Business owners wear so many hats.

Sometimes, it can become overwhelming and a bit difficult to go after your business goal

That’s why smart founders are always on the lookout for ways to make their lives easier and hit their targets as well.

Not all time-consuming tasks produce income. If time is money, then you need to spend it wisely

Enter automation.

Businesses that use marketing automation to nurture prospects experience a 451% increase in qualified leads. (Source: The Annuitas Group)

Following a study by VB Insight last year, 80% of businesses that have used automation have also enjoyed increased leads. And better still, the study suggested these are typically quality leads as 77% of the same businesses also saw an increase in conversions.

According to Pardot, 68% of businesses ranked as ‘top performing’ are using automation in their marketing strategies.

These top-performing businesses were also found to enjoy larger revenue growth, more lead-to-sales conversion, and better customer satisfaction. Though you can’t attribute all of this success to automation alone, it certainly plays a significant role.

Marketing automation can make your busy life easier and grow your business in the process.

Done well, you can build better relationships with everyone in your contact base and scale the human touch ingrained into your company DNA. This will, in turn, grow your business.

Follow the steps below and watch your business grow!

1. Make sure leads don’t fall through the cracks

Here’s the scenario: A potential customer is interested in buying, fills out an inquiry form, and then… never hears from the company. Sound crazy? According to the Harvard Business Review, 23% of companies never follow up with leads.

Using marketing automation, you can set up a trigger that instantly sends a follow-up email to new leads who filled out a form without having to worry about replying manually days later.

You can automatically let the lead know that you’ll be in touch soon or provide a link to your sales rep’s calendar to make scheduling easy. This makes the experience as seamless as possible and makes your already full plate that much lighter.

2. Identify the hottest segments in your contact base

Is there low-hanging fruit amongst your contacts just waiting to be plucked? Think of the repeat purchasers, influencers eager to give word of mouth recommendations, and people who are ready to buy now.

Since marketing automation tracks the activity and behavior of people in your contact base (like form submissions, purchases made, email opens), you can easily group your contacts into the critical segments who you need to target to make the most of your business.

3. Simplify your sales team’s life with lead nurturing aka follow up

“Lead nurturing,” is the process of building trust with potential customers until they are ready to buy. It is like a mom who nurtures her child’s growth with love and care. In the case of a small business, the nurturing happens with helpful and relevant content.

This concept is based on the fact that every new person who subscribes to your blog, fills out a contact form, or downloads a whitepaper isn’t ready to buy yet. Some are, and that’s great, but most people need to find out if you know what you’re talking about by engaging with your content and if others have had success with your products and services by reading your customer stories or online reviews.

Not only do nurtured leads make larger purchases than non-nurtured leads (according to The Annuitas Group), but your sales team will thank you for saving them from calling leads who hang up, get angry or confused that you’re calling them, have no idea who you are and so on. That’s precious man hours and resources being wasted.

This process of nurturing the relationship is what is also called follow-up.

The Nurturing Content Funnel

There are three different stages in the buying cycle, each with its own unique conversation happening in the potential customer’s mind:

Early stage: “I’m just doing research and not even close to making a purchase yet”
Mid-stage: “I’m interested in buying, but want more information to see if DogToday is the best choice for me”
Late stage: “Okay, I think I’m ready to buy”

How you follow up at each stage differs significantly. The trick is to match the type of content you send to leads based on their stage in the buying cycle. What follows is a breakdown of each stage of the nurturing content funnel

Once you’ve figured out all these, you can go ahead and use marketing automation software to put the whole thing on autopilot.

Early stage – “I’m just doing research”

Potential buyers at this stage are low-commitment. They haven’t bought from you yet, engaged with your sales team, or clicked on any of your more product-focused content. The way to nudge them to the next stage is to speak to their needs and interests with non-salesy, helpful content. Specifically, that means content with best practices, tips and tactics, thought leadership, industry trends and commentary.

