Marketing Automation For Small Business - What Works Best For You?

October 15, 2018 By Romeo Man 0 Comments
Did you ever wonder where some of your customers come from?

Let me guess, you burned all your advertising budget online, got few leads and got flagged as a spammer just because you were not promoting the right product to the right audience.

It happens all too often.

Don’t worry, we understand you and we want to tell you how to solve this challenge.

But before we go on with this guide let’s destroy some myths. The myth that marketing automation is “impersonal”, “inhuman” and full of “spam”.

Here’s the big picture: Marketing automation is actually all about personalization, or in other words, messages tailored to individual people.

Perhaps you’ve experienced this before, where you surf online for shoes, browse some websites looking for the perfect pair, and then suddenly all the ads you saw online were about shoes.

I bet you thought, “Hm...this is strange.”

Then maybe you started to see a pair of shoes on websites, Facebook and you even got an email about them with a discount coupon.

The discount made up your mind, and you bought those shoes.

Let me tell you...those ads were not a coincidence. They were there because those shoes companies knew what you wanted. They knew what you were interested in because of what you browsed in their website, so they started to tell you more with the help of ads and emails.

This is what we call remarketing.

When a client gives you personal information such as e-mail, you now have permission to share with him anything you want. The challenge is to make sure it’s also what he wants, and to never make him feel like you’re spamming him.

With the help of marketing automation you know what your customers are looking for on your website and for what price. After you know what they need, you can send them different e-mails, automatically tailored to what they’re interested in. This creates a relationship with them, proving that you know what each person wants and needs.

marketing automation for small business

Table Of Contents

  1. Who Should Use Marketing Automation?
  2. Why Do We Need Marketing Automation?
  3. 4 Useful Steps That Will Help You Kick-start Your Marketing Automation
  4. 7 Steps On How To Make Money Using Marketing Automation
  5. Why do companies use marketing automation?
  6. 6 Software Applications That Will Help You With Marketing Automation
  7. DO’S And DON’TS When Using Systems To Automate Your Marketing
  8. Digital Marketing Automation Checklist
  9. What's Next? The Future Of Marketing Automation

Who Should Use Marketing Automation?

First thing’s first. Maybe you are wondering if your business is suitable for implementing marketing automation.

We think that using this kind of solution can take small and medium businesses to the next level and help them grow.

Marketing Automation is not something that comes without any other action from your side. That action is called investment. You want results, so keep in mind that in order to have results, you have to be ready to invest, otherwise this guide might not help you that much.

At the same time, if you haven’t done any online advertising before, maybe you should start now, and come back to this guide after you’ve had some experience.

Let me give you a visual look of how marketing automation goes.

If you want to implement marketing automation, first you need to start building your assets:

Track the behavior of your leads so you better understand your audience, and know how to interact with them.

You need to ask yourself this: What do your customers need?

Once you know that, marketing automation will help you give them what they want.

marketing automation nurturing

Why Do We Need Marketing Automation?

A little bit of history.

In case you were wondering, marketing 15K automation has existed since 1992. Yes, 1992.
Now, in order (for you) to understand how things evolved, I need to take you through the story. Follow me...

Marketing automation started before it was actually called marketing automation.

The question that was always the same was, “How do we (as a company) help somebody stay engaged with us?”

Email Marketing

It was easy to promote your business through email marketing in the early 1990’s, because Microsoft’s new hotmail service was handing out free accounts to anyone that signed up. Email marketing grew very fast. Because it was new technology, users would read every email carefully. Eventually, spammers abused email and the public gradually put up their guard, making it harder for good marketers to get through to people.


In 1995, Yahoo started to gain popularity as a search engine. Their algorithm was simple, and marketers found simple ways to game the system and get on the first page of search results using keyword density and automated backlinks. By the end of the century the practice of search engine optimization was well established.


Soon, smartphones arrived on the scene. Marketers realized that they could offer people more content and ways to interact because they had the freedom of accessing the internet while on the move.

Inbound Marketing

With so many devices helping people connect to the internet, marketers needed to be even more visible. They had to use engaging content (like articles, videos, and infographics) to hook more buyers. They needed to educate their audience about their product because people began to expect to know more about a product before buying.

Marketing Automation

After social media became popular with the public, the marketers followed suit. The various platforms were very challenging for the marketers, so marketing automation was invented to helped them connect with people through email, search, and social.

Let’s have a look at the evolution of marketing automation. The first tool was Unica in 1992. After people started to use the internet more and more, companies started to promote themselves online, and nowadays this phenomenon has reached such level that most marketing has a bigger impact online.

