The Best Marketing Automation Tools

The Best Marketing Automation Tools

Suppose you are stuck running writing emails to thousands of prospects, scheduling alerts for product releases, and have no way of managing your customer relationship systems. In that case, you need to get a marketing automation tool.

Marketing automation uses tools to perform those repetitive marketing tasks to increase efficiency and make the experience more personalized for the customer and provide you, the marketer, with valuable insights into your marketing strategy. With excellent marketing automation tools, emails that would otherwise end up in the junk folder will be presented uniquely to every one of your prospects and help to turn them into customers.

Marketing automation is when great software meets excellent strategy. These two together help put the customer as the focus, not the product, of your marketing efforts. When leads become customers, they are usually passed on to the sales team, but your focus is to grow that relationship even after making purchases with marketing automation.

You may be interested in further insights on how marketing automation can help you grow your business. If you need help with setting up marketing automation for your business please check out our services section.

There is no single tool that can work for every organization. Depending on your needs, strategy, and budget, you can get the right tool to improve your marketing activities.

The list below is not comprehensive, but we will try to cover tools that will meet most marketing teams’ needs. Aside from marketing automation, the tools listed here provide additional functionality to help in your marketing efforts.

  • HubSpot
  • ActiveCampaign 
  • Marketo
  • GetResponse

HubSpot

HubSpot is an all-in-one marketing software. It includes tools for Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and marketing. HubSpot claims that they are an all-inclusive marketing software that provides tools for you to run social media, blogs, email, SEO, marketing automation, landing pages, and web analytics.

One unique feature is that you have the option of building your website around HubSpot as it acts as a content management (CMS) system as well.

The basic HubSpot packages start at fifty dollars monthly, and the highest package starts at 3200 dollars monthly.

Pros of HubSpot

  • It is all in one software – HubSpot includes tools for marketing, customer relationship management, sales, content management system, and customer support. With HubSpot, you don’t have to purchase additional tools to carry out the tasks that it can do out of the box.
  • It includes free bundled software – HubSpot included a free CRM and CMS. The included CRM helps integrate the customer fully from a lead into the sales pipeline. You can build your website from scratch using the bundled CMS.
  • It is easy to use – HubSpot is easy to use, the included CMS makes building a website effortlessly, even for the most novice users.

Cons of HubSpot

  • HubSpot can be very expensive – the Starter Package, which costs fifty dollars a month, can support a maximum of one thousand contacts. Any additional contact would mean upgrading to the Professional Package costing eight hundred dollars monthly. HubSpot does not offer very many features with the Starter package, and you will need to upgrade as your business grows.
  • HubSpot Contracts are not flexible – once you choose a HubSpot plan, you cannot cancel early or request refunds. It doesn’t matter if you do not use some of the bundled tools or do not reach the maximum number of contacts.
  • HubSpot is challenging to use when you only need one functionality – the tools provided by HubSpot are designed to be an all-in-one solution. For example, HubSpot does not play well with websites made by other CMSs like WordPress; you will have to build it on the included CMS for it to work.  

ActiveCampaign

ActiveCampaign is a marketing automation tool that integrates email marketing and small business CRM. The platform includes powerful email marketing features and easy-to-use templates that make setting up your marketing campaigns easy. It has similar features to HubSpot out of the box but is much cheaper, and most of the tools can be used independently. ActiveCampaign has been designed with the sales automation and marketing users in mind, and they will be at home with the user interface. The ability to perform multi-channel campaigns is a useful tool for centralizing your communications. Some of the advanced automation features include autoresponders and deals. Autoresponders will send out responses to emails based on certain conditions. Deals, their CRM, will help customers schedule appointments or send out direct communications. You can send out SMS marketing campaigns aside from email and social media.

ActiveCampaign boasts of free training and migration on purchase. The user support responds quickly to customer requests.

You can integrate your account with Salesforce for an even more powerful CRM experience.

The Lite Package starts at nine dollars a month, paid annually, and the Enterprise Package starts at two hundred and twenty-nine dollars monthly, also paid annually. You use the software for free for up to 14 days before committing to a purchase.

