Picture this; a customer visits your website, and after browsing your products and/or services, he/she chooses to leave your site in search of your competitors’ web platforms. But, before they leave, they’re told via pop-up overlay that they can leave their contact details should they wish to learn more about a product that they’ve been viewing.
A day later they receive an email regarding the product or service, with some industry related news. Your brand has now piqued their interest. They also respond to a prompt that urges them to send you an inquiry regarding your product. They are then provided a detailed quote, with the option of completing the order.
This has all happened through automation, and you, the business owner, has lost neither time nor effort in securing a sale. In fact, you’ve not had to hire a single person to convince potential customers to trust in your brand.
All it has cost you is a minimal service fee to your online marketing assistant or automation software developer.
Customer Relations Manager
That’s exactly what your digital automation platform will become; a customer relations manager. With automation on the rise, researchers believe that within the next 10 years only a fraction of the sales process will be carried out by living and breathing humans.
Big business is already investing heavily in marketing automation. In fact, there are businesses that make money by custom-building marketing suites for even bigger businesses. These systems are already operational in sales pipelines of large corporations in South Africa (think banks and insurance brands).
Marketing managers that use automation know, without any shadow of doubt, that automation and data collection have given them a competitive edge in their respective industry. Unfortunately, small to medium sized businesses in South Africa have not even considered marketing automation, never mind sound digital marketing practices.
Here’s why these business owners are making a tragic mistake:
- Small/medium sized businesses have a limited budget. Surely, they require all the assistance they can get to streamline their sales process without needing extra staff.
- Digital automation is probably scary terminology for the aspiring entrepreneur (and even business owner veterans). However, automated emails doesn’t sound half as bad. Well, email automation is one of the most common forms of marketing automation, and the most efficient. Did you know that you can create an email automation campaign within a few hours, and it will cost you the equivalent of two movie tickets per month?
- Small businesses need to make sales. Fortunately, it is easier selling your product/service to an existing client rather than seeking new leads. Automation has proven to be twice as effective at generating sales from existing customers. Why? Well, a human salesman may forget to email certain customers your newest product launch… but a robot won’t.
If Not, Why Not
So why do small businesses not consider automation as a way of streamlining the sales process, and adding a little simplicity to the mix?
There are quite a few answers to this question. The first answer is that the aspiring entrepreneur often does not have the digital marketing platform required on which to build an automation strategy. There are countless businesses out there that do not have the simplest of websites on which to place forms and overlays.
With so many website design suites on the market, it doesn’t take too much effort to create an awesome looking site that won’t cost a lot. Once this is done, you can create forms and overlays, collecting client data, and loading them onto an email automation suite. Check out Unbounce for some great overlay and automation advice. Yet again, I’d strongly consider MailChimp for all my email automation needs. All it requires is a little time to put together, which brings us to the second point…
Many business owners don’t consider digital marketing automation because they simply do not have the time or interest in putting a campaign together. If you think that you might die from boredom when putting an online automation process in place, or you couldn’t be bothered to create some emailer content, then you’ll find that there are many agencies that can do this work for you.
Don’t think you have the money to outsource digital marketing services? You’re probably right in some respects. There are many agencies out there that charge an arm-and-a-leg for these services. But maybe look past those agencies on the first three or four pages on Google, and you’ll be surprised at how many fledgling agencies there are in South Africa. The smaller ‘new-kids-on-the-block’ will likely perform all your digital marketing, including simple automation processes, in short-notice and for very affordable rates.
Remember, the digital market is moving forward very quickly. If you don’t want to be left behind from a wealth of online leads, then get some help. Your online, robo-receptionist is not that much of a far-fetched idea.