You may be hearing a lot of talk lately about marketing automation and the growing demand for it in the business community. But what exactly is marketing automation and does it apply to your business, especially if you own a small business? A quick way to define marketing automation is simply using technology like a software program to help streamline, automate, and measure your marketing results. Marketing automation technology is expected to increase by 50% by 2015. (source: SiriusDecisions.com)
You may already be using some forms of marketing automation in your business like automated email systems or tools to help you market on social media. The marketing automation landscape is expanding and the innovations are becoming more robust each month.
For some proactive entrepreneurs this is exciting because they can see the potential to further expand their business while simultaneously increasing bottom line profits. On the flip side there are many business owners that are slow to adapt to using technology and don’t really understand how it can benefit their business so they tend to shy away or wait.
Here are a (2) ways to immediately take advantage of marketing automation:
- Lead Management – If you run a small business, customer relationship management software — also known as CRM software — can go a long way toward boosting customer satisfaction levels! CRM software can be used to automate a number of different processes, from monitoring social media, to administering customer surveys, to recommending products to existing customers and beyond. There are a growing number of quality CRM systems available today. We currently use Nimble.com in our business because of the great social media integration that if offers. Salesforce is another option for larger companies that require additional functionality.
- Social Media Management – The social media landscape continues to grow and this creates a challenge for businesses who want to remain relevant and form deeper connections with their customers. According to recent study by Satmetrix.com “67% of companies do not measure or quantify social media engagement”. If you’re not currently tracking and measuring your social media engagement, you want to consider adding a well respecting resource tool such as Hootsuite.com to help you get started. Hootsuite allows you to track and manage multiple social media accounts all from a single location.
Marketing automation gives you the ability to attract prospective customers to your business who are already “pre-sold” due to information you provided. According to a recent study by leading research firm Sirius Decisions “70% of the buying process is now complete by the time a prospect is ready to engage with sales”. If you aren’t using marketing automation in your business you are missing out on a tremendous opportunity to save time, increase revenue, and make your business operate more efficiently while providing a great experience for your customers.