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Top 10 Best Marketing Automation Tools for Businesses

Top 10 Best Marketing Automation Tools for Businesses

Let's start by talking about something obvious – what is marketing automation? In easy terms, it is intelligent software that does repetitive jobs for marketing so that you can save time and energy. You could think of it as a digital sidekick that never sleeps, from sending emails at the right moment to cultivating leads!

Here’s the scene: you are a small business owner trying to do everything simultaneously. 

There’s a website to maintain, social media channels to keep alive, and an endless list of leads that need follow-up.

It may make your head spin! But with marketing automation in place, don’t worry about it anymore. These marketing automation tools engage all those pesky little parts for you so you can concentrate on what matters most – growing your business.

Table of Contents

Why Do You Need Marketing Automation? 

What Is Digital Marketing Automation

Remaining ahead of the curve is essential in this fast-paced world. And you can’t do it without marketing automation. Here are a few reasons why this should be a part of your strategy:

More Efficiency 

Admittedly, we all have 24 hours a day. But with marketing automation, you can make the most out of those hours by simplifying everything. Bid farewell to sending emails manually or updating social media channels – sit back and let software take care of everything!

Better Lead Nurturing 

It takes time to build relationships with leads, but it’s an essential step towards success. Marketing automation nurtures these relationships through personalised messages sent at the right time. Think of it as having your digital matchmaker who connects you with perfect clients around the clock.

Enhanced Customer Experience

In today’s world, customers demand smooth experiences; marketing automation ensures that happens. You can use automated workflows so clients get correct information at appropriate times without glitches or delays.

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More ROI 

Ultimately, everything boils down to ROI (Return on Investment). One way to increase this is by employing marketing automation, which helps optimise processes while ensuring that efforts are directed and efficient.

Top 10 Best Marketing Automation Tools 

Nowadays, there are many fantastic advertising automation tools. So that you can focus on the best ones, I have included 10 of the most popular platforms and solutions.

1 – HubSpot Marketing Hub

Hubspot Marketing Tool For Freelancers

HubSpot is known as marketing automation’s big kahuna. Their all-in-one Marketing Hub boasts best-of-breed features in email marketing, lead management, analytics, landing pages, ads, live chat, chatbots and more.

What sets HubSpot apart is how well those tools work together – everything from your marketing to sales to service operations can be managed in one place. The user interface is also clean and intuitive – excellent for small businesses new to automation.

Some other features worth mentioning:

  • Strong lead scoring and lifecycle stage tracking
  • Detailed campaign reporting and attribution analytics
  • SEO recommendations and content strategy tools
  • Drag-and-drop email builders
  • ABM tools for target account nurturing

It’s a bit expensive but offers excellent value for money. If you’re serious about digital marketing with automation software, it’s hard not to recommend HubSpot.

2 – ActiveCampaign

Can you believe it? ActiveCampaign predates the term “marketing automation”! This early player stands out because of its influential yet non-technical friendly automation builders.

With tons of pre-built automation recipes, you can automate almost any workflow. Drip sequences or abandoned cart campaigns might come to mind first, but think bigger – renewals, up-sells and much more can be automated with point-and-click ease!

More cool stuff:

  • Advanced email marketing tools with native CRM + sales automation
  • Dynamic segmentation & targeting based on multiple criteria (e.g., location + behaviour)
  • Deeper campaign analytics plus multi-touch attribution reports
  • Built-in live chat functionality, SMS messaging, site messages, etc.

ActiveCampaign does a lot right regarding a comprehensive feature set for midsize business needs while keeping costs reasonable enough not to make eyes water too much – especially when considering the power behind what’s being offered here.

3 – Marketo

Marketo Digital Marketing Tools

When it comes to enterprise solutions, only some platforms can compete with Marketo in terms of functionality and scalability. Acquired by Adobe in 2018, this marketing automation giant is a favourite among Fortune 500 companies.

Marketo shines brightest in four key areas: account-based marketing (ABM), lead management, attribution modelling, and revenue cycle analytics. No other platform on our list offers this level of depth for enterprise teams.

