Enterprise level organisations spend upwards of 6 and 7 figures putting in place marketing and sales systems to make sure they have:
- The ability to scale as an organisation
- Certainty around key metrics and processes that reliably yield sales
So where does that leave the rest of us?
Well many small businesses will look at tools like Hubspot and Keap, and decide they can’t justify a few thousand a month (plus setup costs), and then they will look at cheaper options and try to daisy-chaining them together.
Ultimately a lot of small businesses end up with marketing tools and processes that are too convoluted and labour intensive, so they experience poorer results or they just get too busy to consistently follow through with their marketing efforts.
And it’s a shame because their missing out on the growth opportunities that come out of systemising and automating their business processes, not just marketing and sales, because they just don’t realise how much not having it in place is really costing them.
The (Missed) Opportunity
Let’s for a minute think about your marketing a little differently.
Forget about traffic strategies and getting in front of a bigger audience… Let’s think about what’s happening with your existing traffic and lead flow.
If you have any sort of traffic stat’s (I’m talking website traffic, but this could also apply to instore visits) have a look at them. For most businesses they have enough traffic – the problem is conversions.
Whatever stage of the buyer journey, most businesses are losing opportunities they probably could have converted.
And the impact?
Let’s say the average lifetime value of a client is $10,000 – for every one you lose per month, that’s $120,000 of lost revenue per year!
– One person doesn’t convert on your website that could have 🙁
– One enquiry that isn’t followed up properly 🙁
– One sales conversation that you bungle 🙁
– One proposal that you don’t follow up properly 🙁
….But recognising the problem is the first step in fixing it
And that’s where marketing and sales automation comes in. That’s where the big guys have been doing it right for years – they’re systemising their marketing and sales processes at every step through the buyer journey, and introducing automation to make sure less potential sales are slipping through the cracks.
Some think automation is a dirty word because they are in the “people business”, but automation is there to supplement what you’re doing to make sure people are experiencing the human experience when it counts.
….Well let me debunk that myth and show you some ways you could be adding marketing and sales automation into your business.
Things you can automate in the “Attraction” stage
1. Social media scheduling and posting
Forget ad hoc posting to social media. Set aside the time to create a content calendar, produce the content and then schedule it to be posted in advance. Instead of logging in to multiple platforms, take advantage of a social media scheduling tool that allows you to schedule to multiple platforms in the one place – that’s one place you then have a global view of your social media posting schedule and to make changes if required.
2. Automate Google review requests for greater visibility
When people are searching for local businesses, do you think those star ratings have an impact? Right there in the search results you’ve got a visible upvote for your ability to deliver as a business, and yes those yellow stars do stand out!
They also help your Google Business Profile to rank. Google has a vested interest in making sure their search results provide a positive user experience, so they are looking at the number and rating of the reviews businesses are receiving as well as keywords in the reviews, e.g. “Great business accounting service – we’ve been using ACME Accounting for our business for the last 5 years and recommend them to everyone we know” has more value than “Highly recommended”.
Automations to engage & nurture
3. Automating the delivery of offers
Studies have shown a 4x chance of converting an enquiry if you connect with them in the first 5 minutes. That’s what our Fast 5 automation does.
The trigger for this could be someone completing a form on your website, or even a Facebook Lead Ad form, to claim an offer, e.g. free/discounted first appointment:
If you follow the workflow diagram you will see an SMS is sent and if the lead replies they are sent a link to book the appointment.
If they do not reply, then an automated call is made to a business representative informing them of the lead and asking them to tap a key to have a call bridged to the lead
…on autopilot you have someone submitting their details and something happening in the first 5 minutes, instead of the lead waiting for someone to check their emails and getting back to them (maybe in a few hours).
4. Optin with email nurture campaigns
Well, I know you’ve seen this concept countless times before, but have you implemented this into your business?
We’ve probably met someone and been added to their email list, but someone specifically opting in on their own is more likely to turn into a sale.
You see someone opting into a specific offer or lead magnet is telling you what specifically they are interested in, so this and then what they subsequently click on allows you to send very targeted email content….the more you hit their interests the more unlikely they will unsubscribe, and the more likely they will eventually buy from you.
