While traditional lead generating and lead nurturing marketing automation software remain largely valid tools to grow your business, recent developments make it imperative for you to take a look at how the use of AI, persona profiling and advanced deployment of referral system can help you attain your business goals faster, more efficiently, and more prepared for the future. The new challengers also sport more flexible and affordable pricing schemes, which should let you fund other projects to help your business. To stand on more solid ground, you cannot neglect how these solutions treat customers during hours of need, and how regularly they plan to give you relevant updates, areas where more experienced vendors excel.
In this article, we present the 12 best marketing automation platforms to get your purchase decision to a good start without expending excessive time and resources on it. The list is remarkable for giving a balanced mix of old powerhouses and intriguing new players, armed with what the best technologies can offer, mostly born of recent strides in artificial intelligence software research. As you scroll down to check out these solutions, keep in mind those ones that could offer both immediate and long-term benefits. The pricing schemes must also play a crucial role if you don’t want to be tied up to contracts that have gone beyond their usefulness to your business interests.
A tide of technological innovations showing no immediate signs of abating means that marketing practitioners have more tools to deliver more for their companies. It helps that customers have become quite comfortable interacting with technologies like marketing automation platforms to address their needs and match their individual preferences. This positive customer attitude has helped companies realize two remarkable benefits.
First, the use of marketing automation software has given four out of five business a large increase in leads with a corresponding increase in conversion. When you consider that this comes with less effort from the part of marketers, it’s easy to see how the most astute businesses have cast a sharp eye on this technology.
Secondly, marketing agents breathe better with as much as 75% of them citing how the automation has allowed them to save time on menial tasks and focus on making more sales instead.
If you are still pondering on your next move, consider that 80% of the best performing companies have gotten there through the use of marketing automation software.
From increasing traffic to converting leads and improving your ROI, cloud-based HubSpot Marketing provides all the marketing automation that online businesses need. The automation tool removes repetitive tasks out of marketing agents’ way so they can focus on building the customer relationships that matter. It sports a clean user interface that any user can get comfortable with quickly so they could be running with the platform in no time.
Running in the background is a powerful, intelligent engine that ensures workflows are integrated to optimum levels. For email campaigns, for example, you don’t have to repetitively go through a long list of contacts to determine whom to send a previously crafted content matching their profiles. Once you worked out the triggers, conditions and actions, HubSpot Marketing will do the rest for you even when you are asleep.
If you want to investigate the features closely you can easily do so when you sign up for HubSpot Marketing free trial here.
Automation in HubSpot Marketing is done through its visual editor. All you need to do is plan your workflow and create it right on the edit window. You can include your email follow-up campaigns or dozens of more complex workflows, and you can do it for multiple branches.
For pricing, HubSpot offers 3 plans to match any budget. There’s a free version with contact tracking and management, a USD 50 per month Starter package with mobile optimization, a USD 800 per month Professional bundle with social media and video hosting, and a more expansive Enterprise plan valued at USD 3,200 per month that comes with YouTube integration and Facebook Messenger tools.
Cloud-based Pardot by Salesforce provides powerful automation tools to turn leads into customers. The tools include lead scoring and lead nurturing, along with collaboration tools to allow different sales teams to streamline their processes for a common goal.
In particular, lead scoring helps you increase sales. It allows you to grade how leads respond to your email or interact with your website. Once you come up with high-scoring leads, you could further limit the number to those who match the profile of your ideal buyer, leaving you with high-quality leads to prioritize. If you have ever experienced amassing larger number of leads but dwindling sales, then you know it’s because you were pursuing low-quality leads in the first place.
You can see how this marketing automation tool actually works up once you sign up for Pardot free demo here.
But what to do about the low-quality leads populating your customer database? You need not discard them right away. With Pardot’s lead nurturing tool, you simply add their names to another program that should give them more chance to know your offering better. With such programs made to fit the preferences of the prospect, you stand a good chance of seeing their names back into your high-quality leads.
Designed by Salesforce to be a partner for businesses seeing substantial growth but want to step up to the next level, Pardot offers three pricing plans, including the Growth bundle at USD 1,250 per month. This is targeted for those who are currently working with up to 10,000 contacts. More advanced options come with the Plus and Advanced plans, valued at USD 2,500 and USD 4,000 respectively as of this writing.
Another top candidate on our list of best marketing automation platforms is SharpSpring. Featuring an innovative technology, after-the-click behavioral-based email tracking, along with dynamic landing pages, SharpSpring is your go-to solution when typical marketing automation tools no longer cut it for your business needs. On top of these, SharpSpring also gives you multiple device tracking, dynamic email, a wide range of triggers and filters, a buyer persona module, dynamic lists and the lead nurturing and lead scoring features standard to many marketing automation platforms.
