Marketing Automation aims at streamlining the marketing process to generate and qualify leads rapidly on a large scale. The type of automation can be as basic as email marketing to complete CMS (Content Management System) with lead generation & qualifying tools. With tons of features also comes an enormous cost. Today, marketing automation can start from $1 to several thousand dollars. Many tools give free initial services to give you a head-start, but as soon as you plan at a scale you are will have to spend some bucks to keep things under control. With over 200 MAS (Marketing Automation Software) available, it becomes impossible to review every product to make a final purchase decision. So from where exactly should you begin your review process? I have compiled a list of the most popular marketing automation tools that have a proven track record of success and have tons of features to give your digital marketing a leap forward.
Read about: 5 Most Important Measures in Online Marketing.
Most Popular Marketing Automation Tools – A detailed guide for choosing the right automation software for your marketing needs:
Adobe Marketo is a full-fledged advanced marketing automation software designed for large companies in general. The software comes with lead generation and management tools and offers integration with many popular CRM and CMS. From email marketing and campaign management to social media marketing, Marketo has a solution for every enterprise need. When it comes to pricing, it is on the higher end of the scale. Marketo starts at $895/month and its complete package costs $3195/month. It is suitable for medium to big companies but is not usually affordable for small companies.
HubSpot is a marketing automation software that also has the benefits of a CMS. At its core, HubSpot is a software designed for beginners in marketing automation. It doesn’t have very advanced functionalities but packs an all in one solution so you don’t have to manage 10 things at the same time. If you are planning to use content marketing, then HubSpot can be an ideal choice, as it already describes itself as an inbound marketing software. You can design email workflows, automate lead nurturing, map content and social strategies, and a lot more. It is an ideal choice for startups and small companies who are still figuring out the scale at which they will use marketing automation. As for pricing, the entry cost is as low as $200/month, which is cheap for the all-in-one functionality it provides, while its enterprise version costs $2400/month.
Infusionsoft is another all in one marketing automation software minus the CMS facility. Both Infusionsoft and HubSpot promise similar packages and pricing. Infusionsoft also starts at $199/month and its complete package costs just $299/month, which sounds like a steal. Where Infusionsoft gets irritating is the compulsion to buy their Kickstarter package, which costs $999 at least. Spending this kind of amount at just the beginning of the purchase feels really unreasonable. It is a great buy if you want cheap software that handles all your marketing needs at a beginner level. But you will have to trust them with their onetime costs, which sounds way too much.
Pardot has been acquired by Salesforce. Even if I stop just here, you know it has one hell of a CRM integration. If you prefer to use Salesforce for your core CRM needs, that Pardot will compliment it nicely. Apart from integration with Salesforce and the ability to score and manage leads, it offers powerful marketing software with very strong functionalities. It is primarily built for B2B businesses and starts at $1000/month. Pardot’s core functionality is unlocked in its core package, which costs $2000/month. It has an immaculate interface which is very easy to master. This makes it a decent choice if you have a good budget and want to kick-start marketing early.
Eloqua is an elite class marketing automation software with clients like American Express, LinkedIn, etc. The name Eloqua was later changed to Oracle Marketing Cloud when Oracle acquired it in 2012. It was launched in 1999 when many top players had not emerged in the market. One of the most liked features of this software is its hyper-site builder, which can build microsites easily. Eloqua’s campaign builder is immaculate, visual, and easy to use. Its pricing starts at $2000, which is considerably high against its competitors offering similar services. It is built for big companies that have a decent budget and can afford to handle costly marketing automation software from the very beginning.
Content is an indispensable part of marketing, and no matter which marketing automation tool you use, you will need a versatile content strategy to succeed in marketing automation. Know the different types of content in content marketing.
SharpSpring is a flexible mid-budget marketing automation tool that gives you high functionality at a competitive price. One significant thing with SharpSpring is that it offers its complete solution from the very basic level, at the cost of $400/month. They don’t have very long-term contracts and offer a very simple user interface. They are ideal for agencies, as it is easy to rebrand and has some unique features for agencies. It is definitely a high price compared to some marketing automation software, but since you get the call and site tracking in the basic plan itself; it is definitely worth investing. One downside is the lack of proper social monitoring and publishing tools which many others offer at this price.
