Fuel Your Startup Success: 6 Benefits of Marketing Automation

It’s nearly impossible to talk about marketing strategy today without discussing the benefits of marketing automation and the important role it can play in your startup organization. HubSpot said it best and said it simply: Marketing automation is all about using software to automate marketing activities. 

So, why does that matter? Well, I don’t know about you, but I don’t have unlimited time or resources to spend on repetitive tasks. Enter, marketing automation. A tool that can automate social media posting, ad campaigns, email marketing, and more, all while providing a personalized experience for customers. But that’s just the start. In this post, we’ll cover 6 benefits of marketing automation that will help fuel your startup success: 

  1. Time Savings 
  2. Lead Nurturing 
  3. Scalability 
  4. Aligned Sales and Marketing Teams 
  5. Higher Conversion and Close Rates 
  6. Reporting 
benefits of marketing automation

Time Savings 

Workflow Automation 

As a startup, you could likely benefit from a tool that allows you and your team to save time, be more effective and efficient. Marketing automation can be incredibly helpful in that department. It can allow for task creation, real-time routing, and follow-up across channels. 

The creation of workflows allows startup companies to have marketing automation systems work both smarter and harder for them. For example, startups can:

  • Route internal requests 
  • Create custom tasks by sales rep
  • Set subscription types automatically 
  • Send custom ‘Thank You’ emails 
  • Set service or product interest categories

Thinking about starting to use marketing automation? Take the assessment to see if it’s right for you. Start here.

List Segmentation/Pulling 

Another benefit of marketing automation and a real timesaver is the ability to both segment and pull lists automatically. It pulls contacts that meet a certain set of criteria based on the information you have set up in your database. Whether your contact database is massive or in the building phase, automated list pulling is a must to save both time and ensure you’re tailoring your messaging to your personas.

In the Lyris Annual Email Optimizer Report, when asked to indicate their top three results, 39% of marketers who segmented their email lists experienced higher open rates, 28% experienced lower unsubscribe rates, and 24% experienced better deliverability and greater revenue. 

Why List Segmentation Matters in Email Marketing

Lead Nurturing 

Lead nurturing is the building of relationships with potential buyers who are not currently ready to buy but could be an ideal customer in the future. The goal of lead nurturing is to educate the prospect, build their awareness of your organization and its products or services, and build trust. 

How does marketing automation play a role here? It allows you to create lead nurturing campaigns, otherwise known as email drip campaigns. These are a series of emails spaced out over time that help buyers move from the awareness to the consideration to the decision stage of the buyer’s journey. Depending on your persona’s needs and your buying cycle, what to include in your emails, how many to send, and how often, will vary. 

Related Reading: 5 Ways Marketing Automation Can Help Boost Lead Volume

A few examples of actions that can initiate a lead nurturing campaign for startups are if a lead: 

  • Attends a webinar you’re hosting 
  • Downloads one of your case studies
  • Requests more information on a specific service or product  
  • Downloads a piece of premium content like an infographic or ebook

But remember, while ‘automation’ is a large part of this, nurturing campaigns should not be something you set up and let run its course. It’s important to consistently monitor things like email open rates, marketing attribution reports, and engagement. This will allow you insight into what’s working in your workflow and what’s not and then optimize accordingly. 

Scalability

Email Marketing 

Sending one email manually is easy. Sending a couple hundred or even thousands of emails that way, a little less so. That’s where marketing automation comes in. But how do you automatically send emails at scale without losing the personalization your buyers have come to expect? That’s one of the beauties of marketing technology. It allows for that personalization without all the manual labor. A few personalized “tokens” that you could include in your emails include: 

  • Recipient name 
  • Company name
  • Role or job title 
  • The last piece of content they downloaded 
  • Recommending content related to other pieces they’ve viewed or downloaded 
  • And more! 

Pro Tip: Get creative with your personalization, because we know personalization drives more replies, but don’t overdo it. Studies have shown that once you alter 50% or more of your email marketing template, the impact on the reply rate was negligible. Don’t waste precious time and resources on over personalizing. Learn more about more B2B email best practices here.

Source: Oberlo.com

The use of email goes beyond just personalization though. Although an important piece, it’s just one of the ways you can use it. So, what other benefits of marketing automation are there when it comes to email marketing?  

