For small and medium business (SMB) owners, connecting in an authentic and engaging way with current and future consumers is crucial to their success. However, many aren’t able to devote the proper time to this, because of the heavy admin burden that comes with running a business.

This admin is often driven by a mess of legacy desktop software applications and the need to be a jack of all trades, fighting to make a business grow – and it’s stealing valuable time from entrepreneurs. Or, it was.

Many SMB owners are taking back their time, turning to automation tools, so they can get back to focusing on their consumers and doing more of what they love.

Automation for SMBs is here to stay

Automation is anything that reduces human intervention in a process. And many entrprenuers are already realising how it can help. A McKinsey & Co. study from 2020 of business leaders from a range of industries found that 66 percent were experimenting with automated solutions for at least one of their business processes, up from 57 percent in 2018. Automation software might sound like something only larger enterprises can benefit from. But that’s no longer true. Software to automate everyday business processes is both accessible and affordable for SMBs.

Many SMBs’ first taste of automation starts with their marketing. Email can lead to a great ROI, but that’s not the only marketing channel you can automate. SMS, tailored marketing campaigns and even using AI to engage with consumers can all be automated.

Let’s start with email

With the right marketing automation platform, you could win back lost revenue, engage new customers easily and even get a heads up when it looks like a consumer might be about to leave. It starts by allowing you to use data to segment your audiences. This way you’re not blasting out a generic message to everyone in your database. Instead, you can give existing consumers and warm leads content and offers relevant to them, strengthening relationships and building brand equity. Do this effectively over time, and it will lead to loyalty.

Marketing automation for email can also allow you to learn more about your consumers, through useful, actionable insights. You can see how a particular campaign is performing vs another, or try some A/B testing on different email subject lines to see what resonates most for your audience. Better still, a good marketing automation platform will prompt business owners with simple actions to take, based on the data collected. How many more emails could you send a warm lead before you turn them off? What’s the best time of day to send, to increase the likelihood your email gets read? When you’re a SMB owner your time is precious, making actionable insights incredibly valuable.

A lady using her phone in the gym.

98 percent of SMS messages are opened

Next up, the humble text message

SMS may feel dated in a world of notifications, but did you know that 98 percent of SMS messages are opened? Marketing automation can let you automatically send an SMS to a consumer after their first visit or purchase, letting them know you appreciate them and their custom. These texts can be automated based on behavior, removing the stress of building these relationships with large groups of consumers.

What about contact management?

You’ve probably heard about the way big companies can build a picture of their end users to create personalized experiences for them. Well, SMBs can now access this type of marketing power too.

It’s called contact management or CRM. And the right marketing automation platform can allow you to see all your consumers or members in one place, and give you a timeline of every contact they have with you, including which marketing items they’ve interacted with. Imagine what this sort of insight into your consumer base could do.

Marketing automation is here to stay – and it’s more accessible than ever. It’s time for SMB owners and entrepreneurs to take back their time, and let automation do the work.

Article by Xplor Technologies

First published: December 01 2021

Last updated: May 17 2024