and
- Compiles a complete view of customer behavior.
If you’re interested in taking advantage of marketing automation but don’t know where to start, consider these four marketing automation solutions geared toward SMBs.
1. One-Stop Social Media Shop
A social media management tool can be indispensable to small businesses trying to make the most out of their online presence. Having effective and timely social content is imperative in 2020, as many customers are more likely to buy from brands they follow on social media and to increase their spending with those brands.
Securing a tool that will help manage this important customer connection is essential. This type of tool prevents you from having to post at an exact time across multiple platforms, and instead lets you schedule content in advance.
That means businesses can plan their social media a week or month out, and not worry about interrupting their weekends, holidays and busy workdays to post on social sites. These programs also can provide SMBs the opportunity to create an organized posting strategy, analyze performance and respond to customers across multiple platforms from one easy-to-use interface.
2. CRM With Email Marketing
Capturing important customer information in one localized place can help SMBs deliver an excellent customer experience and boost sales revenue. The right customer relationship management software can track all customer interactions and purchases. Some even offer predictive analytics technology that can help determine potential next steps and drive transactions.
You’ll also want a CRM that integrates email marketing automation, which will enhance the customer experience and increase the success rate of your email and follow-up campaigns. Email is a fantastic way to reach customers because it requires the reader to opt-in and allows for several layers of personalization.
Marketers potentially can see a return of US$32 for every $1 spent on email marketing, research indicates, so having a CRM that facilitates this type of communication is imperative.
3. Would You Like to Take a Survey?
Customer feedback is a vital way for companies to improve. Small businesses often can achieve significant growth simply by soliciting — and heeding — the feedback of their customers. The challenge is that in-depth market research can be costly.
Enter the online survey! This tool allows SMBs to gain valuable insights from customers without having to invest in lengthy market research programs. An online survey is convenient for the consumer and allows the data to be tracked and analyzed for insights.
Do your customers like your most recent product upgrade? Is the packaging holding up during shipping? Do they feel the product was represented accurately online? How was their experience with your customer service associate?
All of these questions and more can be answered through a short online survey. Small businesses can create different surveys for different customer interactions, allowing for customized feedback to propel growth.
4. Let’s Chat
Chat is another marketing automation tool that can strengthen the customer journey. Through the power of artificial intelligence, a chatbot gives a personalized experience and can field a variety of frequently asked customer questions directly from your website.
Chatbots also can gather customer data for future marketing efforts, as well as help businesses reach their sales goals. A chatbot gives customers an instant response to their requests and can send links to make a purchase, or transfer customers to a live associate if needed.
The Year of Automation
2020 is here and it’s time to embrace the new decade with the tools that will set up your business for sustained success in the new decade. Small businesses that invest in, and take advantage of, these four marketing automation solutions will be more likely to see the sales results and ROI they want this year.
Marketing automation offers a variety of benefits, including time savings, the ability to drive more meaningful customer interactions that lead to transactions, and the opportunity to gain customer feedback and track behavior. These four automated tools can help pave an SMB’s path to success in 2020 and beyond.