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6 Marketing Automation Tips for Small Businesses

By Tom
25 Jun, 2021
8 min read

As a business owner, you don’t want to be spending all of your time doing repetitive marketing tasks. You need to focus your time and energy on growing your business. This is why automated marketing can be used to take care of these menial, time-consuming processes. 

Marketing automation allows you to sit back and spend your time on the tasks that require your real focus, knowing that your marketing efforts are taken care of. Automating processes doesn’t only save time and effort, but it also gives you peace of mind - knowing that you won’t forget to update your social media or send out that important newsletter to your new subscribers. 

Automation is an easy tactic that business owners should be using to enhance their marketing success and lead generation without lifting a finger.

What is marketing automation and what does it do 

First, let’s start with a quick marketing automation overview. Basically, marketing automation is when you put your marketing tactics on autopilot. It allows businesses to run marketing campaigns in real-time without having to put in manual processes to trigger each action.

For example, automatic marketing, or marketing automation, can be applied to email drip campaigns. You could prepare a set of emails to be sent out to any new users who sign up for your mailing list. As soon as they sign up, a marketing automation system sends out the first email, followed by the next one at a predetermined time. This type of marketing campaign automation means you will be able to deliver as many email drip campaigns as you want without having to manually prepare each email. 

Marketing automation technology can extend further than just email though. You could automate marketing processes on social media by scheduling posts far in advance. You could automate website promotions, pop-ups, and all kinds of other sales and marketing processes. SMS marketing, paid ads, you name it. 

Simply use the right automation software to schedule your activities ahead of time so that you can clear your daily tasks up to focus more on running your business. 

Of course, not all marketing strategies can be automated. Marketing automation only really works for predetermined processes or tasks that need to be triggered by certain actions (such as making a sale). When you start to understand the power of marketing automation, you can use it for a wide range of tasks that would usually require all of your focus. 

woman on a computer

Marketing automation and the customer journey

So, what can marketing automation do to improve the customer journey? Effective marketing automation can play a vital role in your multi-step campaigns. As long as you understand the different stages of your customer’s journey, and you are able to segment customers accordingly, you can run automated marketing campaigns to target them.

We’ve already gone over the example of a drip campaign when new users sign up to your email marketing list. This is just one of the many marketing automation tips that could apply to improving your customer journey. 

Some other automated campaigns could include sending out emails after a customer makes a purchase, sending out abandoned cart emails, automating messages to subscribers that haven’t opened your newsletter in 30 days, and more. 

When understanding marketing automation activities, you need to understand the importance of the relationship between marketing automation and your CRM. Automated marketing works best if you’re able to send the right messages to the right people at the right time. This means understanding your customer journey is essential. 

email heading
Example of how you can send automated messages to customers at certain stages of their journey

6 marketing automation tips for your business

Now that we have a good marketing automation definition, let’s see how we can optimize the process for your business. We’ve outlined some of the most important marketing automation tips below to help your campaigns achieve success. Follow these tips and marketing automation best practices to achieve great (and easy) results with each campaign. 

1. Set up your marketing automation goals

Before you start automating your marketing, it’s important for business owners to set the goals that they want to achieve from marketing automation. Without goals, you won’t be able to measure the success of your campaigns. You won’t be able to see what part of your campaigns are working and whether your automated marketing campaign is achieving your targets. 

So, understand what outcome you want from your automated marketing. Set clear actionable goals that align with your marketing strategy, and then you can start to implement your marketing automation. 

2. Creating the right content

When it comes to marketing automation, nothing really matters if you don’t have the right content. Strong, quality content is the only way to attract attention and achieve the desired outcome of your campaign. Great content is the foundation for any marketing strategy, and you can’t start automation without having the right content first. 

So what is great content? Your content should be shareable, inspirational, educational, and insightful. It should offer your readers value, and it shouldn’t feel overly promotional or sales-y. 

Of course, the content you create depends on what type of campaign you’re running. Make sure that this content aligns with the goals that you previously set up, and that it speaks to your customers at the right stage of their journey.

marketing automation email
Here’s a great example of delivering quality content for an automated welcome email.

3. Build an email list

You need a list of subscribers if you want to start automating your marketing. This list is your essential audience for email marketing. Basically, if you want to send out your content, you need to have someone to send it to. 

So, how do you do this? There are many different ways to attract new leads and gather newsletter subscribers. Here are some simple marketing automation tips for building up an email list:

  • Offer gated content, such as an ebook or whitepaper download that can be accessed by anyone that gives up their email address
  • Host a webinar to gather attention and capture email addresses
  • Promote your lead gen offers on social media to reach a larger audience
  • Run social media contests and giveaways to attract a wider audience
  • Run referral campaigns to get more people signing up
  • Create an enticing newsletter opt-in to gather more subscribers

Now you’ve covered the three essential marketing automation tips to start off with. You’ve got your goals set, your content ready, and your email list lined up. Now it’s time to get your campaigns rolling. 

an example of gated content
Here’s an example of how you can use gated content to grow your email list.