  • Create and save email templates 
  • A/B test your campaigns easily 
  • Automatically segment and pull lists 
  • Schedule emails and campaigns in advance 
  • Better reporting on what’s working and what’s not 
  • Automatically follow up with your leads 

Related Reading: Email Marketing for Startups: 5 Things to Consider Before You Hit Send 

Aligned Sales & Marketing Teams

Maybe a surprising benefit of marketing automation is the ability to facilitate collaboration between sales and marketing teams. Marketing and sales teams are able to use marketing automation to move leads through their buying funnel seamlessly. By creating automatic processes, this allows marketers to bring in leads, assess their readiness to buy, and send them to a sales rep without needing to manually intervene. Here are just a few ideas of sales collaboration oriented workflows: 

  • Assigning lifecycle stages and lead statuses
  • Transitioning Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) to sales
  • Closing the lead quality feedback loop
  • Assessing a lead’s readiness to speak with sales or lead scoring

Higher Conversion Rates 

Ultimately, the goal of all of this is to convert the aforementioned leads into customers. By using marketing automation, you can increase your conversion and growth rates, as it allows you to provide your subscribers with content that’s relevant to their buyer’s journey and as we know, personalizing communication and tailoring your messaging and content to your personas is key for engagement and effectiveness. 

Source: Moosend.com 


But don’t just take our word for it. We’ll let the numbers do the talking. According to recent studies, 80% of marketing automation users saw an increase in their number of leads using marketing automation software, and 77% had an increase in conversions.

Reporting 

Predictions and Decisions for the Future

How does the saying go, “You can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been.” Or something along those lines. Well, the same is true for making predictions and decisions for the future when it comes to your business. You have to know how things are currently performing before you can make informed decisions on what to do next. 

At Lake One, we’re about data first. Show us the numbers. But what does that have to do with marketing automation you ask? Well, a lot, actually. One of the benefits of marketing automation is the platform itself and the ability to create different dashboards to view the numbers and reports that matter most. 

Master your B2B website strategy. Grab the guide here.

A few examples of reports you could create for your startup include: 

  • Email campaign performance 
  • Traffic sessions 
  • Lead source 
  • Landing page performance 
  • Contact lifecycle funnel 
  • Sales pipeline 

Marketing for startups can be challenging enough without adding unnecessary tasks and time to your already full plate. So whether your startup needs to save time, nurture leads, scale email marketing efforts, align sales and marketing, increase conversion rates, create reports, or all of the above, marketing automation has you covered.

Email Marketing for Startups: 5 Things to Consider Before You Hit Send

When it comes to email marketing for startups, there are five things we recommend considering before hitting that send button. These ideas might help free up time, resources, and money by being more effective and efficient in your email marketing strategies: 

Email Marketing for Startups

Laser Focus Your Lists   

You don’t want to send your emails to just anyone and not just anyone wants to receive your emails. The saying “quality vs. quantity” rings true here. Focusing your email marketing efforts and curating a select list of people will help with overall performance. Not all buyers are the same nor are they all in the same place in the sales cycle. 

Emailing all your leads? Click here to learn how lead scoring can help qualify and convert.

List segmentation allows you to pull contacts that meet certain criteria based on the information that’s in your database. According to HubSpot and the Lyris Annual Email Optimizer Report, 39% of marketers who segmented their email lists experienced higher open rates, 28% experienced lower unsubscribe rates and 24% experienced greater revenue. 

To make this critical step even easier, when you utilize marketing automation software, list segmentation can be done automatically. If you aren’t currently utilizing marketing automaton, we recommend it. Especially if you have a large list of contacts, combing through them manually to create your lists can take a lot of time you may not have. 

Get Personal 

Now that you’ve got your carefully crafted email and targeted list, you need to make sure that you’re personalizing your email marketing efforts. Don’t just write to your “list”. Write to Joe Anderson or whatever individuals are on your list. This should be a human-to-human experience. We’ve all been on the receiving end of an impersonal, maybe even spammy email… did you read it? And if you did, did you feel valued or motivated to engage with the sender at all? I’m guessing not. 

