For many small and mid-sized businesses, marketing automation may seem like something only larger companies can afford to take advantage of. You probably conjure up images of large teams running various email campaigns and working on multiple different software platforms to support a spectacular, out-of-this-world marketing program.
Hold up. For some companies, that may be the case. But for local business owners, marketing automation is still achievable, if approached thoughtfully.
Let’s back up.
The role of generating new leads and nurturing these leads into ready-to-buy prospects used to be a job for the seasoned sales guys (and gals). In a digital age where companies are forced to move faster and be more agile, local business marketers and owners are stepping up to get in the lead generation game and help fuel companies’ success.
Once you generate new leads, someone’s got to market to them. Speaking historically again, this would have again been a job for individual sales representatives. Wanna whip out that Rolodex, anyone?
That’s just not how it works anymore.
These days, businesses will struggle to survive without a streamlined way to manage how they connect with people on their contact list. Without one, you’ll miss out on communications and promotional opportunities, and your competitors will leave you in their dust.
Instead, it’s worthwhile to explore what marketing automation could do for your local business. Do you text and email your contacts? What about targeting promotional campaigns to them based on special anniversaries or holidays? How do you manage your social media accounts? All of these activities can be automated.
Why Automation’s the Perfect Fit
- It saves time. Again, marketing automation tools allow you to target multiple customers at once while still segmenting your messaging. Most tools out there will allow you to set up several campaigns at once, trigger autoresponders and follow-up messaging and even schedule out social posts weeks in advance.
- It helps you nurture relationships. If you’re not keeping track of how and when you communicate with each and every contact and customer, you’re missing the mark. Customer relationship management (CRM) systems – a core ingredient in marketing automation – help business owners track every interaction to keep tabs on these relationships.
- It helps you know where you stand. Not only does marketing automation streamline your lead generation and lead nurturing efforts, it’ll show you where you’re winning and where you could use a little work. Most systems offer detailed reporting on which marketing campaigns are proving successful and which aren’t.
Choosing a Marketing Automation Platform
This is where most local business owners we work with struggle. There are so many darn platforms out there, all doing different things, it’s tough to know where to start. In the end, most businesses end up piecing together a few different software solutions to try to achieve one comprehensive “suite” of marketing automation systems, so speak.
Let’s not go all Frankenstein on your business.
Instead, look for a system that can handle as many of your marketing and business management needs as possible. Here are a few of the most common choices:
- Agile CRM can be a good place to start for local businesses. As their name indicates, they do best at the CRM side of things. And they also offer some additional marketing integrations like social media management and mobile marketing.
- Active Campaign also gets pretty close to providing a more comprehensive suite of marketing automation tools. Like Agile CRM, they want you to integrate with outside apps to get the most out of the tool.
- Thryv is (you guessed it) OUR business management solution. We offer marketing automation tools just like our competitors, and we also have extended capabilities. Think more than 70 consistent listings for your business online and professionally produced videos for your business.