What Marketing Automation Can Do for Your Consulting Business
As a marketing consultant, you’re likely familiar with marketing automation tools. You may even help your clients establish a strategy and create content for their marketing automation approach. But are you using marketing automation to build your own business?
Marketing automation has unique benefits for B2B companies, and can be especially useful for a consultant who’s working on their own or with a lean team.
Reduce Your Workload
The life of a solopreneur is about doing it all; you are responsible for every success and failure of your business, so you have to juggle a lot of competing priorities to keep things on track. Unfortunately, this means you’re also responsible for handling administrative tasks, like scheduling social media posts, establishing your email newsletter mailing list, and keeping blog posts current on your website.
If you’re not yet at a point where you’re ready to outsource some of these tasks, a marketing automation tool can be a nice middle ground, taking some of the tedious tasks off your plate so that you can focus on creating meaningful content and enacting a broader marketing strategy.
Marketing automation tools allow you to schedule out social media content, so that you input everything on Monday and it sends throughout the week. You can use list segmentation to send emails to targeted sections of your email list, rather than either sending a generic email to all of your contacts or wasting time sorting through your entire list looking for relevant contacts. You can establish email campaigns that are triggered to send automatically when a prospect takes a specific action. All of this saves you a lot of time in the long run.
Lower Customer Acquisition Costs
B2B companies tend to have longer sales cycles, which means that there’s often more time and money spent up front on acquiring customers. These costs can get out of hand, which puts additional pressure on you to take on an unreasonable workload to balance out the costs.
Fortunately, marketing automation tools can help you streamline the customer acquisition process so that you can spend less money winning over new business. With the tools, you can implement behavior scoring of new leads. If you’re a marketing firm that focuses almost exclusively on the financial services industry, you know better than to go after someone running an e-commerce shop selling novelty t-shirts. But sometimes it’s a little more difficult to see which leads are truly worthwhile and which ones are a waste of your time.
Assigning scores to your leads based on current customers’ behaviors and attributes allows you to hone in on your hottest leads, cutting down on time and money spent chasing those people who will never actually convert. This in turn means that the money you do spend is directed at the most promising leads, ensuring you’re getting the most for each marketing dollar you spend.
Introduce A/B Testing
A/B testing is likely something that you implement for some of your clients, but it might not be something you have time to take on for yourself. However, an effective approach to A/B testing on your website’s landing pages and other digital assets can help you to strengthen your core messaging and attract more qualified leads.
Fortunately, marketing automation tools make it very easy for you to implement a control and test page on your site and to track the results of each test. Once you have a better understanding of what’s working and what’s not on a page, you can apply those principles across other pages and marketing channels.
Warm Up Your Cold Calls
A lot of business owners dread having to make cold calls. However, when you have an effective marketing automation tool integrated with a CRM, you can gather a lot more information about how prospects are interacting with your consultancy before you even make your first phone call, allowing you to address issues you know they’re concerned about.
Let’s say you have a prospect who owns an architecture firm. You know from your data that the owner of the firm started following your marketing firm’s page on Facebook and has liked a number of your posts that are specifically about how you optimize SEO for small businesses. You also see that someone with an email address associated with that same firm recently visited your website and filled out a form requesting a copy of your ebook on paid advertising on Facebook and Google.
Armed with this information, you can confidently give the owner a call, trumpeting your firm’s expertise in SEO and paid advertising, and offering insight into how you’ve helped other similar businesses succeed in those arenas.
Stay On Top of Follow Up
One of the hardest things for a solopreneur to manage is keeping up with all the necessary follow up involved with lead nurturing. Sometimes you have some promising leads in the pipeline, and you have every intention of following up with them this week, but then an emergency crops up with one of your existing clients! Suddenly, your whole week is dedicated to correcting the issues there. Then the next week is all about catching up on work for other clients, and next thing you know, three weeks have gone by.
When you reach out your once-hot prospects, they’re either silent or write back to tell you they’ve gone with another consultant in the interim. With an effective marketing automation plan in place, you can avoid this mess. Creating email campaigns that are set to send every few days and are triggered by specific behavior can help you to maintain the feeling of personal follow up with each prospect, while actually relying on automation to get it all done.
Because of the longer B2B sales cycle, setting up an automated email campaign enables you to remain top of mind (and top of inbox!) for those prospects who aren’t quite ready to convert, but whom you still want to stay in front of.
When you’re running a consultancy on your own or with a small team, it truly is all hands on deck. It’s easy to get mired in the details and lose sight of the bigger picture. Fortunately, marketing automation tools empower you to forget about the minutiae that comes along with a multifaceted marketing approach, so that you can focus on big picture issues like strategy and providing the best service to your clients.
If you liked this post, check out our Small Business Guide to Marketing Automation.