What Is Marketing Automation and Why Does My Business Need It?

Marketing automation software efficiently and inexpensively takes care of repetitive and mundane marketing tasks, helping you save time and money.

Marketing, Small business

Managing and implementing online marketing and sales strategies for a small business takes a lot of time and effort. Marketing automation software streamlines certain activities, such as responding to inbound leads, executing marketing campaigns, maintaining customer relationships and analyzing raw data. Here's a quick overview of what you need to know about these automation programs and how you can leverage them to benefit your small business.

What Does the Software Do?

Dozens of marketing-automation software programs exist today, each offering different capabilities and perks. Basic programs help automate email marketing campaigns, social media management and the scheduling of lead follow-ups for potential new business. Depending on your budget, some of the subscription-based programs offer more extensive services, such as customer relationship management, SEO optimization and even e-commerce platforms for small businesses.

How Can It Help My Business?

Marketing automation provides an easy, all-in-one solution to the mundane and repetitive tasks of marketing and social media management. It can improve your sales while reducing your total marketing costs. A recent report by Adobe Digital Insights analyzed 3 million social mentions from 2016?2017, and 30 percent cited that automation helped save time.

It may very well save you time on your own marketing efforts. Manually scheduling and executing marketing tasks for lead generation while maintaining relationships with existing customers is time-consuming, especially if you have a large customer base and many social media channels to manage. This software enables businesses to automate communications to strengthen relationships with prospects and customers, while freeing up time for the more creative and exciting aspects of generating and closing new business.

How Much Does It Cost?

Getting one of these programs for your business doesn't cost as much as you might think. In fact, several of the most basic programs won't cost you anything at all. The free version of Leadsius provides form, landing page and email creators, as well as web analytics and support for up to 250 contacts.

Mautic has features to monitor leads, create emails and landing pages, nurture leads and generate analytics reports. Although the free options come with limited contact databases and features, the premium suite is more expansive. For even more comprehensive options, programs like HubSpot and MailChimp offer affordable monthly subscriptions ranging from $10?$200 depending on your specific needs.

Marketing automation software gives small businesses the opportunity to compete with bigger companies and expand in an increasingly complex online environment. Manually sending promotions and emails, tracking leads and compiling analytics has become a time-consuming activity of the past. The work generated by one of these software programs eliminates the need to hire a dedicated marketing specialist and costs less, too. If you want to cut costs and spend more time on other aspects of your business, try one of the free services to see if automation works for you.