3 Benefits of Marketing Automation for Small Businesses

Small business owners, we hear you: You need more time.

More time to generate leads for your business. More time to follow up with leads. More time to close deals and measure the return on your marketing efforts.

The harsh reality: we only get 24 hours each day.

The solution? Use time as efficiently as possible.

You put systems in place to increase work productivity and output, but you should also consider systems that take care of day-to-day marketing and sales tasks so focus remains on business strategy and growth.

Marketing automation is that system.

The good news: it’s easier than ever to find an affordable marketing automation solution for your small business, and that’s with good reason. Small businesses stand the most to gain.

Marketing Automation is no longer reserved for companies with large budgets and large sales pipelines. Rather, it’s one of the top 5 marketing trends your small business should start right away. These 3 benefits of marketing automation explain why.

1. Make Better Use of Your Time and Resources

The most valuable capital you have is time, and you need to be smart about how and where it is used.

Put simply, marketing automation allows you to spend more time growing your business.

With the right system in place, you can:

  • Automate lead generation.
  • Nurture and educate leads based on where they are in the sales cycle.
  • Schedule meetings or consultations with leads.
  • Follow up with unresponsive leads.
  • Get the right message in front of a customer at the exact moment they’re ready to buy.

Each of these steps are key to ensuring a lead in your sales pipeline becomes a conversion, but they often go undone due to a lack of time and resources — let’s face it, they’re very time consuming.


Trust me, we get it.

A marketing automation solution ensures every one of these activities are completed.

Can Accountants Benefit from Marketing Automation?

Let’s take a look at a quick comparison of two accountants:

Accountant A (Adam) takes a more traditional approach to lead management and sales, while Accountant B (Barry) has recently decided to implement a marketing automation solution.

Each of them have about 50 leads in his pipeline —  15 of which have just started their search for accounting services, 30 are in a nurturing phase, and 5 are close to scheduling a consultation.

In order to make sure he has the highest conversion rate possible, Adam must:

  • Continuously follow up with each of the 50 leads individually — by phone or email.
  • Remember where each lead is in the nurture cycle.
  • Identify the messaging each lead needs in order to move to the next step.
  • Make sure each lead receives the right message at the right time.
  • Play the scheduling game of back and forth to get leads into a consultation.
  • Prepare for each consultation and have the physical meetings.

Barry, on the other hand, must:

  • Identify the various stages of the funnel in which a lead could exist.
  • Develop messaging for each of those stages.
  • Segment his lead list and assign a stage to each lead.
  • Prepare for each consultation and have the physical meetings.

The key difference between the two workflows is Barry is able to focus more of his time on his lead nurture strategy and on making sure the consultations are successful — spending less time responding to emails and scheduling appointments.

After the initial setup, Barry will start to see the true power of marketing automation as each new lead is automatically assigned to the correct segment based on triggers, and is automatically nurtured all the way to conversion.

As the pipeline grows to 75, 100 or 200 leads, Adam has no choice but to bring on more staff just to have enough time to answer emails, while Barry can remain focused on refining the strategy and messaging for each stage of the funnel.

2. Scale Your Efforts and Your Business

One of the most important things you need to consider with any marketing campaign or sales initiative is scalability. Clearly, Adam had a tough time scaling up while Barry found himself well-equipped to handle more leads.

That’s the beauty of marketing automation: regardless of the number of leads in your pipeline, each lead is properly nurtured and primed for conversion.

With the right solution and strategy, you’re able to accomplish more with less effort.

You can automate lead nurturing and management, but you can also nurture existing customers to keep them coming back for more.

Small business owners have ranked “bringing existing customers back” as the single most important factor to the success of their business — making this is a powerful capability.

How Can Accountants Dedicate More Time to Existing Customers?

Let’s go back to the accountant who implemented marketing automation. With his leads taken care of, he now has more time to dedicate to his existing clients.

He can develop strategies to bring clients back in the door and use marketing automation to implement them.

He could:

  • Reach out to past clients at peak service times (when tax season comes back around).
  • Remind clients when it’s time to execute a recurring service — like create another quarterly report.
  • Suggest new services to clients based on previous ones — the classic up-sell with a modern twist.
  • Educate clients on financial best practices, and keep himself top of mind for when they need future help.

While many accountants already implement these strategies, marketing automation ensures they get done at the right moment for the right client.

It doesn’t matter if he gets busy or goes on vacation, once the system is in place, each client is properly cared for and receives that important personal touch — in turn, he’ll earn more repeat business.

3. Do More of What’s Working, Do Less of What’s Not

With the amount of data available to marketers and small business owners today, implementing a strategy without a plan to measure success is downright reckless.

The most powerful feature of marketing automation: a quality solution allows you to measure end-to-end ROI.

You can ask yourself some important questions:

  • Is what I’m doing effective?
  • Is there a bottleneck somewhere in my sales pipeline?
  • Is this the right message to convert leads at this particular stage of the funnel?
  • Was my latest campaign a success?

Marketing automation clues you into the answers for each.

Using Marketing Automation to Refine the Accountant’s Strategy

Perhaps our accountant created an 8-email drip campaign to nurture leads from the point of initial research to scheduling a consultation.

He knows the number of leads in the campaign, and of course, he knows how many consultations he’s scheduling on the other end — but if he doesn’t see the conversion rate he expects, does that mean the whole campaign is a wash?

Not necessarily.

With marketing automation, he’s able to dig deeper and look at each individual step in the campaign.

He may come to find the first 4 emails in his campaign have great open and click-through rates, while the 5th email shows a big drop off — this is likely the bottleneck.

Rather than developing an entirely new campaign, he can keep the good emails and refine the messaging on the 5th email.

This could be enough to improve conversion rates dramatically, or he may find there are other areas in which he could improve the campaign.

The key: he’s now able to incrementally improve his strategy and move it in a positive direction, rather than lose steam as he starts from scratch each time.

Marketing Automation is Changing the Game for Small Businesses

As marketing automation becomes more accessible to small business owners, the playing field levels out substantially.

A small staff of 5 can nurture and convert leads just as well as a seasoned staff of 50.

It’s all about how you use the data and insights provided by your marketing automation solution to develop winning strategies and deliver on-time messaging.

Small businesses taking advantage of this powerful tool will undoubtedly reap the rewards.

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