The rule of thumb, especially for early-stage content, is to shoot for 95% teaching and 5% selling. This keeps you top of mind so leads will come knockin’ when they are ready to buy.

Mid-stage – “I’m interested in buying, but want more information”

Potential buyers at this stage are becoming more open to buying from you. They’ve read your content, know that you know what you’re talking about, and are curious to learn more and/or see how others have had success buying from you.

The best content to speak to them at this stage is a combination of more in-depth content closely related to the early-stage content, relatable customer stories showing the results other people have had success from working with you or using your product/service and consumer reviews.

Late-stage – “Okay, I think I’m ready to buy”

Potential buyers at this stage are now warm leads that are ready to be passed off to sales. Enough trust has been built where they are willing to take the next step and buy from you.

All you have to do is make the invitation with a targeted promotional offer based on the content they’ve been reading,

a call-to-action to demo or sign up for a free trial of your product, or a personalized, text-based email to “hop on a call” or “join a working session” to close the deal over the phone.

All of the ways mentioned above can be automated and will ultimately grow your business. But it requires upfront work of breaking down your customer’s journey and creating content relevant for the right people at the right time in the right place before feeding it into the automation software.

We work with few selected clients to help them develop customer acquisition and retention growth system for their business. Book a free strategy session to talk to our growth experts.

Growth is the only essential thing you need to be a startup. Startups are created to grow fast. Everything else that happens within a startup is a derivative of growth.

Everything – ideation, product validation, product management, team building, fundraising – follows from growth. Without growth, early stage startup is just a small business losing money.

That is why founders are encouraged to focus on one metric – the one that matters. This is because, as a startup, your limited resources are a deterrent to wasting your time trying different things.

Depending on your type of business, growth will mean different things to different startups. And your one metric that matter changes over time. Getting rid of distractions enables you to focus your already limited resources – people, time, and money – on the one thing that moves the needle.

What is the one thing that signifies that your business is growing at a particular point in time?

In the beginning, growth for a lot of startups has more to do with user acquisition and engagement than revenue. The advantage of defining your growth metric is it tells you the most important thing about your startup and how should drive it.

You need to consider the followings when choosing your growth parameter.

1. Your business model

The way you monetize your product is an indication of the value that will be created by your business. It’s not always about the money, but revenue metrics provides a standard benchmark for growth metrics.

2. How you acquire your customers

The rate at which your products gets into the hands of users is a substantial measure of how scalable and successful your product can be. Inherent in the DNA of startups is the ability to build products that have the potential of being ubiquitous and viral within a short time frame.

That is why most startups are tech-enabled companies because technology enables innovation not just in the way products are made, but how they are distributed. You can measure your growth based on metrics such as unique web visits, page views, app downloads, partner signups, user signups, conversion rate, churn rate, etc.

3. The stage of your business

The stage of your company will determine what to focus on. Early stage business should be obsessed about metrics that validates their product-market fit more than mid or late stage companies.

In the beginning, your growth metric is based on time-based milestones you need to reach such as partnerships, signup at a particular time, user signup rate, number of feature releases, etc. It is important that you wrap this with specific numbers as much as possible to measure progress.

4. How you measure growth

Answering this question will help you make right decisions. Let’s assume you decide to measure your growth by the number of subscribers to your email list. First, you’ll have to optimise your product, website, app, content and every potential user interactions to grow this list.

You then measure the results of all your actions on a regular basis against this metric. You hold yourself and your team accountable with data and see whether you are making progress or not. You deep dive into all your acquisition channels to identify where you are getting the most number of subscribers. You look at the numbers every day and experiment with various tactics and tools to see how you can grow the subscription rate.

As you focus on a particular growth metric and optimise your products accordingly, magic happens. You identify particular big hairy destinations to drive your startup towards and you can measure the how and the rate at which you are getting there. And as you grow, your goal may change, and you redefine your growth metric.

You build, you measure, you learn.  And you continue the cycle until you reach your true north.