The beauty of online marketing is that it can level the playing field – when it comes to reaching a wider audience – regardless of whether your business is big, or small.

Small businesses face unique challenges, often relating to acquiring prospects, nurturing leads, and of course – closing sales. The main goal for a small business is to grow it’s customer base; hence growing the business overall. With online marketing, hand in hand with marketing automation, small businesses have access to the same attention-grabbing tools that marketers of large businesses do. That means that in 2019, due to smart AI and automation tools, small businesses can market themselves, and subsequently grow, in the same way bigger businesses do; all without having to increase overhead or acquire a huge amount of resources.

What is marketing automation, and how will it grow my small business?

Marketing automation refers to the automation of most marketing processes – specifically via digital marketing channels. Automating your marketing processes means that you can utilise smart automation tools to prep campaigns and strategic workflows ahead of time, and have them run on autopilot. You can use marketing automation to send the right email at the right time to the right person, for example, all without lifting much of a finger. Automating your marketing processes saves staff needs, resources, and time – as traditionally carrying out a complicated marketing strategy was overhead-intensive.

Traditionally, for example, you’d need multiple staff working on carrying out an email marketing strategy that would require the manual collection of subscribers, the manual creation of email campaigns, and the manual broadcast of said campaigns. Analysing reports, manually, would also have taken plenty of wo/man hours. All in all, traditional manual digital marketing is not only a headache, but often requires more time and staff than small businesses have access to. Small businesses in the past have therefore lost out on the wide-reaching capability of digital marketing channels such as email, and have therefore lagged behind competitors who were more established.

When it comes to automating marketing processes, this is usually done with the help of a Marketing Automation software. These come in all shapes, sizes, and costs – but the best Marketing Automation platforms are easy to use, and cover multiple marketing channels. For example, our Marketing Automation software at Swift Digital allows you to automate and manage marketing strategies across email, SMS, events, surveys, and more. This makes cross-channeling content and strategies all the more easier; saving small businesses even more time and overhead needs without compromising multi-channel reach.

It goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway. By automating your marketing strategy, and using a Marketing Automation platform that enables you to cross-channel content, and accurately measure and analyse results for invaluable insights, your small business will undoubtedly benefit and grow.

What are the best ways to use Marketing Automation to grow my small business?

Before we dive into how to use Marketing Automation to grow your small business, it’s well worth reiterating how important it is to take the plunge and purchase Marketing Automation software.

As we’ve already made clear, Marketing Automation software helps to level the playing field for small businesses who want to reap the benefits of big-business scaled marketing strategies and deployment. Marketing Automation platforms do come at a price, but small businesses will save money in the long run in these key ways:

  • Less staffing needs
  • Less need for multiple applications (consolidating all marketing processes in one place)
  • Less time needed
  • More time left over for you to focus on the bigger picture of your business’ bottom line
  • Increased reach (leading to better lead generation)
  • Consolidation of all your data, making strategising easier and lessening the need for ongoing staff training
  • Improved ROI due to the smart tools available

Ready to jump on the automation bandwagon, but not sure how to find the right Marketing Automation platform for you? We’ve written a Marketing Automation checklist, with the aim to help business owners find software that’s of premium quality, and will deliver on the needs unique to their brands.

Here are 3 ways to use Marketing Automation tools to improve your marketing strategy, and grow your small business:

Reap the benefits of segmentation and targeting

With the average office worker receiving, on average, 121 emails a day – it’s become increasingly important for marketers to deliver highly targeted, and relevant email campaigns.

Marketing Automation platforms give you access to segmentation and targeting tools; enabling you to target the right people, with the right content, at the right time.

If you want to stand out in the inbox, and therefore reap the benefits of higher engagement and click through rates, then segmentation and targeting has to be a core part of your overall email marketing strategy.

Try using the following Marketing Automation tools to leverage targeting and segmentation:

  • Preference Centers (to replace subscription forms)
    • Preference Centers enable subscribers to specify their preference for what type of content they wish to receive from you. This means that leads will self segment themselves, making segmentation that much more easier, and accurate.
  • Trigger based emails
    • You can set up emails (or entire email sequences) ahead of time, and have them ‘trigger’ to send when specific behavioural criteria is met. For example, send a follow up invite reminder to anyone who clicked to register to your event, but didn’t commit.