Here are some highlights:

  • AI-driven predictive lead scoring & content personalisation tools
  • Native ABM capabilities for executing complex plays against target accounts
  • Granular role-based access controls (RBAC) for organisations working with large teams
  • Robust CRM integrations plus data management functionality powered by MDC DOTs/SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS)

Be prepared – this isn’t your average run-of-the-mill “budget” option! However, if you’re looking for an enterprise-grade marketing automation solution that won’t disappoint you, Marketo should be at the top of your shortlist.

4 – Pardot (by Salesforce)

As part of the Salesforce ecosystem, Pardot claims to be a “simple” marketing automation solution for the fundamentals – email automation, lead nurturing, lead scoring, etc. But simple doesn’t mean weak.

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The platform covers all the bases: landing page builders, SEO tools, social posting and even Google integration for search ads. Plus, it syncs seamlessly with Salesforce’s best-in-class CRM.

Other benefits include:

  • Insightful B2B marketing analytics
  • Smarter campaign insights with Einstein AI
  • Easy setup with pre-built engagement programs
  • Flexible team roles and permissions
  • DRIP and GSPEN email authentication included

For sales-driven B2B marketers already using Salesforce, Pardot is a no-brainer. But even as a standalone platform, it holds its own.

5 – Keap (Formerly Infusionsoft)

Keap Marketing Automation Tools

Built from the ground up for small businesses and solopreneurs (formerly known as Infusionsoft), this all-in-one CRM and marketing automation platform is the opposite of clunky enterprise software that gives you a migraine – think of it as a refreshing alternative.

Keap shines with intelligent automated client journeys encompassing marketing campaigns, appointment scheduling, payments, project management, and more, perfect for service providers catering to local clients.

Key features include:

  • Pre-built automation and templates for just about any use case
  • Simple campaign builders with drag-and-drop ease
  • Built-in CRM, invoicing, payments and client portals
  • Internal team collaboration tools
  • Lead scoring, segmentation and targeting capabilities

While it may lack some advanced functionality found in others on this list, Keap’s affordability and ease of use make it ideal for mom-and-pop businesses that need straightforward client nurturing and payment management.

6 – Constant Contact

Constant Contact is one of the OG email marketing platforms you’ve probably heard of before… but they’ve since evolved into a full-service digital marketing suite with robust small business automation features.

What sets Constant Contact apart are its intuitive campaign builders, extensive integration ecosystem and wealth of educational resources for digital marketing newbies.

Other impressive capabilities include:

  • Behavioural-based email automation sequences
  • Simple online stores and donation tools
  • Social media marketing and ad management
  • Website builders with built-in email capture tools
  • In-depth reporting & AI-driven insights

Suppose you’re a small business needing an all-in-one digital marketing command centre. In that case, Constant Contact packs an impressive range of capabilities into an affordable, easy-to-use platform.

7 – SharpSpring

Sharpspring Marketing Automation Tool

Sharpspring is the best value-for-money option because it provides vital marketing automation for SMBs at comparatively low price points.

This platform based on the cloud stands out with its features such as:

  • Advanced builders for behavioural-based automation
  • Built-in CRM as well as sales team function
  • Scoring and tracking of calls that originate natively
  • Lists which are dynamic and triggers which are advanced for workflow
  • Lead forensics that are in-depth, showing a detailed history of activity

It may have a different level of brand recognition than HubSpot, but this product offers a lot more bang for your buck. For marketing teams working on tight budgets, this is worth considering.

8 – GetResponse

If email marketing is all you care about, look no further than GetResponse – this could be your perfect match! Although they offer other capabilities within marketing automation, their specialisation lies in top-of-the-line email tools.

Here are some outstanding email features:

  • Templates that are mobile optimised, which number in thousands
  • Segmentation advanced options along with personalisation
  • Functionality automated RSS-to-email enablement
  • Testing tools comprehensive deliverability and also,
  • Scoring content line subject-based AI (Artificial Intelligence)
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In addition to emails, they provide webinar marketing, paid ads, live chat CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems, etc., apart from being an ESP (Email Service Provider). They even offer forever-free plans initially to start with!

If scaling up list-building efforts while enhancing lead nurturing & subscriber engagement through emails remain priority areas for businesses, then GetResponse should undoubtedly form part of your considerations when looking into different types of systems available under the category known as “automation”.

