The new era of Marketing Automation
In recent years, marketing automation has quickly taken over the marketing department in most business, be they big or small. According to Google trend, the search traffic for ‘marketing automation’ has increased 96% since December 2015. Interest in the hot shot technology seems to be rising exponentially.
Helping local business to adjust and grow with marketing automation is the subject of Zabala review on the marketing automation software SharpSpring. To support this idea, Zabala present a case study, that showcased the enormous benefit of marketing automation for businesses, and specifically explained why SharpSpring has an edge over other marketing automation platforms. ‘SharpSpring goes even further with a robust agency model that allows agencies like mine to offer clients marketing automation along with any other related services they choose to bundle in’ (p.3). By this, he means that by integrating with different marketing strategies, the effectiveness of the marketing automation platform could be maximised to a huge extent.
The process started with lead generation. Zabala argues the old ‘sign-up to get a coupon’ marketing tactic failed to keep up with the competitive and ever-changing business environment. ‘You need to offer something much more indispensable if you expect people to be willing to share their personal information (p.3). In this case, Zabala presents social Wifi marketing as a smashingly effective alternative to attain a steady flow of contacts streaming daily. By connecting the data collected from social wifi marketing platform to SharpSpring, it offers clients an opportunity to increase their reach, as well as to provide real-time analytics on customer behaviour including data such as customers’ retention rate.
The next step is to engage all of the newly acquired leads from social wifi marketing efforts. The role of marketing automation here is to divide contacts into different lists based on their activities, in order to build out engaging email campaigns with lead relevant content that perfectly suit the needs of customers. Zabala proposes that a successful email campaign not only could fill the slow periods in business but also to promote secondary revenue streams and seasonal events (p.5).
Using Email Campaigns to generate reviews
Apart from that, email campaigns can be used to engender more online reviews of your business. Zabala argues that reviews play an important role in differentiating your business from competitors. It enables clients to foster a loyal customer base. By connecting review management software system and SharpSpring, customers are invited to write reviews through automatized email campaign.
To reinforce his views, Zabala refers to the case study of a local restaurant chain. In the case, simply by using marketing automation, the local restaurant chain achieved remarkable results including a 50% growth in mailing lists, a 200% increase in online reviews they received and the email campaigns even helped grow other revenue streams (p.8). Zabala, therefore, suggests that marketing automation is the ‘magic ward’ local businesses needed to grow and nurture their customs like never before.
Although the idea of marketing automation seems to be rewarding, however, there are several factors business should consider before implementing it. First, the frequent communication between business and customer may scare customer away with the excessive emails. The case study presented seem persuasive, but it must be remembered that customer or prospect is only ready to listen when there is a demand, and it is impossible for businesses to always be relevant to the needs of customers.
Another factor is the technical know-how required in the process. Marketing automation may consist of many different tools and strategies that instead of being useful, leaves clients confused and not know how to handle the overwhelming amount of data. Although in the review, SharpSpring was presented as a user-friendly platform with an agency-focused model that is suitable for small local businesses, however, it is best for clients to conduct research beforehand and see if it is suitable for their business.
In conclusion, Zabala review on SharpSpring provides some valuable point of views regarding on marketing automation and ways that small sized local businesses could benefit from SharpSpring. Local businesses that use marketing tend to see more pros than cons, which is why the adoption of marketing automation and account based marketing technologies are growing so rapidly. Learning all the possible effects of choosing marketing automation software will greatly help every marketer before making any investment in the tool.
- Zabala (2017). From ‘Brick-and-Mortar” to “Click-and-Mortar’: Helping Small Businesses Adapt & Grow with Marketing Automation. SharpSpring:USA