It’s no wonder why many businesses struggle with picking marketing automation tools. There are so many options available. It’s easy to be unsure of what tools will actually benefit you. Many businesses are compelled with the idea of automating their marketing (especially small businesses). Yet they become overwhelmed with the amount of marketing automation tools available. Furthermore, the price point can be a major turn-off for a lot of up and coming businesses.
Many businesses want to be in the marketing automation movement but are not sure where or how to fit in. Everyone wants to do what’s best for their customers. They also want to be conscious of the size of their company. No matter how small or large a company is, no one wants to come off as being insincere or impersonal. How exactly can that be tied in with automation software? Customization is key – especially if you’re just starting out.
It can be overwhelming to learn about all the features of marketing automation software. With that said, there are a ton of tools and features for businesses of every size. As a small business in 2016, “you may be better off with working with an A-La-Carte approach – working with a few tools that cover the exact features needed or that are most important for you.” Ben Gran, Kabbage (check out his author page). As a small company, e-commerce site, or anything in between, you may benefit from using both manual and automated marketing. You don’t have to drown yourself with automation; you can just dip your toes in to see what works.
So now you’re thinking, “What marketing automation tools will work for me? What software will work with my budget? Can I find something that is easy, but that will provide me the right tools to help with my business’s success?” You don’t have to work alone. As a small business, you can seriously benefit from automating your marketing.
Let me put marketing automation in perspective. You can break down your marketing automation into different levels in a funnel. Each level of the funnel provides a level of automation. The biggest group is the mouth of the funnel. This provides you with a basic degree of marketing automation. It’s the easiest and most affordable way to “feed” your growth. As a result, you trickle down according to the advancement of the automation process. Many small businesses think they need coverage at each level of the funnel. In reality, starting at the most basic level might be just enough. You have to build your way up… Or in this case down. G2 Crowd mentions that smaller companies desire tools that are easy to learn but also handle a wide variety of features (the most common ones at least).
The Mouth of the Funnel (Attract)
Attract contacts. Some may think email automation is not a form of marketing automation. But seriously think about it… Email automation is a definite component of marketing automation. Along with social media and blogging, you can turn strangers into visitors. These visitors will hopefully turn into leads. Blogging can be used to write helpful content that is relatable to your industry/business/goal. Work on SEO – it’s a great way to get your website in front of people. Use social media to post about your blog content. You can also use it to promote sign-ups for your newsletter. Use emails to blast out your newest blog entries. You see how this is turning into a cycle?
Mid-Level (Nurture & Convert)
This is the stage where you start dipping your toes in analytics. You’re also working on combing through your list of followers via social media and email lists. One way to nurture these leads is to offer them resources (like ebooks and guides). Perhaps you want to start utilizing forms to get more information. One way of doing that would be to use your landing pages to display forms. You may also start expanding your channels of communication to more than just email. You can do this by connecting on social media, blogs, and other web pages.
Spout (Retain & Close the Deal)
Now you’re taking what you learned from your mid-level approaches and implementing them to turn more people into customers. You understand a greater degree of marketing automation. At this point, you’re implementing different ways to keep customers happy. You understand analytics more and you are a little more advanced at gathering lists of contacts. Now you’re tracking what your contacts respond to. You may even be sending them surveys what they’re interested in. Yes, you made it to the end of the funnel and a pat on the back is well deserved. You’ve funneled out your best customers!
Okay, by now you’re wondering what marketing automation tools make up the Holy Grail. We’re going to focus on marketing automation tools for newbies and small businesses, but that doesn’t mean these tools aren’t helpful for big businesses or eCommerce sites too. Listed below (not in any particular order) are a few budget-friendly, easy to use, and totally worth it tools. They will help any small business improve their leads and free up some time. So, without further ado…
This is an easy way to engage in email marketing. Email automation allows you to send your emails to customers at specified times. There are a ton of cloud-based email services out there, here are a few to consider.
“ConvertKit automation allows you to send the perfect sales sequence to each subscriber. It’s simple to use, cleanly designed, and very powerful”
ConvertKit uses triggers so that when an event happens it will produce a certain action to occur. The Software explains how each step of the automation process should flow – it’s a great email automation marketing tool as it includes unlimited: forms, courses, landing pages, automation rules, and emails.
Price: Starts at $29 a month
“Being yourself makes all the difference”
MailChimp has over 12 million users, making them a top contender for email marketing. Even though MailChimp is primarily thought of as an email marketing automation tool, they offer enough features that push it towards the marketing automation spectrum as well. MailChimp is compatible with hundreds of apps, making integration fairly easy. This specific connectivity tool offers resources for creating, managing, delivering and sharing everything you need. Some other features include analytics, mobile, templates, segmentation, A/B testing, campaigns and much more.
