A small business owner can now compete with the bigger corporations if they have the right marketing automation tools and uses the right client profit optimisation strategy.
We’re here to share with you how and why marketing automation is your best bet.
First of all, you need to relinquish control and let technology hold the reigns for a while.
This will help you overcome that classic impulse business owners experience where they feel the weight on their shoulders can only be handled by themselves.
Your objective must be to ensure that your business and entrepreneurial skills are optimized. Therefore, you need to come to the conclusion that the achievement of your business goals rests in the hands of marketing automation.
Marketing Automation is the key to business survival today, especially for the smaller businesses wanting to grow and compete.
Did you know?
79% of the top-performing companies have been using marketing automation for more than 2 years. (Source: Gleanster)
The Big Questions You Need To Answer When Moving Forward With Marketing Automation
What kind of tools do I need to use?
How can these tools help to accelerate business growth?
Are these marketing automation tools well within my budget?
So let’s just get down to the “brass tacks” by answering all of these questions one by one for you.
What kind of tools do you need to use?
Of course, you already know there’s a wide choice of marketing automation tools you can use.
However, we’ve classified them into five broad categories for your convenience:
- Email Marketing Tools
- Marketing Automation
- Contact Relationship Management
- Shopping Cart Automation
- All-in-One Solutions
But here’s the good part.
You won’t need all these tools to be a successful and competitive business.
In fact, it’s a good bet that you’ll only require a few tools to automate most of your manual processes.
You can compare prices and features of thirty one tools, using the downloadable tool comparison spreadsheet just below or the one you’ll find once you scroll to the bottom of this article.
Now let’s analyse each of these categories in further detail.
- 1. Email Marketing Tools
A solid email marketing plan is critical for business survival in the digital age of today.
This section will give a brief outline on what these tools are and how they work.
So, what are these tools?
Email marketing tools facilitate business operations in many different ways:
- Setting up web forms
- Auto-response services
- Delivering various marketing reports for your perusal (click through rates, open rates, etc.).
Auto-responders generate and send out automatic emails once a web form is filled out.
The following image illustrates how an auto response is triggered once a web form is filled out.
Email marketing tools create the web form and help in managing the auto-responder communication sequence.
These systems are ultra-flexible platforms and can be integrated with other marketing automation tools.
When should you use Email Marketing Tools?
If you have limited funds or resources then there are many free email marketing apps that can help you get started.
MailChimp provide a good free marketing tool, so you can begin to optimise your business from the get go.
- 2. Marketing Automation Tools
The next step is to look at proper marketing automation.
This is similar to email marketing, except for one major and important difference.
It allows you to set up responses to actions achieved through email marketing process.
I call this Buyer Behaviour Based Marketing.
This is the secret sauce to getting more clients; those that are more valuable, and less expensive to acquire.
Here’s a really short (90 second) video on Marketing Automation that explains it perfectly!
As you can see from the video, Marketing Automation is more powerful and versatile. It enables you to segment your contacts as well.
It also allows your business to cater to the right segments by directing your marketing strategies against the relevant groups.
The best part is, you don’t need to put in the same amount of effort, as these tasks can be done automatically.
Other benefits include easy and strong deliverability.
This is better because once you’ve segmented your contacts, you can choose to send them emails relevant to their needs.
This way they are far more likely to respond to emails thereby resulting in higher engagement rates.
Moreover, it prevents your emails from being reported as spam.
You can even maximize your deliverability, thus allowing your business’s communication to be shown in your consumer groups’ inboxes.
Marketing automation proves to be a better source of engagement for small enterprises.
This marketing tool has been known to improve conversion rates because of their on-point relevant data sharing.
Marketing automation allows you to follow the “right thing at the right time for the right people” policy, and subsequently lets you stay as relevant as possible among your requisite consumer groups.
This kind of benefit can never be fully acquired with manual or less automated operations.
In a nutshell, this tool strengthens your credibility in the market where you operate and helps you achieve market sophistication.
What are these tools really?
