Marketing automation is the process of using technology for managing marketing processes and marketing campaigns across various channels. It has become vital for driving sales and building brands in a world bombarded by technological growth.
Marketing automation software enables marketers to target customers using automated messages across email, social media, websites, and SMS messages, as well as manage the whole process.
What to look for when choosing marketing automation software
Thanks to AI (Artificial Intelligence) advancements, social media, email marketing, and SMS marketing over the last few years, marketing automation software has evolved to enable marketers to plan and implement their campaigns more effectively.
There is a myriad of marketing automation software to choose from that offer various combinations of functionality. Some offer email automation, CRM, and drip sequences, while others assist with rating the potential of leads, rotating sales leads between staff, and sending text messages.
Choosing which one is right for your business will depend on its size, the amount of automation you require, the channels you want to use, and the size of your database. Here are some of the factors you need to consider when evaluating which marketing automation software to use:
- Ease of use: Look at the user interface to check how easy it looks to use and navigate.
- Analytics and Reporting: Ensure that the data analyzed and reported on covers the important metrics to you.
- Customer Support: Ensure that there is adequate support in the form of knowledgebases and tutorials.
- Limitations: Be aware of any limitations, such as the number of contacts allowed or the number of actions you can perform each month.
- Pricing: Evaluate the cost of the software against the functionality and the amount of time it will save you.
- Scalability: Make sure that the software not only suits your current needs but can grow with your business and your changing needs.
- Integration: Ensure that the tool you choose integrates with any other software you may be using to get the most out of it.
The top 8 marketing automation software products to choose from
ActiveCampaign is excellent for all types of business, from e-commerce to digital and B2B. ActiveCampaign has over 120,000 companies using its software, and they aren’t slowing down. One of the biggest reasons for their enormous growth is their machine learning that takes all of the data from your clicks and sales and crunches it for you so that you can make better decisions for your business.
By doing all the hard work for you, ActiveCampaign lets you work on getting more leads and building your business. Their software shows you which leads are proven to be the most productive and turn into actual sales at a higher rate than the competition.
HubSpot is one of the best automation services on the market today. They are a leader in online marketing with divisions in sales, service, and CMS. Their programs are straightforward to navigate and are tiered based on your business, so you can start out small, and HubSpot will grow along with your business.
Hubspot offers a smaller free option so that you can try out some of their features such as email marketing, live chat, landing pages, and traffic, plus conversion analytics before you commit to a paid plan. From there, you can upgrade to ad retargeting, marketing automation, and custom reporting once your business is ready. This step-up feature is on that makes HubSpot so enticing for customers around the world.
Salesforce Pardot is rather costly, but the intuitive design, standard and capability of automation, and the wide range of features and integrations make it a powerful marketing automation tool. It is aimed at B2B marketers as there are many emphases placed on the buying cycle, enabling better alignment between marketing and sales efforts. Salesforce Pardot is a good investment for businesses with smaller databases and higher value sales.
In 2018, Salesforce was named one of the Most Innovative Companies in the World by Forbes. Salesforce takes analytics to a new level with its customer relationship management platform. The CRM is a catch-all that combines marketing, commerce, sales, and IT teams into one productive solution. It takes your business to the next level by bringing customers to your inbox. Salesforce makes data gathering easy with its simple program that doesn’t require extensive training to get to know.
Zoho Campaigns is part of the Zoho suite of SMB (Small-to-Medium Business) solutions. Each of their offerings integrates well with one another and many of the popular Internet platforms and software.
Zoho Campaigns is an excellent all-around marketing automation solution that is easy to use and affordable. Other tools in the Zoho suite include standard office tools like word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, web conferencing, customer relationship management, and even invoicing.
SendinBlue is easy to navigate, has a great production flow for campaigns, and a very responsive drag-and-drop editor. It is evolving from a straightforward email marketing platform to a more comprehensive marketing automation tool. With the addition of CRM functionality, SendinBlue is an excellent end-to-end digital marketing solution for small businesses seeking an end-to-end solution. It has a free version with unlimited contact and the ability to send 300 emails a day.
With GetResponse automated marketing software, you get personalized tools for your specific business. Their powerful marketing tools send targeted and relevant emails to customers that help engage and promote leads.
Its ready-made templates are easy to use and personalize to your campaign. Your emails are meant to stand out from the others in a full inbox based on contact’s data by learning their interests and wants. GetResponse makes campaigning easy with templates and customer service to help your business grow, making it one of the industry’s top automation services.
Mailchimp has been at the top of email marketing software for several years. It is reliable and has a generous free membership package, which is more than ample for most businesses. Mailchimp has added very appealing features such as CRM functionality, domain registration, and website hosting to its paying members. They move it from an email marketing platform to a full-on digital marketing tool.
Emarsys has an excellent customer engagement platform that allows you to personalize your marketing strategy and make better decisions based on the collected data. All of Emarsys’ automation has personalization embedded to capture as many points of data as possible. That enables you to make informed decisions on which leads to engage with.
You are also able to send automated messages to customers when they are most likely to be receptive to them based on data the program has captured. The data collected comes from every aspect of the customer journey to optimize your strategies to fit your business best.
So what’s next?
For sure, marketing automation in 2020 is very exciting, thanks to the addition of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) now being in the mix. Marketers are no longer just freed from performing tedious and repetitive tasks.
They now have a wealth of information that is gathered about their customers. That helps them optimize the timeliness and effectiveness of their messages.
Take a look at the top 8 we’ve suggested above, give the one that best suits your needs a try, and start using marketing automation to set your business apart.