7 of the best marketing automation tools for small Businesses

You may have heard me talk about Marketing Automation before. its one of my favourite topics…. Yes I know!

First lets recap what Marketing Automation is.

Marketing automation is any software that allows you to automate any and all kinds of marketing action. This can include e-mail marketing, social media posts, list segmentation, lead scoring and nurturing of those leads, and A/B testing of webpages or any offers you might be running. Marketing automation software can also deliver reports and measure performance of all these tasks.  Check out our blog on the benefits of Marketing Automation for small businesses

Lets have a look at my top picks of tools for small business Marketing Automation (and those that are GDPR and Privacy Shield compliant) – in no particular order.

ONTRAPORT:

One of my favourites is ONTRAPORT  – a very powerful visual marketing automation and reporting platform that gives you access to a whole host of features and everything you need to start, scale and systemise your business. Not so widely known here in the UK, Ontraport state their Mission as

“”To support entrepreneurs in delivering their value to the world by removing the burden of technology. We deliver on that mission by creating software for, offering services to and educating the entrepreneurial community.””

And this is reflected in the ongoing developments in the platform. You can use Ontraport to develop landing pages, email campaigns, build membership sites and checkout pages. Their visual campaign builder and campaign tracking tools make it easy to mange your campaigns in one place. A bit of a bug bear is that the basic and even pro accounts only give you one user so as you scale your team you need to add in more cost for access for those team members

PRICES START AT:  Basic Account starts at $79 per month for up to 1000 email contacts. ONTRAPAGES is free for landing pages.

WHO IS IT BEST FOR: A great starting point if you have a larger number of activities that you want to work with – checkout pages, Membership sites etc. Might be a bit feature heavy if you are just starting out with email marketing.

Note: There is also a free landing page version with ONTRAPAGES

Hubspot

Like Ontraport Hubspot offers free entry level solutions as part of its suite of solutions with a Free sales, marketing and CRM offering.  On the surface Hubspot seems much more expensive and potentially out of reach for some small business owners. However once you delve more and more into the Hubspot solution you uncover more and more features that mean you don’t have to double up on other subscriptions. Plus if you also host your website within Hubspot you have one dashboard all in one. (I’m not saying you should do that but it is an option) Hubspot themselves have gone some way to address their costing for small businesses but it is still more expensive that Ontraport for similar features – although I find the email and landing page builder easier to navigate.

The added bonus is that Hubspot has a lot of integrations built in. The slight frustration is that you only get email marketing once you are on a PRO level of account and that is a definite minus for many business owners as it means that you have to either integrate to another solution – or up your subscription to PRO. Not ideal.

Hubspot seems to be on that line between small and medium businesses and the lack of features at the lower subscription level and annual pricing means that this may not be an ideal choice if just starting out.  You do however get a lot of smart added extras like meeting scheduling. SEO and content strategy, sale sequence emails and Lead Flows. A good feature is that you are not charged extra for additional user

PRICES START AT: Free and then Starter £42 per month and then Basic for £165 per month. Talk to Hubspot though as they want to bill annually. Again not ideal for small businesses.

WHO IS IT BEST FOR: Business who want to scale their sales and marketing efforts and want a complete dashboard and all in one place features to access.

Active Campaign

Active Campaign is a great solution for small business and like Hubspot offers CRM, Marketing Automation and email marketing solutions – and for a fraction of the price. The visual campaign builder in Active Campaign is a really nice feature and makes it easy to get campaigns underway really quickly. The have some great email templates and their on-boarding processes are smooth. Like Ontraport they have a lot of templates workflows so if you are just getting started this can be really helpful

PRICING:  After a free 2 week trial pricing starts at $17 per month and that includes all the main features of the product.

WHO IS IT BEST FOR: For beginners I think that this is the best option for getting started.

Infusionsoft

Let me start by saying that I have not personally used Infusionsoft although I did investigate in depth for a client. Just getting a price was not easy and there are a lot of add ons that you need to cost in.

Like all the other solutions there are a lot of features within Infusionsoft  and there is mandatory on-boarding fee to get yourself trained in its use.

Infusionsoft again offers landing Pages, visual campaign builder and CRM and is a great solution for scaling your business.

PRICING:  Like all the platforms the entry level product does not include all the features and starts at $80 per month.  For the same money I would for sure choose ONTRAPORT, since this entry level does not include e commerce and ONTRAPORT does.

WHO IS IT BEST FOR: From people I have spoken who use Infusionsoft, the cons of the solution are that there is a fairly steep learning curve on this and so if you are new to Automation or you have a small list it may not be the solution for you.

And the best of the rest

If you are starting to scale your business then Marketo, Eloqua and Pardot are worth looking at. These are more Enterprise level solutions and the price point reflects this. For this reason I have not covered them here but Id be remiss in not mentioning them.

Above all you need to think about what your requirements are and must haves and build out your checklist from there as to the best solution.

Note: I’ve personally used Ontraport, Hubspot and Active Campaign and all offer great solutions for different reasons.

If you need help implementing a Marketing Automation solution or don’t know which one is best for you book free 30 min chat.

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