9 – Ontraport 

Ontraport Marketing Automation Tools

Ontraport is a “business automation” platform explicitly built with solopreneurs and entrepreneurs in mind. It’s similar to Keap in that it combines CRM software, marketing automation tools, payment gateways, project management capabilities, etc., but everything is packaged together within one system.

Every single tool at Ontraport’s disposal — from email sequences to landing pages and membership portals — has been created with small business owners who wear multiple hats in mind; the visual campaign builders are designed for simplicity and ease of use.

Other notable features:

  • ECommerce functionalities complete with payment processing & order management
  • Intelligent contact scoring combined with advanced segmentation options
  • Internal team collaboration features, which include task management facilities
  • Robust Zapier integration points allow you to connect this system with any other app/service.
  • Built-in training resources alongside business management systems. 

As an affordable all-inclusive hub for running your entire operation on autopilot mode without breaking a sweat or bank balance – Ontraport brings home severe value for money, especially if you have limited resources!

10 – Sendinblue 

Lastly, we have Sendinblue – a solid yet simple marketing automation solution. It started as an ESP (Email Service Provider) but has grown into much more than that by offering various digital tools that perfectly fit small businesses under one roof.

Some key areas where it excels:

  • A free plan is available, so you can try it before the buy option is provided as well,
  • Easy drag-n-drop email editors plus automation builders included,
  • SMS marketing functionality, in addition to live chat support via emails,
  • CRM built directly inside this platform alongside sales force automation facilities,
  • Landing page creators alongside sign-up form creation capabilities too,
  • Multichannel marketing campaign tracking is made possible through their integrated approach towards handling different channels simultaneously.

Although it may lack certain advanced features found within more prominent players like HubSpot or Marketo, it still provides more than enough power needed by smaller teams looking forward towards automating their email, SMS & chat messages at a reasonable rate!

Choosing the Right Tool 

If you have many choices, selecting the best automation tool for marketing can be overwhelming. However, do not worry – below are some tips to help you make an informed decision:

Define Your Needs 

Take time to define your needs before starting the search. Which features are essential for your enterprise? What integrations are necessary? What is your budget? Knowing what you need will make choosing among these alternatives easy.

Consider Scalability 

As the business grows, so do its requirements for marketing automation. Therefore, while evaluating different options, consider whether they can scale with you in future.

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User-Friendliness 

These tools should be designed in such a way that they simplify work and do not complicate things further. So, look for those with user-friendly interfaces plus substantial documentation or even training resources that make the implementation process smooth and continued use easier.

Integration Capabilities 

Nowadays, no company uses just one tool alone; all companies rely on several other tools. With this in mind, ensure that any selected software integrates well with the organisation's other systems, like CRM software, social media platforms, etc.

Customer Support 

Even though a tool may be easy to use, people will most likely require assistance along their journey of using it. Because of this, each vendor’s customer support system must be evaluated based on what kind of resources they provide, such as knowledge bases or FAQ sections and community forums where users can interact directly with each other or ask questions regarding specific challenges faced during the implementation phase also live chat feature could serve as good channels through which clients may seek clarification whenever necessary.

Implementing Marketing Automation 

What Is Content Automation

Once the right tool has been chosen, it is time to implement it for the business. But before you do that, some essential steps need to be followed:

Define Your Workflows 

Marketing automation is all about optimising processes; therefore, one must know how their workflows currently function. Map out what happens at every point in your process now, find areas for improvement and identify which should be automated.

Clean Your Data 

The effectiveness of marketing automation relies solely on the quality of data fed into it. Spend time cleaning up contact lists to ensure the accuracy and currency of information. This way, you will not send irrelevant or wrong messages.

Train Your Team 

This may bring about significant changes within your organisation since people might resist any form of novelty being introduced into their lives, mainly when they are used to doing things differently than others. Therefore, provide enough training materials and other resources employees need during this period if you want everything to go smoothly without hitches.

Start Small 

Do not try automating everything at once — begin with a few key workflows, then expand gradually after feeling more comfortable using this software package.

