It’s time to find the best marketing automation software for your business.
Most business owners see its power, yet a mere 19% of marketers monitor all marketing efforts in order to improve efforts, as shared by CMO.com.
Good news: With the right marketing automation software, you will be part of the ⅕ using data to maximum advantage.
The only issue?
Picking an automation software is like making a choice in the cereal aisle…overwhelming.
Each cereal box boasts different benefits and promises, just as automation tools pitch a variety of features and capabilities. One brand may seem more appealing than another, but which really is the best?
After all, a better cartoon mascot does not necessarily mean tastier, more nutritious cereal.
You want to find the top marketing automation software, but they start to blur together – like grocery shopping while hungry. #TheWorst
We get it.
And have your back.
As a team of marketing automation consultants that lives and breathes automation software, we’ve become familiar with the pros and cons of each. Read on to find our marketing automation platform comparison.
How to Pick the Best Marketing Automation Software
It is important to know what gaps your business has and where it can improve. A massive e-commerce business will have different needs than a local, service-based company.
As you read through the software options below, consider the following questions:
- Does the marketing automation tool have CRM capabilities, if needed?
- If you already have a CRM, will it integrate with your current platform?
- Approximately how many emails will you need to send out a month? Now – and as you grow?
- If a top goal is to generate leads, how will the software help you do that?
- Based on the level of tech support you’d like, how is the support and customer service rated for the CRM? Is it available 24/7?
- What level of data can the software share about email marketing and/or other features?
- Based on the pricing structure, how many users can the marketing automation software have?
Having a clear understanding of what your business needs from an automation tool is key. It is vital to know what features and results you desire. It will:
- Be easier to decide because you know what to look for
- Mean more profits in the long-run, since you selected the right software for your brand’s specific needs
- Decrease the chance of needing to switch to another software too soon
On that note, let’s dive into the best marketing automation tools to help your business grow and thrive.
A List of the Best Marketing Automation Tools
The grocery list saves your overrun mind at the store.
This marketing automation comparison narrows down great options likewise.
In terms of email automation software, MailChimp has very high reviews and an established reputation for a reason. Trusted by over 7 million customers (yes…million!), MailChimp is the world’s largest email marketing automation tool.
- Prices start at $20 per month.
- It has an overall rating of 4.5 stars on Capterra.
- It offers a free trial.
- There is a free version.
This email marketing automation tool has the main focus is email marketing. If looking for a robust system that also covers needs like those related to e-commerce, website visitor tracking, or social media marketing, this will not cover all of those needs. However, MailChimp has a lot of integrations and can likely combine forces with other options.
- Writing blogs and creating content
- Helping your brand to be discovered online through its social media options
- Converting prospects via landing pages, analytics and more
There are different tracks depending on your focus: Marketing Hub vs. Sales Hub
To start with no cost, try their free CRM.
Request a free demo of their marketing or sales software here.
Ontraport is a visual marketing automation tool that lets you visually see and map out your workflows and automation at a high, in-depth level.
Ontraport takes care of many needs in one system, such as:
- Email marketing
- Marketing automation
- Marketing tracking
- And much more
Starts at $79 per month
Price is based on the number of contacts, emails per month and users
Tip: Call Ontraport directly to ask about yearly pricing. Sign up for one year at a time and get up to 18% discount. Call them at 855-ONTRAPORT.
Greenrope is a CRM dedicated to generating leads and driving conversions. It’s known for its easy-to-use interface.
According to the Greenrope website, on average, users increase revenue by 75% in 12 months.
Greenrope perk: Are you already using a marketing automation tool? They will help you transfer data free of charge.
Pricing starts at $149 per month.
Learn more and get a live demo.
This platform is a cloud-based platform that combines CRM, marketing automation, and e-commerce into a single system. With 24/7 live rep support, InfusionSoft is a robust service that is great to have ready day or night. The system lets you:
- Trigger emails AND calls, as well as other contact behaviors
- Use pre-prepared templates
- Send personalized communications automatically
- Build landing pages on the same platform as your CRM & email marketing automation
Perk: They only bill for what you use. That’s pretty cool.
