Taking those first steps into the entrepreneurship world used to be a lot more difficult than now. Through digital channels is possible to launch our products and services to the world, as well as prospecting new customers. Social media and digital marketing became crucial for a business to achieve success, for both B2B and B2C companies. New concepts emerged, such as inbound marketing, and impacted the way we communicate with clients.
Small businesses have found themselves in a new, more fair ground, where they have all the tools necessary to start competing with the big players in the market. Marketing automation is one of the must have tools that any entrepreneur should invest in.
First steps before scaling
Even if your company is already selling to customers or is making ground to "open for business", it's important to stop, draw strategies and plan every single step before diving your head into the world of digital marketing automation.
Bare in mind that for small businesses willing to automate their digital marketing processes, this kind of change takes effort, but it surely pays off after a while. Since small businesses have limited resources to invest (and none to spend unthinkingly), the best strategy is to set up the following list before starting:
- Know your market and what you're offering
- Know who are your ideal buyers (personas)
- Know where these buyers will discover your product
- Know how these opportunities will interact with your company
- Develop an ultimate digital marketing strategy
It does seems too much, doesn’t it? Maybe that’s why building a marketing strategy is often overlooked by companies. Even knowing that marketing automation can streamline processes, it's not a magical machine that starts working with a press of a button. Let's take a deeper look through every step of it.
Define your market
Define what you're selling, its competitive advantage and how competitors and the market around you behave.
Knowing exactly what you'll offer to your buyers is the first step to developing an assertive digital marketing strategy. Define who, how, where and when your business will approach potential customers.
Know your personas
You must know everything about the customers who will buy from you. What are their jobs; where they live; what problems they're trying to solve; what solution they're looking for; what they expect from that solution; what kind of social media or website they browse; what flavor of pizza they love, and so on. The more information about them you have, the more targeted and precise your digital marketing actions will be.
What are your distribution channels
This is where you spread the word about yourself. Since inbound marketing also can be automatized, any digital marketing strategy must have a website and a blog. Social media can be used by a great variety of industries. There are so many different channels, groups and communities out there, that probably one of them is discussing a problem your product might solve easily.
Again, that's why knowing your market and you ideal buyers comes first. Only with this information you'll be able to choose and develop actions in the right places.
Establish your communication channels
Where will you be when customers need you? More important: how will they reach you when they get interested in your offer? In a digital marketing plan, always include contact pages in your website and blog, email, and in-site messages. For SaaS and web companies, in-app notifications, push notifications and VOIP solutions (through app integrations) can be used too.
Provide the best ways for leads and prospects to find you. Always be sure that someone from your company is there to help your soon-to-be-customers exactly when they need your solution. You can also earn some points with them if you answer faster than your competition and offer personalized marketing service. Guess what? Automation can help you in all these things.
Develop your digital marketing strategy
Now that you've got plenty of information about your market, your ideal customers and the way they'll reach your company, you're ready to build the digital marketing plan for your small business. Marketing automation requires a well-defined digital marketing strategy since all processes, from lead acquisition to customer retention, are strictly connected.
After you develop your strategy, your company will be ready to improve its processes with automation. Sounds like a boatload of work, but don't be scared. After implementation, things get way easier.
Marketing automation for small businesses
Small businesses generally means tight budgets, limited headcount and a perpetual shortage of time. There is exactly how marketing automation can help.
Automation solutions can bring several benefits to your company that goes beyond lead nurturing and customer engagement. Here are some of them:
- It saves time and effort on customer acquisition. Different from cold calls and other more orthodoxies types of customer approach, inbound marketing matches automated processes perfectly. This means a content marketing strategy totally aligned to your marketing and sales funnel, where customers can be automatically moved throughout it, almost effortless.
- It reduces the mistakes that can occur between processes. Since all the marketing and sales funnel are "running" in the same place, the information of leads and prospects are connected in the same platform and can be accessed with ease. Instead of going through different tools to find a specific piece of data, a software like this can keep everything in one place.
- Personalization and hypersegmented messages are easier with it. Most of the people think that automation means less personal, more robotic approach towards customers, but automated solutions can use information from leads and prospects to create personalized approaches. That, of course, without losing the "human touch" needed when engaging them.
- It improves the way companies manage leads and customers. Small businesses and big companies can take advantage of lead acquisition, nurturing and conversion optimization tasks, even if there isn't a whole team ready to manage everything. Lead scoring can help businesses to define who's ready for a call and who still needs a little more content to successfully make their minds.
The main thing about automation is that most of the features allow businesses to focus on a crucial source of revenue that is often overlooked: current customers. This stable source of revenue is particularly important for growing businesses. Marketing automation can help you ensure that life-long customers and brand evangelists are secure as you grow your customer base, constantly identifying opportunities to upsell and cross-sell.
Remember that for best results, your strategy should be revisited regularly, adjusted, and optimized.
Marketing automation is the most reliable resource for a small business looking to grow in 2017. More than 49% of companies from all types of industries already use marketing automation, and this adoption tends to grow month after month. This happens because businesses are finally discovering that automating their processes increase productivity from acquisition to conversion, and beyond.
Don't forget to build a great digital marketing strategy using the tips we gave you, and come back to us again later to share the results.