Three Myths About Marketing Automation That Could be Hurting Your Small Business

In the world of digital marketing, the word on everyone’s lips at the moment is “automation.” Most companies have already automated at least some level of their marketing. However, small businesses in particular are lagging behind, either because they’re not implementing the right kind of automation, or because they underestimate what marketing automation can do for them.

So how can automating your digital marketing strategy benefit you? Let’s look at the specific challenges of small business marketing automation, and debunk a few myths that might be holding your business back.

Myth: Marketing automation is just for big businesses.

Some small businesses mistakenly dismiss marketing automation as “just for big companies.” You might have heard that automation platforms are too costly for small businesses, or it’s only “worth it” to automate marketing once your company has reached a certain size. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Any business that wants to improve lead conversion, and increase the lifetime value of their customers, should take a serious look at marketing automation. Small businesses in particular often suffer from a piecemeal approach to marketing, tacking on new social networks or sending out email blasts manually, without a unified strategy for synthesizing all these efforts. Without the right nurturing, you can lose promising leads and even existing clients. And in a small business, where manpower is scarce, it’s especially important that your employees aren’t wasting their time on repetitive or ineffective tasks.

Good marketing automation software is not one-size-fits-all. Software like SharpSpring and ActOn, for example, have small business marketing automation options that are tailored to smaller companies. A good marketing team can use these tools to optimize your campaigns, so your small business can see big returns.

Myth: Marketing automation is just glorified email marketing.

So what exactly does marketing automation entail for a small business? It’s just emails, right?

In fact, email is only the beginning of what marketing automation can do for you. Any repetitive marketing task can be automated, including posting on social media and even responding to how your leads and clients interact with your website. With automation, your small business will be able to unite all your marketing efforts into a consistent, unified plan of action for each lead.

Marketing automation can help you see patterns and create action-triggered plans for leads at every stage. You’ll spend less time on low-quality leads, and be able to nurture your leads with content that’s relevant to them. Instead of sending out email blast after email blast, you can use marketing automation to track how clients interact with your emails, and then follow up in the appropriate ways for different groups. This way, you’re not losing your audience by throwing marketing efforts towards them that won’t land. Or, you can automate a task-flow for leads that come from social media, targeting them based on their preferred platforms of communication.

You can implement dynamic emails, and even dynamic landing pages, based on how your leads interact with you. Think about Amazon, one of the consistent leaders in marketing. The Amazon homepage always shows personalized recommendations based on each customer’s individual profile. With the right marketing automation, your small business can take a similarly sophisticated approach.

Myth: If you automate your marketing, then you don’t need a marketing strategy.

Just like with any marketing tool, automation doesn’t mean your marketing “takes care of itself.” Yes, marketing automation is a fantastic tool for small businesses, but it’s a supplement to your marketing strategy, not a substitute. While automation began as simply a time-saver, today many businesses are reporting that smart automation has also improved their level of customer engagement, and increased up-sell opportunities.

Great marketing still requires a human factor, and automation can make that human factor much more effective. How? Marketing automation can collect and generate data about the success of your marketing efforts, giving your marketing team new and vital tools to perfect their approach. Marketing automation makes it easy to implement tools like A/B testing, or action-triggered marketing, so you’re ready the moment a lead moves further down the funnel.

This means your marketing team knows right when a lead is ready for sales, or when a current client is ready for a new product. It also means your valuable human resources spend less time fiddling with spreadsheets or chasing hit-or-miss marketing efforts, and more time on real strategizing, so they can stay ahead of the market.


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