Here are a few examples of how to personalize email marketing for your startup: 

  • Address your recipient by name in the greeting
  • Reference their company name 
  • Reference their role or job title 
  • Reference product or product category of interest
  • Note mutual connections
  • Reference the last piece of content they downloaded 
  • Acknowledge seasonality
  • Send by timezone 
  • Include personalization tokens in the subject line

All that said, there’s such a thing as a diminishing return when it comes to personalizing your communications. In a study conducted by HubSpot, they found that personalization drives more replies, only up to a certain point. Once someone altered 50% or more of their email marketing template, the impact on the reply rate was negligible. Create your email templates and work to customize the important pieces that will drive results, but personalizing more than half of your template will not provide more replies. So save your time and energy for other efforts in your startup. 

Make It Mobile-Friendly

Admit it. One of the first things you do when you wake up in the morning is check your phone. I wonder if your buyers are doing the same thing? With 68% of email campaigns being opened on a mobile device, they probably are. That’s why it’s important to ensure your emails are readable and ready to go for mobile. 

When doing email marketing for your startup, how can you ensure your emails are mobile-friendly? Campaign Monitor suggests: 

  • Watch your subject line length to make sure it’s not too long  
  • Use pre-header text to add support to your subject line 
  • Keep your copy short and sweet to engage with buyers efficiently
  • Give thought to your images as they won’t all show up on mobile devices
  • Keep your CTAs front and center to get to the point quickly 
  • Make it click-friendly by leaving white space around links and CTAs
  • Test your emails across multiple devices and email clients 

In today’s digital age, customers expect emails to be mobile-friendly. If you’re not meeting that expectation, you’ll quickly find your emails in the trash or worse, viewers will unsubscribe. 

Focus on Lead Nurturing 

Sending one email does not an email marketing campaign make. To seriously make an impact with your email efforts, you need to focus on nurturing leads and not just spamming them with emails. 

For a valuable, long-term nurturing strategy that allows you to move leads through the sales funnel at their own pace, we suggest an email drip campaign for lead nurturing, or as we refer to them as, nurture sequences. A drip campaign is a series of marketing emails that work together to move consumers toward a final conversion point. (Just don’t make these mistakes!)

These sequences should consist of helpful information, updates, products, services, and notifications spread out over time, meant to educate and engage your leads. The keyword here is “drip.” This is not an all at once blast of information; they should be sent slowly, providing ongoing value to readers. 

Pro Tip: To ensure lead nurturing is most effective, we recommend having a lead scoring system in place. What this does is pinpoint where a lead is within the buyer’s journey and can provide you direction on how to best communicate with them going forward. To learn more about lead scoring, click here

Lead Scoring

Take Advantage of Technology 

As we mentioned above, one benefit of using marketing automation when it comes to email marketing is that you can automate your list segmentation. But that’s just the start. When you take advantage of automation software, you’re allowing the tool to work smarter and harder for you. Given the fact that none of us has an unlimited amount of time and money to dedicate to email marketing, we recommend this route. 

Related Reading: 5 Fundamental Marketing Automation Tasks To Fuel Startup Growth

Marketing Automation for Manufacturing


So, what other ways can marketing automation help with email marketing for startups? 

  • Segment and automatically pull lists 
  • Implement drip campaigns 
  • Schedule emails and campaigns in advance 
  • Personalize communications by including personalization “tokens” in your templates 
  • Create and save email templates 
  • Allows you to easily A/B test your campaigns 
  • Better reporting on what’s working and what’s not 
  • Automatically follow up with leads 
  • And more!

TL;DR (Also Known as Key Takeaways): 

  1. Segment your lists. Casting a wide net might get you a lot of fish, but they probably aren’t all the fish you want to catch. Be specific and targeted with who you’re emailing and nurturing. 
  2. Get personal. Personalize your communications, whether it’s a promotional email, a drip campaign, a thank you email, and beyond. This is true for leads and current customers. You’re emailing more than just an inbox, you’re emailing a person. 
  3. Make your email mobile-friendly. 78% of people use their smartphones most often for email. Your buyers are reading your emails on their phones, so make sure they can actually read your emails on their phones.
  4. Be intentional with your emails and focus on lead nurturing. Set up drip campaigns and spread out the communications to leads. Allow them to move through the sales funnel at their own pace while engaging and educating them. 
  5. If you can, use marketing automation. Make your life easier by putting technology to the test when it comes to email marketing. By automating some of the more time-intensive and manual tasks, this will free up your time and talents for other things.

