As a small business owner, you’re well aware of the importance of keeping the customers you’ve worked so hard to close. However, winning that first order is often the easy part. The hard part comes when you have to incentivize that customer to buy again and again. Customer retention in today’s competitive markets is critical to growing market share. This is why a number of small businesses rely upon marketing automation software when looking to grow their business. What is marketing automation software?
Simply put, marketing automation is the process of moving prospects or leads through your sales process. In this case, marketing automation is similar to a sales funnel, one where the software nurtures and guides the prospect along until they become a paying customer. Once that new prospect does purchase, the software ensures that each additional step the customer takes puts them that much closer to making another purchase.
The automation part of the platform manages the customer according to their actions. Every action the customer takes provides the platform with the impetus it needs to deliver a tailored and focused marketing and advertising message. Ultimately, marketing automation provides customized content that appeals directly to that specific customer so that they are constantly reminded about the company’s latest offering.
Marketers use marketing automation software to keep their customers engaged. Small businesses define those specific customer actions that lead to winning business. In response, the software will provide those customers with email blasts, press releases, information on product launches, statuses on orders and updates on inventory counts, in addition to a number of other marketing and promotion-related tidbits of information. This puts the power in the hands of the small business; when you define the natural progression your customers take when making a purchase, it’s the software itself that will then react accordingly.
Problems with marketing automation arise when small businesses assume they can leave it on autopilot. The assumption that a number of businesses make is that they don’t actually have to manage the software. Instead of being an active participant, some small businesses simply input a purchased list of leads and assume the software will do the rest.
In some cases, marketers make the mistake of purchasing leads off the internet. Buying email lists is no way to properly work with marketing automation. The platforms works if the leads are qualified and likely to purchase. Buying an email list is a short-term band aid. In fact, putting a bunch of random emails into the software won’t produce the kinds of results your small business needs. Instead, the focus must be on generating qualified leads and then monitoring how customers respond to the information provided. This ultimately means tracking your company’s click-through rates (CTR) on incoming traffic to your website and your CTR on separate email and online marketing campaigns. In the end, the software works if you help to make it work.
Advance Funds Network (AFN) has helped several small and medium-sized enterprises secure the capital they needed to expand their business. For some customers, that means using our financing options in order to purchase marketing automation software. For others, it means helping them better manage the ups and downs of their business cycles, while helping them deal with uneven cash positions. Our financing solutions are predicated on working directly with customers in order to help them accomplish their growth objectives.