If you want to effectively fuel marketing campaigns of all sorts for your business, then it is probably a good idea to look into automation tools. Don’t worry, you won’t be the first to look into marketing automation software. Over 51% of marketers are investing in this type of software to help drive traffic and make connections.
There is a lot of upsides that good automation tools can provide. You will be able to personalize content based on insights, produce better social media posts and marketing emails, and boost conversions.
It really doesn’t matter what size your business is. If you are interested in all of the above and more, then it is time to explore some of the different marketing automation tools that are out there today.
Before we jump into our list, let’s talk a little about what is exactly marketing automation.
What is Marketing Automation Software?
Marketing automation software is a tool that automates actions and tasks that are related to marketing. This type of tool can streamline marketing workflows and help measure the overall success of campaigns that are related to marketing and the strategies that go with them.
The best marketing automation software will provide you with a central, easy-to-manage database that will have all your interactions and information right in one place. In turn, this helps create timely, efficient, and conversion-boosting marketing campaigns across several different types of platforms.
Marketing automation tools will give you access to a number of different instruments and features. You will be able to optimize email strategies, leverage social media, access CRM tools, and much more.
That being said, there are some things to consider when choosing if an automation tool belongs in the marketing automation category. These include:
- Ability to automate two or more of the following: email, social media, SMS, digital ads
- Provide advanced marketing capabilities like A/B testing
- Provide a central marketing database
- Allow marketing campaign targets
- Ability to contact targets across multiple channels
- Generate styled forms and landing pages
- Provide solid analytic tools
These, along with other marketing strategy tools, can help you build a more complete marketing strategy for your business.
Best Marketing Automation Software
HubSpot, or the HubSpot Marketing Hub, is one of the most well-known marketing platforms around. Why? They offer a slew of tools that are both free and paid. While some of their paid tools are more on the expensive side of things, there is no arguing the features and results they get.
The marketing hub that is provided by HubSpot is one of the most intuitive around. It provides users with a straightforward, easy-to-use solution for their small business.
The platform offers 24/7 customer support and you can expect full personal onboarding, training, consultation, and tech support. They also offer a ton of ongoing training and other educational opportunities that are both free and paid.
All in all, you are going to have a hard time finding a better marketing automation platform than HubSpot.
- Easily publish attractive, strong content
- Build solid CTAs
- Strong search authority and SEO integrations
- Ad tracking and management
- Create trackable interactions
- Social media management
- Video hosting and filing
- Live chat
Another one of the best marketing automation software platforms around is Marketo. They are also one of the best known as well. While the platform may seem a little dated to some, they still offer all the functionality that newer platforms do and more, and they do it at a very reasonable price.
They are very similar to ActiveCampaign, which we will talk about below. This platform provides pre-built dashboards for you to get around, and their analytics reporting is superior to just about any other you will find.
If you are looking for a really good platform that promotes alignment of marketing with sales campaigns, then give Marketo a long look and see if it has what your business needs.
- Ad targeting
- Engagement data for prospects
- Account discovery
- Predictive audiences
- CRM integration
- Channel content and engagement performance
- Mobile engagement
- Data security and privacy
- Drive leads and matches buyer experience
I told you we would talk about ActiveCampaign, and here we go. This platform is perfect and usually preferred by smaller businesses. The platform for marketing and campaigns is about as easy to use and intuitive as you will find.
The platform offers quite a bit of pre-built engagement tools that offer users the ability to save a lot of time. Some of the more popular pre-built tools include workflows, training, support, and social media options.
If you have someone running your marketing department that is more visual, then ActiveCampaign is a good choice in this area as well. It includes a built-in segmentation feature that will help you deliver targeted content to all the right clients.
- Site tracking and visitor tracking tools
- Event tracking
- Monitor apps, memberships, and portal interactions
- Built-in automation goals and drop-off patterns
- Automation map for connections
- Find top-performing channels easily
- Test all customized content for automation control
- Fast setup
- Intuitive interface
- Visually appealing
- Very affordable
Making our list next is MailChimp. You may know them for their email marketing solution. However, at this point in time, the platform offers so much more, including some excellent automation tools that can help your business in the marketing department.
The platform boasts award-winning software, pre-built management tools and templates, a long list of directory experts to help you with whatever you need, and over 250 third-party app integrations.
If that wasn’t enough, MailChimp also offers one of the best free marketing automation software platforms around. The free service gives you access to a lot of functionality. That being said, you will end up paying for all of the higher-end features and tools.
