Do you have an excellent marketing strategy and budget but no time? Is your marketing to-do list cluttered with tasks that do not need critical thinking and reasoning?
Do you feel that you should get someone else to take care of the manual tasks so that you can focus more on problem-solving and strategizing tasks?
If answers to all or most of the above questions end in a yes, you need marketing automation software. However, one that works for others may not work for you.
This guide helps you understand which type of marketing automation software to buy and what key elements to look for.
Table of contents
What is marketing automation software?
Marketing automation software works based on data collected by the customer’s actions on different platforms like websites, apps, emails, etc. This data triggers action via email, SMS, push notification, in-app messaging, social media, and more.
Importance of marketing automation software
As a business, you can spend some time identifying what exactly you wish to achieve out of your marketing initiatives. Once your priorities are set, it will make it that much easier to shortlist the software that works best for you. Your overall content marketing strategy can also help in identifying the same for you.
Here are a few examples of goals that one can set before looking for a marketing automation software:
Increase quality leads
Increase unique subscribers or customer base
Increase overall revenue
Increase repeat business/customer retention
Enhance the quality of customer relationship
What to look for in marketing automation software?
Having clear business goals makes it easier to know what to look for when buying marketing automation software for your business.
However, here are a few things you should look for:
Easy to implement and use
86% of marketers consider ‘Ease of Use” to be the most important factor when evaluating marketing automation software. Setting up workflows and rules, integrations need to be easy enough for a non-technical person to be able to learn quickly and manage.
Some marketing automation software products are perfect for small and medium enterprises. The business does not have to buy other software to supplement the gaps. Then there are enterprise-grade software products with all the bells and whistles. They may have a few quite deep and detailed features. They may consider a relatively larger number of contacts for their pricing model.
Integration with your peripheral systems
Will your marketing automation system integrate with the engagement platforms of your choice? It is a good idea to see a working demo before finalization.
In addition to that, the ability to integrate with your CRM, Mail Service Provider is a must-have. CRM holds all your customer contact information and details of the engagement. Marketing automation software can leverage that entire information segment to make personalized communication more effective.
The ability to integrate with Chatbot, Customer Support, etc., is good-to-have.
Platforms like Zapier integrate multiple apps and can automate workflows if you are not looking to adopt a whole new platform.
Reports and analytics
What you cannot measure, you cannot improve. Reports and analytics are critical for planning better and more effective campaigns. While it applies to any marketing tool, it is especially important for an automaton tool because it is the best place to capture the data points that you need to measure for the A/B testing, measuring ROI, etc.
A clear set of expectations from your marketing initiative should give you an idea of what information you are looking for.
- It is good to know if the software can provide the information/data points you are looking to capture, in the format that you would like before you sign up.
- Check how configurable and flexible are the reports and analytics. You can also ask if specific reports can be pre-scheduled.
Related guide: How Marketing Analytics Can Help Your Business Grow
Pricing can make or break your deal.
Understand if the software has a free version. If yes, what features are part of the free version? What do paid versions include, and what are the pricing slabs?
- Check prices as per your growth projections. You will know if the price is scalable with your growth.
- Remember to understand the additional costs of extra channels, contacts, and emails.
- What tools are part of the core offering, and what features are add-ons? Many marketers gets burnt by hidden costs that emerge only after implementation.
Comparing the best marketing automation software
Here are some automation software tools you can rely on to amp your marketing game.
Omnisend has established itself as a leader in omnichannel marketing automation platforms for eCommerce. Powerful automation workflows, with pre-built templates keeping online merchants in mind, help you hit the ground running. The basic offering is focused mainly on email and SMS marketing. However, larger enterprises will benefit from Omnisend’s channel management features.
Omnisend offers segmentation tools and automated workflows that mainly work with email and messaging.
Segmentation tools help you find the best audience. A campaign builder can automate resending campaigns and offers A/B testing. Automated workflows can also work cross-channel from email to messaging. Omnisend has many pre-built workflows which you can customize.
Small and large eCommerce companies will benefit from Omnisend features.
|Free version available||Non-eCommerce companies may not find it well-tailored|
|Pre-built workflow templates||No custom/scheduled reports|
|Create, and schedule personalized text campaigns||No native mobile app|
Marketo is a SaaS platform that helps business automate their marketing efforts and engagement. Adobe acquired Marketo in 2018. Superb features like behavior tracking find the right customers for the campaigns. Building workflows is easy. Marketo boasts great sales analytics. You can connect with people across channels with real-time data on customer engagement. It also helps to create personalized content in addition to AI-based audience segmentation.
