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7 Ways Small Businesses Can Catch Up Using Marketing Automation

5 min

Turning the tables on your field’s big, established operators can seem insurmountable. But it needn’t be.

Marketing automation helps us to level the playing fields, giving our small business a fighting chance against the industry titans and helping us to make up some serious ground. Here’s how…

1. Achieve more with less resources

What are the options for a small business to compete with the big hitters in the market?

A: The small business attracts additional funding and spends millions developing its resources to reach the same level as its more established competitors.

B: The small business focuses on short-term moves toward long-term success, utilizing its current resources in ever-more-effective ways.

Of course, the long-term goal might be to achieve option A, but in reality, we can only work with what we have at our immediate disposal.

In many cases, this means spreading our resources even thinner as we aim to keep up with the industry leaders across an expanding array of channels.

With marketing automation, this can be easier. Instead of spreading ourselves too thinly, tap into the crafty marketer who exists within us all and take some of the pressure off with an automated system. With this in place, it becomes easier to make up the ground.

2. Streamline cash flow by automating lead nurturing

Reliable cash flow is vital in the early days of business. This revenue flow supports our strategies as we target growth, makes us feel more confident about our business idea taking off, and gives us an additional element of security.

Automated processes can trim the fat from our lead nurturing strategies and clear the way for good, low-level cash flow in the formative years of business. They also help us optimize our conversion channels, reducing the time from first contact to full conversion.

When a business is established, spending more time nurturing prospects of potentially extremely high value is certainly worth the time and effort spent. However, particularly at the start, short-term cash flow needs to be supported. Marketing automation’s efficiency and simplification of processes make this possible.

3. Boost your resources’ capabilities

It is not only the speed and efficiency of our processes that can be augmented by good quality marketing automation; we will suddenly find ourselves far more capable.

This is because marketing automation makes a little go a long way. Perhaps you have a small staff, limited capital, a slim number of business contacts, and only one or two lead-generation channels. Marketing automation helps you get the most out of these resources.

So, what does this mean in real terms? It means that those strategies you have been dreaming of rolling out, those targets you’ve fantasized about hitting, aren’t so far away. In fact, your business is far more capable than you had initially considered.

7 ways small businesses catch up using marketing automation

4. Make data-driven decisions

So, our scope has suddenly broadened; we have found that our business was better positioned to achieve great things than we had first thought, so what now? We need to plan our next strategic steps.

But our business is still young and not yet established, and it lacks the robustness and structural integrity to weather any serious financial storms. Can we mitigate the risks in our future strategy?

Marketing automation gives us data, and from that data comes knowledge; both of our business and of the market we operate in. This knowledge is what we need to make sure that the strategic moves we make are the right ones.

Small businesses can ill afford to make mistakes; marketing automation means they don’t have to.

Luckily, many marketing automation tools like GetResponse, HubSpot, Klaviyo, and Mailchimp have analytics features and report dashboards. Thus, besides automating marketing processes, businesses can gain useful marketing insights.

Whatever marketing automation tool you use to collect data must comply with data privacy regulations such as GDPR and CCPA.

5. Be on every platform without the hassle

Omni-channel, omni-channel, omni-channel—this has been the marketing mantra since 2016, but it is far more than just a buzzword. New marketing and social media platforms are constantly made available to the public.

Customers engage with our businesses in many ways, often switching between multiple platforms during a single transaction. It is up to us to meet them wherever they are.

It is simple math: utilizing the same amount of resources across an increasing number of channels means fewer resources per channel and a dip in performance across each. But what if we add marketing automation to the equation?

By implementing marketing automation, businesses can suddenly interact with and support leads and customers effortlessly across all channels. Much of what makes omni-channel such a drain on resources can be automated anyway, and it pays to take advantage of this.

6. Understand demand

So, we are meeting the needs of prospects and leads across different channels, making the right moves to move us forward in the future, supporting our efforts with cash flow, and managing our resources well. What else can we do?

To expand our products and services even further, we must understand the demand for them. What are our customers interested in? What can we provide for them in the future? How can we augment their total lifetime value?

Data derived from marketing automation platforms will answer these questions, helping us understand what the customer wants and how we can provide it.

We can’t know what moves to make unless we have insight into our customers’ psychology; we need to gain this insight and gain yet more ground on the industry leaders.

7. Be Proactive and get great results

We don’t need to let things happen to us, we need to be the influencers, the movers and shakers, the organizations disrupting the markets we operate in. This requires a proactive, not a reactive approach; it requires us to understand the market and predict its future developments.

To do this, we need data, which marketing automation systems provide. We can analyze trends, observe fluctuations and changes, examine the actions of more established model companies, and apply all of this to business.

Over time, the result is a keen understanding and a distinct knowledge of market behaviors and how to influence them. The building blocks are all in place and growth will surely follow; those breathing the rarefied air at the top better watch out, because we are coming for them!

Michael Brenner
Michael Brenner
Michael Brenner is CEO of Marketing Insider Group, co-author of the best-selling book The Content Formula, and one of the leading voices in Marketing today. Follow Michael on Twitter @BrennerMichael and connect with him on LinkedIn.