Over the past few months, we’ve been testing out SharpSpring, a marketing automation software designed as a powerful solution for small businesses. We’re excited to be offering SharpSpring to our clients, giving them the opportunity to manage and collect sales leads, contacts, email marketing efforts, and other tools to grow their businesses.
Read on to learn more about marketing automation in general, with a specific focus on SharpSpring’s capabilities.
What is marketing automation?
Don’t be embarrassed if you’re not familiar with the term “marketing automation.” You’re not alone!
Briefly, marketing automation is the software or system that a business uses to manage leads that come in via email, social media, organic search, PPC, and other platforms. It allows companies to contact these leads in various ways and automates the process for repetitive tasks like email “drip” campaigns.
While this might sound like something only a large corporation would use, small businesses can also use marketing automation software to turn more leads into sales, monitor the ROI for their various advertising programs, and encourage repeat customers.
How do small businesses use marketing automation?
Get insight about your campaigns
The first big benefit of using marketing automation software like SharpSpring is that it gives you a lot of insight into how customers are finding and using your site. If you monitor where your traffic is coming from and what they’re doing on your website, you can get a good sense of which marketing campaigns are working – and which ones aren’t.
Example: You know that you’re spending $2,000/month on Google Adwords ads and $1,000/month advertising on Facebook. SharpSpring shows you that most of your Adwords visitors are leaving the site within seconds, never signing up or making a purchase. Your Facebook visitors, on the other hand, are visiting multiple pages and many sign up for your newsletter or make purchases from your store. It might be time to reduce your Adwords spend and do more with Facebook.
You can use the information you get from SharpSpring to make educated decisions about the best way to spend your marketing dollars.
Turn leads into sales
Often, a potential customer will sign up to receive emails from your company even if he or she isn’t ready to make a purchase quite yet. That’s a lead in need of a little nurturing. Marketing automation allows you to set up a series of emails that will educate those potential customers about your products, services, and deals. When they’re ready to buy, they’ll remember and come back to you.
Example: Tony visits your jewelry website when he’s shopping for a Christmas present for his wife (good job, Tony – it’s important to shop early)! He looks around and decides to subscribe to your email newsletter even though he isn’t quite ready to make a purchase. Since you have SharpSpring set up with email nurturing, Tony receives an email from you within minutes of signing up. Your email talks about the quality and creativity that go into each piece of jewelry you sell. Tony’s feeling more confident already. When he receives your next email a week later, he’s happy to read about how your company ethically sources the jewels you use. By the time your third email arrives with a 10% off coupon inside, he’s ready to come back to your site with his credit card in hand.
We know that it often takes several “touches” to turn a lead into a paying customer. Setting up marketing automation gives you the chance to reach out to your prospects on a regular basis until they’re ready to buy.
Go beyond email and analytics
Free tools like Google Analytics will tell you that people are visiting your site, and services like MailChimp allow you to blast out messages to your email leads, but these can only take you so far. Marketing automation tools give you the information you need to take action. Whether you’re optimizing your marketing budget based on what you learn when you log in to SharpSpring or you’re making sure that your leads get matched up with the right salespeople on your team, marketing automation is all about growth.
Marketing automation highlights for B2B companies
- Turn visitors into leads: Most people who visit your site won’t fill out a form or “convert.” They’ll poke around, read a few pages, and exit without giving you a way to get in touch. SharpSpring’s VisitorID feature changes all that, turning a large portion of your anonymous visitors into actionable leads with phone or email contact information.
- Understand visitor behavior: Marketing automation doesn’t just tell you that someone visited your site. Instead, you can get a detailed look at which pages they visited and when, along with actions they took on those pages. The more you understand about your potential customers, the better able you are to approach them with the right offers at the right time.
- Trigger personalized emails: Go beyond the lead nurturing we discussed above and send your known visitors specific messages based on what they’ve been doing on your site. Small businesses pride themselves on their ability to know and interact with their customers on a personal level. SharpSpring and other marketing automation services can help!
Are you ready to get more leads and make more sales? Send us a note and we’ll get you set up with affordable marketing automation to grow your small business!