Eventually, companies became aware of the fact that in order to have more profit, they needed to invest in marketing automation. Note that marketing behavior always follows buyer behavior. When the public changes their behavior, we need to update ours. It’s the way of the world.

MA-industry-infographicBy definition, marketing automation is the practice of automating all parts of the customer journey that don’t need direct human input (i.e. the boring stuff) so that marketers can focus more on strategy. Because of this rise in efficiency and creative focus, marketing automation always makes campaigns more lucrative if done right.

Automation software helps you track the actions of customers online, so you can provide them with truly relevant content until they are ready to buy. All this data also informs your strategy by “lifting the lid” off the internet so you can peek inside and see what’s going on.

“Marketing automation democratizes the highest levels of marketing best practice. Even the smallest of teams can incorporate automation to perform complex workflows routinely and at low cost.”
- (Marketing Automation for Small Business, LeadPages)

“Campaign workflow can be designed within the tool and then executed automatically; once a campaign has run its course, a range of analytics tools can measure its performance to understand what worked well and what did not.”
- (What is Marketing Automation?, TrustRadius)

“Using behavioral inputs from multiple channels such as social clicks, viewing a pricing page or consuming a particular piece of content gives marketers the context they need to fully understand a lead’s challenges and how to guide them down the funnel. The most effective marketing automation not only collects data from multiple channels but uses those various channels to send their marketing messages as well. That means the success of your campaign relies less on the email and fully utilizes the various channels that influence a buyer’s decision.”
- What is Marketing Automation? HubSpot

“Without marketing automation, you are just guessing – just hoping that people will take the bait and be ready to buy your products. Statistics show that buyers don’t do that. They want to learn at their own pace and be reached when they need more information or are ready to buy. A well- constructed marketing automation strategy makes that a reality.”
- John McTigue, Kuno Creative - Marketo

“91% of the users who had a success of their business say marketing automation is an important factor.”
- Marketo & Ascend2 “Marketing Automation Strategies for Sustaining Success” (2015)

“8% of B2C and 21% of B2B marketers find Marketing Automation one of their Top Digital Priorities.”
- Adobe“Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing” (2014)

“Marketers say that marketing automation helps them save their time (74%), and increases their CRM (68%). They have a better and more timely communication with their customers (58%)”
-Adestra Marketer vs Machine (2015)

“B2B marketers who implement marketing automation increase their sales-pipeline contribution by 10%.”
- Forrester Research “The Forrester Wave Lead-To-Revenue Management Platform Vendors” (2014)

4 Useful Steps That Will Help You Kick-Start Your Marketing Automation

Step 1

Send an email invitation to check/view/read/download some of your newest content - send this to the list of people who are interested in that type of subject.

Step 2

Send a thank you message to everyone that checked/viewed/read/downloaded from your previous email.

Step 3

Wait a few days (approx.3) and send them a follow-up email where you offer them another article similar to the topic you send a few days ago. For example use case study.

Step 4

Once you know who opened that mail and who downloaded your content, your sales team can start nurturing them with more relevant content. These people have indicated they will be more likely to buy from you, which is why you should put a focus on them.

7 Facts On Why Marketing Automation Can Make You More Money

Let's jump and see why marketing automation systems can help us make more money with our current traffic.

1. Outrun your competitors

“63% of companies who use marketing automation are outgrowing those who don’t.” (Lenskold and Pedowitz, 2013 - Today their company is a distinguished leader in the development and implementation of ROI processes. They work with companies like MasterCard, JP Morgan, Microsoft, Seagate, Kodak, Siemens, American Century Investments, and ADM)

2. See the effect of marketing efforts with the help of the data

Marketing automation can show us the steps that potential buyers are taking once they make contact with your company. It shows us which strategies had more effect on converting them into leads.

3. Run programs through different channels

We use many channels to connect with our audience. Each channel has a different “culture” and should be handled differently. We need to control the content we show and to measure the effects of each type of communication we try.

4. Save time

When you “program” your campaigns and watch them run, you don’t have a worry about forgetting anything. The software will do most of the work for you.

5. Collect data for your business

You will have more traffic and more information about that traffic.
By getting to know your potential buyers you can improve your advertising campaigns and the communication between you and your audience.

6. Improve your CRM

With so many data about how your customers are behaving, what they like, and what they want less of, your relationship to them will vastly improve. Turn them into ambassadors!

7. Tailor the experience

Marketing automation helps you educate your users and tailor their experience with you. What leads to sales is the personalization and the relevancy of what you say to them.

Why Do Companies Use Marketing Automation?

Because it works. Because it brings them profit.

Let’s take some case studies of both small and big businesses and see how marketing automation increased their profits.

