What are the best marketing automation tools for today’s small to medium businesses? If you are going to operate competitively and stand a chance to survive and thrive in this economic environment, you’ve got to have automation. This is especially true when it comes to marketing. So, what are the top tools for entrepreneurs, startups, and SMBs?
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What Marketing Automation Can Do What is marketing automation really, what can it do for your venture? Winning in business today is all about efficiency. Even small businesses and entrepreneurs now have a great opportunity to compete, if they can operate efficiently enough. That means being able to run a lean business, maximize the potential of the marketing budget, and scale faster. Specifically, marketing automation can help in these areas, according to the worlds largest outsourcing portal, Upwork.com.
- Time savings
- Customer relationship management
- Cost efficiency
According to Small Biz Trends and the Email Marketing & Marketing Automation Excellence 2017 Report, these are six of the main categories in which technology-driven techniques are being applied.
- Email and customer onboarding
- Profile-based targeting
- Personalization through content marketing
- Targeted marketing broadcasts
- Advanced segmentation
- Lead scoring
Here are seven of the top marketing automation tools available to SMBs now.
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Google Attribution is one of the marketing giants latest tools. It helps B2B and B2C marketers make sense of which of their marketing channels and efforts are really producing results. Without tools like these, business owners often really have no idea what is working, nor have an effective way of tracking marketing ROI.
Direct to voicemail or ringless voicemail drops have emerged as one of the best tools for reaching prospects and clients in mass. This can be part of customer service and loyalty programs, as well as for prospecting at scale, and generating hot inbound lead calls. The incredible savings on time and labor this can produce means that business can spend far more time generating real revenue than wasting time on the phone. It also happens to be one of the most effective direct response marketing methods that are still available to organizations of all sizes, from startup to Inc. 500 companies.
WordPress continues to be one of the most widely used website platforms and CRM tools in the world. In fact, it has almost 60% of the global market share in the CMS space. Almost 30% of the entire internet runs on WordPress. So, it works. There are more complicated options out there, but most don’t need the features. WordPress also makes it easy for marketing teams to create, collaborate on, and schedule marketing content, and even social. A huge variety of plug-ins can enable automated payments for subscriptions and sales through WP, and even affiliate marketing programs.
MailChimp is an affordable and easy to use email marketing automation tool. There are many similar tools such as AWeber, Get Response, and InfusionSoft. Most have very similar features and capabilities for automating follow up, list building, autoresponder series, and even popup ads and forms. However, where Mailchimp stands out for many is its low cost, free trials, simplicity in designing and sending email, and the wide variety of integrations with other services, like WordPress and Instapage.
Canva may not be as much of an automation tool as the others on this list, yet it does offer a lot to help streamline marketing efforts. Canva is primarily an image creation tool. It can be used to create image content for ads, blogs, and social media. You can even use it to create presentations, mini-websites, and slideshows. Perhaps more importantly for automation, it makes it easy for creative teams to collaborate on design, and for creating templates, and ensuring branding stays consistent across all marketing collateral.
One of the biggest time drags that small businesses face is publishing social media content. It is vital for most enterprises. Yet, there are so many platforms, and so much content to publish, that it can be a huge time drain, with a very poor ROI per hour. Assistants can help, but also often end up creating fragmented and unreliable processes, with underperforming results. Hoootsuite is a social media marketing management dashboard. With a little copy and pasting and a few clicks a month worth of content be scheduled out and automated.
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Bulk SMS & Text Message Marketing
Like ringless voicemail marketing, bulk text and SMS is a powerful tool for automating marketing efforts. It can be used to reach thousands of prospects and customers in minutes, and to generate inbound leads, website visitors, and calls, at a fraction of the cost of most other mediums. It can be scheduled in advance, with custom, and consistent messaging. On the backend it means only needing to spend labor hours on conversing with live and interested sales prospects; enhancing productivity and revenue potential while keeping down costs.
Marketing automation is crucial for small businesses to stay alive and grow, and for medium and larger businesses to keep growing and stay competitive. There more that is automated, the more that can be achieved. The above seven resources offer a variety of tools which can improve productivity and profitability in marketing and other areas of business.
This article is contributed by Katrina Manning. She is a content marketing specialist who has penned thousands of articles on business, tech, lifestyle and digital marketing for a wide variety of global B2B clients. She mostly writes for www.leadpath.com and she is also the author of three books and is currently working on her fourth. In her free time, she enjoys fundraising for charitable causes, playing with her cat and baking.
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