When it comes to small business, success doesn’t just happen. In fact, small businesses don’t just “happen.”
It starts with an idea. You’ve got something unique — a service, a product, an idea — to offer the world, and you realize you can make a living from that something. So you start a business. And you grow that business. But as any small business owner can attest, there eventually comes a point where you hit a plateau. You’re just not seeing the growth that you once were, so where do you go from there?
Marketing is an aspect of small business ownership that’s often overlooked. Though word-of-mouth is still the best advertising, there’s not a single company in the world that doesn’t do marketing (re: Apple, Samsung, AT&T, Walmart, etc.), which should give you an idea of the importance of marketing.
Fortunately, marketing your small business is something that can be done with relative ease and very minimal marketing know-how. When you utilize the right marketing automation software, your growth plateau will be in your rearview mirror in no time.
What is marketing automation?
Surely, you’re familiar with the term marketing as it’s basically synonymous with advertising. It’s the automation part of marketing automation that tends to be a little less clear.
Marketing automation refers to the automating and scaling of repetitive marketing tasks. In other words, it allows you to free up some of the time that you’d otherwise be spending on things like developing and implementing marketing email campaigns, maintaining a social media presence and other digital channels, and producing promotional content. In turn, you can focus that time on other things without sacrificing the gains that come from effective marketing.
So a marketing automation (MA) program is a software-based tool that facilitates this automating and scaling of repetitive marketing tasks. If that still sounds a big vague, don’t worry. It’ll be more clear once you’ve seen a few examples of great marketing automation software for small businesses.
HubSpot — 8.3 out of 10
Having become synonymous with inbound marketing, HubSpot is undoubtedly a leader when it comes to marketing automation. Both a service and a software tool, HubSpot is best described as an all-in-one digital marketing suite, offering a breadth of features that include robust content management and delivery options, digital marketing tools, lead management, and some impressive reporting and analysis capabilities. Basically, HubSpot gives you everything you need to create and implement your digital marketing campaigns while helping you to interpret data from those campaigns to figure out what’s working and what’s not.
Infusionsoft — 7.5 out of 10
Specifically tailored to small business, Infusionsoft offers tools for developing both your sales and marketing strategies. However, despite being more focused on small business, Infusionsoft still offers a wide range of other useful features. For instance, the platform serves as a centralized place in which to monitor and track customer interactions and daily activities. Additionally, the platform can send automated follow-ups to your marketing emails, helping to convert leads into sales while you’re away. Needless to say, there’s immense potential for automating numerous aspects of your sales and marketing strategies with the use of Infusionsoft.
While HubSpot and Infusionsoft are certainly heavy-hitters in the world of marketing automation, there are other platforms worth mentioning. Marketo is another marketing automation platform that’s been rated highly for small-to-medium businesses and even for enterprise-level use, specifically excelling at lead nurturing and follow-ups as well as account-based marketing. For a marketing automation program that happens to have a focus on sales, Hatchbuck is an ideal choice with features related to customer relationship management, social media marketing, and ecommerce analytics.
Author: Dane O’Leary
Dane O’Leary is a writer, tech journalist and regular contributor to TrustRadius where he shares his knowledge on the latest trends in B2B news and technologies. He has written editorials, articles, and blog posts for some of the most popular publications on the web, including Android Authority, Phone Arena, NeilPatel.com, and Millennial Magazine while also publishing regularly on his own website.