Marketing Automation for SMEs
In our latest marketing blog we look at automation for small to medium size enterprise; what is marketing automation, how can marketing automation support your business, getting the balance between automation and personal touch marketing, and finally a look at how you can implement marketing automation into your business...
What is marketing automation?
Put simply, it’s a piece of software used to make routine your marketing activity. So instead of needing to create content and then set it live in that moment, it can be planned for ahead and scheduled to go live at a certain time or date, with recurring marketing programmed in the same way.
This means your online marketing touch points can be executed without the need for constant input from you or your team, and can be generated to land with your customers whenever you see fit: regardless of whether it’s a Sunday evening, when you’re on your hols or when the customer takes a specific action, such as a purchase.
How can marketing automation support your business?
For small businesses, automation can save a huge amount of time, as well as the obvious convenience of not having to remember to put marketing activity live out of working hours. Small marketing teams can benefit hugely from this time saving measure; particularly during pinch points in their schedule such as a launch or busy sales period. Marketing automation can just tick along nicely in the background, engaging with customers without the need for personal input.
Like a diary, it can also be used to schedule marketing for dates and times that you wouldn’t have the time to do on an individual basis; such as sending a ‘Happy Birthday’ newsletter to a client with an offer or deal. To do that manually for each client on your database would be hugely time consuming, so being able to automate it adds that personal marketing touch that, in reality, has been automated from the moment they gave you their data!
Remember, successful marketing is not about a scattergun approach. It’s about targeted, meaningful communication that drives results. That’s where automation can really support your business, as it allows you to target your messages at key times when you know you’ll get a return on investment, rather than just at the convenience of when your team can send that message out in the working week.
You want to give your customers value too, and that doesn’t necessarily fit into 9-5, so by creating automated marketing for them that reaches them at their time of need – rather than just when you’re in the office – you’ll be presenting the appearance of a 24/7 brand that cares about their customers constantly.
The balance between automation and personal touch marketing...
Just because you can automate your marketing, doesn’t mean it should replace personal touch marketing completely. Being reactive and reaching out to customers in the moment is still important; but hopefully automation will assist you in doing that more frequently, as it will take the pressure off your marketing output day-to-day.
Take for example a show set to come on television that has a link to your brand or product. Scheduling social media activity to go live at the time of the show is great for engagement with your followers, but even better would be a live post or ‘Story’ that quotes something said in the show so your audience know you have your finger on the pulse.
Automation also doesn’t mean you can ignore your social media accounts. Replying to customer comments and DMs personally is still vital for engagement and building brand loyalty.
Which marketing automation tools to use?
There are so many automation tools out there, each offering different levels of service to meet the needs of your specific business and client base.
At Cornerstone Your Business we can support you in picking the right one for you. Our independent marketing consultant Jessica Morris-McKenzie says: “Using social media marketing tools to schedule posts will save time and keep you posting consistently.
“We recommend you start with Buffer as it’s really easy to use and free for up to three social media profiles. You can easily sign up for a free trial to give it a go first.”
For a free, no obligation chat with Jess to discuss marketing automation for your business, call: 07929 905 229.