Con: InfusionSoft is not known as the most intuitive software; it has more of a learning curve than some other marketing automation software.
See current pricing and get a free demo.
For social media marketing automation, Hootsuite is a simple, easy-to-use tool that is great for content and social media streamlining.
- Schedule posts to various social media platforms.
- Monitor social analytics.
- Follow the topics that matter for your given industry.
- Integrate with 250+ platforms, such as Slack, Constant Contact, and Dropbox
Perk: Start free. Have up to 3 social media platforms and get up to 30 scheduled messages a month for 1 user for free. Then, you can easily upgrade. Paid plans start at $19 a month.
Check out plans, start for free or get an upgraded plan trial here.
Con: This marketing automation tool has the main focus of social media scheduling and tracking. If looking for a robust system that also covers needs like those related to ecommerce or website visitor tracking, this may not be your best option. However, it can be used in addition to other software.
Salesforce is ideal for businesses with a goal to grow and add additional needs as they evolve.
For example, start with the basic $25 plan. Then, as your business needs to add users, ecommerce capabilities, and so forth, upgrade to more robust options.
Pardot by Salesforce
Is your company B2B? Pardot is the official B2B marketing automation app by Salesforce. It’s utilized by brands like ADP (and us here at Power Digital!). Their website shares that Pardot customers have experienced:
- 63% increase in website leads
- 40% increase in marketing productivity
- 40% increase in email subscribers
Take your landing page marketing to the next level with LeadPages. Get unlimited traffic and leads, drive traffic with Facebook ads, and get weekly Q&A coaching calls with the Leadpages experts.
If you invest in the Pro plan or higher, you also receive:
- A/B split testing
- Chat support
- 1-click sign up links, making it even easier for folks to take action!
Customers use Leadpages to:
- Build an email list
- Make more sales
- Register people for webinars, product launches and more
Con: This platform does not offer all forms of marketing automation; it’s best to at least pair with an email service provider in order to store and follow up with your leads.
Learn more and start a free trial.
(They have a great podcast on marketing and driving leads called ConversionCast.)
Marketo provides key features, such as:
- Email marketing and campaign management
- Website visitor tracking
- Search marketing
- Web and mobile personalization
See how Marketo supported brands like Charles Schwab, Nokia, and Panasonic at their Case Studies.
Act-On is considered ideal for small businesses that don’t have a dedicated IT staff and, being on a budget, need flexible pricing.
Act-On shares that “89% of customers launch the first campaign in just 2-6 weeks.” Their focus is to:
- Boost sales cycle
- Increase quality of leads
- Improve nurturing through simple set up
- Save time and cost of campaign development
Marketing Automation Best Practices
The best part about all of these marketing automation softwares and tools: Unlike the cereal aisle, they offer free “samples” that let you dig around and discover your preference.
Once you find the software and tool(s) that feel best for your current needs, it is important to use the automation right.
That’s why we are sharing 3 Marketing Automation Best Practices From Digital Marketing Experts.
Keep The Customer Journey In Mind – Don’t create a bunch of automations just because you can! Before you spend hours, days, or even weeks setting up some complicated automation, ask yourself: does this make sense for my customers or prospects? If so, knock yourself out and create an automation that will not only drive you more revenue or leads, but also takes some manual work off your plate.
Don’t Forget to QA – After weeks of building out a marketing automation, it can be so easy to just set it, forget it, and hope it does what you want it to do. Don’t fall victim to this temptation! Otherwise, you may end up blasting your entire list with an abandoned cart email.
Don’t Choose A Software Tool Simply Because It Is Deemed “The Best” – This might seem counterintuitive based on what we just talked about in this article. But hey, I’m just looking out for you! When vetting marketing automation platforms, keep your business size, goals, and internal resources and capabilities in mind. Don’t buy the Ferrari when you only have the means or skill set to drive a Honda. Not only will you end up wasting your money on something you don’t know how to use (or don’t fully take advantage of), but you will quickly become frustrated trying to navigate around.