You don’t need to look too far back to find a time when marketing automation was reserved for large companies with deep pockets. However, like many technologies, marketing automation has become more affordable, and therefore, more accessible to those previously on the outside looking in.
Recently, there’s been an expansion of interest in this new frontier for small-business marketers. Of course, as is the case with any developing technology, adoption has been far from rapid, and while there are benefits aplenty, no new technology comes without its fair share of speed bumps and barriers to entry.
To learn more about the current and future state of marketing technology for small businesses, we conducted a survey of over 300 people who oversee their company’s marketing strategy or activities.
Where are we now?
Marketing automation may be the new kid, but email marketing still owns the block. According to the survey, over 84% of marketers use email marketing, which makes it by far the most popular marketing strategy. Of those email marketers, only 30% also have marketing automation software in place.
Why the low usage of marketing automation? It’s not for lack of wanting. Small business marketers would like to become more sophisticated in their marketing strategies, and in order to do that, they’d likely need to employ more advanced software. But marketers are concerned with cost and complexity. These concerns ring truer the smaller the business as technology adoption rate and employee count correlates.
Clearing the hurdle
So how can small businesses overcome these concerns and successfully invest in more advanced marketing tools? First off, it’s important to realize the hurdle to adopting marketing automation software may not be as high as some think. Not only has it become more accessible from a financial standpoint, but it’s more accessible from a usability standpoint as well.
We’ve built ActiveCampaign with small business adoption in mind, so that nobody is excluded from using it, no matter the employee count. Of course, there’s no need to rush either, if you’re a one-person shop and don’t know the difference between and CD-ROM and a CPU, it’s probably wise to build your marketing technology toolkit slowly.
The key for any business to achieve high user adoption is to build slowly. When you have a team of four or five, it can be overwhelming to try to implement three or four tools all at once. Many businesses like to start out with email marketing software. If that’s you, make sure you master it before taking the next step. It’s also worth considering making your first tool one you can grow in to. ActiveCampaign, for example, has four different tiers. When you grow out of the Lite plan, you can upgrade to the Plus for greater functionality.
Why it’s worth it
While potentially daunting at the onset, there’s a reason why 64% of small businesses are looking to add marketing automation in the next two years. The benefits of the technology are vast. It enables one person to manage huge email drip campaigns, customer service outreach, marketing processes and workflows, customer segmentation, and much more.
Its uses and efficiencies can be a huge boon to business, and it’s probably easier to use than you realize. Given the widespread interest in a more sophisticated marketing strategy, it’s likely that the use of marketing automation will be the norm before long, so the sooner you start using it, the sooner your business will benefit.