I’ve discovered a sad truth.
It’s impossible for small business owners to do content marketing.
No matter how driven or passionate or smart you are, you only have 24 hours a day. Content marketing is a proven way to get customers. But it’s exhausting because it takes time and creativity.
You don’t have enough of either on a regular basis.
But surely, after showcasing the Top 11 Most Powerful Content Marketing Examples By Small Businesses, I must be wrong?
Here’s the secret: marketing automation.
Without it, we’re toast.
Hmm…what’s marketing automation?
Marketing automation is a way of automating a lot of the “technical” and “mundane” tasks you do with respect to marketing your business online, so you can be more effective and reserve those spurts of creativity for important projects.
Chances are, if you’re a small business owner doing content marketing, you’re doing marketing automation without realizing it. How do I know?
Well, I don’t creep on your social profiles. But it’s pretty much guaranteed you can’t do what you do online manually and keep your sanity.
- Do you blog? If so, and you have a plugin that publishes your post to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social networks, that’s marketing automation.
- Do you use SEO tools to optimize your post? That’s marketing automation, as you don’t need to learn the rules and analyze what to do every time.
- Do you use a tool (ex Hootsuite, Buffer) to schedule tweets? That’s marketing automation, as your tweets are being shared when you’re busy doing something else. (Like sleeping.)
- Do you monitor mentions of your business on the social web (ex using Google Alerts), so you don’t need to look at the 3.91 billion pages on the Internet every day to see if someone is talking about you?
- Do you use landing pages to communicate a message to potential customers?
You get the idea.
It’s about streamlining and automating as much as you can imagine, so you save 5 minutes here and 10 minutes there, which add up to a lump sum of hours to spend elsewhere, so you increase your efficiency and grow online by doing content marketing successfully.
We Were Left Out
I’ll share why we, as small business owners, were left out in a minute. But first…
Ever wondered who started this?
They realized that with more information being created every 2 days than the entire amount we made from the dawn of civilization until 2003, creating content online that we want to engage with will become harder amongst the noise. And it would be nearly impossible to do that without streamlining the process.
So, around 5-7 years ago they started automating marketing for enterprise clients by merging most of what companies needed in one platform.
And do you know what they loved automating? Emails.
The great promise of marketing automation has always been that it enables you to trigger messages based on a visitors actions on your site, ideally sending messages when they are most relevant, rather than spam. – HubSpot, Enterprise Marketing Automation Platform
Now we send roughly 294 billion emails a day.
But this type of marketing automation was expensive. And time consuming (which is ironic, considering you did it to save time).
So, small businesses were removed from the conversation and we had to use a piece meal approach to automating what we did online.
Then something happened.
We shared too much online.
And spent too much time online.
In 2012, we spent 62.2 billion minutes on Facebook and 1.8 billion minutes on Twitter.
Navigating the social web through online marketing was becoming too challenging without the platform to do it properly. So we hit the flipping point. (Yes, the flipping point.)
The Marketing Automation Craze Begins
Co-founder of Pardot, David Cummings, explained it really well in a post last week.
Just like CRMs used to be reserved for enterprise budgets, companies leveraged the cloud and SaaS (Software As A Service) models to create CRMs that anyone can use for a fraction of the price, without extensive training and manual software maintenance.
David showed there are 22 times more companies using CRMs than marketing automation platforms. Due to the rapid increase in content marketing, and the challenges many of us face as small business owners trying to implement and execute inbound marketing strategies, we’ll see more automation platforms designed exclusively for us in the future.
And since we account for 90%+ of the businesses in North America, expect a rapid growth in marketing automation options.
So, instead of the examples I mentioned earlier – where you used a different tool for each thing you did – they’ll merge into one platform, making your life easier.
David, it’s happening.
In fact, we make up the fastest growing group in the space right now – Raab Associates show that 78% of the total marketing automation installations in the USA are for small businesses and microbusinesses.
But they’re defining small businesses as making up to $5,000,000 a year.
Make less than $5,000,000 a year?
The picture above suggests that automation platforms are common among small businesses.
But there’s still a huge gap for the majority who make less.
That’s where the next generation of marketing automation comes in. Companies like ScribeContent, Orbtr and a wave of new platforms (like us) are being designed exclusively for small businesses owners. What does this mean?
You can finally take advantage of content marketing on a large scale to grow your business. Because marketing automation for small businesses is the secret ingredient to content marketing success.
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Conclusion: Marketing Automation For Small Businesses
And it might just be your new best friend.
But before you become as obsessed with automating as we are, make sure you create a content marketing strategy that aligns with your business, so you create the best content to attract qualified visitors who will likely turn into customers.
So, what are your favourite automating tips you do to market your business online?