Marketing Automation for the small business owner
Most small businesses owner do not lose sleep over questions like “how can I fulfill all of these orders?” or “If these customers would just stop buying, I could get some work done”. For the small business, Demand Generation is a bigger problem than keeping enough supply to meet uncontrolled, unrelenting customer demand. This short whitepaper introduces the concept Small Business Marketing Automation.
What is Marketing Automation?
Marketing Automation is the use of software tools to automate repetitive marketing tasks. Automation steps are often connected together in what is known as a workflow. Marketing Automation is typically used to reduce the effort to do repetitive tasks, improve the reliability of delivery of work, and to improve consistency of execution on repeated marketing activities. Like any automation activity, it is to remove the inconsistencies related to human error.
What are the benefits of Marketing Automation?
One would assume that the main benefit of Marketing Automation is to increase the possible output from a constrained set of human resources. Although this is indeed a big benefit of using Marketing Automation, a major benefit of Marketing Automation is improving the quality and consistency of content delivery due to the removal of human error. A marketer may have the right intention and know how to do a prescribed set of manual marketing tasks, but if the marketing person has any other unrelated tasks to do, the timeliness and quality is very difficult if not impossible to control without automation.
Can small businesses benefit from Marketing Automation?
Marketing Automation has its roots in Business to Customer (B2C) sales that have a high volume of transactions and Business to Business (B2B) transactions that involve long buying cycles. With a high transaction volume scenario, waste per transaction can multiply quickly. The long buying cycles usually imply a long multi-step marketing cycle and a long multi-step sales cycle. Marketing Automation was created to solve many marketing problems associated with a high volume and/or complex buying processes.
Businesses of any size CAN realize the benefits of marketing automation. Small businesses typically have few resources, each wearing multiple hats depending on the day. Thus if the person who (today) is tasked with executing a marketing campaign, the person will may end up creating an ad-hock process to get the job done as quickly as possible. Even if the person has done this task before, context switching kills systematic execution of any process. And mistakes can be made. The main benefit of a marketing automation is the systematic nature and repeatability that comes with automation. All steps get executed every time, on time, and consistently. This level of consistency can be leveraged to improve customer satisfaction, improve sales closing ratios, and provide a level of measurement and reporting that is not available in manually executed marketing processes. Delivering systematic and predictable responses to clients is just as important with small businesses as it is with large companies.
Optimizing response times to inquiries can have a direct impact on improving sales conversions. Small businesses that want to grow typically have more supply than demand; capturing all available demand is what most small business owners lose sleep over. Marketing Automation helps the small business capture demand that typically slips by as a result of inattention to the marketing activities or timeliness of responses.
Example1: Converting web-downloads into sales
A prospect enters data into a web form on your website. The form is set up to send an email to a marketing person. The marketing person evaluates the email, looks up some data on the prospect, then sends the email on to a sales person. The marketing person then sends a “thank you email” to the prospect. In 3 days, if the sales person has not sent a response, the marketing person sends an email to the prospect saying “your request is important to us, thank you for your patience”. Then the marketing person sends a note the sales person and the sales manager.
A prospect enters data into a web form which, on submit, inserts the request into a database. The automation system sends a “Thank you email” to the prospect. Then automation software evaluates the submitted form URL, the form, the collected data/purchasing history of the prospect, and creates an informational package that it sends in a trackable email to the sales person. If the trackable email is not opened in a set period of time, or if a response has not been sent to the prospect within a given time, another email is automatically sent out to the prospect, sales manager, and sales person as described above.
The difference between the first example and the second example is the marketing automation system does the work as opposed to a person. The workflow is the work breakdown steps connected together in the process definition for this marketing activity.
Example 2: Marketing a webinar (a more complex example)
The marketer is tasked with maximizing attendance in a promotional webinar. The marketer puts together a timeline, decides to execute a 5 step campaign.
- 3 weeks from event date: Send the initial invitation
- 1 week from event date:
- Send those who did not register a “please register” email
- Send those who did register a “remember to bring friends to the event” email
- 1 day from event date:
- Send a here is a coupon offer to entice the non registrants to participate
- Send a reminder to those folks who did register
- Send a “please bring friends” email to those who have not registered their guests
- 1 hour before the event:
- Send a reminder to the folks who registered
- Day after the event
- Send a thank you email to all those who registered
- Send a link to the pdf of the topic to those who did not attend
- Look through emails to Build final stats report
- 3 weeks from the event date:
- Create the 8 email messages required for the campaign.
- Load the campaign into the automation software
- Build the workflows for the responses
- 1 week after the event date:
- Send the PDF report to the VP-Marketing.
It becomes obvious that the automated process will not suffer any problems if the Marketer gets sick and cannot come into work during the one month campaign.
Is Marketing Automation right for my business?
The simple question is, are you looking to grow your revenues, increase your margins, and get more returns from your existing product demand? Systematic delivery of high quality, contextually relevant, high value marketing communication is not the silver bullet to your growth problems, but it definitely can provide a measureable impact on your marketing spend. JumpDEMAND provides expertise in Marketing Automation to small businesses. Many small businesses today are seeing the benefit of the application of marketing automation. Shorter sales cycles, faster conversions, and finding new business within the existing customer base are all results of proper application of Marketing Automation. JumpDEMAND leverages their ActiveDEMAND cloud based marketing automation platform to drive results for small businesses.
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