SharpSpring also integrates an abandoned shopping cart solution, which is a premium feature commonly found in top shopping cart applications.
The dynamic email feature comes with an entire library of images and phrases that you can integrate into your email to ensure that content is closely matched to the personality of your lead. The templates including entire layouts are easy to work with. You can merge variables and organize your email templates by assigning them their unique folders. You can then retrieve reusable templates with few variations on the fly, saving you time on delivering focused emails.
To see how this innovative email marketing tool works firsthand, you can sign up for SharpSpring free trial here.
For easier marketing automation, SharpSpring comes with a visual workflow builder, which allows users to instantly see where the lead is in the buyer journey. A branching logic allows for easy expansion of automation tasks via a simple point-and-click operation. Meanwhile, the automated lead scoring output is better put to use in a dynamic list, which allows you to build a running list based on multiple filters: interest in a specific product, lead score, pricing page visit or specific geographical location.
SharpSpring also eschews the yearly subscription model in favor of month-to-month packages. With no long-term contract necessary, you can easily migrate to a plan that matches your business capability. You can, for example, start with the USD 450 per month plan, ideal if you are dealing with 1,500 contacts. It already comes with all the features of the application with no limitation on number of users. You also get unlimited support.
ActiveTrail delivers marketing automation through a drag-and-drop visual automation builder, designed for both beginners and advanced users. Working under the interface is a logic engine that draws email and SMS sequences based on predefined criteria. The automation builder lets you automate crucial marketing mechanisms, from active triggers to autoresponders.
A dynamic segmentation tool lets you group your contacts based on specific profiles. You can start with the lead’s profession, for example, along with age and other identifiers. Dynamic segmentation allows you to send content tailored to any one segment for personalized engagement. Personalized engagement appeals to more leads, which allow you to guide them to a full business conclusion.
The vendor offers a comprehensive free trial to get you up to speed with the features. You can sign up for ActiveTrail free trial here.
For just USD 7, you can use all of ActiveTrail’s premium features with unlimited emails for up to 500 contacts. Contacts up to 1,000 will get you to a USD 12 per month plan, while the plan for up to 2,500 contacts is priced at USD 24.
One of the leading names in marketing solutions, bpm’online Marketing delivers key marketing automation tools to help you reach out to a targeted audience, close out more deals and grow your business. It provides the tools to adequately nurture leads through personalized messages to show them the value of your offerings relative to what they need and when they want them on their hands.
A powerful socio-demographic tool gives you a full, 360° view of your customers, letting you in on their purchasing behavior to inform you about their unique needs and preferences. Armed with such knowledge, you can design perceptive messages to effectively engage them and conclude with actual purchases.
For one, bpm’online Marketing eliminates duplicate entries in your automation system so you will always have accurate information in your hands. Additionally, the system automatically updates, helpful when you are running the platform’s analytic engine to gain insight into the overall performance of your business or just some sections of it. These features in mind, you’ll notice that bpm’online Marketing is commonly included in many a list of top marketing automation solutions.
bpm’online Marketing price is available only by quote, so you need to contact the vendor to get one tailored to your needs.
Marketo incorporates innovative BPM capabilities in its extensive suite of customer engagement application. The application’s marketing automation module features a unified marketing database, a powerful engagement marketing engine and an analytic engine.
With the unified database, users get access to crucial details about leads, including their history and how they interact with your website and agents. These details allow agents to assign the leads to a matching segment and design a more personalized message for them. With content that they could identify with, leads are more receptive to your deals.
The engagement engine orchestrates and manages all your marketing campaigns across multiple social channels, capable of automating posting and generating key information from your target audience. Once you have done and delivered your carefully crafted content, you can leverage the powerful analytics engine to see which of your activities are showing the best responses and closing potential.
With multiple tools to choose from, the vendor encourages interested parties to contact them for the best package designed around their specific needs.
SendinBlue Email promotes extensive lead engagement with professional newsletters that can be sent automatically. It lets you build a larger audience via automated email extraction supported by contact segmentation and automation workflows, from signing up to welcome email and email with coupon.
You can set up SendinBlue Email to send your email campaigns at predetermined times to ensure your emails do not waste time sitting underneath a pile of other emails that get more attention from your prospects. If you need help in this activity, the platform’s artificial intelligence would put to use a powerful algorithm to analyze contact behavior and other criteria.
SendinBlue Email provides a number of pricing options for different business sizes. A free plan allows for 300 email per day, while the USD 25 Lite/Micro plan lets you handle up to 40,000 emails per month.
