How to Choose the Best Marketing Automation Software

Published 2020-04-06T06:00:48 by Bryan Miller

Marketing automation software is any type of software that’s able to automate smaller and repetitive marketing activities, which can be invaluable to your business when you’re trying to save time and money on marketing. This software assists marketing teams in properly reaching their customers through numerous channels. By organizing and automating repetitive marketing tasks like social media posting and email marketing, your marketing team can focus on broader marketing techniques. The main benefit of using marketing automation software is that it boosts efficiency. However, it also allows customers to be provided with a personalized experience for even smaller forms of marketing.

The many different functions that marketing automation software is able to perform include:

  • Complete management of your marketing campaigns
  • Developing and analyzing marketing campaigns as well as your customers
  • Integrating multiple touch-points like social media and email
  • Effectively Organizing customer data and storage
  • Moving various contacts from leads over to customers

According to Social Media Today newsletter, around 75 percent of all marketers say that they are currently using one or more marketing automation tools. Since such a high percentage of marketers use marketing automation software, you can be confident that this software would be beneficial for your marketing campaign.

Marketing automation software is considered to be particularly effective when paired with various inbound marketing strategies. This is a form of direct digital marketing that takes all of the information about the customers and uses it to inform the general automation strategy. This information is delivered at exactly the right time for a purchase to be made in the place that prospective customers are looking for it. The three types of inbound marketing that can be automated include mobile phones, web browsers, and email.

Marketing automation gives you the ability to use numerous channels to communicate, which means that you should use both email and social media to reach your primary customer base. There are some fantastic email marketing automation services that can help you boost customer engagement and stay in touch with your primary audience. As for social media advertising, this form of marketing is highly important since around 79 percent of the U.S. population has at least one social media profile. This article offers an in-depth look at what it takes to find the best marketing automation software. The types of software available to you include HubSpot, Autopilot, and ActiveCampaign.

Jump to: Our marketing automation software recommendations

Things to Consider When Choosing Marketing Automation Software

marketing team working at one table

Before you compare various marketing automation software providers, it’s essential that you know what to look for in regards to usability, pricing, and overall compatibility with the current systems that you’re using. There are hundreds of marketing automation tools available to you, which is why you should use several criteria to sort through your options. If you have a specific budget that you need to stick to, pricing can play a significant role in your decision-making process.

However, usability can also be very important if you want to easily automate your marketing without having difficulties using the software. Tools that are highly usable should provide you with the most value. As for system compatibility, it’s important to understand that certain marketing automation tools are only able to be integrated with select third-party apps and customer relationship management software. With these considerations in mind, you should be able to more readily find the top software for your marketing needs.

Pricing of Marketing Automation Software

calculator on document to assess budget

The majority of marketing automation providers price their software on a kind of sliding scale that comes with additional costs for add-on features and training that will teach you how to use the software. This pricing model is considered by many to be ideal because it allows you to add the features that you want and arrive at a price point that fits within your budget. If the majority of individuals in your marketing department aren’t familiar with the automation software that you’ve chosen, it might be wise to select the training despite the added costs.

The cost of a basic subscription for marketing automation software can vary significantly based on how many months you would like to use the software. If you’ve never used the software before and don’t yet know if the software will fit within your business model, you could select a subscription that lasts for anywhere from 1-3 months. Doing so will give you time to test the software without making a large commitment.

Usability of Marketing Automation Software

Two women on laptop working together

A top reason to purchase this kind of software is that it will make it easier for your marketing team to perform their tasks without needing to waste time on more repetitive tasks. However, your team won’t be able to get the most out of the software unless they know how to properly use it, which means that you might want to select software that’s as intuitive as possible.

If you’re able to purchase highly intuitive software, it should be easier for your marketing team to take advantage of the features that the software provides. Selecting easy-to-use software from the start should also save you a significant sum of money since you won’t need to pay as much for training. If you want your team to be productive and efficient with their work, the usability of the software should be a key priority.

Compatibility of Marketing Automation Software

team working on project

The compatibility of marketing automation software should be at the forefront of your decision making. If you happen to purchase marketing automation software that’s incompatible with the systems you’re already using, you will have wasted your money, which can be particularly damaging to your budget if you purchase a yearly subscription but can’t use the software. One type of third-party app that you might already have is a customer relationship management system (CRM). This system is designed to manage the interactions that your company has with current and prospective customers. If the marketing automation software that you choose isn’t compatible with your CRM software, you likely won’t be able to use it.

When you select marketing automation software, it’s important that you make sure that it’s wholly compatible with your current CRM. This software will almost certainly use data that has been gathered about your customers by the CRM that you’ve chosen, which is an essential component of automation if you want to get the most out of the software.

While there is a myriad of marketing automation software providers available for you to select from, the top three options for you to consider include HubSpot Marketing Automation, ActiveCampaign, and Autopilot.

