Marketing automation is the big buzzword in the marketing world nowadays. Is marketing automation applicable to small business though? Well, that depends. Let’s start off by asking why there is a need for marketing automation in the first place. Automating tasks obviously makes them more efficient, but there are benefits beyond saving time.
When making purchases on the internet, users research and then buy, but not necessarily on the same device. For example, they may first become aware of your product or brand on one device, research it on another, and purchase it on yet another. Giving users appropriate messaging based on where they are in the buying cycle greatly increases the chance the will convert (purchase), just as giving users inappropriate messaging to where they are in the buying cycle could easily kill your chance of making the conversion.
Secondly, once a user has seen your brand or product, they may easily forget about it by the time they get to the research or purchasing phase. Reminding them greatly increases the chance you will be the one they choose.
Cross Device Tracking
To track individual visitors on the devices they use, you’ll need to implement cross device tracking. Tracking customers across devices can be achieved in two ways:
1) Have the user “sign up” on your website. It can be for a newsletter, a whitepaper download, or other valuable freebie. Once you do that, you will have their email address, and you will know when they visit your site. Then you can serve them personalized content or send them emails based on where they are in the buying cycle. Of course this implies you already know the steps the typical buyer will take, and have content or emails set up to address each step appropriately.
2) Use remarketing in your pay per click campaign. You can leverage Google or Bing’s tracking of users to show your PPC ads to people who have visited your website. Everyone is aware of the ads that follow him or her around on the Internet. Although it can be a little creepy to the user who is being stalked, it helps remind them about your brand, and you can personalize the ads depending on which pages of your website they visited.
So can small business execute marketing automation effectively? Possibly, but here are the things that can kill the process:
1. Low traffic to your website. For remarketing or getting new sign-ups you need visitors in the hundreds or better yet in the thousands for the automation gears to start turning.
2. No enticement to sign-up. If you don’t have software or an app with a free trial, or an engaging whitepaper or other publication that will generate sign-ups, you won’t be able to do email marketing, or cross-device tracking without a PPC campaign. For many small businesses, getting enough sign-ups can be a significant hurdle.
If you are already running a PPC campaign, and not taking advantage of remarketing, get started with that. The research you will do on your sales funnels and accompanying changes to your website content will, by themselves, likely improve your conversion rate. Even if you do not plan to use marketing automation, the type of research necessary to set it up adds effectiveness to any marketing plan. Do it, and you will be ready for marketing automation when the time comes.