Article

Huw Neale
Huw Neale 16 November 2017
Categories Email & eCRM, Technology

Automated Marketing Workflows For Small Businesses

Let marketing automation work for your business and help save time on social and email communications so you can invest more time in the day to day running of your business.

Marketing automation is a key part of the modern day marketers tool bag that enables businesses to automate various forms of communications to their target audience without too much compromise on the personal touch.

But many SME’s can be put off as they are perceived as 1) too costly to implement and 2) too technical to use.

Regarding cost, yes there are automation tools that can be hundreds of pounds per month to use but these aren’t the only options available.

Here is a very quick list of automation tools for small businesses to leverage lead generation that are either free or have less than £100 per month subscriptions if you’re stuck on where to begin.

 

Newsletter and Email

  • Mailchimp – is an email and newsletter automation platform. It is great for producing professional quality newsletters and automated email sequences. One of the best bits of mailchimp is the comprehensive analytics for response and open rates on the email you send out.

  • AWeber – is similar to mailchimp as it is predominantly focused on email and newsletter automation campaigns. It has more variety to its automation features than mailchimp but this comes at a slightly higher price than mailchimp’s free offering.

  • GetResponse – is an automated email and workflow campaign platform that has an easy to use campaign builder and has been built with small businesses in mind.

 

CRM

  • AgileCRM – is an affordable CRM and marketing automation platform that could be an alternative to more expensive options such as Infusionsoft and Hubspot.

  • ZohoCRM – is a cloud based CRM that enables you to keep all your lead and customer contact data in one place. It also has email automation features to add to your set-up.

 

Social

  • Hootsuite – will automate all social media posts and monitoring.

  • Tweetdeck – if twitter is a platform you will use regularly then this free automated tweeting and monitoring dashboard is a must.

 

There are some essential automation workflows that can help small businesses reduce the amount of time they spend replying to emails, sorting through contact data and social feeds and help create more time on running their day to day business.

 

Here are a few I recommend:

  • Automated email to newsletter subscribers or form completions

This is a basic and obvious one, but lets start with this. If you have any type of newsletter or information subscription or form to complete an automated email response to the subscriber should immediately follow.

This can be just a simple thank you or a link to a download but it should acknowledge that you are grateful to your lead for subscribing to you.

  • Cart abandonment automated workflow

If you run an ecommerce website this is an essential workflow. Depending on the ecommerce platform you have set up on your website you can integrate various automation apps such as Mailchimp and GetResponse to send an automated email reminding the customer that they have products in their shopping cart that have yet to be paid for. This automated tactic could increase your revenue and customer conversion significantly.

  • Product specific automated workflow

Staying on the ecommerce theme, you can set up an automated email workflow to push similar products that your customers have either been browsing or have bought in the past. The master of this tactic is Amazon. If you have ever bought anything from Amazon you will no doubt have received emails from them that provide new product ideas that closely match your interests and recent purchases.

  • Landing page automated workflow

Landing pages are an essential tool to capture customer contact data and build your marketing funnel. Often landing pages will be created for potential leads to fill in a form online and in return receive an offer of value. This is a tactic often used by any business that sells products or services online or have content of value to share with their customers such as a whitepaper or case study.

As with the product specific automated workflow this enables you to create highly personalised follow up emails to your subscriber. As they have already expressed an interest in your offering your workflow should be designed to send relevant and timely email sequences that further add value to the offering they received and move your subscriber closer to the bottom of marketing funnel and convert to a customer.

For example if you are a small cosmetic manufacturer and you have a whitepaper on the anti-aging benefits of your products, your next follow up emails should be specific to the theme of anti-aging. The emails should provide the lead with information and data that influences their purchasing decision to buy from you.

  • Tradeshow or event follow up automated workflow

It often amazes me the amount of companies, particularly b2b, that spend large chunks of time inputting all lead data they gather from an event in to their CRM and then following up with separate emails. Also, sometimes these follow up emails do not happen for at least a week post the tradeshow or event as they can take time if lots of leads have been collated.

If your CRM system has an automated email facility, set up an automated email template to send to all new contacts from the event within 24 hours of the event.

If your CRM system does not have an automation facility then use one of the automated email responder tools I’ve recommended in this post.

The email can send a link to product brochures, catalogues, whitepapers or your website.

You can still follow up with a personal email later but an immediate email with relevant information can ensure you keep the lead engaged. At events people can network with lots of other vendors, businesses and competitors. You want to make sure that it is you who they remember the week after attending an event.

 

"Imagine the time it would take to have

to send all of these types of emails and

communication workflows individually.

You would never have time to run

your day to day business."

 

  • Customer appointments or consultation booking automated workflow

If your business is based on booking appointments or consultations with customers then this is an automated workflow you should have set up. For example, you may be a dentist or chiropractor and either take bookings online, over the phone or in person.

Whichever the case, when a booking is made on the system you should have an automated workflow set up for the following:

  1. An auto responder thanking the customer for the booking and confirmation of the date, who they are booked in with and details of the appointment.

  2. An email or text message appointment reminder at least 48 hours before the appointment. If your business or meeting warrants it you could also send an agenda or itinerary for the meeting.

  3. A thank you message within at least 24 hours post appointment thanking them for attending and a call to action for repeat purchase or booking.

As cancellations are inevitable you should also have an automated workflow set up for cancellations and a link that makes it easy for them to re-book at a more appropriate time and date. You don’t want to lose customers because they were not able to attend and re-book.

Imagine the time it would take to have to send all of these types of emails and communication workflows individually. You would never have time to run your day to day business.

Often with small businesses there are not many other staff you can delegate tasks to either.

So let marketing automation work for your business, enhance productivity and ensure you maintain timely and valuable communication with your leads and customers.

It will save time and allow you to spend more time running day to day business activities.

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