Marketing automation tools for small businesses can make a huge difference; they are a great time-saver as well as a highly efficient lead generation technique.

In this post, I’m going to explain what makes marketing automation so important, how you can get more leads and share a list of top useful tools to help you get the results you need.

Why SMBs Need Marketing Automation

Marketing automation is more than just a time-saver; it’s a way to considerably improve your conversion rate and increase the value of each of your customers.

As a small or medium business, you don’t have the resources of a big company, so you need to not only find ways to make your life easier, but also of ensuring you make as many sales as possible.

Marketing automation can help you achieve that: all you need is your list and a software. 

Benefits Of Marketing Automation Software

One of the big selling points of using marketing automation in your business is that there are so many benefits.

Some of them are immediately tangible, while others take a little time to develop.

To help you get a feel for what exactly such tools and software can do for you, here is a list of benefits:

  • Nurture leads with drip marketing and automated workflows (saving your time from sending out emails manually and nurturing leads manually)
  • Make more conversions with the right email at the right time (automations can be triggered to happen at exactly the right moment for your business)
  • Understand your audience better through their behaviour and personalize your email (knowing what people have reacted to on your website or emails is key)
  • Increase your customer retention (keep your customers engaged with email sequences that are dripped out over time when they buy, sign up, react to something etc).

Of course, these are only a few of the benefits of such software, as it all depends how much you use them.

How to Get Started With Marketing Automation

The idea behind marketing automation is that you’re sending out the right message, to the right person and at the right time; therefore, increasing your chances of converting them.

The first thing you need to do is segment and organize your list of subscribers. By segmenting them as much as possible, you’ll be able to send better, more personalized emails, and therefore increase your chances of making more conversions.

The way you segment your list is completely up to you, but here are some of the most common options:

  • By demographics: segment via their age, sex, or location
  • Customers: recent or old customers, potential leads
  • Engagement: active vs. inactive subscribers

The main goal here should be to try to get them as targeted as possible, so that you get better results from the emails you send to your subscribers.

You can also send out automated emails based on specific triggers set off by your subscribers; for example, when someone views a particular link on your website, when someone abandons their cart in your e-commerce shop, or when they opened a certain email. There are lots of other triggers that you can set up, depending on the software you use for your marketing automation.

Now, it’s time to start sending out emails to your list:

  • Drip email marketing to engage new users and nurture leads: drip emails are basically a sequence of emails that can be sent to your subscribers. One of the best ways of using drip emails is for engaging new subscribers – for example, you could send them an email to welcome them immediately after, then after a few days later an email listing your best resources and later in the week, a link to download a freebie or maybe a coupon for your shop. The way you set up your drip marketing campaign is completely up to you though. You can also use drip emails to nurture old and new leads – in fact, lead nurturing emails tend to get up to 10 times the response rate than just the one email.
  • Personalize your emails: personalizing your emails can massively improve your results from email marketing. It’s not just a case of using your subscribers’ first name in the subject line, but actually trying to connect with them with the knowledge you gain from their history. Personalization works best when you’ve properly segmented your list.
  • A/B testing for better emails: there is no one universal formula that works for everybody. The best way to ensure you get the best results is to test your emails, one element at a time: images, headline, subject line, text body, offers made, design and more.
  • Create automated emails for certain triggers: as I mentioned earlier, you can set up your marketing automation to send out emails after certain triggers. Doing this can help you nurture the lead while it’s still very recent, and therefore you increase the chances of them taking action and converting.

Now that we’ve gone through some of the basics of marketing automation, let’s get to a list of tools that you can use to get started as an SMB.

Top Low Cost Marketing Automation Tools For Small & Medium Sized Business

The main challenge for a small to medium sized business is finding a marketing automation tool that is affordable. Because there are certainly enough expensive ones out there.

So, with that in mind, the following list is a range of options that will definately suit the small business both in terms of price, and functionality.

GetResponse

get-response-marketing-automationGetResponse have recently ventured into marketing automation and are well on their way to creating an all-in-one marketing solution for SMBs.

One of the issues with creating a marketing automation campaign is that it can be quite difficult to get started, especially without any experience, but the GetResponse software is quite easy to use.

You can easily create your own workflows with their ready-to-use blocks. The way it works is, you select the conditions (aka triggers) you want, then you select the target you want to reach and finally, you select the action you want taken. There are all kinds of conditions that you can use, such as certain groups of subscribers as defined by you, users who have opened a certain email, or clicked on a link, users who have abandoned their basket or who have made a purchase from you, among others.

Based on the condition, there are then several actions you can take: send a certain email, add or subtract points from subscribers for targeting purposes, move users through campaigns, select how much you want to wait and more.

It has all of the features you need to get you started, while also being very easy to use.

MailChimp

marketing-automation-welcome
MailChimp is another easy to use marketing automation software, perfect for e-commerce sites, although they have good features for other types of businesses as well, such as nonprofits, education and more.

You can use MailChimp to create automated emails for certain triggers: specific dates or events, or based on the subscribers’ activity.

They also provide pre-set automation workflows for all kinds of triggers and situations and you can also connect your online store to track information on your website visitors and customers.

InfusionSoft

infusionsoft-campaign-builder-personalized-communicationsInfusionSoft is a marketing automation tools designed for small businesses.

You can use their drag and drop campaign builder to create your campaigns, use their website tracking to see what subscribers are doing on your website and their browsing history, and use their CRM integration to make use of the list you’ve collected.

The only issue with InfusionSoft is that it’s not as easy to use and you should invest some time in the beginning to learn how to use the software and get the most out of it.

Constant Contact

constant-contact-automation-emails

With Constant Contact you can send personalized emails you to your list, such as welcome emails and birthday and anniversary emails. You can also create a drip email marketing campaign that you can “set and forget” about and simply add new contacts to your automated list as they come in.

Their platform, however, is not as versatile or easy to use as some of the other tools in this list, and dealing with their customer service when you have questions or issues with the software can be a bit of a pain.

Aweber

aweber-email-marketing-1Aweber is an email marketing software with tools for creating email marketing campaigns, segmenting your list of subscribers and creating automated emails.

If you want to create a marketing automation campaign, you can use their campaign builder to add the emails you want sent and the wait times between them. Although easy to use and set up, their campaign builder is not as versatile and one of the biggest complaints they face is that their email templates are a bit outdated. That said, it’s also quite easy to use as a beginner and you can also make customizations to emails in order to improve them. 

Conclusion

Marketing automation can make a huge difference for small and medium businesses by helping them achieve their conversion goals much faster than just traditional email marketing. In fact, with a good marketing automation campaign, you can massively improve your results. What is your favourite marketing automation software? Have you tried marketing automation yet, and how has it affected your overall results from email marketing?

By: Lilach Bullock

Lilach Bullock is highly regarded on the world speaker circuit, has graced Forbes and Number 10 Downing Street with her presence! In a nutshell, she’s a hugely connected and highly influential serial entrepreneur – the embodiment of Digital Intelligence.

Listed in Forbes as one of the top 20 women social media power influencers and likewise as one of the top social media power influencers, she is one of the most dynamic personalities in the social media market.

Learn more about Lilach at lilachbullock.com

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Lilach Bullock is highly regarded on the world speaker circuit, has graced Forbes and Number 10 Downing Street with her presence! In a nutshell, she’s a hugely connected and highly influential serial entrepreneur – the embodiment of Digital Intelligence. Listed in Forbes as one of the top 20 women social media power influencers and likewise as one of the top social media power influencers, she is one of the most dynamic personalities in the social media market. Learn more about Lilach at lilachbullock.com