Small businesses spend a huge amount of their time marketing. Because they most often lack the necessary budget, much of small business marketing is done the old fashioned way — hoofing it. Small business owners will do whatever necessary to get word of their companies out there. However, the internet offers a number of alternatives to traditional marketing methods. Through automating the process, small businesses can focus on improving their products and services while watching their revenue improve.
Creating the Sales Funnel
The first step in automation is setting up what’s called a ‘sales funnel.’ Think of it as a tube that gets narrower the closer to the bottom you get; the large mouth brings in a huge amount of potential customers, narrowing down the browsers and those with only a passing interest. By the time they reach the bottom, only those who truly want your product remain.
A proper sales funnel doesn’t just increase revenue, but also helps to build a fan base that will come back time and time again for more products and services. The lifetime value of a loyal customer can be worth far more than trying to win hundreds of one-time customers.
This broad-spectrum approach lends small businesses the ability to cast a wide net while still improving themselves. For example, if a business is using a content marketing approach, it pushes them to become better experts within their specific industry. Through A/B testing, you can determine what type of content wins the most views and customers. You can use this same A/B testing to determine what type of landing page works best for you.
Automatic Email Marketing
Another aspect of marketing automation is email marketing. Systems exist that will automatically email a customer after they’ve made a purchase. This email can be anything you want it to be: a thank you note, information about how to use the product, etc. By sending several of these follow up emails, you can follow-up with the customer if they have any cares or concerns. This can provide valuable feedback about your product or service.
The same sort of automation can be used to schedule social media updates well ahead of time. If you find it difficult to carve time out of your schedule to tweet or post Facebook updates, use an application such as Hootsuite or another automatic posting service to schedule an entire week’s worth of posts.
By tracking what websites your visitors spend the most time on, how many clicks and links each page receives, and more, you can hone your business website to its most effective state possible. Analytics provide valuable insight into the mind of the customer. Tracking the behavior of a person browsing your website allows you to discover what banner advertisements, links to content, and email signup position is most effective. If you find a spot that isn’t working, you can tweak that particular advertisement to further increase engagement.
How to Get Started
Most small businesses like the idea of marketing automation, but the initial startup costs are a roadblock. While there is some cost associated with the process (initial learning times, purchasing programs and subscriptions, etc.), the trade-off is well worth it. By automating your marketing, you can spend less time focusing on making sales and more time on improving your product and service.
Advanced Funds Network can help. AFN offers business loans to companies that are trying to get off their feet. Since 2007, they’ve funded more than $252 million to businesses both large and small. With a fast, two-hour approval time and a 110% customer satisfaction rating, AFN can give you the loan you need to get your marketing automation started. If done properly, it will pay for itself in no time. Even if your company doesn’t have the best credit, AFN can still help you out. Give them a call for a consultation on how they can improve your business today.