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Marketing your small business, whether online or off, is a time intensive process. As your business grows, managing lead capture, nurturing, converting and relationship management become too big to handle manually, which is why small business owners turn to marketing automation software to manage the load.

In general, automation brings many benefits to your small business including speed, lower costs, and time savings.

However, because the promotion, selling, and relationship management processes involve so many steps, many of which are repeated for each customer, marketing is particularly suited to automation. And that’s where marketing automation software comes in.

Benefits of Marketing Automation Software for Small Businesses

Marketing automation software revolutionizes how businesses approach their marketing strategies, offering a plethora of benefits that streamline processes and enhance efficiency. By automating repetitive tasks, these tools allow companies to focus on strategic, creative aspects of marketing, ensuring better use of time and resources. They provide insightful data analytics, enabling businesses to make informed decisions and tailor their marketing efforts to target audiences more effectively. Moreover, marketing automation fosters consistent, personalized communication with customers, enhancing customer engagement and loyalty.

Benefits of marketing automation software include:

  • Efficiency in Operations: Automates repetitive tasks, saving time and reducing manual errors.
  • Enhanced Customer Experience: Delivers personalized content and communication, improving customer engagement.
  • Data-Driven Insights: Offers valuable analytics and reporting for informed decision-making.
  • Lead Management: Streamlines lead nurturing processes, enhancing the conversion of leads to customers.
  • Scalability: Adapts to the growing needs of a business, making it easier to scale marketing efforts.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Reduces labor costs and increases ROI by optimizing marketing strategies.
  • Consistent Brand Messaging: Ensures consistent brand communication across various channels.
  • Integration Capabilities: Seamlessly integrates with other tools and platforms, providing a unified marketing approach.
  • Campaign Management: Facilitates the creation, management, and tracking of marketing campaigns.
  • Enhanced ROI Tracking: Provides clear metrics on marketing campaigns, helping to track and improve ROI.

marketing automation software

Methodology for Selecting Marketing Automation Software

In our journey as small business owners or entrepreneurs to find the ideal marketing automation software, it’s critical to weigh several key factors. These criteria ensure the software not only aligns with our marketing goals but also integrates seamlessly with our existing operations. Here’s an overview of the criteria we considered when crafting our list:

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  1. Ease of Use and User Interface
    • Scale of Importance: 9/10
    • The software should have an intuitive interface and be user-friendly, ensuring that our team can easily navigate and utilize its features without extensive training.
  2. Integration Capabilities
    • Scale of Importance: 8/10
    • It’s crucial that the software integrates smoothly with other tools and platforms we are already using, like CRM systems, email platforms, and social media.
  3. Scalability
    • Scale of Importance: 7/10
    • The software should grow with our business, capable of handling increased demands as our marketing efforts expand.
  4. Feature Set
    • Scale of Importance: 8/10
    • Essential features like email marketing, social media management, lead nurturing, and analytics should be included. The more comprehensive the feature set, the better the software can cater to our diverse marketing needs.
  5. Cost Efficiency
    • Scale of Importance: 7/10
    • While ensuring quality, the software should also fit within our budget. It should offer a good return on investment, without hidden costs or exorbitant upgrades.
  6. Customer Support and Training
    • Scale of Importance: 7/10
    • Reliable customer support and access to training resources are important for troubleshooting and getting the most out of the software.
  7. Data Analytics and Reporting
    • Scale of Importance: 9/10
    • Robust analytics and reporting capabilities are vital to track the effectiveness of marketing campaigns and to make data-driven decisions.
  8. Compliance and Security
    • Scale of Importance: 8/10
    • The software must adhere to data protection regulations like GDPR and ensure the security of our and our customers’ data.
  9. Customization and Personalization
    • Scale of Importance: 6/10
    • The ability to customize and personalize marketing campaigns to address our specific audience segments enhances the effectiveness of our marketing efforts.
  10. Automation and Workflow Capabilities
    • Scale of Importance: 9/10
    • The core functionality should include robust automation and workflow capabilities to save time and resources while ensuring consistent marketing efforts.

marketing automation software

Marketing Automation Software

Happily, there are many marketing automation software options for small businesses. These solutions can handle a few, or all types, of automated marketing techniques. In other words, they include various automation features such as:

  • Forms and landing pages,
  • Automated email campaigns,
  • Trigger emails based on set or custom rules,
  • Built-in eCommerce functionality or integration with eCommerce platforms;
  • Lead scoring,
  • Built-in CRM or CRM integration,
  • Smarter segmentation and
  • Website behavior tracking.
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Note: Not all solutions offer every feature.

