2022 Marketing Automation State of the Union

As a Certified Automation Service Provider™ I think a LOT about automation and I meet each week with the ASP community to mastermind and share what's going on in our respective businesses.

Over the past 6 months, it's become clear that there's a crisis going on regarding marketing automation for small businesses. Small businesses can greatly benefit from automation, but most aren’t doing it. 

Whether that is because of a lack of time, expertise, or ability to invest, after spending 4 months auditing business in many different industries, I'm ready to talk about this problem, and what Karvel Digital is doing to help. 

Marketing automation is hard to do well effectively.

For those who make the commitment to identify their successful processes and strategically automated them, the rewards are considerable. A good automated marketing engine will follow up contextually with 100% of your leads and take them on a journey to buying the right offer from you.

That’s worth some effort.  

A lot of people buy the software, and then feel like buying the software is the same as doing automation. But signing up for Active Campaign is just the beginning of the journey. 

Many of you are underutilizing this tool and you’re frustrated because you’re paying for power and features you have no idea how to access. Some of you end up switching to a different platform because it’s easier.

Here’s the thing. It might be easier, but is it going to bring you results? It’s easier to take photos with an iPhone than with a DSLR, but if you want to do wildlife photography, you don’t complain that DSLR’s are hard. You learn to use them so you get that lion photo without getting eaten. 

What’s your priority? Do you want easy or do you want results? 

To get results, you might need a tool that is more complex, more powerful and can do more for your business. And you might need some help getting the most out of that tool. 

It doesn’t mean it’s not worth the effort. 

Choosing Your Marketing Software

Choose software for your business based on what the result and outcome that you’re trying to get. For the love of everything, please stop going into Facebook groups and asking random people what tools you should use! 

Those people don’t know your business. They don’t know the context. They don’t know the technical acumen that you have access to on your team. Making software decisions based on what’s popular without a strategic selection process is a recipe for future regret. 

Businesses Aren’t Taking Advantage of Marketing Automation

As part of the automation service provider community, we mastermind every week, and we talked about what’s going on in each other’s businesses and in the industry and things that we’re finding. 

We had the impression that businesses were trying to do marketing automation and that they needed help to do it better. And what we have been finding is that many business owners are just not doing marketing automation at all. 

The majority of small business owners are lucky to have an email list at all and at least one automated email or welcome sequence for new subscribers.

And then…nothing. 

When I talk about marketing automation, I mean that you have an intentional strategic journey that you take people on that leads to the best solution. I’m talking about behavioral based automations, that react to the actions that people take. 

I often will make a shoe buying analogy to help people understand this. 

Imagine you’re in a in a store and you are looking for shoes, and you start picking up different pairs of shoes. More than likely, a salesperson is going to come over to you and ask if you need help and if they can bring your size to try on. They are going to facilitate the purchase. 

The same thing is happening in your business, on the digital plane. People are going to important pages on your website, such as your product pages, book a call page, and sales pages.  And when they don’t take action, you are blind to all of this, because you just haven’t set up the systems to be able to know that these things are happening. 

You’re unable to facilitate the sale by deciding how you want your system to react when your audience are giving off buying signals.  

  • You could notify your team to follow up personally
  • You could trigger an automated sales sequence. 
  • You could add someone to a custom advertising audience for retargeting. 

But first, you have to, you actually have to have the system in place. 

The First Step is a Marketing Automation Audit

When we discovered that our audiences weren’t using marketing automation we started offering to audit their marketing. 

We got access to over a dozen Active Campaign accounts and checked them against 13 best practices that we set up for every client. 

Most of the business owners we audited were vastly underutilizing Active Campaign ant not getting the benefits that are available from things like proper segmentation and creating a CRM with a sales pipeline. Even the people who were doing well, had a lot of opportunity to do better. 

This is why we created CRM to Sales.

