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Customer growth is a topic that small business owners never forget. Always on the edge of breaking through in the main stream, many startup managers are looking for that magical tool that can help them become the “next best thing.” But we have some great news! To prove yourself in the market place and gain new customers, you don’t always need a magical wand. Here are 4 easy tools to grow your small business.

1) Email Marketing

Email marketing? Email marketing. Many small business owners we talk to either consider email marketing ineffective or, in today’s crowded digital environment, simply outdated. But both assumptions are far from the truth! Small businesses generally have a small budget to deal with, which makes email marketing the perfect tool to spread awareness.

In fact, according to the Direct Marketing Association, email marketing offers a 4300 percent return on investment. That, ladies and gentlemen, is not a typo. It’s also the reason experienced marketers consider email marketing to be the single most effective marketing tool available, even in an age where fancy alternatives like remarketing seem more innovative.

2) Social Media

If you’re owning or managing a small business, chances are your business is on social media. But are you putting your message out on the best network for your audience? Are you striking the delicate balance between promotional, informational, and engaging content? Do your social media efforts actually affect your business growth?

Too often, small businesses answer the above questions with “I don’t know.” While many acknowledge the importance of the medium in getting the word out, fewer know just how to do so effectively. The good news: using social media correctly does not cost you a single dime, and once you get the hang of it, it won’t even take more time. We could (and have) devoted entire blog posts on just how to get the hang of it, so for the purposes of brevity, we’ll just say that done right, social media is essential for growing your business.

3) Lead Generation

What happens once you get your web visitors into your database? For many small businesses, that question starts even earlier: how do you get web visitors into your database? The answer is an inbound marketing philosophy that requires little more than a shift in thinking. Industry leader HubSpot defines inbound marketing as

creating content specifically designed to appeal to your dream customers, inbound attracts qualified prospects to your business and keeps them coming back for more.

Of course, in inbound marketing, the content in the definition above comes for a price. Not a literal price, but the small task of filling out a web form with your contact information. If the content is good and relevant enough, your visitors will gladly oblige, and upon doing so, enter your database as leads. Once they do that, it’s time to take advantage of the final tool that can help you easily grow your small business:

4) Marketing Automation

A crucial part of inbound marketing is lead nurtured, the answer to the first question in the above section. When visitors turn into leads, you will need a system in place that gradually guides them toward becoming customers. A great way to do so is to take advantage of marketing automation, the process of sending automated emails to your leads that let them know about new and exciting content while gradually nudging them toward a sale.

In a way, marketing automation pulls all of the above tools together. It’s a great way to focus your email marketing, can be enhanced by social media through share buttons, and gives your lead generation a purpose. 42 percent of businesses are already using some type of marketing automation, and that number will only go up in the future.

Of course, some of these tools may seem more involved than the “easy” label we attached to them. But we promise you that when we said easy, we meant it! An effective CRM can help you in all four areas, making sure that you can grow your business without spending undue attention or budget on your marketing. And if you’re ready for that CRM, we’d love to have a chat! Contact us to learn more about how our solution can help your email marketing, social media efforts, lead generation and marketing automation.

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