Interested in Marketing Automation? Here’s How to Start

If you regularly work hard to market your small business, you know how mundane some of the more basic tasks can be. Mass e-mail campaigns, social media postings, and reporting not only takes up valuable time you could spend elsewhere, it can feel a lot like drudge work.

One solution is to hire a part-time worker, even a high school student, to take care of the work for you. Or you can outsource the work to a marketing company. But outsourcing small basics, such as updating your social media site, can be cost prohibitive. It’s far better to reserve any dollars you spend toward professional marketing expertise toward learning valuable skills to better market your business.

Instead of forking over hundreds of dollars a week to someone to put your marketing plan in action, consider another solution that can save money and keep you in control. Marketing automation is a new term in the industry, referring to software solutions that do your marketing work for you. But while many small businesses know software exists for this purpose, many have no idea where to start.

Act-On Software, which provides marketing automation software for larger businesses (plans start at $500 a month) has a few tips that can help you automate your marketing processes. Quoting from David Raab’s Marketing Automation: One Step at a Time, Act-On recommends these steps to automating small business marketing campaigns:

  • Choose a system that can be deployed long-term. InfusionSoft has marketing automation software geared toward small businesses, as does Genoo Marketing Automation. Make sure your solution is easy-to-use and has a price that your budget can withstand over the coming years.
  • Deploy the system. At first, you may simply be duplicating your existing systems but in time you can add more complex features to your marketing campaign.
  • Add features. Once your system is in place, add on new features, such as landing pages for your social media sites and list segmentation.
  • Measure results. Hopefully, you have a process in place to measure success. Compare the success you have post-automation to your pre-automation figures and determine if any adjustments need to be made.
  • Add more advanced marketing automation. This includes such features as lead scoring, which involves assigning scoring to certain behaviors, and behavior-driven nurture programs.
  • Plan for the future. Act-On knows the importance of goal-setting in any marketing campaign. Plan for future improvements and be sure you have automation software that can help you accomplish those goals.

“We realize that implementing marketing automation can be a particularly daunting task, especially for small marketing teams,” Atri Chatterjee of Act-On software¬†states. “Like any successful marketing strategy, having a plan can help make your transition to marketing automation run more smoothly – it can also help you take full advantage of the many tools marketing automation has to offer.”

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About Stephanie Faris

Stephanie is a freelance writer and young adult/middle grade novelist, who worked in information systems for more than a decade. Her first book, 30 Days of No Gossip, will be released by Simon and Schuster in spring 2014. She lives in Nashville with her husband.