african american person at a computer
As more SMBs embrace marketing automation, vendors are responding with new and improved capabilities. PHOTO: Foundry Co

Marketing automation replaces guesswork with analytics, automates lead nurturing, streamlines lead generation, improves personalization and arguably improves sales.

Suffice to say, it's a huge hit. About 49 percent of companies use marketing automation, according to EmailMonday.

MarketsandMarkets forecasts the global marketing automation software market will grow from $3.65 billion in 2014 to $5.5 billion in 2019, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.55 percent. 

And where is this growth coming from? Everywhere — including small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

According to 2016 research (registration required) by marketing automation software vendor Salesfusion, 62 percent of B2B marketers in the US with less than $100 million in revenues have adopted marketing automation from 40 different vendors. Lead nurture is the No. 1 driver, followed by the desire to increase lead volume, improve lead quality and automate lead scoring and management, the study found.

Addressing SMB Needs

As more SMBs embrace marketing automation, vendors are responding with new and improved capabilities to provide desired results at reasonable costs. A good marketing automation system should include features custom built for SMBs, including:  

1. Shopping Cart Abandonment Email Campaigns

Baymard Institute study shows 67.45 percent of online shopping carts are abandoned. This can be mitigated with shopping cart abandonment email campaigns that remind shoppers to complete their purchase. 

SMBs can send a series of one to three emails at set intervals that include pictures of the selected items, customer testimonials, offers of a money back guarantee or a call to action that can encourage a customer to finish the transaction.

2. Scoring and Tagging

Scoring and tagging will help increase your knowledge of your customers and also analyze their preferences and habits. It pays to use them together so that you can create an excellent customer profile and a perfect automation workflow.

You can reduce scoring points for those who have not bought anything for a certain period of time. You can also assign tags to shoppers who are inactive or use a specific retention campaign on them.

3. Tracking Web Traffic

This enables you to increase your conversion of casual visitors and engage regular customers. SMBs with ecommerce sites can just add a code to their sites to start the advanced tracking.

Here you will understand the interests of your subscribers in terms of what page they visited and what action they took. You'll then be able to evaluate the pages on your site that are getting the highest traffic and assign tags or scores after each visit.

Capitalizing on Marketing Automation

Lead nurturing is a key driver of marketing automation adoption by SMBs. So marketing automation vendors should continue to refine the tools they offer companies to attract, nurture, convert and score leads.

For SMBs, the goal is to provide customers with useful and memorably distinctive experiences. Marketing automation can help a great deal in this regard.

When businesses collect relevant data points about their audience members, it’s easy to use that data to reach out to targeted audiences in a timely, relevant way. GetResponse and InfusionSoft are ideal platforms for advanced marketing automation on a budget, without the need for a full time CRM manager, while platforms like Marketo and Pardot are mostly suited for carrying out marketing automation campaigns for enterprises with large budgets.