Choosing the right marketing automation system for you

Ever received emails from a store or service provider and wondered how they manage to find the time to stay in touch with all their clients?

They don’t have a magic tool to put more hours in their day! Or perhaps they do… because odds are, they are using a marketing automation system.

This strategy can be one of the most effective ways to stay engaged with your customers, provide better service and to enhance your sales. For only a couple of hundred dollars a month (or sometimes less), you can create a set-and-forget system that acts as your round-the clock sales agent.

Let’s take a closer look at marketing automation systems and find out how they can take your sales from so/so to sooo amazing.

What is a marketing automation system?

Thanks to the internet, marketing automation makes staying in touch with your clients a snap.

This software is designed to allow you to create templates for emails, text messages and other missives to your current, future and past customers. Automation lets you decide how and when you wish to communicate with your clients and takes care of this communication for you.

Think of your car mechanic. Do they send you emails telling you it’s time for a service? This likely comes from their automated system. Your information is stored in their database, along with the date of your last visit. After six months has passed you will receive an automatic reminder to come back in for another service. You may also receive a text message 24 hours before your appointment, so you don’t forget.

Perhaps you decide to follow your mechanic on Facebook. They have a great strategy and post cool videos, how-to tips and every now and then there’s a special worth taking advantage of. If they have a good strategy, this has all been decided weeks in advance. It will have been uploaded via an automation system which will share posts at the time of day when their audience is most active on social media.


[Netflix sends personalised missives based on viewer preferences]

Why you need a marketing automation system

I can’t think of many businesses that wouldn’t benefit from automated marketing. For one thing, it motivates you to keep an electronic record of all your client details. Over time, you can grow this database to reach thousands of people, making it easier to nurture leads and improve repeat business.

The reason we use marketing automation is plain and simple: to increase customer numbers and boost revenue. The beauty of the system is that you don’t have to spend time fiddling around in order to contact individual customers. Marketing automation systems allow you to create a personalised dialogue, without having to think about it. It works because the customer feels as though they are being directly communicated with.

According to HubSpot, businesses that use marketing automation to nurture prospects experience a 451% increase in qualified leads. These are the leads of people who are already familiar with your business. They’re more likely to buy because they have used you before.

Your marketing automation system can help you create the following for your customers:

  • Welcome emails
  • Thank you emails
  • Special offer emails
  • Reminder emails and text messages
  • Follow up emails (e.g. the lead has downloaded a cheat sheet and you can now pitch an offer to them)
  • Emails requesting feedback or survey responses
  • Newsletters
  • Segmented emails
  • Abandoned cart emails
  • Birthday and anniversary emails (include a special offer)
  • Social media posts

This may seem like a lot but remember, you only have to write each of these emails once. It can take a little work upfront (hint: engage a copywriter to pull them together for you), but you can use these emails literally thousands of times before they need reworking.



[Seasonal marketing: Jetstar wishes subscribers a Happy Holidays before sharing some very tempting online specials]

What systems are available

There are hundreds of marketing automation systems available. The most popular players include the following:

Designed specifically for small business, InfusionSoft helps you nurture leads, create segmented audiences and take care of all your automated online communications.

Over 120,000 businesses use this platform, with some saying they have been able to grow their client base by over 300 percent. You can also view, manage and support all your sales and marketing activity, in one place with InfusionSoft.


[InfusionSoft lets you easily create automation segments and sequences]

Organise your customer data in order to take action. ActiveCampaign automatically consolidates your communication and uses sales automation to drive deals forward.

Get your content in front of the right people, drive more traffic to your website and convert leads into customers with less effort. This platform creates personalised ‘paths to purchase’ for your leads.

Real Magnet’s marketing automation software makes it easy for you to generate, manage and measure the impact of personalised, engaging content throughout the customer lifecycle—from prospect to repeat customer to referral.

How to choose the right marketing automation system

With so many options, it can be hard to decide which marketing automation system will work for you.

There are a few questions to ask that will make the choice easier.

Is it designed to suit your business?

A program like InfusionSoft is created specifically for small business. This cuts the ‘fat’ and keeps in mind that you don’t have a huge marketing team to work on campaigns.

You may be able to find a provider designed specifically for your industry, however make sure they offer everything to suit your needs and that you’re not at risk of sending out the same content as other providers.

What do you want to achieve?

As with everything, you need a goal and a strategy before you start out. Perhaps you want to reduce missed appointments, perhaps you want fewer abandoned shopping carts.

Deciding on four or five things to aim for means you can look for the right boxes to tick when shopping for a marketing automation system.

What’s your budget?

There’s no need to spend money if you don’t have to! InfusionSoft starts as low as $99USD per month ($50USD per month for the start of 2018) for a basic, single user program.

Marketing automation systems often also offer e-commerce functionalities, but make sure you’re not paying for these features if you don’t need them.

How easy is it to use?

If you get overwhelmed and confused, you won’t bother making the most of your automated marketing.

Choose a provider that gives you help with setup and is available to help with your questions while you get the hang of things.

Still not sure what to use? Ask some of your business contacts what they use and why it works for them. You can also select software that offers a month-to-month subscription allowing you to cancel at any time if the software you select isn’t right for you.

How to get started using a marketing automation system

To make the most of your marketing automation system, take the time to make sure it is being set up to help you meet your goals. It must also provide something of value to customers.

For example, a dental surgery may create the following content to share with a new client:

  • Welcome email to share important information about location, parking and how to prepare for an appointment
  • Reminder email and text message about upcoming appointments
  • Feedback request email after appointment
  • Six month checkup reminder
  • ‘We’ve missed you’ email for clients who have not visited the clinic for 12 months, offering $50 off a checkup and clean
  • Quarterly ‘Happy Smiles’ Newsletter
  • Annual special offer with $50 off a checkup in return for referring a friend

This plan is designed to make clients feel valued and informed, to keep them as ‘active’ customers and to help encourage new business.

The main challenge of marketing automation is to get leads to actually open emails so
part of your strategy may involved regular A/B Testing of headlines. Try to regularly test different headings to find what resonates most with your audience.

Make sure each message you send is of value to the client and that it matches with their most recent interaction with your business. Try to avoid general missives that have nothing to offer the majority of people who are receiving them.

The benefits of a well executed automated marketing campaign include better ROI, lower cost per acquisition and less lead time before purchase. You will also be able to track data for better customer insights and clearer forecasting.

Perhaps the biggest bonus is more time! No more spreadsheets and no more mucking around with individual emails. You’ll be able to communicate with thousands simultaneously, driving your business to new heights for as little as $100 per month.

Thinking about marketing automation for your business? Contact me to find out which system is right for you.


Tim Hyde

Tim Hyde

Tim is an Infusionsoft certified partner, fixer and seasoned business growth strategist with real world business experience. Tim works with coaches, consultants and small business owners to help them get more time money and freedom from their business by optimising and automating the customer lifecycle.

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