It’s nearly summertime, which means it should be time to kick back and enjoy the warmer weather, but many small business owners could be missing out on fun in the sun with their family and friends.
Why? 56 percent say they feel they can’t ever step away from their businesses.
Luckily, the ability to automate sales and marketing workflow gives many small business owners time back in their day.
With automation, they can go to bed earlier at night or even spend a weekend at the beach knowing that revenue opportunities aren’t slipping through the cracks.
Marketing automation was once limited to big business but is now becoming more accessible and affordable for even the smallest organizations.
Now, newsletter subscribers can be automatically added to a list and thanked for subscribing, leads can receive automatic responses and follow-ups, and prospects automatically nurtured over a period of time.
While many small business owners are excited about the idea of automation, it can be difficult knowing where to start and how to make automation effective for their individual business. Despite the hesitation, high-performing automated campaigns can be easy-to-build, resulting in valuable time savings while proactively staying in touch with customers.
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Here are three automated campaigns to get any small business owner started:
Automate Newsletter Sign Ups and List Creation
A newsletter is a great way to stay in touch with customers and prospects regularly without investing a huge amount of time. A monthly newsletter is common, but depending on your industry and client base, a quarterly or every-other-month format may be a great starting point for your business.
Most small businesses will start a newsletter as a key touch point with customers and to build trust and loyalty with subscribers. Here are a few best practices to keep in mind:
- Start by building your list. Both existing customers and prospects should be added to a list, plus a subscription form on your website will allow you to further grow it. Just a simple request for visitors’ email addresses is enough to automatically add new subscribers to your newsletter list. This makes sending future editions of your newsletter faster since the list creation process is now automated.
- When it comes to design, don’t be afraid of a little color. Color can be a great visual separator between different sections of your newsletter, and has been proven to help increase engagement with email newsletters. You can also use photos or icons for pops of color.
- But, leave some white space. Newsletters with ample margins give the eye a place to rest between content sections and are much more appealing to the eye than mass text blocks.
- Keep it short and sweet. Be selective about the content included in your newsletter. A good rule of thumb is to include a maximum of three major stories to prevent content overload.
Automate Your Form Completions Follow Up
Another automated campaign to consider is an auto-responder for the forms on your website. By prioritizing forms that are most likely to result in a sale, such as, request a demo, price quote or consultation forms you ensure that these prospects are followed up with promptly.
Auto-responders, as well as internal notifications and team task assignments sent immediately as part of an automated campaign, can help you and your team efficiently manage and prioritize leads.
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This automated process allows you to inform your prospect when they’ll be hearing from one of your team members, how the rep will be getting in touch (via phone or email), and also encourage your prospect to sign up for your newsletter or follow you on social media with no immediate action needed on your part. Here are a few best practices to get you started:
- Send an immediate follow-up email as the first step of your auto-responder. This email confirms that the visitor’s form submission has been received.
- It doesn’t have to be boring. Consider the tone of your website and your brand, and use the auto-responder as a first opportunity to introduce your tone to your prospect.
- Add links to your social channels, blog or newsletter. Give the prospect something to do while they’re waiting to hear back from you! Since they’ve submitted a form on your site, they’re clearly interested in what you have to offer and are excited to hear more about you.
- Keep it short. The goal is to thank them for submitting their form, let them know when they’ll hear back and add in a call-to-action. That’s it!
- Personally follow up within 24 hours but preferably even faster. The faster you reach the lead, the more likely you are to convert them while your product or service is on their mind.
Create Your First Drip/Nurture Campaign
Drip campaigns also called nurture campaigns or sequences, are sets of emails that go out based on a pre-determined timeline or the recipient’s interactions with your content. There are dozens of potential applications for drip campaigns, from nurturing leads and welcoming new subscribers to asking for referrals and more.
Most small businesses start with a campaign focused on nurturing prospects who aren’t quite ready to buy. Even implementing just this one campaign can save you a ton of time, while staying top-of-mind with prospects and closing more deals. These have been known to generate astronomical increases in email marketing ROI. Here’s how you can get started:
- Begin with one campaign. Whether it’s a customer onboarding sequence or a prospect nurture sequence, start with one and build from there. This allows you to get your feet wet without getting overwhelmed by creating the content and trying to track performance.
- Test and evolve consistently. Marketing automation tools allow you to easily see how your email campaigns perform, which emails people open and which ones they don’t. With all that data, it’s worth testing and changing things over time. Subject lines, personalization, calls-to-action and the layout of your content all have an impact on how well your emails perform.
- Use content you have already. If you have a blog, repurpose evergreen blog posts as content for your drip campaigns. Same goes for any videos, datasheets, ebooks, infographics and other types of resources you likely already have for your business.
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With marketing automation, you can build a variety of campaigns that are relevant to your clients and prospects, while saving time on marketing tasks for you and your sales team not to mention making more efficient use of your marketing time and dollars. The long-term time savings for you, as well as increased sales and customer retention, can pay huge dividends for your business and your vacation