Between ​emails, ​blog ​posts, ​ad ​campaigns, ​social ​media and ​even ​direct ​mail, ​there’s ​no ​shortage ​of ​options ​for your ​marketing. ​With ​so ​many ​moving ​parts, ​it ​can ​be challenging ​to ​keep ​on ​top ​of ​everything ​and ​ensure things ​are ​running ​smoothly.

This ​is ​where ​marketing ​automation ​comes ​in. ​Marketing automation ​provides ​a ​way ​to ​simplify ​your ​day-to-day marketing ​operations. ​It ​puts ​technology ​to ​work ​for ​you and ​helps ​to ​eliminate ​time-consuming ​manual processes.

Perhaps ​you’ve ​considered ​automating ​some ​of ​your marketing ​but ​hesitated ​because ​it ​seemed ​impersonal or ​overly ​complicated. ​Implementing ​marketing automation ​can ​streamline ​and ​simplify ​everything ​while providing ​data ​to ​help ​measure ​your ​results ​and ​make better ​business ​decisions.

Not ​convinced? ​Email ​marketing ​is ​a ​key ​component ​of marketing ​automation ​and a ​2016 ​VentureBeat ​Insight study ​found ​that ​email ​marketing ​has ​an ​average ​return of ​$38 ​for ​every ​$1 ​spent.

Plus, ​when ​you ​choose ​to ​automate ​your ​marketing, you’re ​still ​in ​control ​of ​the ​content ​and ​the ​messaging coming ​from ​your ​business, ​but ​you ​can ​save ​time ​and energy ​by ​not ​having ​to ​do ​everything ​manually.

Here ​are ​three ​signs ​your ​business ​is ​ready ​for ​marketing automation:

#1. ​You ​Need ​to ​Reach ​More ​People

If ​you’ve ​hit ​a ​plateau ​with ​your ​overall ​business ​growth, it’s ​likely ​time ​broaden ​your ​reach ​and ​cast ​your marketing ​net ​a ​little ​wider.

If ​you ​already ​have ​an ​email ​list, ​you ​should ​be ​looking ​for ways ​to ​maximize ​the ​impact ​of ​your ​efforts. ​For ​example, many ​times ​you’ll ​have ​an ​email ​list, ​but ​you ​won’t ​have very ​much ​information ​on ​your ​subscribers.

Using ​segmentation ​based ​on ​different ​criteria ​will provide ​a ​means ​to ​directly ​target ​subscribers ​with information. ​You’ll ​know ​what ​they ​are ​most ​interested ​in and ​have ​the ​intelligence ​needed ​to ​make ​offers ​that ​will be ​the ​most ​meaningful ​to ​them. ​This ​ultimately increases ​your ​odds ​of ​converting ​one ​of ​your ​subscribers into ​a ​paying ​customer.

Every ​business ​wants ​more ​leads, ​but ​what ​happens ​if ​the potential ​clients ​you’re ​currently ​finding ​aren’t ​ideal? ​Or ​if you’re ​getting ​valuable ​leads ​but ​just ​don’t ​have ​the ​time to ​follow ​up?

Marketing ​automation ​can ​be ​designed ​to ​funnel ​your leads ​through ​a ​qualification ​process ​and ​nurture ​them into ​action. ​As ​a ​small ​business, ​you ​may ​not ​have ​a dedicated ​person ​for ​sales, ​which ​means ​it ​can ​be ​a challenge ​to ​keep ​your ​leads ​active ​and ​interested. Automating ​your ​processes ​gives ​you ​more ​time ​to ​keep your ​leads ​warm ​and ​reach ​out ​to ​them ​personally.

For ​example, ​an ​email ​sequence ​after ​someone ​signs ​up for ​email ​updates ​can ​enable ​you ​to ​create ​the ​know, ​like, trust ​factor ​at ​the ​point ​they’re ​most ​interested ​in ​your business. ​This, ​in ​turn, ​can ​then ​become ​a ​powerful ​way to ​schedule ​appointments ​or ​close ​sales. ​That ​automation will ​help ​you ​ensure ​those ​leads ​don’t ​die ​on ​the ​vine.

