Marketing August 2, 2016 Last updated August 1st, 2016 968 Reads share

5 Best Marketing Automation Tools for SMBs

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With a growing demand for an individual-centric product and service, marketing techniques are evolving for Automation.

Marketing Automation refers to an approach which is designed to automate repetitive tasks like sending emails, social media messages, newsletter etc. Businesses of all sizes need automated processes to optimize their marketing results, improve conversion and generate more profit.

There are many marketing automation tools in the business but they fall short in one or two of the below-mentioned features:

  • Cost– All the popular softwares aim for a high-end clientele and to get tangible result most of the marketing automation softwares tend to go “out of budget” for SMBs barring some indisputable exceptions.
  • Ease of Use– Marketing automation softwares are becoming more and more complex and need of a dedicated personnel is becoming inevitable.
  • Setting up– Most high-end marketing automation softwares are extremely hard to set up and require substantial assistance.

Here, I will discuss some of the world’s top marketing automation tools that are a must-have in the arsenal of an SMB.

#1.  Getresponse

Launched in 1999, . On almost all of MailChimp’s pages, you will find a link to a funny Youtube Video.

Pros:

  • Personalisation – You can import your own templates or customize the huge library of existing templates.

mail-chimp

  • Advanced tools – WYSIWYG/point and click editor which does not require much technical knowledge.
  • Professional with a twist – It provides feature to remove Mail chimp logo from the outgoing emails. Keeps an informal touch though by sending links to Youtube videos.
  • High engageability – Mail chimp did a research some years ago about the best time to shoot a marketing campaign. They have been utilizing the result to optimise subscriber’s engagement with client’s emails.
  • Easy integration – It is easily integratable with Google analytics and can provide exhaustive data per campaign.

Cons:

  • Content personalization – You have to create a separate campaign for a different audience group.
  • Interface –  Though the interface has its own high notes but it lacks a visual workflow like Getresponse.
  • Price –  It becomes VERY expensive for users with bigger database.

#3. Infusionsoft

Infusionsoft is one of the fastest growing marketing automation software. Relatively new in the sphere it has become the benchmark for “advanced” email marketing tool.

Pros:

  • VERY Advanced – It has extremely advanced features like Universal tracking, Responsive Email marketing, sales cycle management etc.
  • Easy website integration – Infusionsoft is popular for easy WordPress integration. You might need some technical knowledge for integrating it with other CMSes though.
  • Responsible Emailing – This is the most impressive feature of Infusionsoft Marketing automation system. It automatically kicks out spammers from your subscriber list and keeps it clean and healthy.
  • Detailed reports – Infusionsoft is all about reports. It gives extremely detailed and user-friendly reports about sales and your marketing campaign.

infusionsoft

Cons:

  • TOO advanced – Though it’s impressive but It’s not suitable for a mid market client. Additionally one needs to hire a dedicated person to work with it. At times it becomes confusing and disheartening.
  • Very expensive – As it offers such advanced tools, it is very expensive and not a feasible choice for an SMB.

#4. Hubspot

 According to a recent analysis Hubspot owns a 41.6% share of small business automation software market. Hubspot is one of the best designed and extensively marketed tool for automated marketing.

Pros:

  • Easy to use – It is an extremely well designed product. It is very intuitive and is usable without the need of technical and coding skills
  • Client Education– The most impressive aspect of Hubspot is the extent to which they invest in customer education. Their blog is an exceptional resource to learn about the product and online marketing, even for non hubspot users.
  • Integration – Hubspot has everything under one roof. It offers flexibility and extreme convenience for a providing a wide variety of tools to its users.

hubspot

Cons:

Hubspot may prove to be a good marketing tool but it has many cons

  • Price – while the basic pack is for $200/month but to make it barely usable (with A/B split test) you have to upgrade to $2400/month package.
  • Free alternatives – Most tools offered by hubspot are available FOR FREE elsewhere.
  • A Yearly contract – hubspot contracts are billed annually by default. Marketing automation is a long process but it would’ve been preferable to have a rolling month on month contract.

#5. Marketo

Marketo is a great mid-range marketing automation tool. It is used by a number of reputable companies including Charles Schwab, Chrysler, Intel.

Pros:

  • Easy and intuitive to use- Marketo receives lot of praises for being very intuitive and easy to use. While the interface might not be the prettiest but everything is well labelled and arranged.

marketo

  • Quick setup – Compared to other marketing automation tools Marketo is relatively quick and easy to set up
  • Great customer support and community – Marketo has an exceptional customer support and a very active community of supporters. Issues with campaigns and technicality are fixed as quickly as real-time.

Cons:

  • Price – Though Marketo is not for SMB sector, it is prudent to point out that the Marketo’s most basic pack starts at $895/month.
  • Limited analytics –  Most common complaint. Marketo provides extremely finite analytics and reporting features. You might need additional plugins and extensions.

Key takeaways:

  • Price – Getresponse’s extremely competitive pricing makes it a clear winner.
  • Ease of use – The flowchart approach used by Getresponse gives a neck to neck competition to Marketo and Mailchimp’s highly acclaimed user interface.
  • Features – Infusionsoft is a clear winner here.
  • Reporting – A tough competition between Infusionsoft and Mailchimp.
  • Integration – Nearly all softwares offer easy and smooth integration with websites and other tools.
  • Overall – Getresponse’s extremely user-friendly interface is a treat to its users. With an inexpensive software and a FREE 30 day trial, it the best choice for an SMB.

Choosing perfect software on a budget can be difficult and I hope this post will serve as a guide to come to a conclusion.

Whichever marketing automation tools you might choose, always remember your business’s key processes that you wish to streamline. Many times you might need to carry out an audit in order to determine which tool needs to be replaced and why. Compatibility and smoother integration in your existing departments is the ultimate necessity and your choice for a tool should be based on this.

Have you used any of the above marketing automation tools? Please let me know which one you found to be the best and why.

Images: Author’s Own

Joydeep Bhattacharya

Joydeep Bhattacharya

Joydeep Bhattacharya is a digital marketing analyst who is into the field of search engine optimization and internet marketing since 2009. He is the author of seo blog, seosandwitch.com where he provides information related to SEO, SMO and internet marketing.

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