Marketing Automation on a Small Budget

Running a small business is very time-consuming, so having tools that can help nurturing your leads is almost priceless. By using marketing automation, you can deliver the right information to your customers and potential customers at exactly the right time via email.

If you follow the Being Your Brand blog, you know that I am a huge fan of HubSpot and their marketing automation tools. However, the cost of HubSpot’s tools is not always a viable option for small businesses. This is the case for a client of mine. I needed a solution that was both cost-effective, would save them time, could nurture contacts efficiently, and provided measurable data to use moving forward. The solution that fit all my criteria is MailChimp’s automation workflows. MailChimp’s tool is great because it allows us to nurture customers who did not purchase by sending them two carefully crafted emails over a four-week period. By staying in front of our potential customers in a way that is not too aggressive, we have increased the number of return visits from customers and in turn the number of sales.

Ways to Use Marketing Automation to grow you Business

There are many ways for you to use marketing automation for your business, but I am going to dive into just a few today:

  • Birthday emails – MailChimp allows you to create automation workflows based off a date; as such, if you collect a list of your customer’s birthday you can create a workflow that will automatically send them a series of birthday related emails as their birthday approaches.
  • Feedback emails –  You can create a workflow for when a customer purchases that will automatically send them a thank you email a few days after their purchase with a feedback survey link. This can help increase brand loyalty because the customer will feel special that you followed up and that you value their opinion.
  • Nurturing emails – If you business has a long sales cycle, it may be important to nurture your leads with educational materials while they decide if they are going to purchase. An example of a nurturing workflow would be to send three emails over the course of 6 weeks. The first email would include high-level educational information such as a relevant blog post or eBook. The second email would look to educate the contact further by inviting them to an educational (NOT sales focused) webinar. In the last email, you would offer them a free demo on how you can solve their problem.

TIP: Create nurturing campaigns around specific topics, and then enroll contacts that show interest in that topic. This way you improve the likelihood of engagement with your email.

  • Welcome emails – when someone subscribes to your newsletter or blog, have a workflow send an email to the contact thanking them for subscribing. Also, when you gain a new customer, create a welcome workflow that includes a series of on boarding emails.
  • Website activity based emails – You can even create workflows that will send particular emails to contacts based off of what they viewed on your website.

It is all about the testing

Marketing automation can be a powerful and helpful tool for any small business; but, to make sure that the implementation of the tool is successful, you need to follow these three tips:

  • Start small: this may be a new area of marketing for you, so do not feel like you have to start by creating 10 different nurturing campaigns. Instead, start with one small campaign and grow from there.
  • Listen to the Data: MailChimp provides you with a vast amount of metrics that you can use to analyze how your workflows and campaigns are performing. Look closely at the open-rates and the click-through rates of the emails in your campaign. If you notice that an email is not getting a lot of engagement, pause the campaign, create a new email and test again to see how the new email performs.
  • Use merge tags: Merge tags are a feature in MailChimp that allow you to dynamically add content to your email, such as a contact’s first name. By using a contact’s first name, the email looks more personal and often results in improved engagement.

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