Act-On is an all in one marketing solution with powerful inbound and outbound marketing capabilities. Right from SEO to lead nurturing and funnel optimization, Act-On takes care of all the needs of a growth-oriented marketer. Its pricing starts at $600/month but you get good usability from it once you move to the better package of $900/month. It is a middle ground between Pardot and Infusionsoft. If you are an adventurous marketer with a good budget, then Act-On can be a go-to platform. But if you want to play safe, then you can do better with HubSpot or InfusionSoft.
Featured in 2016 Ready to Rocket list and Fall 2016 Marketing Automation Software Grid report, Wishpond is a rising marketing automation tool. With lead generation tools like landing pages, forms, pop-ups, contests, and more, it offers a great number of options for list building. Along with the lead building, it also enables lead nurturing and drip campaigns. It starts at $69/month and goes till $199/month. It is very feature-rich and fun to use the tool. Contests are one of the most innovative tools that it offers and marketers love this idea. It is new in the market but seems like a promising automation tool.
At its core, Active Campaign is a drip email automation tool. You can trigger email workflows based on the subscriber’s interaction, interests, behavior, location, history, and more. Once combined with OptinMonster or LeadFormly you can trigger campaigns based on the subscriber’s behavior on the website. Active Campaign is a great tool for complete beginners with a tiny budget. It is available at a cost of $9/month and even its enterprise edition costs just $149/month. It is not as powerful as complete marketing automation tools, but it completely justifies its price.
Autopilot is a visual email marketing automation tool. From drip emails to SMS to in-app messages, autopilot takes care of behavioral messaging with ease. Its visual design and intuitive interface make planning campaigns easy. It also offers integration with Salesforce and other CRMs using Zapier. Autopilot is a very proactive tool for designing any kind of email campaign. It offers the option to create loops in a workflow that even full-fledged packages like HubSpot cannot provide. Its pricing starts at $25/month for 2500 contacts and increases according to the number of contacts. If you just want to automate the messaging part of your marketing, then Autopilot is an excellent choice.
AWeber is a marketing automation tool that can ease your email marketing. It is very dynamic and offers an array of templates to choose from. Like other drip email marketing tools, it offers features like autoresponders, split testing, RSS to email, data segmentation, and a lot more. AWeber is a solid player in the market and promises rapid growth. It starts at $19/month and reaches till $149/month for 25000 subscribers beyond which you will need to contact support. AWeber faces tough competition from tools like Getresponse, MailChimp, Campaign Monitor, etc. If you are starting with email marketing, then it is great, but if you want complete marketing automation, then it cannot satisfy your needs.
MailChimp is a start-up friendly email marketing automation tool. It’s forever free plan allows users to send up to 12000 emails to 2000 contacts every month. But free in no means that you will have to compromise on quality. It gives access to a wide range of themes and analytics, even to free users. The hard part is when you expand your database to over 2000 contacts. For only 5000 contacts, the cost increase to approx. $50/month. With a paid plan, you can send unlimited emails, but that is not a powerful advantage as usually small businesses don’t send over 6 blasts in a month. Overall, MailChimp offers good deliverability, insights, and features all in a highly intuitive interface. It also offers good educational content to speed up the learning process.
All the tools we discussed above deal with email marketing or full marketing automation, but this one is a little different. MobileMonkey specializes in creating intelligent chatbots for Facebook and your website. Thus offering a unique and easy-to-use interface for sales, marketing, and customer support. The platform comes with ready-to-use templates so that even marketers with zero coding skills can start easily. They have a free option that offers you a decent start, and the $29.25/month plan should be sufficient for most marketing needs.
The choice of a marketing automation tool depends upon individual requirements, budget, plans for the future, and the number of team members. From the above list of 11 marketing automation tools, you can make an informed decision. If you are looking to best use these tools, then do read: How to use marketing automation for small businesses?
Good luck with your marketing!!