Evaluating HubSpot for Startups? 4 Questions to Consider

Two things we love here at Lake One. Startups and HubSpot. Startup marketing has a special place in our heart. Most of our team has had a stint in a funded startup at some point, so we know the culture and mindset that drives startups. We team up with venture funds and accelerators here in the midwest to share marketing insights with startups every year. Many of those startups, through their venture fund or accelerator, get access to a special perk known as the HubSpot for Startups program. We’ve worked with many startups through this program and want to share some of the essential questions we’ve helped organizations consider when evaluating HubSpot for startups.

Evaluating HubSpot for Startups

What is HubSpot for Startups

HubSpot for Startups is a special program for startups who are members of or alumni of more than 2,000 approved HubSpot for Startup Partners. These partners are incubators, accelerators or Venture Capital firms all over the world. Additionally, there are revenue guidelines that apply to your startup. If you’re eligible, startups earn significant discounts on HubSpot Growth Suite subscriptions and gain access to startup specific resources. You can learn more about the program and see if you’re eligible for it here.

Is My Startup Ready for HubSpot?

One of the first questions to consider when thinking about onboarding with the HubSpot for Startups program – is your startup ready for a platform like HubSpot? There’s a couple of different ways to think about this.

Inbound

Would inbound marketing for your startup work? Not every startup is a great fit and those resources might be better served somewhere else.

How do you know if you’re a good fit? If you answer yes to some of these questions for example:

  • Do you sell your product or service direct to your end-user?
  • Do you have a long, complex sales process?
  • Is your good or service a considered buying process, in other words, does it require multiple decision-makers and/or a lot of research?

Market Traction

Does your startup have some initial traction? This is important because traction indicates some semblance of process. When you adopt marketing and sales tech, data governance around your CRM and thinking critically about logic for workflows is a key part of the success you’ll have with your technology. That’s not to say you have to have everything figured out, but if you’re expecting the tool or an agency partner to make your startup launch, you’re probably not ready for this investment of money and time yet.

Which Hubs Should I Leverage From HubSpot?

Let’s assume you’ve made the decision that the timing is right. The discount is awesome from HubSpot – does that mean it’s worth signing up for all three hubs of the Growth Suite? Not necessarily.

Just like not every startup will lend itself well to inbound, or your maturity level might not have the traction needed for a platform like HubSpot, every Hub may not be immediately valuable to you.

Reflect on your most pressing needs with your startup.

Sales

  • Are you looking to scale and define sales processes?
  • Do you want to better report on your pipeline and have the ability to forecast?
  • Are you looking to automate certain aspects of your sales process like prospecting and outreach?
  • Do you need one source of truth for your CRM that supports both sales and marketing activity?

Sales Hub is worth a look.

Marketing

  • Do you have a long sales cycle with a complex product with prospects that need educating?
  • Do you have manual processes dragging down your team?
  • Do you want to be able to launch rapid tests with landing pages, emails and other creative?
  • Do you want to be able to send segmented and personalized email content?
  • Do you want a tool to launch lead capture without needing IT?

Marketing Hub is worth a look.

Service

  • Are you drowning in support tickets?
  • Wish you could just send people links to commonly asked questions so they can help themselves?
  • Is customer service a top priority for your brand?

Service Hub is worth a look.

You may find you want to go all-in right away, but know you can always add on over time as well. Take one Hub, implement it and get it operational. As a HubSpot partner, we’ve seen a lot of abandoned Hubs where teams just got overwhelmed.

How Long Should I Expect to Implement HubSpot?

Implementation time will be directly related to the complexity of your business and it’s processes. On the low end give yourself 4-6 weeks. It can scale up dramatically if you’re dealing with large amounts of existing customer data, integrations with third-party tools or your own product.

How Long Should I Expect to Get an ROI?

Technology is not a strategy. So the ROI will be contingent on how effective your strategy is within the platform. Whether it’s lead gen and conversion or customer experience improvements. That said, some rules of thumb, for example, are a lead gen program from inbound can take anywhere from 6 – 18 months to start building momentum. Also, give yourself time to continue to apply learnings around lead quality. It takes time to build the momentum around driving high quality traffic at volume.

search terms growth - inbound story

Startup Website Design With Purpose: Launching Lucent

At Lake One, we love partnering with startups. We thrive off the excitement and momentum that comes with the launch of a new company.