#2. ​You ​Want ​to ​Stay ​In ​Touch ​with ​Existing ​and ​Past Clients

Whether ​someone ​is ​in ​the ​middle ​of ​your ​sales ​cycle ​or has ​gone ​the ​whole ​way ​through, ​ensuring ​your relationships ​with ​clients ​are ​ongoing ​is ​critical. ​We ​all know ​that ​repeat ​customers ​generally ​spend ​more ​than new ​customers ​and ​it’s ​much ​easier ​to ​do ​business ​with someone ​who’s ​already ​bought ​from ​you ​in ​the ​past.

Whether ​it’s ​an ​upsell, ​a ​cross-sell ​or ​a ​referral, ​there ​are various ​ways ​you ​can ​get ​more ​revenue ​from ​your ​existing customer ​base.

With ​marketing ​automation, ​you ​can ​gather ​data ​on behaviors ​like ​webpage ​visits ​or ​purchase ​details ​which can ​give ​you ​the ​insight ​you ​need ​to ​better ​target customer’s ​specific ​needs.
Whether ​you ​choose ​to ​use ​personalized ​emails ​or ​target them ​with ​automatic ​campaigns ​to ​reach ​out periodically, ​the ​use ​of ​marketing ​software ​can ​be invaluable ​to ​help ​you ​continue ​to ​nurture ​your ​client relationships.

#3. ​You ​Want ​to ​Support ​Your ​Offline ​Marketing Activities

It’s ​not ​uncommon ​for ​most ​businesses ​to ​have ​cycles ​in your ​business ​where ​sales ​take ​a ​dip. ​This ​happens ​for many ​reasons ​but ​often ​we ​lack ​the ​insight ​into ​what’s really ​happening.

Marketing ​automation ​provides ​insight ​into ​the ​realities of ​your ​business ​and ​helps ​to ​reveal ​blindspots.

For ​example, ​as ​you ​continue ​to ​build ​a ​bigger ​customer base ​and ​subscriber ​list, ​it ​becomes ​more ​difficult ​to ​keep track ​of ​who ​has ​been ​contacted ​and ​when. ​This ​means you ​run ​the ​risk ​of ​repeatedly ​contacting ​someone ​for ​the same ​thing, ​or ​missing ​an ​opportunity ​because ​you ​aren’t clear ​on ​who ​is ​following ​up.

With ​marketing ​automation, ​you’ll ​have ​your ​CRM ​and marketing ​tools ​in ​a ​single ​system, ​providing ​a ​better ​view into ​the ​entire ​sales ​cycle. ​Everyone ​on ​your ​team ​has access ​to ​the ​same ​information ​and ​this ​helps ​ensure time ​isn’t ​wasted ​on ​things ​that ​may ​have ​already ​been handled.

From ​a ​customer ​experience ​standpoint, ​not ​having ​clear records ​of ​contacts ​that ​have ​been ​made ​with ​a ​customer can ​make ​your ​team ​look ​disorganized ​and unprofessional, ​which ​is ​a ​surefire ​way ​to ​ensure ​people reconsider ​their ​decision ​to ​do ​business ​with ​you.

#4. ​You ​Need ​to ​Streamline ​Your ​Onboarding

First ​impressions ​matter. ​By ​ensuring ​your ​onboarding processes ​are ​as ​efficient ​and ​streamlined ​as ​possible, your ​clients ​start ​off ​on ​the ​right ​foot ​with ​your ​business.

Whether ​you’re ​building ​new ​homes ​or ​training ​people on ​software, ​there ​are ​steps ​early ​in ​the ​onboarding process ​that ​can ​be ​preset ​through ​automation.

Your ​automation ​of ​onboarding ​can ​include ​things ​like ​a personalized ​welcome ​message, ​outlining ​timelines ​and expectations, ​feedback ​surveys, getting started training videos ​and ​other ​personalized communications. ​All ​of ​these ​will ​go ​a ​long ​way ​to ​create a ​good ​customer ​experience, ​as ​well ​as ​save ​you ​time ​and ensure ​consistency ​from ​one ​client ​to ​the ​next.

By ​improving ​your ​marketing ​processes ​and incorporating ​automation, ​you ​can ​use ​the ​real-time ​data you ​have ​on ​hand ​to ​come ​up ​with ​strategies ​that ​will drive ​sales ​and ​further ​grow ​your ​business.

Gary Thompson
Owner, OnMerit Marketing

About the Author

Gary is OnMerit Marketing’s owner and blog writer. A Brand Designer and Internet Marketing Specialist, he has a passion for helping small businesses look great and grow their businesses online. Follow Gary on Twitter @onmerit, or Facebook: