Q

Marketing automation tools benefit small businesses

Marketing automation tools save small businesses time, enabling companies to focus on acquiring new customers and nurturing existing relationships.

Why would/should a small business use marketing automation?

There is so much content coming at customers and prospects from all angles. As a small business, you've got to find ways to get the attention from customers and keep it for long enough to turn a prospect into a good opportunity and then hopefully turn that opportunity into a full-blown customer. Then, after you've gone through all that work of creating that new customer, you have to extend the relationship you have. That's a lifecycle that is critical, and it takes automation.

A lot of cases have routine steps, but you have to do them in order to have that buyer go through the cycle and make those processes as easy and repeatable as possible. That's where marketing automation tools come in because they allow you to routinize and not spend all of your time always chasing particular leads or going through the acquisition cycle all the time. You need to do that, but there are some great automation tools that help you do that, that help free your time to be on the other end. Once you've created that customer relationship, now you need to put real relationship time in to grow it, to extend it and turn that onetime purchase into maybe a membership program, like an Amazon Prime, or if you're a brand advocate -- someone who really believes in what they're doing and is willing to shout out to everybody else they know -- but those kinds of relationships can't be built if you're constantly spending 70-80% of the time looking for and processing new leads. That's where marketing automation can really help.

This was first published in May 2014

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