Recently, we partnered with Lucent Tax Relief, a startup based out of Central Minnesota that specializes in helping people address their IRS and State tax problems. A critical part of the launch and really the foundation of our inbound digital marketing strategy, was designing Lucent’s website. In this post, you’ll learn how we used thoughtful design elements to convey Lucent’s core values and differentiate them from the competition.

Startup Website Design With Purpose

Hold the Legalease Please

Before we jump into the design, it’s important to talk a little bit more about Lucent Tax Relief. Claudia Revermann, Attorney at Law and C.P.A., and Andy Hawkins CFP®, started Lucent Tax Relief as two people who wanted to help good people put their tax problems to rest. They had seen too many tax “relief” agencies be less than honest with people who are just trying to do the right thing.

Their mission is to treat clients like they are neighbors and friends. They do this with their straightforward process and timely communication with clients in plain English. They really we want clients to feel respected, understood and protected.

So how do you make brand ideals come alive on a website? Through thoughtful, purposeful design.

Website Design Click to Tweet

The Intent

Lucent’s website design is intended to convey the warm, welcoming, and approachable Lucent brand, while retaining a level of professionalism and driving users to conversion. The design aims to ease visitor fear, confusion, and anger by using the soft shapes and colors from the brand. At times, it can even feel therapeutic.

The Startup Website Design

Immediately you’ll notice how clean and friendly the website feels. The hero image of the succulent was selected specifically to avoid the cliche stock photos that we see way too often associated with tax relief. It also aligns with the goal of making the user feel at ease, like they are entering a safe and comfortable place.

Lucent Tax Relief Web Design

The Colors

You will find a few prominent colors on the site. The primary green color from the logo was used for the call-t0-action buttons to indicate action. The rounded corners on the CTA buttons add a more friendly aesthetic. We introduced a tertiary brand color (plum) to further differentiate Lucent Tax Relief from its competitors. It also adds a subtle touch of femininity against the blue-green primary colors which by nature are more masculine. There is also color throughout the site design specifically to visually break up sections of content.

website design colors

In each section, you’ll also notice overlays. These overlays add visual interest through color for a more “own-able” look and feel. You’ll also notice, they use the shapes from the “L” icon in the logo (2 quarter circles, a square, and a rectangle).

Website Design, Inbound Marketing

Final Thought

Every decision you make should be made purposefully. Design matters! No matter where you are in your growth journey, we’d love to hear from you. If you have questions about digital or know exactly what you need when it comes to marketing, contact us! We can’t wait to learn about what you’re working on and how modern, measurable marketing can help achieve your goals.

REQUEST A CONSULTATION

11 Pre-launch Startup Marketing Essentials

There are hundreds of resources and guides out there regarding how to best market a startup. In fact, there’s so much material that it can actually be pretty overwhelming to know where to start. Especially when, as a young company, you already have so much to focus on and worry about in terms of launching your business and getting your product off the ground. If you’re like most business owners, you want to get information as easily as possible and ensure that you are focusing on all of the right tasks instead of funneling time and money into efforts that aren’t helping you succeed. That’s where this guide comes in. Check out the basic essentials where your time and money will be focused on the tasks that are most likely to help you move your business forward.

prelaunch startup marketing essentials

Pre-Launch Startup Marketing Planning

Don’t wait until you have already hit the stores to start marketing your business. There are some smart things you can do pre-launch in order to make sure that when your product comes out, you already have a following.

         1.) Pick an awesome name – the name of your startup should be your core concern. It is an investment in your future and you want to make sure it’s something that is memorable and easy to find online.

          2.) Save domain names – make sure you grab all possible and relevant domain names once you have named your business, including .com, .co, .org, .eu, .io, etc. as they apply to you and your audience.

         3.)  Develop personas – make sure you have your target audience and personas well developed.

         4.)  Create social media accounts – this one is huge! Make sure you create profiles on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, Yelp, Twitter, etc. in order to start posting regularly and gain a following before you launch.

          5.) Get your website in gear – Even if your product isn’t available yet, you can still have a “Coming Soon” page on your website. This will help attract an audience and you can use your social media to link back to it to start developing more traffic.

