Best Marketing Automation Tools for Small Businesses

The technology is available today to help businesses in all industries move all or part of their operations to the cloud. Now is the time to move your marketing to the cloud.

“Global enterprises have been investing in automation for decades,” says marketing expert Clare Price. “This investment really showed its value during the pandemic years of 2020 and 2021. Thanks to automation, employees were able to quickly transition to remote work during the early lockdowns.”

Price is CEO of Octain Growth Systems, a global strategic planning consulting firm that works with businesses to improve profitability, productivity and operational efficiency. She notes that larger companies were better positioned for the hybrid work environment that includes both in-office and remote workers because they had automated tools.

According to Price, small businesses and solopreneurs haven’t been so lucky. They had to scramble to regain their momentum when the blockages occurred. The result? “Small business owners are now more appreciative of the power of automation to improve the operational efficiency of their organizations,” Price says.

The technology is available today to help business owners and marketers in all industries move all or part of their operations to the cloud. Price recommends that you automate the following five marketing functions:

Making appointments. “Putting your appointment booking online frees you from everyday life. It gives customers flexibility and protects your time when you need it. These are worth seeing. Calendaring software like Calendly and Calendarwiz are great options for scheduling appointments with individual clients. For a more robust appointment scheduling solution, virtual administrative support for lesson scheduling and training, try TimeTap. TimeTap includes features for multiple locations, lesson scheduling, custom booking forms, and automatic payments. Simplybook.me is an online booking system for professional services companies that offers online bookings, notifications, payments and marketing incentives such as coupons, gift cards, memberships and product sales. Additionally, SimplyBook.me offers listing in its Professional Services Directory.

proposal software. “If your company submits job proposals manually, especially in professional services, I highly recommend investing in proposal software. Not only does proposal software dramatically reduce the non-billable time you spend developing your proposal, but it monitors prospect response by tracking when, what, and how they see what you sent them.Imagine knowing when your prospect reads your proposal instead of wondering and sending blind follow-ups.Now imagine knowing what pages caught their attention.Was it benefits?Features?Pricing?Knowing it allows you to better send a follow-up designed to appropriately address their specific interests.That’s exactly what proposal software like PandaDoc, Proposify and BidSketch can do this for you, most offer a limited free version or a trial.

Email Marketing Systems. “If your primary marketing efforts rely on email marketing, you can find many effective and inexpensive solutions on the market today. Marketing automation software automates many basic marketing functions that allow your team to excel in demand and lead generation. Options range from email marketing systems to sophisticated demand and lead generation and prospecting platforms. Marketing automation is a critical component of digital and social media marketing success My top six choices for marketing automation are: ActiveCampaign, Autopilot, Keap (formerly Infusionsoft), Hubspot, SharpSpring, and Ontraport.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM). “A robust CRM tool is a cloud-based sales enablement tool that no business should be without. CRM software solutions are all about building relationships with customers. They allow your sales team to connect with prospects and track their activity with your business, from first connection to closing the sale CRM systems include contact management, lead management, opportunity management, sales forecasting Some integrate with marketing automation systems, their own and others. My top five choices for CRM are: Salesforce Sales Cloud, Nutshell, Copper, Pipedrive and Zoho CRM.”

Customer service. “To make remote work possible, you need to delight your customers by providing a seamless customer experience (CX) to every customer. They expect support through a range of channels and devices as quickly as possible. Customers now demand an Amazon-like experience from every vendor. Phone and email support are no longer enough in today’s tough times. Any small business owner can dramatically change their experience. customer service with two online CX investments.Another technology to invest in for customer service is live chat.Live chat transforms your website from a static information site into a live customer resource center .It allows you to cut response times from hours to seconds.Most importantly, it helps you increase your sales.The American Marketing Association has found that the B2B companies that used live chat saw an average 20% increase in conversions. The three live chat software solutions I would recommend checking out are: Live Chat, ZenDesk, and Olark.

At the end of the line: Put simply, automation has revenue and bottom line benefits that drive profit, productivity, and efficiency for your team, no matter how small.