While you may be hesitant to try one because of either cost or learning curve, you should be aware that many marketing automation software vendors:

  • Charge based on use (number of customers, features used, etc.) so the cost scales, and is manageable, as you grow; and
  • Offer solid help as you learn to use their tool including free training, customer support representatives, comprehensive documentation and a supportive user community forum.

Are you considering marketing automation for your small business? If so, here’s a list of marketing automation software solutions to consider.

GetResponse

GetResponse calls itself the “all-in-one online marketing platform to grow your business” and a look down the features on their home page shows just how complete the software is.

While it’s one of the most affordable solutions on this list, GetResponse brings the same, if not more, of the features and functionality offered by the  more expensive solutions on this list. That said, the price does increase with use, but a small business should be able to handle the increase as it grows.

marketing automation software

ActiveCampaign

Another affordable solution, ActiveCampaign, offers everything a small business needs to automate its marketing efforts including a robust, built-in CRM system.

GreenRope

Calling itself a “small business CRM”, GreenRope is almost a small business management suite. Starting with marketing automation, you’ll find website tracking, landing pages and more in this affordably-priced solution.

GreenRope also offers sales and operations functionality setting the tool apart.

marketing automation software

Keap

One of the more well-known marketing automation software options, Keap (formerly Infusionsoft), offers everything your small business needs at a reasonable price. One feature that shows off the power of this solution is the flexibility of the campaign builder. This tool enables you to create elaborate workflows one time and then implement them again and again. These workflows can include many types of steps including eCommerce, appointments, behaviors and actions, webinar attendance and many more.

Additional Resources

HubSpot

The only tool on the list to offer a website builder, HubSpot aims to integrate your entire marketing effort in one place. One of the more powerful features of the tool is the ability to personalize your website with “smart content” based on a number of factors.

Additional Resources

marketing automation software

Act-On

Act-On offers a robust marketing automation platform. The software offers automation workflows and triggers as well as website behavior tracking, integration with many popular CRM platforms, and more.

One of the more interesting, and useful, features of Act-On is it’s funnel reporting. By setting up a sales funnel, you can track the effectiveness of your overall marketing efforts. Here’s a sample:

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Additional Resources

Marketo

Marketo Engage, a product run by Adobe, offers a powerful solution with many features. One thing that stood out however was their customized product bundling, an approach that may make the tool attractive for small businesses that want to dip their toe in the water.

marketing automation software

SharpSpring

In addition to it’s marketing automation features, SharpSpring offers additional features including a blog builder and VisitorID tool which attempts to identify anonymous visitors to your website.

Also, the vendor enables you to use your buyer personas to automatically offer unique, targeted content by segmenting your customers based on how closely their profiles match.

Additional Resources

SALESmanago

While a look at SALESmanago‘s home page may make you run, don’t let the complexity of the vendor’s offerings chase you away. This solution literally has it all and, if that’s what you need, then it’s certainly worth a look.

Software Key Features Pricing Structure Unique Selling Points Standout Functionalities
GetResponse All-in-one marketing platform, comprehensive features Increases with usage Affordable, feature-rich compared to pricier options Wide range of marketing tools at a competitive price
ActiveCampaign Marketing automation, robust CRM Affordable pricing Robust built-in CRM system Comprehensive marketing automation with integrated CRM
GreenRope Marketing automation, website tracking, landing pages Affordably priced Sales and operations functionality CRM and business management suite suitable for small businesses
Keap Campaign builder, eCommerce, appointments, webinars Reasonable pricing Flexible campaign builder Elaborate workflow creation for various business processes
HubSpot Website builder, “smart content” personalization Not specified Integrated marketing solution with website builder Personalization of website content based on visitor behavior
Act-On Automation workflows, CRM integration, funnel reporting Not specified Funnel reporting feature Detailed tracking and analysis of marketing funnel effectiveness
Marketo Customized product bundling, comprehensive features Not specified Adobe-backed powerful solution Tailored product bundling suitable for diverse business needs
SharpSpring Marketing automation, blog builder, VisitorID tool Not specified Unique content targeting using buyer personas Identifying anonymous website visitors and personalized content delivery
SALESmanago Comprehensive range of features Not specified Extensive functionalities All-in-one solution for complex marketing needs

Wrapping Up

No matter which marketing automation software solution you select, make sure you’re getting the most out of the tool. And remember, you can automate processes beyond marketing, too, so be sure to consider how leveraging other tools can help streamline your small business.

Automated Marketing Photo via Shutterstock


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