         6.)  Invite beta testers – people love to be part of a project that is still in the early phases. It makes them feel special! Create a VIP list of beta testers who get to sample your product for free or get early access to it before everyone else.

         7.)  Start a blog – the sooner you start writing blog posts, the sooner you will gain attention from the audience you want.

         8.) Don’t delay on analytics – get your analytics in gear early on. Google Analytics and other free tools can help you keep tabs on your traffic and success from day one.

        9.)  Put your startup on directories – this is an awesome list of directories you can submit your startup to in order to start gaining attention.

      10.)  Build an outreach list – start building a list of people who might be interested in your product and your point of view. As you start blogging, this list is a good resource to develop your thought leadership in. As your roadmap unfolds, it’s also a place to release updates to for media coverage. 

         11.) Prep for the launch – set a date for your launch, write and share your press releases, send out a newsletter, fill up your social media with info about it and invite all your beta users to the launch party!

BONUS: Download our inbound campaign checklist to make sure your startup is ready when launching an inbound marketing campaign. 

inbound campaign checklist

4 Link-Building Tips Startups Can Implement Without a Computer Science Degree

Launching a company can be tough. Not only do you have to hire a staff to run the company, raise funds from investors, manage logistics and run a team, you also need to market your company and the product or service that you offer so that you can build a reputation and generate revenue. One of most powerful ways to do that is via the internet.

startup linkbuilding tips

Online marketing is an essential piece of the promotional puzzle for any company that wants to succeed today, and it includes many components: digital display advertising, paid search ads, content marketing and blogging, and more. One of the most important types of online marketing for startups is search engine marketing — or SEO. By optimizing your site for search, you can ensure that your website ranks high in search results and comes up close to the top, which means that internet users will be more likely to discover and click on it.

Mastering the art of SEO is complicated. Search engines like Google use a complicated algorithm in order to determine rankings. However, one of the most important parts of achieving a good SEO score is link building.

When other reputable sites link back to your blog, it proves that your content is high-quality and valuable. Thus, Google determines that you’re worthy of a better ranking, and shows you to searchers earlier.

It might feel hard to get links out on the web if you have a brand new company. However, there are some link-building tips that can be very useful for startups, so you can start building a reputation on the web — both via other sites who link to yours and via search engines.

Here are four link building tactics you can roll out without a phd.  

Reach Out to Influencers in Your Niche

One of the most powerful tools for promoting a product or service today is an influencer. Influencers are people with large social media or online followings, so when they share information about your company, it gets seen by many people. Reach out to influencers in your niche and ask them if you can give them money or free products or services in exchange for their promotion. If you’re able to find an influencer to partner with you to promote your product, you can get them to link to your website via their social media pages or website. That will give their followers the chance to check you out while building the number of links you have.

Start a Blog

Beyond your own website, start a blog where you post high-quality content regularly. You can include links to your site and products in the blog, which will help increase the number of links that exist on the web. Blogging itself — if your blogs are posted on your website — also helps boost your SEO score since high-quality written content plays into your ranking, too.

Answer Forum Questions About Your Area of Expertise

answer questions on forums to build links

There are many places online where people post questions, look for answers or have discussions. Find some of these resources, then answer questions that are relevant to your expertise or industry. In your answer, include a link to your site so people can check out more about what you do or know. That way, you prove yourself to be a knowledgeable and valuable thought leader while also increasing the number of links to your site on the web. Some good places to execute this tactic include Reddit, Quora or Craigslist Forums.

Talk to Other Local Businesses in Your Area or Potential Partner Businesses

If you have a brick-and-mortar presence, approach other businesses in your area and see if they would be willing to do a partnership with your company. Then, your companies can post about each other on the web. By partnering with a company to do a cross-promotion, you get to be exposed to their followers and customers while also successfully link building. If you only have an online presence, you can do the same thing with a company that’s compatible with yours; for example, if you offer a product, you may want to approach a company that makes a different product that can be used in tandem with yours. (e.g., a bicycle company could approach a helmet company for a partnership). In order to encourage another company to partner with yours, you may come up with an idea for a joint discount or deal that customers of either or both companies can enjoy.

Running a new business is difficult, and one of the most challenging parts is getting the word out about that business. Luckily, marketing a startup has become easier than ever thanks to the internet and tools like search engines. If you learn to master the art of SEO and understand how to link build, you can ensure you have a great score on engines like Google and Bing, which means that the people searching will discover you, become your customers and hopefully help spread the word about you to other potential customers, too!

