Marketing automation is one of the biggest buzzwords in marketing in recent years. Ideally, marketing automation will help you not only with saving time by cutting down tasks, but also help you convert more people and make more sales. In this post, I’m going to share with you some of the best marketing automation tools for SMBs.
What is marketing automation?
As marketers, there are a lot of different tasks that take a lot of our time. Thankfully, there are plenty of tools out there that aim to help you save this time by automating these tasks, which leaves you with more time to focus on what you need to do in order to achieve your goals.
With a good software to help, you can become more efficient at your job and get more results, in less time.
What is marketing automation?
Marketing automation refers to the tools and software that marketers use to automate repetitive tasks. Most notably, marketing automation is thought of as “email marketing automation”, which refers to email marketing software that lets you send automated emails based on various triggers.
Many marketers are already using some form of marketing automation – whether it’s a DM you send every time you get a new follower on Twitter or the emails your new website subscribers get. Investing in more marketing automation, though, can help you become more successful and generate more revenue for your company in the long run.
One of the main concerns for small and medium businesses is that there aren’t enough marketing automation tools that will not only get them better results but also won’t cost them an arm and a leg. Here are some of the best options for SMBs right now:
- Hubspot Marketing Automation
- MailChimp Marketing Automation
GetResponse is an email marketing tool with a powerful marketing automation platform; for years, it’s slowly moved toward becoming an all-in-one marketing software for small and medium businesses, rather than just an email marketing tool.
While GetResponse is a great tool for email marketing as well as for webinars, I want to focus more on its marketing automation abilities.
The first thing I noticed by using it, is that it’s very easy to set up and use, which is not always the case with marketing automation and it doesn’t require a full-time manager like Marketo or Hubspot do. It’s also very affordable ($49 for the Pro plan with marketing automation), particularly if you have an SMB and considering it has a lot of different features, it offers great value for money.
To set up your marketing automation on GetResponse, you use their drag-and-drop workflow building, which allows you to design user experiences from start to finish.
There are hundreds of scenarios that you can create with their builder:
- Conditions – base your marketing automation on the actions your website visitors take (click on a particular link, abandoned cart, purchase made, subscribing, opening a specific email, visiting a certain URL, etc.)
- Actions – then, it’s time to set what actions you want to take for each condition: it can be sending a particular email, adding or subtracting points from targeted subscribers, tagging users, moving to a different campaign and assigning or removing custom fields. You can also set up what time to wait before taking action.
- Apply filters – to take your targeting to the next level, you can apply certain filters, such as a particular range of users, the users from a certain campaign, and more.
Overall, not only is GetResponse easy to use, but it also offers amazing targeting and segmenting features to companies of all sizes, no matter how small or big, for small prices.Top #marketingautomation tools @getresponse via @lilachbullockClick To Tweet
Hubspot is probably one of the best-known marketing automation tools on the market.
The software allows you to build simple campaigns for follow-ups, as well as more complex workflows for every stage of the customer lifecycle.
Just like with GetResponse, there are dozens of actions, triggers and conditions to play around with:
Hubspot also allows you to segment your list so that you can more easily organise users and send automated personalised content.
The only issue with Hubspot is that it can be difficult to figure out how some things work, so I would recommend going through the training courses and you might have to Google some solutions at times. It is also a bit pricey, especially for small businesses and start-ups, as the pro plan is £560 a month, and the cheapest plan (at £140 a month) doesn’t provide marketing automation.Top #marketingautomation tools @hubspot via @lilachbullockClick To Tweet
MailChimp is an email marketing tool designed with online stores in mind, but it also works well with other types of websites.
The tool provides several pre-set workflow options for all kinds of scenarios, such as abandoned cart email, first purchase, specific product follow-up, best customers and much more. They also have different types of workflows depending on your type of business (e-commerce and retail, education, non-profit, music and more).
You can also use it to create custom workflows, but I would say it doesn’t give you the creative freedom that other tools do.
If you want to set up marketing automation based on the actions taken on your website, but mostly based on what pages they’ve viewed, or when they last visited your website, for example.
One of the things I’ve found using MailChimp is that it’s not always easy customising your emails and your campaigns if you want to go beyond the templates they provide. This is a bit annoying if you want to stand out from the crowd and grab your audience’s attention.
If you want marketing automation, prices start at $20 for a maximum of 1,500 subscribers and going to $35 for a maximum of 2,600 subscribers. Although it’s a very good tool, particularly for start-ups who don’t have a big list, as you grow and evolve, MailChimp might not be enough.Top #marketingautomation tools @mailchimp via @lilachbullockClick To Tweet
Conclusion: what marketing automation tools are you using?
With so many marketing automation tools available, it can be difficult picking the right one for your business.
If you’re a small or medium business and want to get good results without paying a fortune, it can get even more difficult to find the perfect solution.
The trick is to find a software that is easy to use and set up marketing automation so that you don’t lose time trying to figure out how to create a proper workflow or how to best segment your list. And, of course, you want to make sure you’re not spending too much when you could get the same features for much smaller prices.
Personally, I’m a bigger fan of GetResponse than the others on the list because not only is it easy to use, but it also gets results and offers great value for money for SMBs. That said, there are a lot of other amazing marketing automation tools out there – which ones have you tried and which do you prefer?
Let me know in your comments and please share:)