Test and Optimise 

It is an ongoing process; keep testing different approaches under various circumstances until you develop the best-performing combination based on feedback from clients who interacted with those campaigns through other channels like email, social media platforms, etc. Also, performance data gathered during such tests can be used to adjust strategies employed while creating content to achieve set goals within specified periods, among others.

Best Practices for Marketing Automation

One-to-one marketing 

Nowadays, being unique among the sea of digital platforms is essential. Divide your customers into sections through your marketing automation tool and give them messages specifically meant for them.

Priority ranking system 

All leads were not created equally. Use lead scoring to ensure that you concentrate only on promising prospects.

A/B Trial And Error 

Keep testing and improving your campaigns for better results. Use A/B Testing to try out different subject lines, message contents or design components and let numbers guide you in making choices.

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Cross-channel integration 

Marketing automation goes beyond emails. Utilise the features of this software for creating integrated multi-touchpoint campaigns across social media channels like Facebook, Instagram & X (Twitter), among others, as well as offline ones such as billboards or posters within a city.

Data Analysis & Reporting 

Tools for marketing automation provide a lot of valuable data for analysis. Use this information to understand your target’s behaviour, campaign performance or overall ROI on marketing spend.

Real-World Success Stories

Zapier Top Free Tool

Zapier’s lead nurturing journey 

Zapier integrated marketing automation into its app to simplify its lead nurturing efforts. This allowed them to automatically review and validate leads by executing email campaigns and workflows.

Basecamp’s customer onboarding process 

The project management software company used marketing automation to enhance its customer onboarding process. They did this by producing personalised content and guidance for each customer based on their behaviour and needs through automated workflows, which helped them increase customer engagement rates while reducing churn.

Unbounce's Content Marketing Strategy 

Automation was at the heart of Unbounce's content marketing drive, a landing page builder. They achieved this by using different channels to distribute and promote their content automatically, thus reaching out to more people to drive traffic back to their site.

Challenges and Pitfalls to Avoid

Data Privacy and Compliance

Marketing automation should conform to data privacy laws such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), like any other technology dealing with customer data collection and utilisation. Ensure you have obtained proper consent and follow the correct procedures in handling information; failure to do this may lead to legal suits or reputational damage.

Over-Automation 

Despite its power, marketing automation should be used wisely. When campaigns are over-automated, they become impersonal and irrelevant, making the audience feel detached from what is being communicated; this will tarnish your brand reputation. Always aim to keep the human touch alive by customising campaigns based on your target group's specific needs and preferences.

Integration Challenges

Usually, marketing automation systems need to integrate with different platforms or systems like websites and CRMs, even though not limited only to these mentioned ones. This process can be very complicated and time-consuming, especially if a business has complex stacks of technologies. Therefore, it is essential to assess integration requirements comprehensively before settling for any tool to avoid future headaches associated with poor integration planning.

Skill Gaps 

Implementing and effectively utilising marketing automation tools calls for specific specialised skills and knowledge that should be included within teams. Inadequate know-how regarding this subject matter may result in under-optimisation campaigns using such utilities, thus wasting resources alongside other inefficiencies. Train your staff on how best to use these instruments, or consider hiring experts trained explicitly to operate them correctly.

The Future of Marketing Automation 

Hyperautomation Infographic

Technology develops constantly, and so does the sphere of marketing automation. Some trends and changes to be aware of are:

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) 

AI and ML have already begun playing a significant part in marketing automation, which allows for more advanced segmentation, personalisation, campaign optimisation, etc. As these technologies become more sophisticated, they’re expected to enable even more innovative AI-based marketing automation.

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Omnichannel Experiences 

In this day and age, customers expect seamless experiences across every point of contact or channel; therefore, marketing automation systems must support accurate omnichannel campaigns where a user receives consistent messaging no matter the device used.

Increased Focus on Privacy and Consent 

Marketing automation tools need to comply with data protection regulations. This means robust consent management features should be included, and strong security measures supported by proper data governance controls should be implemented across all areas where such systems store or process personally identifiable information (PII).

Integration with Emerging Technologies 

With the Internet of Things (IoT), virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and voice assistants becoming increasingly popular among consumers today, businesses should take full advantage of these platforms’ potential by integrating their marketing automation within them accordingly thus creating immersive experiences which seamlessly blend different channels at once while still retaining individuality for each device involved in such communication process.