 

REQUEST A CONSULTATION

5 Fundamental Marketing Automation Tasks To Fuel Startup Growth

Startups are often operating on a shoestring budget, and every last penny must be accounted for. There usually isn’t a lot of money for lavish marketing initiatives — but marketing is vitally important nevertheless. So where does a new and relatively cash-strapped businesses turn?  To marketing automation software, a key function of a modern marketing program.

marketing automation tasks to fuel startup growth

A word of caution, don’t let the technology lead your marketing strategy. Always always always, start with strategy. For more on this, you can read my thoughts and a bunch of other smart marketing automation leader’s opinions on common misconceptions of marketing automation

But back to our tasks, these five tasks, carried out by marketing automation software, can help provide the smarts and scale that is invaluable to your fledgling business.

1. Create a Valuable Database

Every time a customer makes contact or you generate a lead, you get valuable information that could deliver long-term benefits. But this information needs to be harvested, and then it needs to be stored in a way that makes finding what you need a quick and simple process. Fortunately, this is one of the main tasks carried out by marketing automation software.

Customer data is grouped in a number of ways — usually by demographic groups. This allows you to target relevant people with the right kind of marketing message, rather than simply hit every potential customer with the same message.

Tip: as you think about evaluating an automation or enablement tool, consider how likely it is to be used. Will your team provide the right kind of input, will you prospects and customers be synced the way they should be. The whole sales and marketing system works only as well as the data that’s in it’s database – so make sure to pick tools that are easy to use and capture what your business process demands. 

2. Convert Leads Into Sales

convert leads to sales

It’s one thing to inspire interest in your products or services, but getting an interested party to actually part with their cash is another matter entirely. According to Gartner Research, lead management by marketing automation software virtually guarantees a return on investment. This is why more and more marketing automation packages come with built-in CRM capabilities.

The link between marketing and sales teams isn’t always an effective one, but marketing automation puts in place a tried-and-tested process. For example, based on the information in a database, lead management software can suggest discounts or special offers that might work. Other mechanisms include abandoned cart retrieval and automated messaging when customers don’t follow up their initial interest with a purchase.

Tip: Use lead management intelligently and kindly. Golden rule applies here. 

3. A/B Testing

Marketing is never finished, we should always be improving. Better yet, always be testing. Wondering how your landing page could convert better? Test it.  Just a few differences to your website, your social media updates or any of your other digital marketing channels can be the difference between a conversion and a lost opportunity. Some marketing automation software can manage your A/B testing campaigns to see which messages resonate with which consumers.

You can perform marketing experiments, then gauge which strategies deliver results and which just aren’t working for you. As data is gathered, the software can communicate it in a way that gives you the market intelligence you need.

Tip: keep tests simple and focused on so you don’t introduce too many elements at once. 

4. Segmented Email Marketing

Remember number 1, the importance of a good database. Well now we need to communicate with them, but as close to 1:1 as possible. One of the great things about email marketing is the simplicity it promises. Create a marketing message, then fire it off to a group of email addresses in your marketing database. In reality, however, it isn’t always that simple.

Mass email marketing delivers patchy results at best, and can actually alienate the customers who receive inappropriate or irrelevant offers. Instead, marketing automation can manage the email marketing process in a smarter way. Contacts are divided logically, then sent the specific messages that are most likely to appeal to them.

Tip: don’t over complicate this. Even segmenting by lifecycle stage or persona type will give you a great running start. You can evolve as you go. 

5. Social Media Content Management

While human involvement in social media is absolutely crucial, there are elements of the process you can leave to marketing automation systems. For example, while you will remain in charge of creating content, the software can publish it at a future date you specify. Software can also help you with ideas based on keywords, and perform “listening” tasks that keep you updated on developments within your industry.

Tip: Make sure to strike a healthy balance between your brand and cultivating conversation and other sources in your social channels. 

Most startups need all the help they can get with complex and essential tasks such as marketing. While purchasing a marketing automation package involves a significant outlay now, it could save your business a small fortune in the long run.

Strapped for time. Download our checklist for a quick, 10 minute daily social media monitoring ritual

monitor social media ebook