Marketo is an excellent choice for medium and large enterprises.
|Offers a wide variety of tools||No free version or trial version is available|
|AI-based audience segmentation||eCommerce platform integrations are not supported|
ActiveCampaign is another market favorite. It is a marketing automation tool that targets all businesses. It combines the functionality of a CRM with email marketing in a marketing automation platform. It also helps create meaningful connections on social media, email, and client chat.
Works best for small and medium-sized businesses.
|Great for small and medium-sized businesses||Reporting not up to the mark|
|Excellent visual automation workflow builder||Works best with Active Campaign CRM, which may not be as good as other CRMs in the market|
EngageBay is an affordable CRM software designed for small businesses and startups. It provides growing companies with the tools they need to scale and succeed. The most popular EngageBay feature includes the visual multistep automation builder. In addition, EngageBay offers a suite of customer support tools, including live chat, helpdesk, canned responses, and knowledge bases.
EngageBay offers a free forever version for companies just starting out. The Basic plan starts at $14.99/month, while the Growth plan starts at $49.99/month. The Pro plan starts at $99.99/month.
|All-in-one marketing, sales, and customer support platform||Marketing automation is only available in the Growth plan|
|One of the most affordable CRM systems||Advanced tools like account-based marketing is only available in the Pro plan|
|Offers powerful automation tools to help you create multistep and multi-faceted workflows||No search marketing feature yet|
Freshmarketer is a full-fledged marketing automation solution in a larger Freshworks ecosystem. Marketers use Freshmarketer to run lifecycle campaigns, build lead nurturing workflows, analyze prospect behavior, and personalized communication. It is pocket friendly.
Freshmarketer is an obvious choice for companies already using products from the Freshworks ecosystem. Both small and large enterprises can use Freshmarketer.
|Seamlessly integrates with Freshdesk, Freshworks CRM, and Freshservice||No help with segmentation, dynamic content, or sales analytics|
Related guide: How to Send AMP Emails From Freshmarketer Using Mailmodo
HubSpot is a popular marketing software with marketing automation tools. Hubspot is great for inbound marketing. It is easy to use with a visual workflow builder. It also offers powerful resources from HubSpot Academy that you can use to learn marketing automation from experts. They also offer courses and certifications.
While it offers a basic version, the paid version includes most of its automation tools. For the pro-version with all the marketing automation tools, one must prepare to shell out a min$3000 onboarding fee, $800/month (paid annually)
Hubspot is an excellent choice for small businesses.
|Free version available||Free version does not contain most automation features|
|Can create campaigns||Costly add-ons|
|Great analytics||Very expensive as you grow|
|Great for small businesses looking to grow faster||No pre-built templates|
Related guide: How to Send AMP Emails From HubSpot Using Mailmodo
Pardot is a B2B marketing automation platform offered by Salesforce for marketing and sales. It aims to help businesses streamline everything from lead generation to sales automation. It helps with lead management by tracking all user activities on your website. Pardot is AI-enabled. It helps with lead scoring and grading. A visual editor helps to build complex workflows.
Pardot is an excellent choice for large enterprises, especially ones already using Salesforce.
|Allows scheduled social postings, insights on viewer interaction and across multiple channels||No free plan|
|Helps with cold and inactive leads||Cannot create and configure customer journey-based advertisements|
CleverTap is SaaS-based mobile marketing and customer lifecycle management. Its automation tools allow auto segmentation of users, triggering of campaigns based on activity, and building and visualizing user journeys. You can also set up omnichannel messaging campaigns for multiple user segments in a single workflow. Campaign Data is collected in real-time and showcased in a dashboard.
CleverTap works best for mobile marketing initiatives.
|Excellent real-time analytics||No Free Version is available|
|Clear visualization of the customer journey||Focussed only on mobile and not on the website|
|Intuitive and easy to use||Costly for small organizations|
Related guide: How to Send AMP Emails From CleverTap Using Mailmodo
You should now understand how to evaluate and shortlist the best marketing automation software for your needs. Once the marketing automation system is set up successfully, you can scroll through these marketing automation examples to allow you and your team more time to brainstorm more strategic ideas and meet your KPIs faster.
What you should do next
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