Are you an aspiring online entrepreneur or a tech-savvy person? Then you’ve heard of marketing automation. Many marketers swear by it, some believe it’s not a good investment… but what is it? Why is it important? How do marketing automation platforms help grow a business? Is it worth the hassle?
What is Marketing Automation?
Marketing automation refers to any software or platform for automating a wide range of marketing tasks. Marketing departments perform a lot of repetitive actions, like managing social media channels, sending out emails and other online admin tasks. With the technology of marketing automation, doing these tasks is much faster and easier.
In this article, you will see a rundown of the top 5 most reliable marketing automation platforms available right now. You’ll learn their pros and cons, their important features and why they are so popular with users.
Let’s get started!
This multi-functional platform offers customer engagement marketing, real-time personalization and marketing automation. Its marketing management functionality includes marketing calendars and budgeting tools.
Its key features are quite straightforward. You have a lead generation, search marketing, website visitor tracking, as well as measure and optimize ROI. You also get forms, landing pages, email marketing and campaign management.
For its cost, the Spark plan starts at $999/month (1 domain, 30 campaigns). Both the Standard and Consumer campaigns are $1,499/month (1 domain, 60 campaigns). Meanwhile, the Enterprise starts at $2,999/month (4 domains, unlimited campaigns).
Marketo works best for medium- to large-sized organizations. It does have a steep learning curve, though. Be prepared for a platform, as people say it’s hard to get used to.
The good thing about Marketo is its excellent customer service. They are efficient when it comes to customer concerns. They also have a product that is fast-evolving.
Salesforce is a feature-rich customer relationship management (CRM) tool. It caters to small, medium and enterprise organizations focusing on sales and support. Among its key features are sales management, customer service and partner relationship management.
These applications allow you to easily track leads, monitor campaigns, offer after-sales service and manage customer accounts.
Salesforce works great for any business size. However, it can be overwhelming in terms of price and usability. Some say it has a steep learning curve for newbies. They also claim the user interface appear outdated.
Four plans are available on Salesforce, ranging from $25 to $300. The most basic is the Lightning Essentials at $25/month. It’s then followed by Lightning Professional at $75/month and Lightning Enterprise at $150/month. For large businesses, Lightning Unlimited is worth $300/month. The more advanced the plan is, the more features are accessible to your team.
Known for its smart and flexible features, MailChimp is great for marketing automation. It keeps you in touch with customers and prospects via streamlined email marketing. Emails are triggered based on online activity, signup date, etc.
You can offer personalized emails because of its behavioral targeting feature. Monitoring engagement is much easier and product recommendations show up based on previous purchases. They offer a free plan (a huge plus for newbies) which lets you send 12,000 emails and 2,000 subscribers.
This is good news for SMB and personal accounts. Most of the basic templates and tools can be used on a free account. Pay-as-you-go options are available as well. This is cheaper for businesses have low-volume clients but still need automation and integration features.
For $30/month, you get 2,500 subscribers. $75/month gives you 10,000 subscribers and $215/month gives you 30,000 subscribers.
HubSpot is an inbound marketing software. It allows businesses to turn their marketing from outbound lead generation to inbound. You can get found by potential clients much easier and in a natural way.
The company owns a 41.6% share of the automation software market. This puts them a frontrunner in the industry. While they have a well-designed product, it’s not recommended by many. Why? Because there are better alternatives out there that even cost 20 times less.
There’s a lot of hype around HubSpot but most of the reviews are mixed. Almost everything on this platform can be found elsewhere for free. It’s also more expensive – many features are available in other platforms for a lower price. Although this software helps a lot, it does not seem to perform efficiently.
A free account on HubSpot is available if you’re new. The Starter package is $50/month, while the Basic plan starts at $200/month (billed annually). Professional costs $800/month (billed annually) and Enterprise is $2,400/month (billed annually)
ActiveCampaign provides a seamless experience for marketing efficiency. The platform lets you grow your business through email marketing, marketing automation and customer management solutions.
This platform is a combination of many aspects of business marketing. Its user-friendly interface helps you create engaging and beautiful emails. It’s much easier to gather information about your contacts and apply marketing automation techniques.
More than 100,000 users trust ActiveCampaign for their marketing needs. The process is pretty straightforward – a credit card is not required to set things up. 150 integrations are accessible, so the tool connects you with your favorite services. People around the globe also love the software’s helpful and quick support.
ActiveCampaign offers four types of pricing plans. You don’t need to pay setup fees. For 500 contacts, you can get a Lite Plan that is $15/month (billed monthly) or $9/month (billed annually). Everything from the Lite Plan is included if you get the Plus Plan, which is $70/month or $55/month (billed annually).
The Professional Plan is at $159/month (billed monthly) or $129/month (billed annually), and the Enterprise Plan costs $279/monthly (billed monthly) or $229/month (billed annually).
Is Marketing Automation a Good Idea?
The answer is a resounding YES! Marketing automation can be an amazing tool to help owners grow their businesses. You can use these above-mentioned platforms to prioritize the right leads. It’s not for everyone, though. So make sure to do your research first. Stay away from marketing automation pitfalls that many have fallen into.
A Reminder to Marketing Automation Users
“Marketing automation” has turned into a buzzword, indeed. Marketers now use automation software thinking that all digital marketing tools are necessary for growth. Although it’s true, a lot of legwork is needed to hit the ground running with your business.
This is a common misconception that encourages many users to rely too much on sophisticated tools. They fail to realize that they still need a solution to generate new leads.
The consequence? Marketers chose to buy email lists instead of generating inbound leads. Yes, it’s a quick fix but not a long-term solution. Think of using chemical enhancers to make your plant grow faster. It does the job well but you are not preparing yourself for long-term success.
It’s not the easiest marketing initiative to execute on, that’s true. But marketing automation is not impossible!
Imagine yourself trying to grow a plant. One of the things you need is a fertile soil for your plant. You need seeds and make sure they’re cared for, as well as water and light to nurture it. Yes, it’s not foolproof but it’s always possible.
No marketing automation is the best. We have our own preferences – choosing the perfect one for you all depends on what you need.