Marketing automation is an excellent platform for small businesses to be able to:
- Segment contacts in the most optimal manner
- Do everything and more than what email marketing solutions help you accomplish
- Establish strong deliverability rates with consumers
- Send only relevant messages to relevant contacts to maintain interest
- Operate “then” or “if” email campaigns that are automated
When these tools are implemented correctly, you will see your business go from strength to strength.
Here’s your proof:
78% of successful marketers cite marketing automation systems as most responsible for improving revenue contribution. (Source: The Lenskold and Pedowitz Groups)
When should you use these tools?
This is probably something you may be familiar with.
It is a basic building block for, what I call the C.P.O. process and is an example of an Infusionsoft campaign.
[Note: If you are not familiar with the C.P.O. process, you can read about it here.]
Infusionsoft is widely recognized as the best all in-one sales and marketing automation software.
It is the go-to application for those who are serious about turning their business success into reality.
You can now send powerful messages to the right audience at the right time, all automatically!
Moreover, you can now start consulting marketing automation reports to help you make more informed statistical decisions regarding your company.
Marketing automation drives a 14.5% increase in sales productivity and a 12.2% reduction in marketing overhead. (Source: Nucleus Research)
- 3. Contact Relationship Management Tools
This tool has obvious benefits if you’re just starting out with your own small business venture.
Are you aware that:
CRM increases sales by up to 29%. (Source: Salesforce)
What are these tools?
If you haven’t already, make sure you get a CRM tool as soon as possible!
It will help you maintain sale processes and workflows.
Also, you can also explore the option of storing client or prospect data through this system.
Imagine knowing when a person first became a client and sending them a thank you card in celebration of their custom and support of your business.
I bet they don’t get one of those very often!
The advantage of implementing a CRM cannot be stressed enough.
When you have a CRM in your business (and you actually use it!) you can significantly reduce the chances of human error (simple forgetful-ness, for example) when maintaining workflows or sales targets.
Moreover, your client base will be clearer and more organised.
CRMs have highly versatile API interfaces that can be integrated with other systems to make for a more coherent system that is more conducive to your business productivity.
The CRM market continues to grow.
Forbes reports that: CRM is expected to grow to a $36.5 billion market worldwide within the next three years!
- 4. Shopping Cart Tools
These tools are ideally designed for businesses that wish to transact with consumers online.
This will, of course, include accepting payments for services rendered and delivery of goods, while still ensuring maximum online security.
What are Shopping Cart Tools?
There are innumerable shopping cart solutions so you might be confused which one is best for your needs.
The best part about shopping cart tools is that they have an API allowing you to integrate them with your other systems such as CRM or website, thereby helping you diversify and expand your business in the best possible manner.
When should you use these tools?
A shopping cart is compatible with virtually all business types.
You’ll be making money automatically by tracking customer loyalty, frequency of purchases, average customer lifetime value, and give prospects the opportunity to purchase on their own through your funnels or website.
However, if you’re thinking you’re a smaller service-base business with fewer transactions, you may not really need to have an entire shopping cart for your business.
Rather, you can just opt for utilities such as PayPal or Xero to manage your client transactions.
In my experience, all types of businesses can benefit by incorporating a shopping cart into their operations.
If you are really serious about saving the most valuable of commodities …TIME, and automating your sales funnel/cycle, then a shopping cart becomes integral in doing that.
- 5. All-in-One Solutions
It’s time to say “Good riddance” to your follow-up failure by having one system that allows you to see your entire setup at a glance.
Put your sales and client nurturing process on auto-pilot!
Here is how we help you automate!
Not many small businesses have the foresight to implement this technology to aid their sales, marketing and client nurturing processes.
Many of the solutions mentioned above can be integrated together; however, an all-in-one solution package is truly different.
You can automate that much more with these tools, but keep in mind that the costs are higher too.
However, the high cost factor is mitigated by the return on investment you get from such systems.
They can handle multiple functions and tasks, eliminating the need to invest in one marketing solution after another, while saving you a ton of money throughout.
You do not even need to purchase multiple solution tools or invest time in managing what is often referred to as “Multi-System Chaos”.
You can simply refer to this one system for all your business needs.
This is a great way to eradicate all the factors that could impede your business growth prospects.