Price: Starts at $0 a month
“Powerful email marketing, made simple. Create professional emails that bring customers to your door”
In order to fulfill email marketing needs, Constant Contact was made to be a powerful and easy to use tool that leads to results. Constant Contact was designed to be simplistic yet fully customizable. Some great features include customizable templates, contact management, list-building tools, tracking & reporting, social media sharing, and apps & integrations.
Price: Starts at $20 a month
“Lightweight marketing automation that doesn’t suck”
Drip is the lightweight alternative to the bulkier versions of marketing automation. They used a simpler version to craft an easy and cost-effective tool for doing all the jobs you want/need/expect marketing automation to do. This easy to use automation software will help any small business increase conversions. Some key features include campaigns, widget, tracking performance, easy integration, reports, split testing, data exports, and customizable templates.
Price: Starts at $49 a month
5. Mail Up
“Are you ready for a new way of thinking marketing?”
Mail Up allows you to use email and SMS to reach your customers. They give you the tools to create completely automated workflows. Mail Up isn’t just geared towards email and SMS message automation, they also help you build customer engagement, generate leads and increase conversions. Some of their best features are database management, landing pages, API & integrations, filters, customizable.
A marketing platform that uses emails, word of mouth and social media to automate your referral programs.
“Referral marketing software for any business”
Referral Rock provides online referral marketing automation software to help any business get more customers using the power of their own network. Online and offline businesses can design incentive-based programs, enroll existing customers and partners, capture the new leads and sales, then issue rewards automatically.
This software automates every step of the process so a business can scale and consistently measure the success of referral marketing programs.
Automate when and what social media platforms your messages are shared on. You set up your calendar with the things you’d like to share and these software options will take care of the rest.
“A better way to share on social media”
Buffer is a super easy social media manager for all marketers. Between their browser extension and their schedule creator, you have an easy way to share content. Plus, you can post to all your social networks just by clicking what ones you want your message to go to. Some of Buffer’s features include Social Analytics, Calendar, Timing Tool, and Mobile Capability.
Price: They offer a free plan – the first paying plan starts at just $10 a month
“Spokal makes content marketing easier. It drives more traffic to your site, converts more people to your list, and drives more sales”
Whether you want to grow your business or if you’re a content marketing pro, Spokal gives you the tools and steps to help you grow. Spokal does the busy work for you so that you have more time creating great content. Just a few helpful utilities from a huge list are ROI calculation, rank tracking, keyword recommendations, automatic SEO benefits, image editing, and scheduling.
Price: Starts at $49 a month
“Manage all your social media marketing in one place”
Hootsuite allows you to easily automate your social media messages. You can track and measure analytics and share messages across all your social media profiles. On top of that, you can run campaigns and contests to better engage with fans. Some of their top features include browser extensions, mobile capability, insights, and analytics.
Price: They offer a free plan – paying plans start at $34.99 per month
4. Meet Edgar
“Edgar doubles your traffic”
Edgar is the smart scheduler. He will give all your best content it’s time to shine. Plus it’s been said that he never runs out of things to says, so your social media will never go silent. You just tell him where you want things posted and he will handle it. He’s pretty much your right-hand man in growing your audience. His top features include category-based scheduling, category creation, bulk import, stats and picture posts.
Price: Starts at $79 a month
“Social Media Scheduling & Marketing Tool for Agencies & Social Media Professionals”
SocialPilot can help you in a huge way… with up to 500 posts per 200 social profiles you can create one booming account. So if you run multiple profiles you won’t have to worry about capping out at a limit. You can share and schedule all your posts easily with their bulk scheduler. Take a look at their content suggestions or work in a team collaboration. A few favorite features include post scheduling, custom Facebook branding, bulk scheduling, and browser extensions.
Need help automating sales tasks like order processing, inventory monitoring, customer targeting or just the sales process in general? Then sales automation may be the answer for you.
“Put your sales on autopilot once and for all”
SalesAutopilot covers a little bit of everything. It includes an extensive list of features with little to no cost. This tool has made it simple to install all aspects of email marketing and CRM automation. Here are a few features email marketing, integrated email, SMS and direct mail campaigns, lead nurturing, sales process management, customer targeting, call center integration, built-in CRM, A/B testing. Plus, there are much more.
Perfect for those of you who want to nurture your prospects and create messaging specifically aligned to your customers.
“Land more leads, drive more enrollments. Customer acquisition platform for your business”
Leadsquared sends leads down the sales funnel faster by helping with lead capture automation, marketing automation, sales acceleration, and marketing/sales analytics. Leadsquared started because they wanted to provide business with an all-in-one tool that would help simplify the process of increasing leads. They wanted to make sure businesses could capture leads and activity data automatically across all channels. A couple of their features include lead engagement, marketing analytics, capture leads and notes, widgets, landing pages, segmentation, personalization.