Pros of ActiveCampaign

  • Better integration with other apps as compared to HubSpot – ActiveCampaign boasts of over eight hundred different apps, including; Salesforce, WordPress, Shopify, and Facebook
  • Free training and migration on purchase – ActiveCampaign offers customers training on how to use the system effectively. They also offer free migration to the system from your existing marketing automation software.
  • Easy to use – once the setup is complete, ActiveCampaign is easier to use than most other marketing tools out there.
  • No setup fee – you are not charged for set up
  • Cheaper compared to HubSpot but offers more advanced features

Cons of ActiveCampaign

  • Some of the provided resources are limited – some features are not as influential on ActiveCampaign; for instance, there is no possibility to set a date range in a form for automation.
  • The setup process is challenging – ActiveCampaign is trickier to set up than most marketing automation systems that exist; in the same breath, once set up correctly, it is easier to use than most CRM in existence.
  • There is no functionality for attachments – there are no attachment options for contacts, leads, or emails
  • Because of numerous features, the interface can be a bit slow especially when setting up a campaign.

Marketo

Marketo brings together customer data, content, automation, and analytics needed for marketing automation and eventually sales. Unlike the other tools on the list, Marketo was built with the idea that no two organizations or individuals work alike. Marketo helps you to predict customer behavior so that you can engage them appropriately. There are multiple ways built-in for completing a task, showing that the system is very scalable.

The revenue cycle modeler on Marketo is very useful for tracking leads as they turn into customers. With Marketo, you get a 360 view of the customer on all the platforms they use including email, social media, and text. The whole design is built with the customer at the center. You can build scalable marketing campaigns just with a few clicks.

Marketo is packages start at $ 895 a month but can vary depending on the database size.

Pros of Marketo

  • Marketo is very scalable – it is designed to grow with the business. It also allows users to complete their tasks in their ways.
  • There is a large active user community – Marketo is widely used and has a large user community who are willing to help in the forums
  • Robust and feature-packed – there is always something new to learn with Marketo. Also, it will work as expected.
  • Syncs with other applications – you can integrate Marketo to work with other apps and databases in your sales pipeline

Cons of Marketo

  • The high upfront cost – Marketo is not geared for use by small organizations and can be expensive.
  • Steep learning curve – the learning curve is steep because of the multiple features packed into Marketo
  • Slow tech support – tech support might take a while to respond to queries, but they will respond to all queries 

GetResponse

Not only does it offer email marketing and an integrated CRM, but GetResponse also provides landing pages, e-commerce tools, and marketing automation. On some of the higher plans, there is a Webinar system for hosting online seminars. It integrates wonderfully with Google Analytics, allowing for better capturing and leads nurturing.

GetResponse has a unique feature called the conversion funnel feature allows you to segment your customers according to how you want to convert them. The tool is aptly named because it helps you get responses for the correspondence sent to the customers.

GetResponse packages start at fifteen dollars a month, with their enterprise package starting at sixty-five dollars.

Pros of GetResponse

  • It automates lists intelligently – you can create rules to segment your customers and subscribers, and GetResponse does it intelligently.
  • It makes building even the most complex marketing campaigns easy using the visual campaign builder
  • The conversion funnel feature is great for segmenting your leads and watching the customer journey
  • There are multiple useful features packed into the product out of the box including a webinar feature

Cons of GetResponse

  • Some of the products are not well built and can not perform as well as some other marketing automation tools.
  • GetResponse is primarily geared towards e-commerce businesses

To sum up

If your organization has not yet adopted a marketing automation strategy, we hope to have shed some light on some of the tools available for you to implement. The list of tools mentioned here is not exhaustive, but you can rest assured that they cover most of any marketing team’s needs, big or small.

For any marketing activity to succeed, a solid strategy should guide the journey. A combination of strategy and the right tools will make your marketing automation journey very successful.

The right tool should be packed with features, meet your needs, align to your overall marketing strategy, and be enjoyable to your users and customers. It also helps if the tool has a large user community or a technical support team that responds quickly to customer requests. All tools reviewed include a CRM, Email automation, and an easy to use user interface.

You may also be interested in learning on how to attract more leads using a powerful lead magnet.