The new era of Marketing Automation
Marketing automation can be seen across most marketing departments, regardless of the business size. According to Google stats, the search traffic for ‘marketing automation’ has increased 96% since December 2015, with interest in the new tactic rising exponentially.
Helping local business to adjust and grow with marketing automation is the subject of the Zabala review on the marketing automation software SharpSpring. Zabala’s case study showcases the huge benefits that marketing automation can bring to businesses, specifically explaining why SharpSpring has an edge over other marketing automation platforms: ‘SharpSpring goes even further with a robust agency model that allows agencies like mine to offer clients marketing automation along with any other related services they choose to bundle in” (p.3). This statement reveals that by utilising different marketing strategies, his marketing automation platform’s effectiveness was maximised to an incredible point.
The process started with lead generation. Zabala argues that old-school ‘sign up for a discount’ tactics don’t work in today’s hyper-competitive and dynamic business environment: ‘You need to offer something much more indispensable if you expect people to be willing to share their personal information (p.3). In this case, Zabala presents social Wi-Fi marketing as a far more effective alternative to provide you with countless daily leads. By connecting the data collected from social Wi-Fi marketing platforms to SharpSpring, it gives clients an opportunity to increase their reach, while providing real-time analytics on customer behaviour such as retention rate data.
Once you’ve acquired a bunch of new leads from your social Wi-Fi marketing efforts, it’s time to engage them. The role of marketing automation here is to divide contacts into different lists based on their activities, allowing you to build engaging email campaigns that contains relevant content for whoever you are targeting. Zabala suggests that a strategic email campaign can not only fill the slow periods in business but can also promote secondary revenue streams and seasonal events (p.5).
Using email campaigns to generate reviews
In addition to all this, email campaigns can also be used to generate more online reviews for your business. Zabala backs up the belief that reviews play an important role in setting your business apart from competitors, helping you build a loyal customer base. By connecting a review management software system with SharpSpring, customers are invited to write reviews through automatised email campaigns.
To reinforce his views, Zabala refers to the case study of a local restaurant chain. The restaurant was able to achieve remarkable results thanks to marketing automation, including a 50% growth in mailing lists, a 200% increase in online reviews and successful email campaigns which helped to grow other revenue streams (p.8). According to Zabala, marketing automation is the ‘magic ward’ local businesses need to grow and nurture their customers like never before.
Although marketing automation can generate stellar rewards, there are some factors worth considering before businesses implement it. First, the frequent communication between business and customers may put off customers, especially if the emails start to feel spammy. The case study presented is a strong example, but remember that customers and prospects will only listen when here is demand. Businesses cannot speak to deaf ears.
A certain level of technical know-how is also needed to successfully pull off marketing automation. The number of tools and strategies involved can potentially hinder instead of help, leaving clients overwhelmed with the amount of data there is to crunch. Although in the review, SharpSpring was presented as a user-friendly platform with an agency-focused model that is suitable for small local businesses, clients should still conduct their own research to determine whether it is a suitable tool for their business.
Finally, it is important to ensure your e-mail list is valid and deliverable. A great aid for large scale email campaigns is a bulk email verification service, which can help to identify inaccurate email address that may affect your mail server reputation.
In conclusion, Zabala’s review on SharpSpring provides some valuable insights on marketing automation and benefits for small local businesses in using SharpSpring. Local businesses that market themselves will see more advantages than disadvantages, which is why marketing automation and account based marketing technologies is seeing such a huge rise. Understanding all the possibilities of a marketing automation software is a smart step for any marketer looking to invest in a tool.
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- Zabala (2017). From ‘Brick-and-Mortar” to “Click-and-Mortar’: Helping Small Businesses Adapt & Grow with Marketing Automation. SharpSpring:USA