We looked at our previous high investment retainers and broke it down to the essentials needed to get started with Marketing Automation: 

  1. Audit your current marketing
  2. Take the steps needed to clean up your account to get it marketing-ready
  3. Offer monthly support for sending your emails so you no longer have to struggle with the technology
  4. Each month, suggest a new high-value automation to add to your business
  5. Build these automations using the content you provide. 

Build a Sales Engine with Active Campaign

If you are going to build a true automated sales engine for your business, you need someone to be focused on maintaining your CRM. Not only sending the emails but maintaining your contacts, and making sure the data you need to make good marketing decisions is collected and stored where you can take action on it. 

That allows you to send more relevant content, which will help shorten your sales cycle. 

When you join CRM to Sales, we manage your Active Campaign account for you, starting as low as $500 / month after on-boarding. 

Screenshot of an automation map created in Whimsical, showing the start trigger and automation steps

Mapping automations before they are created allows you to see what's happening with your marketing without logging into your tools

In September 2022, we launched the beta for this program by announcing it to a small section of our list and our past clients and quickly sold out of our 10 beta spots. When 2023 starts, all our beta clients will have optimized accounts, new lead onboarding and sales sequences to maximize relationship building and ROI with every new lead. 

We are living in challenging times, friends. Marketing automation is an amazing process that can help you make sure that business and marketing continues even though exhaustion, illness, vacation or whatever else life throws at you. 

At the time of this writing, we are booking audits for January 2023. If you would like to be in the next round of clients, here’s what you need to take advantage of this offer. 

  • A marketing and sales process that is working. I like to say, If you automate crap, you just get automated crap. If you’re still struggling to get consistent leads and sales, consider joining Content Boot Camp, where we spend 12 weeks helping you dial in your offer, audience, and messaging to produce consistent leads and sales. 
  • Make sure you are committed to producing the content needed to automate well. If you’re struggling to produce content, you might need to level up your email skills or invest in a copywriter. We provide resources inside the program for both of these options. 
  • Use Active Campaign or be willing to migrate. This offer is only for Active Campaign users at this time. We’re happy to take care of the migration for you as part of your onboarding if you’re currently with a different provider.

Ready to Get Help with Your Marketing Automation?

When you’re growing a business, there comes a time when you have to start taking off some hats and bring in people who can take the baton from you and carry it places you never though possible. 

As Certified Automation Service Providers™, we live and breath automation every day and we would love to help you get more from Active Campaign without spending all your time on YouTube university. 

If you’re ready and excited to join us, visit crm2sales.com and apply to join us

Adrianna Locke Acupuncturist

I am a forever fan

I just want to give a shout out to Kronda Adair for making my automation and tech dreams come true. I’m nearing the end of my first online launch and it’s been amazing. I’m exceeding my goals and I’m not exhausted! And, it’s largely because of Kronda.

When I first signed up with Kronda a year ago I knew I needed to upgrade my tech and build an online platform I could leverage. I had a Dixie cup and needed a reservoir so that when I started marketing and turning up the flow I had something to catch all the goodness.

And now that’s what’s happening. It’s exciting that I’m getting sales and doing the work I love to do. It’s even more exciting knowing that this is completely scalable and that if I went viral tomorrow my biz would bend but it wouldn’t break. I’m so glad I did this work at the beginning instead of investing in tools that I would outgrow when things really started to get going in my business. I see this happening to other businesses all the time.

If you’re just getting into scaling up your marketing, are running into the limitations of your all-in-one, are still manually entering client info, or having trouble onboarding and are serious about your business, just do yourself a favor and book a session with this woman. She blew my mind just in the complimentary strategy session she offers.

I am a forever fan

About the author 

Kronda Adair

Kronda is the CEO of Karvel Digital, a digital marketing agency that helps mission-driven service-based business owners how to use content to sell so they can automate their marketing and scale without burnout. She loves empowering small business owners to not be intimidated by all this tech stuff. She's often covered in cats.

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