Paper Stylepaperstyle-picture-300x215-1

Paper Style targets brides and brides-to-be. They base their campaigns on what these brides search for on their website. They had 3 primary action types that would change what content their visitors would receive from them.

1. Clicking on links about weddings from their email newsletter.

2. Buying products used for weddings.

3. Looking at any page on their website that had a connection with a wedding.

They paid attention to all the behaviors of their possible buyers and took action when possible. For example, if a bride-to-be would purchase an item from their website, they would send a “thank you” email a few days later. But if friends of the bride would buy a bridesmaid accessory, they would also receive wedding gift ideas.
Did it work?
Yes. They had an increase of 330% in revenue per mailing and a click rate increase of 16%.

Barrack Obama Campaign

Still not convinced?obama-2014-campaign-picture-300x226

Let’s take Barack Obama’s political campaign as another example.

In 2012, Obama was running for president for the second time. His team used marketing automation with their volunteers through the website you can see above. Marketers would recognize that page as a landing page designed to collect information.

Obama’s team knew the area where every volunteer lived and could track their activity on the site. Time was not wasted on the volunteers that were not that active on their platform.

The result of this campaign, as you can guess, was the re-election.

Let's take another example.

Cincom Systemscincom systems

Cincom Systems is a private company that offers software solutions. They were having trouble establishing which buyers were coming from their newsletter. Here’s how they figured it out.

First, they collected their buyers’ information (from the subscribe button from their page) and started to track them. They analyzed their content and the impact it had on their audience: newsletter, blogs, emails and so on, and adapted them to their reader’s expectations.

Then they analyzed their data about their readers and created different strategies to engage with them even more. For example, Cincom would ask for the size of their companies. Once they learned this, they would ask for more specific information later on. This way they had a highly detailed profile of each contact.

Did it work?

  • Their open rate improved by 256%
  • Their click-to-open rate increased by 1,941%.
  • They identified 1,513 new potential opportunities.
  • They had an average of 18 new sales per week.

ActevaActeva  logo

Acteva is a company that offers services such as online payment, online registration, and ticketing. They started using marketing automation because they needed to improve their ROI and their targeting system. They created content campaigns for their visitors, personalized based on the information the visitor gave them on the landing page.

How did marketing automation work for them?

  • Their ROI increased by 350%.
  • They had 100% growth in the areas in which they used marketing automation.
  • Their revenue increased by $2m.

6 Software Applications That Will Help You With Marketing Automation

We’ve said a lot about marketing automation so far: We shared our insights, we told you why you should use it, and what it’s done for others.

But we haven’t discussed who can help you automate your marketing. Which tools are best? Which companies can you trust?

Just for you, we made a list of 7 applications you should take into consideration when you decide it’s time to use marketing automation. There are much more out there, but because this guide is mostly for small businesses, we will tell you the ones that are the best mix of affordability and power.


Sales Manago

“Our software enables our customers to achieve outstanding sales results by implementing a complete range of automated and personalized marketing in a multichannel environment.”

  • Has a wide range of features (social media, email marketing, mobile marketing, advertising network, dynamic website content).
  • Makes it easy to use the data you collect without getting overwhelming.
  • Number 1 marketing automation for B2C in Europe.

Our recommendation for small ecommerce businesses.


“It was time to make the marketing and sales process human. Time to treat buyers like people, not numbers on a spreadsheet.”

  • Place an accent on inbound marketing (educating people; raising awareness).
  • Have a very good relationship with their customers.
  • Gives you a platform that allows you to optimize every single part of your sales funnel.

Our recommendation for small and medium businesses.


“Salesforce is much more than just a CRM solution. It brings together all your customer information in a single, integrated platform.”

  • Uses the CRM system by tracking the history of the client - email, service requests, and even phone calls.
  • Helps you collaborate easily with colleagues, also through mobile.
  • Works great with social media such as Facebook or Instagram.


“We believe in intelligence-driven marketing. Marketers get better results. Contact get a need-driven & respectful experience.”

  • Gives you many pricing options.
    Focused on e-mail marketing, sales and CRM.
  • They show you exactly how to use it with a library of videos with instructions.
  • Very simple to use, it allows you to send relevant emails to specific groups of customers based on actions they’ve taken.
  • You can organize your campaigns using a flowchart and send emails accordingly.


"Among us, you’ll find experts in various fields who stay creative and open to new knowledge and experiences.”

  • You can become an affiliate to their business and receive 33% commission after every paid account you recommend.
  • Great at email marketing automation specifically.
  • You can start small by not having to pay a lot for the first few thousands of subscribers.


