Marketing Automation Is a Must-Have for Growing Small Businesses

Marketing Automation Is a Must-Have for Growing Small Businesses

September 13, 2021
(Reading time: 7 - 14 minutes)

Marketing automation refers to the use of software to automate marketing actions. Marketing teams use such technology to automate repetitive tasks, such as social media ads and emails. Automation of marketing tasks allows marketers to streamline the overall process of marketing. 

Marketing automation gives many benefits, including:

  • Fast accomplishment of time-consuming tasks
  • Generation of more and better-qualified leads
  • Multichannel view of prospect behavior
  • Alignment of sales and marketing objectives
  • Increased lead conversion and ROI

What Is Marketing Automation? 

Marketing automation is the use of software to manage marketing tasks and multi-functional campaigns. While doing that function, automation also allows small businesses to effectively target clients with automated messages across different channels like social media, websites, and email platforms.  

Staying connected with your target market is another benefit of automating marketing tasks. The software takes care of all the repetitive tasks that you manually accomplish every time you send emails or post a blog article. You can eliminate repetitive tasks so you can focus on the other aspects of your business. 

4 steps when using small business marketing software

When using small business marketing software, be mindful that there are four steps that you need to complete: 

Task identification

What is it that you want to accomplish by using the software? 

Software selection

Is it the appropriate version to use to carry out what I want to do? 

Training

Train your team on how to maximize the use of such software.

Evaluation

How should I assess success? What are the metrics for evaluating effectiveness?

How easy is it to run the software? You can take a free trial to test it. If you want to check with current users, by all means, do so. 

Marketing Software for Small Business 

Small and midsize companies often grapple with reducing costs while making sure to turn in profits. As a small company, you need a one-and-done marketing platform that covers all the components of marketing your business.

The best marketing software for small businesses can help you: 

  • Eliminate all hassles associated with integrating multiple marketing platforms. 
  • Train your marketing team. It is an easy-to-use tool that your team can learn effortlessly. 
  • Reduce costs. It is a reasonably priced marketing tool. 
  • Get top-notch client support. The vendor provides 24/7 technical support and answers questions promptly. 
  • Get access to real-time actionable data. 
  • Get flexible billing that caters to the needs of your small business. 

It is going to be a B2B transaction that involves selling and buying SaaS software. 

Since it is a SaaS transaction, expect the provider to offer a free trial that can last up to 30 days. So, take note of that privilege given to SaaS clients. 

The chance for a free trial allows you to have time to make up your mind whether or not the software is effective or suits your marketing needs. 

 There are things you need to be aware of in terms of cost: 

  • Paying overages – Should you exceed your annual or monthly limit, how much should you pay. An overage is an extra payment that the buyer agrees to pay over and above the original price. 
  • Hidden Costs – Your capacity to pay all hidden costs associated with the use of the software, don’t hesitate to ask questions about these. 
  • Fees for hiring specialists – How much would you pay if you hire experts to teach your team how to use the software effectively?

Check if the software can accomplish these parameters: 

  • behavioral analytics 
  • messaging channels 
  • lifecycle optimization 
  • data management 
  • segmentation
  • individualization
  • robust client engagement and conversion

Marketing automation for small businesses needs careful planning because it will affect budgeting. Consider staffing and your current growth plans and revenue.

How would an automation service fit in if you will take into account your current financial status? For many, marketing takes 10% of a company’s budget. For a service company, marketing usually takes 3% of the budget. 

Discuss with your team how the investment will map to your budget when everything is accounted for, including staffing and ongoing execution. 

To help get you started and to know the actual costs involved, schedule a consultation with automation and digital marketing services. The service can help in the following aspects: 

Business growth

Improve your search engine visibility to help you attract more traffic and convert leads. 

Content marketing

Turn your website into a powerful lead-converting engine. 

Reputation management

The service can help you generate fresh reviews resulting in higher search results rankings. Because of higher ratings from reviews, your target market will consider doing business with you rather than your competitors. 

Web design

Experts will help you with designing an SEO-optimized website. You want a website that is responsive and loads fast on both desktop and mobile. 

How to Select the Best Marketing Software

Marketing automation is one of the best ways to improve all your lead generation and nurturing tasks. However, to accomplish this, it is essential to evaluate software in terms of its suitability for achieving your objectives. 

