3 Ways Automation Can Help You Grow Before, During and After Small Business Saturday

Piece written by Jason VandeBoom, CEO and founder of ActiveCampaign


Whether you’ve been planning your Small Business Saturday (December 3) strategy all year or you’ve just begun to think about how you should market to your customers before, during and after the holiday, one thing is clear—automating parts of your business now will pay dividends for your growth into 2023.

Not feeling convinced on the value of automation? Check out these three reasons why implementing automation is a good idea and areas to focus on as you’re getting started.


Use automation to save time and focus on your customers


Automation seems daunting because many associate it with robots taking our jobs. The reality is, automation should be taking part of our jobs—the mundane, routine tasks that do not need to be performed by humans so that humans can focus on more meaningful work.

When you’re running a small business, every minute is valuable. You have a lot on your plate and only so many hours in a day to get it done. Most small businesses waste time by not automating. While 40% of large companies have automated processes in at least one business unit, only 25% of small businesses can say the same. Many small business owners feel that automation is just for big corporations, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, a recent ActiveCampaign survey found that 44% of our SMB customers report that they now spend more time actually talking with their customers because of time saved using automation.

One key reason to implement automation ahead of Small Business Saturday is to ensure your customer support system is top notch. Regardless of the channel the customer uses, support tickets can be routed to the right person promptly. This automation saves employees from having to sort through emails, Facebook messages, phone messages and chats to find and answer high-priority questions. Not only does automation help improve service for the customer, but it also helps make team member’s roles more impactful to the business.

The sky’s the limit when using automation for routine tasks and to save you ample time in the future. Whether it’s using automation to improve your customer support system, seamlessly route invoicing and billing, or to send welcome emails to new customers—working smarter this holiday season will be crucial to future success.



Use automation to send the right message to the right person at the right time


As a business owner, you’ve found success thus far likely because of your personalized approach and 1:1 interaction with your customers. Impossible to scale, right? Again, this couldn’t be further from the truth. And email marketing automation is a great place to start.

The moment a contact joins your email list is the moment they’re most interested in what you have to offer. Capitalize on that by sending an automatic welcome email — or a series of welcome emails. Thank them for signing up and nudge them toward taking an action of your choice.

You can also use abandoned cart emails to gain back lost revenue. When a customer leaves their cart behind, the abandoned cart can automatically trigger an email reminding them to come back and purchase the items. According to our abandoned cart tool, customers left $76.4 million in revenue in their carts in 2021. ActiveCampaign customers were able to recover $10.4 million from those abandoned carts. That’s 14% of potentially lost revenue that was saved.

If you’re already using an ecommerce platform such as Shopify or WooCommerce, you can use their integrations with marketing automation providers to better engage your shoppers throughout their purchase journey and create a comfort level with them so they want to come back and buy again.

When using marketing automation with your ecommerce platform, you can use purchase behavior to turn first-time buyers into repeat customers. Automatically send discount offers to first-time buyers a set time after their first purchase or text customers to provide reviews. Additionally, you can track what your customers have purchased and recommend future purchases accordingly. This can be done in promotional emails, SMS messaging and more.


Use CRM automation to create long-lasting customer loyalty through data-driven insights


Dealing with potential customers and email contacts manually can be a hassle. Consider replacing that complicated spreadsheet or static CRM tool with CRM automation. Whether you’re an ecommerce business or small software startup, tracking your customers and potential customers in an organized way matters.

Sign-up forms on your website let potential customers opt in to your subscriber list. Automation can take this information and automatically add it to your CRM and email marketing lists. Segment contacts based on how they signed up or immediately trigger a welcome email.

Additionally, a CRM platform can help you keep track of important customer information that leads to a better experience for them. If you have a customer that shops in your store every Saturday, they likely won’t want to fill out a review or survey every single week. Instead, segment your list so frequent customers only receive surveys once a month or once a quarter. While this may seem like a small detail to you, it’s these details that make each customer feel heard and understood by the businesses they choose to support.

Another idea to consider is surveying your customers ahead of the holiday season and asking who they are shopping for or the type of gifts they want to give this year. This will help with your inventory selection, as well as put you top-of-mind for the customers who don’t shop with you regularly.

The main point I want to get across is that it’s not too late to get started ahead of the holiday season. You can implement marketing automation today and start from scratch or integrate it with the tools you’re already using. Automation is critical to year-long growth since it helps further nurture those customers who find your physical or virtual storefront this upcoming Small Business Saturday and realize they can’t live without your products or services in the future. Don’t leave that revenue on the table.