Price: Starts at $15 a month
“Automate customer journeys as simple as drawing on a whiteboard. Engage at just the right time with personalized email, in-app messages, SMS, and postcards”
Autopilot consolidates all of the applications that marketing teams use and puts them into a single service – so that all the teams are easily connected. This software uses a simple formula, acquire > nurture > grow. With Autopilot you can also connect your apps to make automating tasks easier. Some neat features include segmenting, forms, postcards, conversion tracking, and revenue funnel.
Price: Starts at $20 a month
“An all-in-one marketing solution. Igniting small and midsize business growth! Save time. Generate sales. Grow your business”
Genoo can help you develop marketing strategies, content development, and technical website support. Their focus is to get you ahead of your competitors. This all-in-one marketing system is meant to help you understand what’s going on in all aspects of the sales process – lead generation, email marketing, lead nurturing and finally lead scoring. Genoo is all you need in marketing right at your fingertips. The list of features is large, but here are a few: website and content management system, blogging platform, SEO analysis, email marketing, lead nurturing, customer segmentation, automated programs with triggers, social media tracking, CRM integration, and analytics.
Price: Starts at $199 a month
“Sales and marketing automation software that works as hard as you do”
Infusionsoft has around 120,000 users. This makes it one of the most well-known marketing automation systems. Infusionsoft offers an all-in-one system. This touches on CRM for small business. It also includes marketing automation, sales automation, online sales, analytics, payments, mobile solutions, and integrations. Infusionsoft has aimed all these tools at helping small businesses. Some more features are calendaring and task management, customer segmentation, email marketing, automated campaigns, web forms, analytics, built-in CRM, and sales automation.
Price: Starts at $199 a month
“Turn visitors into customers. Jumplead converts visitors to leads and nurtures them into customers”
Jumplead was made for people who are looking to work smarter but do not want to fork up a ton of money. It was also made with the user in mind- providing practical tools to eliminate complexity, resulting in more effective marketing. Some of JumpLead’s features include live chat, email marketing, landing pages, automation, contact CRM, and analytics.
Price: Starts at $49 a month – they also offer a $0 play before you pay option.
“The world’s first free B2B Lead Generation Network. Albacross helps companies master their B2B digital marketing with Lead Generation and targeted marketing”
Albacross is the world’s first free B2B Lead Generation Network, offering a SaaS service that enables users to uncover leads on their websites. This platform is perfect for achieving additional information on the companies interested in your business, such as pages they have visited, their key decision makers and how they can be reached out.
These tools don’t focus on just one aspect of marketing automation, they help with multiple things across the board like sales, email, campaign and lead automation.
“Marketing Automation for SMB’s. Everyone deserves the means to create love-able marketing”
Leadsius is the host of a slew of great features. They include but are not limited to email marketing, marketing automation, web forms, landing pages, lead analysis and reporting, website tracking and WordPress plugins. This has a lot of tools. Leadsius gives small and medium-sized businesses what they need to generate revenue and relationships.
Price: Starts at $0 a month
“Nurture is a ‘dead easy’ marketing automation application for businesses to connect with, engage, acquire and retain customers via highly personalized conversations across channels”
This is another all-in-one tool that can help a business with a variety of tasks. Nurture uses a simple interface and is packed with all the core features required for creating the best marketing resources, making it perfect for any small business. Some of the features include on-site visitors tracking and engagement, email marketing, surveys, customer segmentation, A/B testing, reports and metrics and contact management.
Price: Starts at $95 a month
“Behavioral messaging automation that puts customers first. Harness web & mobile app data to trigger, personalize, and scale messages that convert”
Customer.io has what you need: automation, segmentation, user profiles, analytics, personalization and many other features. This tool is flexible and lightweight all-in-one. This tool is built to send emails based on what people do or don’t do. Ultimately, this software was set up for you to reach people at exactly the right time. Some of their awesome features include A/B testing, tracking conversions, and custom designs.
Price: Starts at $100 a month
“Connect applications, data, and processes across teams. Always have the information you need at your fingertips”
Azuqua offers a ton of connections to applications allowing for seamless integration. They pull in data from everywhere and put it into the system you use. Azuqua synchronizes data across all your departments and routes it to to the right person depending on the customer’s behavior, requests, and interests. Because of this, your team will be better suited for engaging with what the customer really wants. A few features offered are automation of workflows, CRM integration, social integration and of course personalization.
Price: Starts at $225 a month
“All-in-one Online Marketing Platform to Grow Your Business”
This is another all-in-one software that can be tailored to whatever industry your business is in. A cool fact about GetResponse is that they are the first email service to provide a webinar marketing solution. Their platform has quite a few bells and whistles. They can help in many areas of automation. GetResponse also wanted to create a user-friendly experience and provides users with an easy drag and drop interface to help create designer-quality emails and landing pages in just minutes. A couple of their features are their Image Editor, Email Templates, A/B Testing, Forms, Marketing Automation, Web Event Tracking, Email Marketing, and Autoresponders.
Price: Starts at $15 a month