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Here's Why Marketing Automation Should Still Be a Priority in 2021

Automation has somewhat lost, regained, and re-lost its buzz over the recent years… but it has not lost its ability to advance key business functions like marketing and operations.


It’s especially helpful for small businesses that are just getting started or that want to grow to the next level.


Happy and diverse marketing team gathering for team meeting

So why don’t more business owners embrace automation as a priority at the start of developing business strategy. In this article, Jeanette Kreuzburg, Founder of Soloday Marketing & Development LLC, and Ajia Allen, Principal Strategist of Digalyne, explore insights on marketing automation through the lens of the small business start-up during the height of the pandemic.

In fact, more than 1 million small business startups started in the past year or so, and those that were around before and used marketing automation before the pandemic experienced greater sustainability than their counterparts.


Automation contributes to steps toward digital transformation in small business as well – a subject for a different time.


Since digitization rejoined the forefront of business conversations in 2021 – rightfully so – we wonder where in the board room (or home office Zoom meetings) does that leave marketing automation.


Right off the bat, let’s discover the benefits of marketing automation.


  1. Marketing automation enables scale and improves customer experience strategy, especially for small businesses that would otherwise miss early opportunities to gain and analyze customer data.

  2. Of course, marketing automation increases efficiency and allows your team to focus on other priorities that do not entail manually acquiring or managing customer data.

  3. It re-emphasizes the importance of marketing operations within the organization (that includes businesses of all sizes) to the C-Suite.

  4. Marketing automation helps create niche target audiences and segmentation that could be overlooked without it – increasing revenue and refining attribution.


How Does Marketing Automation Relate to Digital Strategy?


Digital strategy uses digital technologies and best practices to optimize business outcomes, strategies, and customer experiences. It is a holistic look at how digital can improve current and future business processes, as well as help reimagine products and services for the benefit of internal and external stakeholders.


While automation can be applied across functions, digital strategy is one of the driving forces behind successful marketing automation.


Digital strategy connects business processes with customers and vice versa. Marketing automation ensures that digital marketing activities including email marketing, social media marketing, PPC, and so forth are automated and interconnected.


So ponder this…


Marketing automation is more than creating content and plopping it into a platform to schedule for release. There are several moving parts and areas of focus such as:


  • Customer segmentation. Dividing customer bases into subgroups of similar characteristics.

  • Lead scoring. Assigning scores to leads based on their interaction with your digital marketing and other marketing activities.

  • Marketing integration. The process of interconnecting multiple marketing channels via integration tools, techniques, and software.

  • Technology stack. Your customized software and technology mix to facilitate business processes.

  • And more.

We recently spoke to leading business strategists to discover where marketing automation has helped improve business operations for their small businesses or consulting firms. Here’s what they had to say:


“Automation allows the business to spend more time on other projects without sacrificing customer service. Automation has also allowed prospects and customers to learn more about our services on their own which helps convert and upsell when appropriate.” – Natalie Gullatt, Founder of Black Marketers Association of America


“I have surely leveraged automated marketing strategy to streamline activities, drive more effectiveness and even aid in efficiencies of resources, spend and exerted energy from my teams and agency partners!” – Loren McCray, Brand Marketing Strategist & Consultant


“Tools such as Buffer have automated our social media presence which is huge for engagement when increasing brand awareness for our services.” – Ryaan Boyd, Co-Founder of Spotlight


Pretty clear reasons for marketing automation to still be prioritized in 2021, right?


03 Simple Ways to Get Started with Marketing Automation


Marketing automation is a great way to streamline your marketing efforts. It can remove some of the stress of customer follow-up, email campaigns, and social media management- ultimately saving you time and money. Automation can nurture current clients and can assist in on-boarding new clients while you sleep.


When incorporating marketing automation systems into your business, it can be easy to get overwhelmed. The remedy? Start small and have a plan for what you want to accomplish and the experience you want to provide for your customers.


“Start small and have a plan…”

Here are a few simple ways to get started with marketing automation:


1. Use automation to send a welcome email when someone subscribes to your newsletter or purchases your product or service online.


Welcome emails are a great way to immediately engage with new customers and subscribers. You can personalize the email, offer them tips on how to use your product or service, suggest additional offerings, or simply say thank you.


This simple step provides a personal touch that consumers always appreciate. It also ensures that new subscribers can be made aware of your products or services right away, which can lead to more purchases in the future.


Welcome emails don't have to be long; just make sure they're well-written, offer value (like a product guide, thank you note, or brief company history), and provide a call to action.


2. Set up appointment reminders.


If you're a service provider, it's important to stay in touch with customers who have scheduled appointments.


You can set up reminders through your marketing automation software for upcoming events and then customize the email content based on what happens at that appointment.


For many service-based businesses, appointment reminders can be a significant step forward for increasing show-up rates for meetings without the headache of remembering to send manual reminders.


3. Launch a new product or service offering with an email automation sequence.


Email automation sequences are a great way to introduce new products or services to your email list. A sequence of product launch emails can be sent out over the span of 72 hours, for example:


- First, send an "exclusive" product introduction email with a link to get more details about your product/service and perhaps make a purchase using a time-sensitive special discount.


- One day later, send an email with tips on how to get the best value from your new offering with a reminder about the discount code.


- On the 3rd day, send a final launch email as a reminder that time is running out! Here, you can include a short, impactful sales letter, plus a final invitation to utilize their exclusive discount.


If you’ve been thinking about adding marketing automation to your repertoire, there isn't a better time to do it. Growing and scaling your business depends on having systems in place to generate new business while nurturing your current client base.


Even simple automation sequences can greatly improve your customer experience while keeping you "hands-free" to work on other aspects of your small business.



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