Conclusion 

Marketing automation can be a game changer for your marketing. It can streamline processes, nurture leads and deliver personalised experiences at scale. You have to choose the right tool and implement it correctly, though. This will give you a significant advantage over competitors and drive better business outcomes.

Still, never forget that marketing automation isn’t something you set up once and then leave alone. It’s a continuous process that should be optimised and experimented with to meet customers’ changing needs or market trends. Stay flexible by relying on data, always remain teachable and ready to change no matter what comes your way!

FAQs

What is the variance between marketing automation and email marketing?

However, marketing automation includes lead nurturing, lead scoring, campaign management, and analytics, while email marketing only focuses on sending mass emails to a mailing list. Marketing automation is broader than just being an aspect of it as email marketing is.

Do I need to be technologically knowledgeable to use marketing automation?

Absolutely not; the majority of contemporary marketing automation tools are created to be used by those needing more technical know-how. Although some training and support may be necessary specifically when dealing with complicated features plus integrations.

How much does it cost for one to have access to an excellent automated system?

The prices of these systems greatly vary depending on things like vendors involved, features incorporated into each package offered and the size or nature of the business owned by someone. Basic packages start at around 25-50 dollars per month, while more complex enterprise solutions could go up to thousands monthly.

Is it possible for machines to replace people who do this job?

No, they cannot, but what they can do is help us work more effectively with other human beings around us. While certain activities need repetitive tasks so that campaigns succeed within them, creativity remains key among people planning strategically towards those ends or managing overall parts thereof.

How long will it take to realise positive results from my investment in this technology?

There isn’t any specific duration since different factors come into play, thus affecting timelines within industries. However, many months usually pass by after launching such initiatives before they see significant changes across various channels used during respective periods.

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Which functions should I be keen on when selecting a suitable tool for my company’s needs?

Some important highlights include emailing capabilities, nurturing leads through scoring them based on their behaviour patterns exhibited over time spent engaging with content shared; managing all campaigns run online, including offline ones, measuring everything using various metrics provided under the statistics section, plus integrating CRM among others with the same.

How can we ensure compliance with regulations on data privacy if using marketing automation?

It is essential that firms closely collaborate with their legal teams and those handling issues surrounding this area to understand better what needs to be done. On top of selecting marketing automation tools that consider governance over customer information and consent, organisations should also establish robust mechanisms to obtain such approvals from the individuals concerned.

Can B2C companies use these systems, or are they meant only for B2Bs?

Yes, both types can benefit significantly from them since every business has its unique way of doing things. However, although strategies employed may vary depending on specific circumstances, core features like personalisation and lead nurturing remain constant regardless of the industry or customer category targeted at large.

Which metrics can help me gauge performance levels attained by my campaigns powered through these solutions?

Open rates, CTRs (click-through rates), and conversions achieved during given periods, among others, are good indicators when looking at success rates recorded within marketing automation platforms. Therefore, begin by setting clear goals coupled with KPIs while examining available campaign data frequently to identify areas requiring improvement from time to time.

Are there any mistakes people commonly make during the implementation stages of these technologies?

Over-automation leads to impersonal communications, poor quality data collection methods, lack of adequate skills and training materials, difficulties experienced while consolidating various systems into one seamless whole, needing to maintain human touch points throughout each part involved, etc.

How do we ensure our automated campaigns stay relevant to different individuals receiving messages?

Use behavioural targeting capacities that enable you to send content designed specifically for persons who demonstrate particular attitudes and actions based on past experiences shared between sender and receiver. This means refining segments beyond what was initially done after analysing performance results obtained along customer feedback lines.

What part does marketing automation have to play in content marketing?

Content marketing is a critical ingredient in efficient marketing automation. High-quality, valuable content is required to nurture leads, earn trust, and move prospects along their journey as customers. For best results, align your content strategy with your marketing automation campaigns.

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Stuart Crawford

Stuart Crawford is an award-winning creative director and brand strategist with over 15 years of experience building memorable and influential brands. As Creative Director at Inkbot Design, a leading branding agency, Stuart oversees all creative projects and ensures each client receives a customised brand strategy and visual identity.

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