SMBs Make Automated Nurtures, Segmentation Top Priorities

Published: December 2, 2015

B2B marketers for small and mid-sized businesses are short on time and resources, so they are focused on marketing tactics such as email marketing that produce measurable results. In fact, all of the SMBs that spoke to Demand Gen Report use email as a primary way to engage with prospects and clients.

In the 2015 Infusionsoft Small Business Market Research Sales & Marketing Report, prepared by Audience Audit, more than one-third (34%) of SMB marketers cited email marketing, putting it among the top three marketing strategies used. Nearly three-quarters (72%) said that they use email marketing technology to promote their businesses.

SMBs rely on small marketing teams and often lack the marketing muscle of their enterprise brethren, as evidenced by the 30% of respondents that cited a lack of marketing expertise as a challenge. To meet these challenges, marketers at SMBs are looking for technologies that can automate processes such as lead nurturing and segmentation, as well as provide the building blocks they need to generate quality leads and convert leads into sales.

These profiles illustrate how four SMB marketers are making the most of their marketing technology stacks to streamline their campaigns and grow their businesses.

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SnackNation: Using Automation To Segment Customers

SnackNation began using marketing automation in 2009, where it continues to have a big impact in the office snack delivery firm’s ability to drive engagement at the top of the funnel.

Marketing Stack

The company started out with Infusionsoft and continues to use that technology to onboard new customers. It has also added Salesforce and Marketo to help automate its expanding marketing needs.

“Where marketing automation is having the biggest impact is in our ability to segment customers,” said Andy Mackensen, Co-founder and CMO of SnackNation. He explained that while the target customer is a small business with 10 to 100 employees, the decision-maker can be the CEO, office administrator or HR director, depending on the size and type of organization.

“By segmenting out the customer base more precisely, we can really hone our messaging and nurture campaigns.” The lead gen forms also vary by segment, he noted.

The company also uses marketing automation to streamline the process of onboarding new customers, Mackensen said. “It is important to ensure that we have the right messaging for our new customers to engage them and keep them happy with the service.”

Mackensen said he would like to explore predictive solutions, but he acknowledges that many small businesses can’t take advantage of predictive tools because they do not have enough data to make it effective. “But we’re definitely looking at predictive and it would be a help to our marketing efforts.”

Zyme: Tracking Campaign Performance

Many small businesses use email and digital marketing as the bread and butter of their marketing activities. While Zyme, a channel data management technology provider, runs email campaigns, the company has found that webinars have become a bigger part of its demand generation strategy.

Zyme’s Marketing Stack

Prior to marketing automation, the technology firm did not have data on who engaged with their emails or visited their website.

“The ability to track performance and provide visibility into all of our marketing activities is critical in determining our quarterly plans,” said Betsy Chen, Marketing Operations Specialist at Zyme. “It has been a huge leap for us, and we have been able to become more data-driven in our approach to marketing spending.”

More detailed campaign metrics has [also] improved marketing’s relationship with sales, Chen said. “When they can see the impact of a white paper, E-book or webinar, it is much easier to get them on board.”

Social media is the company’s next marketing challenge, she said. “We have a very niche market, so we have to continually look for new ways to reach a limited audience.”

Instapage: Increasing Webinar Engagement By 30%

Instapage offers technology for building landing pages and uses webinar and email campaigns to attract prospects and onboard new customers. With an audience of busy marketers, the technology provider has to find creative ways to engage users.

Instapage’s Marketing Stack

The company recently upgraded from a basic email marketing solution to Autopilot, which enables them to engage with users directly from the Instapage application.

“We now have two ways to engage users — with email and with messaging when they are in our application,” said Tyson Quick, CEO of Instapage. “While [the company] has only been using the feature for a short time, we’ve been able to increase webinar attendance by 30% or more.”

Encouraging users to attend webinars is important to ensure adoption and retention, Quick said. “If they don’t engage with the product, they’re not likely to renew.”

Marketing automation also enables to company to segment its database to ensure appropriate messaging, Quick added. “You don’t want to invite an experienced user to a webinar for beginners, and vice versa.”

Quintain Marketing: Expanding Reach With Targeted Campaigns

Four years ago, Maryland-based Quintain Marketing focused on working with local companies to improve their inbound marketing. “We were a much smaller company with a much narrower audience,” said Kathleen Booth, CEO of Quintain Marketing, a marketing consulting firm.

Quintain’s Marketing Stack

Since adding marketing automation, the firm has grown its revenues more than 100% and now targets a national audience of small business owners.

One of the biggest benefits, according to Booth, is that marketing automation has helped the company be more consistent and frequent in its marketing efforts. “While we used to blog once a week, we now blog multiple times a week, and have webinars and email newsletters to promote our business.”

One of the biggest challenges of marketing automation is a “set it and forget it” mentality, Booth noted. “There is a tendency among small businesses to think that you get this tool — marketing automation —[and] it will solve all of your problems. It is not a magic bullet. You have to follow a strategy for your inbound marketing and have the right content for it to work well.”

The biggest benefit has been an improvement in efficiency, Booth said. “We have to do more with less as a small business. Having one platform for all of our marketing campaigns has helped tremendously.

By boosting productivity, the company has time to explore new tools, according to Booth. “One tool we’ve been beta testing is Seventh Sense, which integrates with HubSpot and uses artificial intelligence to predict when a recipient is the most likely to open an email, and [we are able to] schedule campaigns based on what we know about individual preferences.”

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