“We accelerate small business growth in technology, sales, and marketing strategy, and a community of industry leaders, business owners, coaches, and consultants.”

  • Infusionsoft Mobile have many features which allow you to work where you are (upload, access, and edit contact information, communicate with customers, view, create, and complete tasks, etc.)
  • This app tracks your customers and their behavior, then it shows you your task-list including communications with contacts, appointments, and info about the customers related to those tasks.
  • Includes some great e-commerce features.

DO'S and DONT'S When Using Systems To Automate Your Marketing

Don’t just automate your current process without revisiting your goals and strategy.

Marketing automation is a multiplier. If you’re already executing a bad strategy, accelerating it with automation software could be disastrous.

Make sure your goals and strategies line up with customer needs and expectations. If you’re not sure, begin slowly, and carefully track how your audience responds during the first few weeks.

Do integrate marketing automation with your inbound marketing strategy.
With marketing automation, there is no need to send a general, broad message to your entire contact list that will end up getting deleted or marked as spam because it’s not relevant.

Do send highly targeted and specific content to a narrow audience.

Put yourself in the customer’s shoes. Say that you’ve engaged with a company; maybe you’ve downloaded a piece of their content and really loved what you read.

The next email you get is a completely different topic that has nothing to do with the thing that made you interested in the first place.

Wouldn’t it make more impact if you received an email that continued to dive further into the topic of the content you already read?

Don’t forget about your existing customers.
Selling is hard work. Many companies are so focused on generating new revenue that they forget about their current customers:

The group of people that already have an affinity for what they are selling, and most likely want to buy more.

Do set up customer engagement campaigns to keep your current customers happy and coming back for

Keeping your customers engaged with content marketing is an essential piece of growing your company.

Nurture those relationships by sending segmented, customer-only content, that will educate and encourage them to keep coming back to your company for thought leadership and expertise.

Digital Marketing Automation Checklist

Marketing automation is all about three things: strategy, relationships and time.

Give yourself some time to really think about the strategy and prepare for the implementation. As they say “Rome wasn’t built in a day.”

1. What do you want?

  • From the perspective of the customer? What am I looking for?
  • From your perspective? What will get you to your goals?

2. What does your lead want from you?

3. Where are finding you now?

4. What and Who?

  • What happened?
  • Who needs to know about it?
  • What’s the action to be taken?
  • Who should be taking that action?

5. Set implementation goals for:

  • Month
  • Quarter

They will help you get on the right track in moments of crisis.

8. Don’t give up before the payoff!

What's Next? The Future Of Marketing Automation

One of the best things about Marketing Automation is its efficiency. With relevant technology, you’re able to manage leads and finally benefit from the content you create to the maximum degree.

It helps you build long-term relationships with your customers and to manage their preferences. You already know it.

There are two sides to everything. And it’s worth to look ahead and see if you’re taking the right course.

Find out some insights/predictions about the future of technology and marketing. See how they can work and turn into profits for your small business.

“The integrated messaging activities will be based on detailed subscriber profiles including precious cross-channel information.”
- René Kulka – Email Marketing Evangelist at optivo, Consultant, and author of E-Mail-Marketing: Das umfassende Praxis-Handbuch

“Marketing automation is still in the early innings. And the way marketing automation is used is still evolving.” (...) In the next phase, marketing automation will solve far more than demand generation - it will be used to deliver a better customer experience from brand awareness through customer retention and loyalty. Marketing automation will serve as the command center for orchestrating prospect and customer communications in Account-Based Marketing. And marketing automation will be the big data platform used by marketers to make smarter decisions and to better understand their customers. We’re excited to play a role in helping companies better understand their business and meet their customer’s needs.”
- Andy MacMillan - CEO at Act-On Software, Inc.

“Marketing automation needs leads, and while content is the most potent fuel for lead generation, managing and leveraging that growing library of content will be vital in order to fully utilize marketing automation.” “Too many systems still don’t connect. It’s time to stop using Excel spreadsheets as the glue that holds your marketing operations together, manually collecting data from disparate systems.”
- Jeff Cohen -

In our opinion, the integration of marketing and technology is certain and it’ll be developing. Be aware of that and see for yourself what marketing automation can bring to your small business.

TOPICS: B2B Lead Generation, marketing funnels, growth marketing, marketing automation

Romeo Man

Romeo Man

Romeo Man is a Business Automation specialist and founder of MAN Digital. If you can get him on your side, you'll start attracting the right people and converting them to customers with a custom-built sales funnel built on data, not hunches. Find out how he does it at MAN.Digital, and follow him @RomeoMan. Follow @romeoman