Here are the points to evaluate: 

Ease of use

Data management is simple, and the software is intuitive with a convenient interface. 

Cost

Make sure that you do not pay for features that you do not need. The software should correspond to your financial capacity. Using it must be cost-efficient for your marketing operations. 

Customizable

The software should allow you to make marketing adjustments at any time. Sometimes, you need to carry out a personalized marketing campaign. At other times, you need to focus more on designing newsletters based on the particular segment of the market you are targeting. 

Automation for Social Media

Social media marketing automation is beneficial in the following areas: 

Reputation management

The software can help you create a buzz about yourself and your business. Clients are talking about you on social media even if you are not there to respond. 

Crisis communication

This aspect refers to the technology, system, and protocol to enable your small business to communicate during a threat to your business or reputation. 

Client and audience engagement

You want a tool that helps you improve public perception of your brand and develop new client leads. Furthermore, such software allows collecting feedback on new products and educating your audience promptly right where they are on social media. 

Social media marketing automation specifically automates things, such as sharing content, posts, and likes on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media channels. 

If you use Facebook or Twitter ads, such automation will also make your advertising on social media less complicated, strategically methodological, and fast. 

By automating your social media marketing, your account can remain active while not spending a lot of time posting and tracking everything. 

For Facebook: 

Facebook marketing automation will allow you to create and manage Facebook Ads, Facebook Custom Audience, and analyze results directly from one panel. You can also research data coming from different channels and help you optimize communication in all those platforms. 

An intuitive Facebook campaign tool can help you define the action or goal you want to accomplish. 

  • Boost a post
  • Increase conversion
  • Send leads to your website
  • Promote a product or service catalog

The automation software provides a way for creating specific and measurable targeting. You can set parameters, such as: 

  • Target audience
  • Schedule (Set schedule on continuous mode or schedule posting ads within specific hours and days)
  • Budget (set your budget to Daily or Lifetime)
  • Action for charging your account
  • Bidding Amount (set to Manual or Automatic)

Before sending the ad to Facebook, see a preview of it both on desktop and mobile. When you are satisfied, press the activation button. 

For Twitter: 

Twitter marketing automation is the process of automating Twitter ventures, such as scheduling tweets, direct messaging, liking, commenting, following, un-following, and retweeting Tweets. Some software has specialized analytics features with social listening abilities. 

Twitter is an essential part of your marketing strategy. Crucial components of an effective Twitter marketing strategy include finding and engaging influencers, existing clients, and potential prospects. 

There are Dos and Don’ts regarding marketing automation on Twitter. Any violation can result in account suspension. 

Dos: 

  • Provide solutions that broadcast relevant and helpful information.
  • Create campaigns that reply automatically to users who use your content. 
  • Provide helpful solutions to users. 
  • Make sure that you provide a good user experience. 

Don’ts: 

  • Violate policies about user privacy and abuse. 
  • Attempt to abuse the API of Twitter or get around rate limits. 
  • Bother or spam users. Refrain from sending unsolicited messages. 

For Instagram: 

Instagram automation allows you to get targeted, high-quality followers on the platform. This online photo-sharing platform can help boost audience engagement over the long term. 

Here’s how the strategy works: 

Find Followers

The software can evaluate hashtags and accounts that may be relevant to your business. The system can help you dig the hashtags without you having to interact directly with Twitter users. 

Follows (and un-follows)

Automation software has features that can help you maintain a favorable follower-to-followed ratio. However, Twitter has recently implemented restrictions to prevent spamming. 

To date, the limit is 7500, which means no one can follow more than that number of users. Still, 7500 is probably more than what your business requires, and to think that this is for Instagram alone. 

DMs

Automated direct messages are nowhere different from automated comments. Be careful not to be spammy when using this feature. At the very least, make your direct messages personalized. 

Story Views 

Story views on Instagram are a low-effort interaction with little to no disruption to other users on the platform. To see the usernames of those who viewed your story, tap on the profile pictures located on the bottom left. 

Take note that the number of views may not be equivalent to the number of usernames. All replay views are counted as views, so the number of views may be higher than the number of usernames. 

Scheduling and publishing

Consistent publishing of content on Instagram should be the goal to achieve marketing success on the platform. Automation will allow you to queue up and schedule content publishing. 

