In this guest post from our latest integration partner, learn from Signpost's Jenny Hayward how you can be more effective with your digital marketing strategy.

There are over 28 million small businesses across the United States, who account for more than half of annual domestic sales. In a sea this big, it’s a constant struggle to remain competitive. For local business and franchisees, there are never enough hours in the day to complete essential tasks. Unfortunately, when it comes to investing time and money, it seems that marketing duties are commonly among the first to fall by the wayside. Although the U.S. Small Business Administration recommends spending 7-8% of revenue on marketing, it’s no wonder that 66% of businesses aren’t setting aside this amount of resources.

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Despite the inevitable cost of money, there is also an assumption that great marketing takes time. With most businesses devoting twenty hours a week on marketing, it can be tempting to dismiss the practice altogether, or delay its start until you have "enough time" to really invest and get the results you’re looking for. Especially when coupled with a vast multitude of various advertising sites, technologies and directories, getting any traction this way can seem like an uphill battle.

However, these same tactics have been proven to yield real returns for business, across the board. Email marketing has been known to provide 4,300% return on investment. Where else can you hope to find results like that? And SMS Marketing, which has become exponentially more popular in the last few years, is now a necessity for business. It’s no wonder why, as 76% of consumers are more likely to open a text message than email, and this method continues to produce up to eight times more engagement.

And these results aren’t limited to sending out marketing communications, either. By now, you’ve probably spent a lot of time and energy agonizing over your business’s Yelp reviews and ratings. And for good reason, with 88% of customers trusting online reviews as much as those given in person by someone they know. With such proven results, can your business afford to miss out on these potential gains?

So, where does this leave a majority of business owners? What can you do if you don’t have enough time or resources for all these scattered marketing strategies, but also don’t want to miss out on such compelling opportunities for growth? Luckily, with the emergence of marketing technologies, like and, you can reap the benefits of marketing practices without lifting a finger. As soon as someone becomes a customer, automation services begin gathering data that helps you reach specific customers more effectively in future marketing campaigns. Marketing automation, credited with increasing conversions by 77%, according to a recent survey, is fast becoming a necessity to the success of any business. While this technology is working in the background to engage existing customers, any additional, new campaigns are icing on the cake.

A great marketing strategy starts with clear and specific goals, and ends with analyzing the data behind your campaign’s performance. With these automated tools, a lot of the legwork is done for you already so you can leverage these valuable insights to make better decisions for both your business and future campaigns. This data also allows you to adapt a persisting trend in customer communications and marketing alike: Personalization. On average, personalized emails or SMS messages generate six times higher transaction rates than their generic counterparts, so the importance of implementing customization across various channels is undeniable. Armed with this intel, you’ll be able to refine your approach over time and achieve greater results. Together, with new technologies, you can save time, money and still manage to drive more new and repeat business.

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