4. Manage and segment your leads properly

There’s no single formula that works with all customers because people are all different. This is why you need to segment your email list into your various buyer personas to make sure that you deliver the right content to the right person. 

You need to make sure that you understand what stage of the buying journey your different leads are and what kind of interest they are showing. Delivering relevant information to your leads is important if you want them to move further down the sales funnel.

email segmentation

5. Don’t let your automated campaigns seem automated

Even though you are using marketing automation, it doesn’t mean your marketing should come across as being automated. Pay attention to making sure that your campaigns still seem personal and human. 

Each email should maintain your brand’s voice, and it should be used to develop a real relationship and connection with the audience. Automation adds convenience to your life, but it shouldn’t be obvious from the receiving end.

beardbrand email example
Notice how the automated message above feels like it’s been sent from a friend.

6. Utilizing PPC for your marketing automation

PPC advertising remains one of the most powerful tools for digital marketing. This is one of the top marketing automation tips that can’t be overlooked.  If your business is making use of marketing automation opportunities, then it should be looking towards automating PPC ads across various platforms. 

A solution like sixads allows you to run high-performing ads across different channels, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Google. Simply set up these ads and automatically run your campaigns. 

This is a faster solution to reaching the right customers without having to worry about creating content and managing your email lists.

Marketing automation software

If you want to put your marketing on autopilot, then you will need the right marketing automation tools. The last of our marketing automation tips is to choose your software wisely to make sure that it works for your business. 

Different marketing automation software options come with different features. Ideally, you want a tool that allows you to easily gather and segment leads. If you can make clear lists of your customers at different stages of their journey, you will be able to deliver far more powerful campaigns. 

Because there are various different marketing channels and strategies available, you need to make sure that you choose an automation tool that works for your preferred marketing channel. Are you targeting social media? Email marketing? PPC ads?

Some important features of marketing automation software to look out for include:

  • Lead management
  • Offering real-time alerts
  • Being able to easily organize your campaign workflow
  • The ability to personalize your messages
  • Easily customizable templates available for your campaigns
Image Source

Advantages effective marketing automation

Why go through with all of these marketing automation steps? Your business can access loads of advantages by automating your marketing. 

The first and most obvious advantage is saving time. As a business owner, you can’t be spending all of your time coordinating repetitive marketing tasks. Automating your marketing allows you to know that these marketing tasks are set and taken care of, giving you more time to focus on your business. 

Automated marketing allows you to build stronger relationships with customers and leads without having to do all the work. You can send welcome emails, follow up with purchases, send out reminders, and so on. Good automated marketing should still be personalized and customized to suit your targeted leads. 

Automated marketing can also improve your lead conversion and helps you achieve a better marketing ROI. Your automation tools should give you access to helpful data so you can see which campaigns work best, allowing you to deliver more powerful marketing messages. 

Automated marketing allows you to enhance marketing efficiency, and generate more leads with less effort. When you’re running a business, you just dont have time to follow up with all of these tasks manually. 

How to choose the right marketing automation software for your company

There are many different marketing automation platforms available that all seem to offer loads of value for your business. So, how do you choose the best one for you? 

First, make sure that it targets the right types of digital marketing. This could include things like email marketing, social media marketing, SMS marketing, and so on. Your software needs to work in line with your marketing strategy. 

Then, check to see which features the software offers. Do you get easily customizable templates? Is there a strong lead management feature? 

By going back to the first of our marketing automation tips and understanding your marketing goals, you will be able to understand exactly what you’re after in your automation tool. 

Conclusion

If you’re not making the most of automated marketing, then it’s time to get started. Automated marketing offers loads of opportunities for your business, and getting started with it is easy. You could end up maximizing your marketing approach with minimal effort. 

Follow our automated marketing tips and you will be sure to see some amazing results for your campaigns. This is the easiest way to stay on top of your marketing while you’re able to run your business at the same time. 

FAQ

What is a marketing automation system?

Marketing automation tools let you run automatically run marketing processes and campaigns across different channels. You can set the action in advance, and the software will target the right customers with the right messages.

What is marketing automation mainly used for?

Marketing automation tools make processes more efficient by saving time on repetitive tasks. Marketers can nurture and generate more leads at a larger scale with less effort.

Who should use marketing automation?

Marketing automation can be used across all kinds of industries to help marketers run accurate campaigns with a great ROI. Automation can be used to follow up with customers, send out updates, reminders, newsletters, and more.

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tom from wishpond
Tom

Tom is a marketing content writer at Wishpond. If he’s not creating marketing content to help small businesses, you can find him staring at dogs or drinking too much coffee.