Check out if the following features can help you achieve that goal effortlessly: 

  • Cross-posting (importing content used in other social networking platforms)
  • Schedule optimization – Taking advantage of the time when your target audience is engaging with content like yours. 

Reporting

There is no need to log data on a spreadsheet. The software can lift and pull numbers and allow you to see how these numbers stack up against numbers coming from other social platforms. 

For Pinterest: 

Before using third-party software for Pinterest marketing automation, check if it is approved for use on this platform. Here is the link for checking. 

Now, here are strategies for effective Pinterest automation: 

Schedule your pins in advance

Many businesses find it tough to set a time to pin or bookmark pins daily, so manual pinning may not work for you. Alternatively, you can schedule content posting weeks in advance. 

Make use of Tribes

Work with groups of like-minded creators and bloggers with whom you can share your content. Likewise, they can also share their content with you. 

Each Tribe is essentially an oasis of content. You can re-pin their content and have your own content re-pinned by others for a continuous engagement with your target audience. 

Create a cyclic loop

Creating a cyclic loop will allow you to pin only during a particular timeframe. Once you have set up the loop, it will do all the pinning stuff until it is told to stop or pause. 

Automation for Inbound Marketing and SEO

Inbound marketing and SEO automation mean building a lead generation system through software combined with human effort. 

There are five components to this part of your automation project: 

SEO planning

Here, you create a blueprint for generating leads. Identify your most valuable keywords and narrow them down according to searcher intent. After keyword identification, create relevant content for each of them. 

Technical SEO

This component covers page loading speed and mobile friendliness. Also, check your meta-title tags. Are they well-written? Do they include your keywords? 

Content creation

Content is the fuel of SEO optimization. You want to make sure that your site provides the content your potential clients want to see when they perform a search query. 

Building a conversion funnel

 Here, you create pages where your visitors go to perform the actions you want them to do. An SEO-optimized website is the best tool to use in attracting leads to go to your landing pages. You can also do keyword optimization with your social media marketing strategies. 

Attribution, Tracking, and Reporting

These are actions you do to extract data from implementing inbound marketing and SEO optimization. You can use the data to guide you in steering your campaign in the future.

The Best Way to Do Marketing Automation

Be mindful of the following when integrating a marketing automation tool: 

  • Ensure that the software allows you to generate and nurture leads. That is how many users of this tool derive real value for their businesses. 
  • Ensure that you have at least one analyst who can devote time to studying and making recommendations from data. Without an analyst, all data is just data. 
  • It is impossible to understand your audience without having clean data. It is not automation that makes people buy; understanding your clients’ needs does. 
  • Start small and hone your marketing skills and campaigns down the road. 
  • Marketing automation is one of the best ways to learning what you do not know and are doing wrong. You will do a lot of troubleshooting to figure out things you are doing wrong and lots of ongoing training for your team. 

Until your team is ready to spend time and resources implementing marketing automation, forego buying such software. Also, choose your software wisely. It is recommended to use additional software for marketing purposes, but make sure you do not waste money on features you do not really need. 

For instance, you will get a tremendous boost by automating your social media campaign if you invest a lot of time in social media marketing. You should select software that stands out in terms of social media advertising and engagement. 

However, you want software that offers more than just drafting, scheduling, monitoring all your posts. You want something that automates the whole process of marketing even further. For example, the software also offers profile management and allows you to do all your tasks in one place. 

Conclusion 

Marketing automation is the best way to take care of all the important marketing tasks you need to do to grow your business. Social media marketing is important. On-site optimization and on-site metrics (pages visited, dwell time, bounce rate, etc.) are also important. 

Anchor text is important for obtaining high rankings in search results. Having a mix of different types of links (contextual links, branded links, generic links, citations, etc.) is also important. Make sure that the software addresses the many areas of digital marketing. 

Finally, make sure you have a strategy in place. Getting marketing automation software without a solid marketing strategy will guarantee failure and is only a waste of money. 

Before purchasing such software, explore with your team the best tool to meet all your needs and create a strategy that works best with it. 

Adam Bennett

Written by:  |  September 13, 2021

Adam is the president and founder of Cube Creative Design. Since starting the business in 2005, he has created individual relationships with clients in Western North Carolina. He places great value on the needs, expectations, and goals of the client.

See Adam Bennett's' bio: cubecreative.design/about/adam-bennett