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Does your small business need marketing automation?

Do we need it? Will it cost a lot of money? Do we have enough time? These are the questions swirling around the heads of marketers when it comes to marketing automation.

Everyone’s talking about it but there are a lot of things to be unsure about; and that means business owners often end up avoiding marketing automation altogether. But are putting your business at a disadvantage without it?

Marketing automation boosts sales

Marketing automation has been shown to increase sales - even for smaller businesses. It unlocks you from the tedium of managing a sales pipeline by putting a process around it and automating some of the stages. And that can quickly turn more leads into sales.

It can also help you to get more sales from existing customers. Research from Gleanster has found that those using marketing automation see 50% more sales coming from existing customers while those that don’t see only 30%.

Enhanced experience for your customers

Marketing automation also improves your customer service by enabling you to create a consistently great experience for your customers. By using segmentation, automation tools allow you to send targeted messages and give your customers personal attention based on their behaviour and interests.

Dipping a toe in the water

Email auto-responders offer an easy way into marketing automation. Sending personalised emails to your customers on the right topic at the right time is a great way to activate (or reactivate) them - and automated emails are perfect for this.

You can start off with the simplest of auto-responders - a welcome message that's sent when somebody becomes a new customer. This is a key opportunity to briefly explain what you offer, and signal to new customers what they might like to do next.

You can add further messages as the customer continues on their journey with you. For instance, the "thank you" message after a customer has purchased your product is an obvious next step; and the "keeping in touch" email not long after they’ve first interacted with you can keep customers engaged and encourage a sale.

Marketing automation can unlock new sales opportunities and encourage loyalty from your customers. As a result, it's now an important part of the marketing toolkit for every business, especially as it can save time without costing the earth.

These are just some of the things marketing automation can do for your business. To find out if it’s right for your business and how to get started on a shoestring take a look at our downloadable guide here.

Copyright © 2016 Christina Richardson, co-founder and CMO at Openr, start-up mentor and entrepreneurship speaker and author.

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