Running a small business can be completely overwhelming. It’s far too easy to spend your days putting out fires and dealing only with the critical day-to-day operations, never spending time on the (just as critical) more strategic operations of your company. I mean, when you have so many other things to do, who has time for marketing?

You do.

The key is automation.

Marketing automation is easy, available, and a heck of a timesaver. In fact, with automation you can literally be everywhere at once. You can be growing your online presence throughout the day, every day. You can nurture your leads every day – or as often as you’d like. You can even use automation to help convert these nurtured leads into sales and stay top of mind with customers that you would like to retain or renew.

Growing Your Presence With Automation

How can marketing automation software help you grow your presence in a way that reaches new potential visitors all the time? The first step is to create relevant, original pieces of content (blogs, whitepapers, ebooks, etc.), and then share those pieces of content with people you think will be interested.

Now you may not think that you have the time, or the resources, to create content. But you do. Even blogs are helpful pieces of content: According to marketing automation software company HubSpot, Marketers who have prioritized blogging are 13x more likely to enjoy positive return on investment (ROI). And even as a small company, you can easily be blogging. Just use your resources; get everyone involved. Have everyone create.

Once you’ve created a blog, use the power of marketing automation to get the most out of it by sharing it on social media: Many automation software programs will allow you to post your blog to a wide variety of social media platforms with a few clicks of the button meaning you can get a week’s worth of posts set up and scheduled out in advance in just a few minutes. I know, I know, 59% of marketers are using social media for 6 hours or more each week. Well, you know what? That 59% is doing social media wrong.

If you’re a Hubspot user, you can set your software up to “auto-magically” share your content as soon as it’s created. And then you can re-share it over Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+, as many times and as far out into the future as you desire – all with a few clicks of the mouse. And then you can sit back, relax, and watch your social media interactions (as well as opportunities for you to interact) and your site visits from social media come pouring in.

Nurture Your Leads With Automation

Did you catch that? I said you can relax; but ain’t nobody got time for that! Especially when you can be moving on to nurturing those leads that came in from the content that you created and promoted on social media. Now that you have leads, you need to keep them engaged and stay top of mind while you subtly try to learn their position within the buyer’s journey.

One of the easiest ways to do this? Workflows/gauntlets/email series – whatever you want to call them, these automated lead nurturing emails work to keep your leads engaged by ensuring they have regular contact with you over a defined period of time after a conversion. And not will they be engaged, they’ll be happy. Nurtured leads are happy leads. Nurtured leads produce, on average, a 20% increase in sales opportunities when compared to non-nurtured leads. That’s huge. And considering that once you set them up, you can allow them to start and stop automatically? You’d be silly not to do this. But believe it or not, according to MarketingSherpa, only 35% of B2B marketers have lead nurturing campaigns established.

So launch your workflow and stand out from the crowd of competing companies. All you have to do to get started is define your goal and develop your strategy. Do you want to reach out to your contacts when they begin to follow you on social media? Do you want to follow up with them after they download their first piece of premium content? Or do you want to reach out to them and invite them to attend an event in the future?

The choice is yours. All you have to do is draft the email, set the timing of each email, and again, just let them go and watch the responses roll in while your marketing automation software does the work for you.

Close Your Leads

Although you can alot with workflows, in many cases it’s the personal touch, that connection that makes the sale. But automation – with the help of another handy marketing tool – can make your life much easier.

That other tool that I’m talking about is called Sidekick. With the help of Sidekick, you are omnipotent. Legitimately, you see all. You can see who views your website, who reads your blog, who’s looking at what page, opening your email, the list goes on. And while that may not seem like much right there – it is.

You don’t have to act proactively until you want to – and even that proactive act – that “You just popped into my head” phone call – is totally reactive. By the time you make your sales call, you’ll know exactly what your sales qualified lead (SQL) viewed, read, and what’s on their mind, giving you an educated upper-hand during your call.

Automation Is Your Friend

Point blank, automation allows you to spend your time on the most valuable things – be it managing the day-to-day operations or longer-term strategic development for your business – rather than spinning your wheels on simple, time consuming tasks.

Do you have any automation tricks that you feel like sharing? Let me know in the comments!