Especially that dreadful failure-to-followup disease that effects so many businesses.
Were you aware?
67% of people that do not buy today, will buy within the next twelve months. (Source – Gartner Research)
What are All-in-One Solutions?
The main Apps that are making waves in the market are Ontraport and Infusionsoft.
However, both of these have their own sets of drawbacks.
Ontraport does not have a shopping cart facility, so you cannot really practice any sort of e-Commerce activity while using this software.
You cannot automate or trigger communication based on when a person last utilised your services.
However, you can automate the sales processes with its order forms.
Both these Apps have excellent CRM applicability and strong marketing automation options.
However, if you are looking to duplicate the set of features that both platforms have, you would have to invest in Apps such as 3D Cart, Hubspot and Salesforce, which can cost you well in excess of $1,000 per month, in order to compensate for all the features available in Ontraport or Infusionsoft.
It’s important to point out that, while you might be a service-based business, a shopping cart does not allow you to automate or trigger communication and create an attraction path back based on how much time has elapsed since the last purchase, or the next relevant service for them to purchase.
When should you use these solutions?
Infusionsoft and Ontraport both have great CRM and Marketing Automation features.
Of course, the only difference is that Infusionsoft has a better e-Commerce system and a more user-friendly campaign builder.
It also has a more robust sales and opportunity management module, which is vital if you are selling B2B.
The last thing I’ll mention is that Infusionsoft also has a much larger pool of plug-ins to add additional features and functionality, similar to Apples App store.
In fact, 22,844 small businesses thrive with Infusionsoft. (Source – Infusionsoft)
You should not forget, however, that these are both top marketing options that will help your business on many levels.
Now comes the best part!
Now we will look into how you can build some advanced automated processes.
You can build these automations by combining the above-given platforms through API, since such interfaces are easy and allow for better integration. The following processes can be integrated:
- ROI reports and better tracking of lead sources which show you at glance costs per lead, profit by lead and clients.
- Better retention procedures
- Immediate notification of responses when actions take place in membership-based products
- Offers based on interests
- Optimised internal workflow processes
- Follow-up campaigns and registration
- Marketing based on behaviours, actions and purchases etc.
- Automated billing support
- Registration and follow-up
- Sales processes which target scheduled tasks
You can use all-in-one solutions for practically everything. They are not only flexible, but provide excellent automation methods that small businesses can utilise to make their way to the top.
One example we recently implemented for a client will be saving them 39.7 hours per month at their current levels and allow them to scale and grow without the cost and need for additional people power.
Compare this with more rigidly featured platforms and you will find they only do one thing, such as:
- A shopping cart
- Email marketing
Therefore, you’ll just end up with a business structure that looks like a chaotic mess and pretty much something like this:
Hence, there’s great value attached with using marketing automation or all-in-one platforms. They allow you to build systems that:
- Add great revenue streams
- Improve scalability
- Create comparative efficiency.
This is all automatically created with the help of a single, well-structured system instead of ….using various API-integrated solutions that are messier to handle.
Remember… the more moving parts there are, the more chances something can break!
Once a business starts to generate revenue and experiences growing pains, it’s the ideal time to move into a Marketing Automation or All-In-One solution.
Ultimately, as a business owner your number one priority should be putting in place systems and automation that allow your business to scale and grow faster, and ALL of the solutions do that at varying degrees.
Automate the 90% so that you can humanise the 10% (the most important 10%).
Are you aware of this fact:
By 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationship without talking to a human. (Gartner Research).
Don’t Know Where To Start With Business Automation?
As I’ve already discussed above, there is no shortage of business automation tools you can use in your business.
The hard part is deciding which one to purchase, so here’s something to help you make your decision.
The table below gives a price and functionality comparison of 31 of the best automation tools in use today.
This table (download through the link below) will help you purchase marketing automation tools that best suit your specific business needs.
Compare and contrast the solutions that suit you best.
If you can’t find the right solution, feel free to contact me. I’d love to provide you with a quick business automation fix!
As you may know I’m known as bit of marketing automation MAD scientist, I would love to help you out in the comments section below.