Marketing matters. Without fresh leads in your sales pipeline, your business isn’t just unlikely to thrive; it’s unlikely to survive.
So how do you make sure your marketing message cuts through the noise and starts generating business?
Small businesses can’t afford massive marketing departments. Fortunately, marketing automation tools have improved drastically over the past decade. These days, automation enables small businesses to do a whole lot more with a whole lot less. The playing field may not be level, but at least you aren’t staring straight up a wall anymore!
We already covered some of the benefits of CRM automation generally, but here are five extremely valuable marketing automation benefits:
1.) Save time
Automating simple or repetitive tasks saves a ton of time. This is one of the most fundamental benefits of marketing automation.
The better your marketing automation strategy, the more time your marketing team saves. That frees them up to perform more complicated and/or higher value tasks with a higher percentage of their time.
But don’t underestimate the value of the tasks you’re automating! Just because something is simple or repetitive doesn’t mean it’s not important. Washing machines don’t exist because doing laundry isn’t important: they exist because doing laundry by hand is incredibly time-consuming.
The same is true of your marketing automation. You aren’t automating processes that don’t matter; you’re automating processes that take too much time to do manually. After all, there would be no point in automating something if it were useless!
2.) Increase your reach
Marketing automation doesn’t just save you time. It also allows you to dramatically increase your reach.
Take one of the most common uses of marketing automation: the automated email marketing campaign. Manually sending marketing emails dramatically reduces the scope of your campaigns. There are only so many hours in the day, and each email takes time, even if you are copy/pasting from a template.
But if you automate the campaign from within your CRM, you essentially only have to set up your template and parameters once. After that, your CRM takes over.
This allows you to reach far more contacts than you could manually, and enables top-of-funnel marketing campaigns that would be completely impractical without automation.
Of course, that added reach comes with some added risk: if you automate errors or poor process, you simply make more mistakes faster.
That’s why it’s so important to monitor automated campaigns once they go live. I recently got an automated email from a company I follow casually. A few hours later, I got another email from them with a big “OOPS!” in the subject line. Intrigued, I opened the second email.
As it turns out, the first wave of their email campaign had listed contradictory promotional discounts: at one point, a service was listed with a 10% discount, and at another point, it was listed with a 15% discount. Rather than simply leave things be, they fired off a flash promotion to those who’d gotten the confusing email: for the next 48 hours, they combined the discount for a grand total of 25% off.
It was a clever move, and I certainly hope they got results. But worst case, they fixed an error that had reached a lot of their contacts, and may have reached even more had their marketing team not gotten on top of the problem quickly.
3.) Reduce errors
People forget things. They get sick. They make typos.
That’s not to say you’ll never encounter errors with your CRM or your marketing automation. But those error rates are significantly lower once your CRM takes over, and many of them are still attributable to human error like in the example above.
The trick is to make sure you get your templates and parameters right before you enable an automated process, and to check in on it once it’s live. So, to return to our email campaign example, you will still need to craft an effective, error-free email template.
But you only have to get it right once. As long as you do so before you enable the automated campaign, your CRM will get that part right every time.
And even if things do go wrong, automation can help good marketers turn errors into opportunities like that 25%-off flash sale.
4.) Improve customer retention
Every salesperson knows that staying in touch with customers is an important part of keeping those customers happy and, ultimately, keeping them customers. That’s why some of the most important CRM automations for salespeople track customer touchpoints and alert your team if they haven’t reached out to someone in a while.
Your marketing team can help here, as well. Whereas good lead-generating campaigns hopefully create new customers, good loyalty campaigns keep existing customers happy.
As I drafted this article, I received an automated email reminder from UPS that my online registration is about to expire. “We’ve missed you,” the email tells me as it invites me to ups.com to renew my registration.
Prior to this email, there was a 0% chance that I would renew my online registration, for the simple reason that I had no idea it was expiring (we can debate why it’s expiring at another time). That number is now much higher than 0%.
Elsewhere in my inbox, I have an automated appointment reminder from my local vet, an automated shipping notification from Amazon.com, and an automated promotional campaign from Uber. I opened all three: the first two because they are timely and important touch points, and the last because Uber’s offers have saved me a lot of money in the past.
All were well-timed, all were well-crafted, and all built customer engagement and good will. Automating campaigns and other touchpoints ensures you don’t miss these opportunities.
5.) Understand your results
Sample size matters. Automated marketing campaigns allow you to more easily reach statistically significant numbers with your campaigns. That means the stories your data tells will be more obvious and more accurate.
Consider a simple A/B test. The performance numbers after 50 or 100 iterations may tell one tale, but those numbers can come with a pretty high degree of uncertainty. Increase the sample size, though, and you increase the likelihood that you can be confident in the story your data tells.
The better you understand your results, the better you can adjust from theory to reality, and the better your next campaign will be.
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