When it comes to running an online business, a CEO usually has the final say on what happens and where the future of the company might be headed. One area that every CEO and entrepreneur need to be focusing more effort on, is in the department of business and marketing automation.
The reasons and benefits of marketing automation should be clear to nearly anyone in business, but even more so now that the internet is generating the majority of leads, sales and revenue for most businesses in the world today. With more competition online, that simply means more costs and focus needs to be spent in this area as well… unless you have automation working for you.
As someone who’s been active in the world of online marketing for 20 years now, I’ve personally experienced the days of dial-up, basic HTML websites and an online world without the concept of social media. To think of the internet two decades ago versus what it is today… it’s quite amazing.
I recently had the opportunity to connect with Simon Grabowski, CEO of GetResponse.com, who has also had his fair share of experience in the world of online marketing. To main focus of this discussion was on the concept of marketing automation and how it’s changing the way business is done online.
Since we both started online in the mid-90s, I thought that would be a perfect place for us to start our discussion… looking back at how simple thing used to be, yet quite tedious and slow in the process.
I think automation is all about making your company work faster to let you focus on creating new business opportunities. So, whatever task startup founder (or the team) finds the most tiresome and mundane – this needs to be automated first, there is no golden rule here.
Back in 1997 I was running a one-man online business operating from Poland. I was sending many, many emails to my customers, with similar information – wasting time that could have been spent on more productive tasks. Email autoresponder became a necessity, there was nothing on the market that could answer my needs, so I created one for myself. Now, years later, we help thousands of companies to run their operations more smoothly with marketing automation with the product I started back then – GetResponse. Only now, it is more advanced, offering automation, webinars, email marketing, landing pages and web forms – everything to fully support standalone business promotion. GetResponse employs 300 people now, we have offices around the world, and the company is entirely self-funded. Automation was not only the answer to my need as founder, it became building block and spark to grow the business to what it is today.
Now, we not only provide a solution to help business owners achieve just that, we also educate customers on benefits of automation via Marketing Automation Hub.
I personally feel this is one of the biggest problems with CEOs and brands taking their businesses online — not knowing the opportunities and possibilities for their business. If you were to look at any brick and mortar business, the concept of getting online for them is simply “getting online”. However, with a billion active websites on the internet today, you can’t just put content on the internet and expect any results. Instead, you need to build a legitimate website platform where leads are taken through a process and ultimately become a valued customer. One of the best ways to do this is through the use of a simple email capture and autoresponder series.
Not only did Simon touch on this topic as well, he also went into detail on how entrepreneurs and businesses are leaving money on the table by not digging deeper.
In our report from 2015 we found that 61% of marketers use simple autoresponders, but when it comes to more advanced tasks that could be automated it is not the case. 8% use follow-ups for abandoned cart, 11% use reactivation emails, and only 18% use event-triggered lifecycle automation. These are wasted opportunities to grow business.
The hardest part about automation is the fact that there is no golden rule on what to automate first and how to do it. It requires time and putting systems in place, to collect data, to analyze it and base business decisions on that data. Not many business owners have this knowledge. Lack of qualified employees is also an issue here, as well as turnover expectations. People expect very fast results, are afraid to invest time and money to go head-on.
As mentioned throughout the article, it’s not just about getting a business or brand online, it’s about having a monetization and value play that works. When someone comes to your website or social profile, are they finding the value they were looking for? Walk your audience through the process of learning more about your brand, providing them with the tools and resources you need, while also being able to track every aspect of this through your business as well.
The internet is no longer a static place of one-way conversations. Now everything can be tracked and automated on levels that we’ve never even thought possible. If you aren’t actively using marketing automation within your business, today is the day to get started.