A tool that combines CRM with email and automation, ActiveCampaign automates mundane tasks related to acquiring new leads and nurturing them. At just USD 9 per month (paid yearly) for the Lite package, it’s an accessible solution that small businesses will have no trouble paying for. The package includes unlimited sending of emails and newsletter for three users.
ActiveCampaign turns CRM software into a powerful marketing tool by automatically updating contact details and history, which allows any agent to quickly glean crucial information right at the point of contact and communicate better.
By allowing agents to see any contact’s relevant sales process immediately, entire teams always start on the same page, picking up right at the point someone else left off.
A cloud-based lead conversion platform, LeadSquared Marketing Automation fuses the capabilities of CRM, marketing automation and machine learning to ensure you get the best lead conversion ratio and minimize wastage of acquired contacts. It uses an intuitive visual workflow that lets you graphically chart lead movement through the entire customer journey complete with prompts for actions depending on the conditions indicated on the chart.
The workflow allows for automatic updates of lead changes, simplifying an otherwise tedious and repetitive task. Once leads respond favorably to an email, the software notifies agents so they can act quickly on the opportunity. The system can handle interdependent workflows and sync with third-party marketing apps and CRMs.
Along with a 15-day free trial that does not require a credit card, LeadSquared Marketing Automation offers a BASIC, STANDARD, ESSENTIAL and ENTERPRISE pricing packages. The ESSENTIAL comes at USD 150 per month, billed annually. It allows for 10,000 contacts, email campaigns, API and landing pages.
An email marketing and sales platform designed for small businesses, Infusionsoft by Keap provides key marketing automation tools to drive leads along the sales funnel into successful deals. The automation tools can be used to send email drip campaigns and follow-up messages, posting on major social channels, creating and sending of easy-to-accept quotes. The system can directly turn quotes into orders, much as how leading invoice platforms do it for you.
Infusionsoft provides strategic reports using key metrics to ensure you get all the crucial information you need in order to convert more leads into customers from any number of contacts you are starting with. The reports can be used to generate a forecast indicating critical patterns and trends, allowing for a more focused goal and streamlined activities for multiple teams.
You can start with Infusionsoft’s Basic plan for USD 199 per month. The plan is good for 2,500 contacts and comes with unlimited landing pages, marketing automation and CRM. The Pro and Premier bundles are priced at USD 299 and USD 399 respectively, with more advanced features like sales automation and online selling, good for those operating online stores needing extra hands through the use of sales software platforms.
AI takes over marketing automation with Boomtrain, the first marketing automation platform to unleash the full use of artificial intelligence to analyze and understand customer behavior. By doing so, it directs engagement activities via multiple channels for maximum effect in the form of actual orders and payments.
Boomtrain goes beyond traditional marketing automation that relies heavily on emails and user segmentation based on age, gender, profession and location among others. The platform extends its coverage to also include user activities on mobile devices and websites, for example, and sends communication as it sees fit. Boomtrain creates meaningful relationships between simple or complex activities and behaviors and identifies the best time to engage the prospects.
You can request a demo from the vendor if this sounds all interesting to you. For pricing, Boomtrain provides three packages: the Marketing Automation Plan starting at USD 1,000 per month, Marketing Automation + AI Plans at USD 2,500 per month and the Enterprise Solutions Plan which requires you to contact the vendor for quote.
A cloud-based sales and marketing tool-in-one, Zymplify automates the repetitive processes involved in generating and nurturing leads and turning them into happy customers. It’s equipped with crucial tools for effective engagement, supported by powerful insights based on your accumulated data.
A persona builder lends a more accurate description of leads than traditional segmentation based on age, gender and geographical location alone. Buyer funnel along with content portal allows you to retrieve content that matches the right contact, increasing your chance of converting leads to actual sales. For content distribution, Zymplify goes beyond email to engage leads on their favorite social channels, mobile devices or website among others.
Zimplify’s pricing plans includes Sales & Nurture for USD 129 per month, Marketing Hub for USD 340 per month and the Full Stack package that goes for USD 399 per month.
While the preceding discussion makes it clear that marketing automation software can serve as a sort of relief for many marketers tired and bored of attending to mundane and repetitive tasks, you shouldn’t lose track of what the solution is essentially about: more quality leads, more ways to convert these leads into purchasers and stay that way as much as possible.
The list includes a number of promising new approaches to achieving this ultimate marketing goal. New is not necessarily effective, so the best route is looking up how these applications perform in your business setting, which means going for the free trial when it is offered.
For HubSpot Marketing, for example, you can easily sign up for HubSpot Marketing free trial here.
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