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:
- 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.
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.
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 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.
Another affordable solution, ActiveCampaign, offers everything a small business needs to automate its marketing efforts including a robust, built-in CRM system.
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.
One of the more well-known marketing automation software options, 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.
- Infusionsoft Propel Supplies Mobile Marketing Experience
- Get More Done with New Products from Infusionsoft
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:
- 5 Key Product Enhancements for Marketers from HubSpot Inbound 2015
- HubSpot Adds Sales Platform and Free CRM to Its Marketing System
- Mike Volpe of HubSpot: On Sales and Marketing Alignment, New CRM System
- Jeanne Hopkins of HubSpot: All Leads Are Not Created Equal
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:
- Michelle Huff of Act-On: Adaptive Journeys Leverage Machine Learning to Scale Personalization for Customers
- Andy MacMillan of Act-On: Marketing Automation Adoption is at its Tipping Point
- Raghu Raghavan of Act-On: Now is the Time to Dive Into Marketing Automation
Marketo 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.
One of the most interesting aspects of Autopilot is the number of integrations it enables you to use as part of your marketing automation workflows. For example, below you can see that the bottom right step sends an automated Slack message:
In addition, the vendor offers multi-channel marketing via emails, headsups (little pop-up notifications) SMS messages, and even postcards. Finally, the pricing for this solution is low and scales as your business grows.
Salesfusion is a heavily-loaded marketing automation tool that can help you take your small business to a new level. One standout feature? It’s SEO audit feature that helps improve your search engine rankings.
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.
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.
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