- MailChimp customer journeys
- Deliver on-brand messaging
- Transactional email
- Behavior automation
- Date-based automation
- Track anniversaries and other important client dates
- RSS to email
- Up-to-date content with post sharing
- Pre-built templates
- Retarget purchases and loyal customer functionality
Another pretty recognizable marketing and automation solution is SharpSpring. It is most desirable for clients that want a complete sales and marketing solution for their business. Many choose to separate the two, but if you don’t, then SharpSpring is a platform you want to take a look at.
The platform is packed with a ton of great features and automation that you can take advantage of. Tools like cart abandonment, data and third-party integration, dynamic landing pages, and multi-device capacity are all solid pieces of a puzzle you will have access to if you choose to go with this marketing system.
SharpSpring is a little bit higher priced than some of the other entries on this list. When you combine the tools provided with the sales and marketing duo integration, though, then the price becomes a little more understandable.
- Visual automation
- Intuitive builder that maps customer journeys
- Lead nurturing
- Drip campaigns
- Responsive messaging from behavior data
- Customer metrics for sales teams to use
- Generate accurate behavior segments
- Buyer personas and custom templates
- Direct updates via email and SMS
- Customized workflows and lead filters
Rounding out this list of the best marketing automation software is a platform called AutoPilot. Simply put, they offer a simplified, easy-to-use platform that is intuitive for users and runs well with other integrations and programs.
The ease of use and the affordability of the platform make it very attractive for all types and sizes of businesses. You won’t need to spend thousands on employee training either, as the system is very straightforward and requires minimal instruction.
Perhaps the only downside of AutoPilot is capacity. While it is feature-rich and simple to understand, bigger companies may want to look at something above on this list, as scalability may be limited.
- Visual workflows
- Drag and drop templates or build from scratch
- Email marketing based on time, behavior, and interest
- Integrates with Slack, Trello, Facebook, Google Typeform, and more
- Native CRM integration
- Monitor all performance and customer data
What to Look For When Comparing Marketing Automation Platforms
There are a few things you want to look for and be wary of when you are going through the process of choosing a marketing automation platform. Yes, a lot of your final decisions will be based on personal preference and overall business needs.
The most important thing here is to take your time and do your research. That being said, here are some things to consider.
Most of the best marketing automation software is priced fairly. This is because a lot of them are based on a sliding scale that allows you to pay for only what you use.
That being said, there is usually an extra cost involved with certain add-ons and training. However, over time, if you stick with a plan, then you can definitely keep pricing fair and affordable.
Since marketing automation and all that it comes with is both complex and important, the usability of the platform should be at the top of your list when you are making a decision.
Basically, you want the platform to be powerful yet intuitive and easy to use and understand. Not only will this make using it easier, but it will also save you money on employee training in the long run.
This is arguably the most important thing to look at when making a choice. How will the marketing automation software you choose integrate or allow integrations with other third-party apps and platforms you use to run your business?
If the right integrations are not available, then it is probably going to be a deal-breaker right from the start.
Other aspects of the software you want to make sure are not deal-breakers for purchase include things like:
- CRM and Sales Capabilities
- Email Capabilities
- Content Capabilities
- eCommerce Capabilities
- Social Media Capabilities
- Training and Setup
Why Should You Use Marketing Automation Tools?
Bottom line? Using marketing automation software will allow you to focus on the creative solution process instead of focusing on the heavy lifting of marketing and automation. Most of the best platforms will also help you reduce overall costs by quite a bit.
Because lead marketing, emails, social media, and other content marketing strategies are all put on auto-pilot, manual labor (both in hours and in cost) will go way down.
Both lead management and prioritization can be handled in a more effective manner allowing for a better ROI. Perhaps the best part of marketing automation tools is that they can help hold your entire marketing team responsible.
It does this by tracking overall employee performance with concrete data points. This, in turn, allows you to adjust and put together the best business strategies possible.
Other key issues that are solved by using marketing automation platforms include:
- Ability to create more targeted content
- Create well-informed content
- Provide a message direction based on real-world customer data
- Customize messaging across a certain customer base
- Less manual entry
- Reduce staffing and labor costs
So again, make sure you do your homework. All of the above are crucial points of business and should be handled as such. When you automate your marketing efforts properly, it leads to more sales and conversions in the long run.
If you want to maximize your budget, streamline marketing content on multiple social platforms, track employee productivity, and create actionable content that drives sales, then you definitely want to take a look at some of the best marketing automation software available today.
The ones on the list above are all solid choices and they will all provide you with all the tools necessary to be successful. Take a look at them, try them out, and see which one works best for your business.
Every business is a little different. However, the list above should have a little something for every business, whatever the need may be.
Before you know it, your business will be driving high-quality marketing campaigns that are hitting your niche audience perfectly. Good luck with your search!