In this blog, we'll delve into the world of digital automation—a game-changing force that not only frees up your time but also elevates your business's worth while saving you money along the way.
In 2022, 69% of marketers say some of their customer journey is automated (Ascend2 and Research Partners). Of businesses using automation, 49% said the main benefit was saving time on repetitive tasks. 45% also said they saw an improved ROI in their marketing with automation (Pedalix). Saving time or increasing ROI is something that would appeal to any business, so let's look at some ways to implement automation.
If you'd prefer we have a great episode on The Power of Automation on our podcast, The SME Growth Podcast.
WHAT IS AUTOMATION IN BUSINESS?
Automation, in terms of digital automation in business, is using platforms or software to automatically complete specific outlined tasks. In turn, this helps save you time to work on other areas of the business and, ultimately, with that time saved you can then focus on driving the growth of your business.
EXAMPLES OF AUTOMATION
Whilst this isn't an exhaustive list, these are some examples we use for our business and have benefited our clients.
You might already be doing this but not realising it counts as automation! The most common use of automation for a business is scheduling. By using a platform like Hubspot or Hootsuite, you can schedule social media posts. This gives marketers more flexibility in when they are posting, which means more potential to reach your audience. Similarly, scheduling emails works in a similar way. Schedule your emails via a CRM like Hubspot or email specific platform such as Mailchimp, this will then give you more control as to when your emails will reach your audience. Some will even allow for tailoring send times to different timezones to ensure reaching inboxes as the optimum times for your buyer personas.
Interested in email automation? We have a great blog on How to Automate your Emails in Hubspot
FORM FOLLOW UP/DRIP CAMPAIGNS
Someone has filled in a form on your website so now you've gained a new contact and a potential lead. However, they might not currently be at the point of buying, so what's the best way to keep that person continuing along the buyers journey? Use automated form follow ups and drip campaigns via your CRM to help nurture that lead. On a predetermined schedule, that person receives an email with valuable content to help them to see the appeal and value in your brand. By slowly drip feeding them content, you prevent the feelings of being hard sold too or being spammed, instead you nurture leads and build rapport with contacts.
PERSONALISED WEB EXPERIENCE
Using a CRM, like Hubspot, you are able to tailor the web experience to the user. By using smart rules, your CRM can identify the viewer and by your data understand their segmentation, stage on the buyer journey or previously downloaded content. With that in mind, different things like headlines, images and CTAs can be displayed to appeal the specific needs of that user. You can even implement progressive forms to understand what data you already have on the user, then tailor the form to ask for specific missing data or by-pass the form entirely and allow the user straight to the gated content. By tailoring the web experience, you are able to implement a great user experience whilst nurturing leads and building relationships with potential and existing clients.
Sales sequencing is similar to a form follow up but rather than stopping after an allocated time, they stop once the user interacts in a specific way. This could be responding to an email or clicking a specific CTA. The emails would get more persuasive, desperate or humorous (depending on your style) as the individual goes through the sequence. A common example of this would be a sales sequence to respond to an abandoned basket. The user will receive emails reminding them they haven't checked out, progressing into discount offers and last chance emails. If the user checks out, the sequence will end. If the desired outcome still isn't met, then the sequence will time out via the determined rules. This automation will help you convert leads and boost retention rates.
Lead scoring is a great automation tool for B2B businesses or those with a longer buyer cycle ie. something like a hot tub that requires more research to buy. By scoring your leads, you identify who is more or less likely to be converted into a sale or deal. This automation is dependant on your CRM, HubSpot allows for you to automate lead scoring by identifying behaviours that would add or deduct points. For example. someone viewing your website more than 3 times in the last 3 months could reward points as they are interested in what you do, but potentially being located somewhere you geographically don't do business would deduct points. By automating this process it can help save time for your sales team identifying leads and help them go after the correct ones.
WHAT TO CONSIDER WHEN PREPARING FOR AUTOMATION
There are a few things to consider when planning to implement automation in your business.
PLATFORM AND SOFTWARE CHOICES
Firstly, deciding what choice of platform or software you will be using will have a large impact on your automation options. Do not assume every CRM or Email Manager will do the same thing. Different platforms will have different capabilities, strengths and weaknesses and price points, so finding the right one for your business is key. By investing the time to research, use trials and implementing the correct choice from the start, will save yourself time and money in the long term.
QUALITY OF DATA
This is quite an important thing to consider, automation can only be as powerful as your data allows it to be. Consider cleaning your database and review your forms collecting data before starting. A simple personalisation step such as greeting someone by their first name in an email can be undone by having incorrect data being input into your CRM. Ensure your data is up to date and featuring the correct information. Check your forms are feeding into the right properties and asking the relevant questions.
TIME SCALES OF IMPLEMENTATION
Ensure you have set yourself tangible, realistic goals for the time scale of implementation. Don't automate everything at once, execute it gradually into your practices to ensure they work for your business. If you automate everything at once, if there is an issue you're going to struggle to pin point what isn't working if everything changes at once. Having a staggered approach to implementation will also help highlight the value to the individuals who will benefit from the automation process.
Just remember, automation is a tool to help save you time and resources so you can focus on the more important part of your business, boosting growth and driving revenue! At first, keep it simple, there's no need to start with the most complicated or in-depth techniques, it just needs to work for your business. Now that you know a bit more about automation, have some practical examples and some considerations, you are ready to start thinking about using automation to help drive the growth of your own business.
Interested in other ways to help your business grow? Our free ebook Building a Business Growth Engine is a great place to start.
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