5. Free lead magnet, with training delivery to booking, and email nurture fallback
Now this is a funnel we like – using content to attract our target market, get them to opt in and then having an immediate bonus training – an “authority amplifier” – that is really there to educate the lead on exactly what you do and to qualify them – those that are ready can then book an appointment, and those that aren’t ready are added to your longterm nurture sequence.
Creating retargeting audiences can be done via the Facebook Ads platform, but these are typically limited to defining audiences based on pages people visit, or don’t visit.
Marketing tools like FocalContact are able utilise Facebook’s API to also pass information including actions in emails and purchases. Use of the API in this way means no need to download data, manual process it and upload it to Facebook.
7. Automating appointment scheduling, confirmation and reminders
Now here’s one that people are becoming more familiar with. No one wants to go back and forth on phone calls and emails to try to find a time that works. There are many calendar scheduling apps now that will integrate with Google and Office365 calendars…FocalContact even has an AI appointment bot that will communicate via SMS to lock in a time on your behalf.
And of course, once a time is booked you want an automated confirmation to go out and, if it is an online appointment, a dedicated meeting link to be sent as well, with reminders to make sure the person booking the appointment does not forget about it!
8. Database reactivation campaigns
Have a list of past customers or leads that did not convert? This is a perfect opportunity for SMS marketing to send out an offer to try to reactivate them, combine it with automation to recognise inactivity and schedule these campaigns to run every 3 months.
9. Lead scoring
You want to be dealing with your hottest leads, right? Well that’s where lead scoring comes in – assign a value to an action, e.g. clicked a link in an email, visited your pricing page, etc., and when they reach a lead score of 100, automatically send them an email and/or SMS to book a call, or a notification to one of your business rep’s to give the lead a call.
Close & Delight Stage – When “everything” happens
10. Automating proposal followups
So you have sent a proposal…what comes next? Sit and wait a few days and if they don’t get back to you then you do an email/phone call, “Just touching base”?
There are any number of things you can do here including:
- Add them to a custom audience to see related content and reviews of other customers you’ve turned into social posts.
- Add them to a nurture email campaign that reinforces the value of what has been offered, and shows success stories.
11. Automating onboarding
Depending on your business, this can take a number of different forms. It might be:
- An email series explaining the next steps in the engagement.
- Automatic duplication of a template job board in your project management system, and client level access generation.
- Automatic access to a membership portal with information the client needs.
12. Automating client feedback
Okay, so the deal was closed and you’ve delivered the service…do you let the client just go off into the sunset?
There are maybe two approaches you could take:
- Have a feedback process such that people are sent to a feedback form.
- Send them a Google Review request to help with your search visibility.
Some businesses will send a feedback form and if they are rated 4 or 5 out of 5, then they are automatically redirected to leave a Google Review while ratings of 1 to 3 are routed to be dealt with internally ….this is called review gating and is against Google’s terms of service. If you wanted you could still do it in a less obvious way but you may still be found out and penalised.
Maybe you don’t need to be so obvious with your review gating, and at the end of a service you probably have a good idea of what their experience was and you can just tag those that would seem more inclined to leave a positive review.
13. Referral requests
Off the back of someone leaving positive feedback, or a good review, asking them if they have someone that would enjoy the same experience seems a no-brainer right?
Leaving feedback or a review is like a “micro-commitment.” if they have done that they are more likely to recommend you to family and friends.
Have your email or SMS ready to go, tag the contact or whatever the trigger is, and let those referral requests go out on autopilot!
14. Automating periodic new service/review scheduling
The holy grail of business is repeat business. Clients that will keep coming back to you for years to come.
Why not make it easy for them?
- Maybe you provide an ongoing service with quarterly reviews:Schedule in a recurring automation to send them a link to book in their quarterly review say a month out, and a reminder a week later.
- 2 weeks out if they have not booked it in then automate a prompt to someone in your team to give them a call and book it in.
An annual policy renewal…same thing.
How Can You Introduce Automation Into Your Business?
And that’s a short list of the things you can automate in your business, and every one of those and more can be done with FocalContact!
Have a think back on that list…if you’re worried about taking the human element out of your business, were any of those automation options a concern for you?
There’s so much you can do with automation, it’s up to you how far you want to take it, but the tools are there and they’re more affordable now than ever before.