#1 HubSpot Marketing Automation

Hubspot landing page for marketing software

HubSpot Marketing Automation is a powerful platform that can help you automate many of the smaller marketing tasks that your team would typically need to perform. With this software, you can use the behavior of each lead to tailor your marketing content, emails, outreach, and offers. Along with email marketing, this particular software allows you to automate dozens of different tasks. The visual editor that’s included with the software makes it simple to envision your workflows in real-time. Even if you’re creating multi-stage campaigns with several different branches, the visual editor makes this possible.

When you’re considering using HubSpot for your marketing automation software needs, there are several different packages available, which include a free package, the Starter package, the Professional package, and the Enterprise package. Aside from the free option, these packages are priced at $50 per month, $400-$800 per month, and $1,200-$3,200 per month respectively. Each package comes with a different feature-set. For instance, the Starter package includes email marketing, list segmentation, and ad management. On the other hand, the Professional package offers additional marketing automation, smart content, and content strategy services.

When considering the usability and compatibility of this software, HubSpot provides users with a free CRM system that integrates perfectly with the marketing automation software. You’ll be provided with detailed reports on productivity, individual performance, and your sales activity, which means that you’ll always know how well your marketing team is reaching their goals. Likely the best feature of this service is that you’ll be able to enjoy unlimited data, users, and as much as one million contacts without any expiration date or time limit. Some additional features that come with their free CRM include:

  • A reporting dashboard
  • Company insights
  • Pipeline management
  • Deal tracking

Along with the free CRM, HubSpot also provides free training that can help you learn how to use the automation software. This particular feature is available with the Professional and Enterprise subscriptions.

#2 ActiveCampaign Marketing Automation Software

ActiveCampaign landing page for marketing software

ActiveCampaign is a highly popular marketing automation tool that’s used by nearly 100,000 small businesses for their marketing automation needs. Their automation software provides users with an extensive number of features to select from, which include everything from goal tracking and lead scoring to advanced reporting.

The goal tracking feature gives you the ability to automatically track your conversions and goals to determine which aspects of your marketing are working and which ones aren’t. With lead scoring, you can identify the customers who are most engaged and provide them with exactly what they’re looking for. The advanced reporting feature can help you determine which marketing techniques provide you with results.

The pricing for this software is based entirely on the number of contacts that you have. The four packages available to you include Lite, Plus, Professional, and Enterprise, which are priced at $9 per month, $49 per month, $129 per month, and $229 per month respectively. However, these prices will increase depending on the number of contacts you currently have. While the Lite package includes features like email support and unlimited sending, the Professional package offers split automation and an automation strategy consultation. If you obtain the Plus, Professional, or Enterprise package, you will also receive a CRM with sales automation.

If you’re looking specifically at the usability of this software, it provides a drag-and-drop automation builder that allows you to set up various automated workflows in a matter of minutes. As for training, ActiveCampaign provides pre-built workflows, videos, training guides, and one-on-one support if ever you require it. The ActiveCampaign software is compatible with more than 250 separate apps, which include Shopify, Zapier, and WordPress. In the event that your website uses Shopify and one of your users decides to leave your website with an item in their cart, this software will immediately send a follow-up email. This particular software is also releasing new features at a rapid pace, the most recent of which include site messages and predictive content.

#3 Autopilot Marketing Automation Software

Autopilot landing page for marketing software

Autopilot is an effective marketing automation software that provides users with an extensive feature-set to help automate their marketing techniques. Likely the most notable feature available through Autopilot is the inclusion of a well-designed visual canvas that can be used to build email automation sequences. You can drag and drop text, stickers, emojis, and images. It’s also possible to craft customer journeys that can help you capture new leads and convert them into loyal customers. This marketing software allows users to automate repetitive tasks between various third-party apps for complete integration with Facebook, MailChimp, Slack, and other apps. A native CRM is included as well.

There are three main Autopilot packages, which include Silver, Gold, and Platinum. These packages are priced at $49 per month, $149 per month, and $249 per month respectively. When you choose the Gold package, you can work with up to 5,000 contacts. This number increases to 10,000 with the Platinum package. There are also a variety of fantastic add-ons that you can purchase alongside the main package, which extend to VIP support, expert training, activity streams, and Salesforce CRM integration. This particular piece of software has great usability. The canvas that’s available to users can help your team create robust and highly effective customer journeys through simple drag-and-drop motions. They offer a template directory for inspiration as well.

How is Your Digital Presence?

If you want your marketing campaigns to be efficient and effective at increasing your customer base, marketing automation will be very useful to you. Since this software can automate repetitive marketing tasks, your marketing team can spend their valuable time working on the core components of a marketing campaign. When you select software that’s usable, priced well, and compatible with other systems that you use, you should be able to save both time and money.

The three marketing automation software platforms mentioned previously are all known to provide fantastic results while also being easy to use. While there are many great options to choose from, these three possibilities should be at the top of your list.

Bryan Miller

Bryan Miller

Bryt Designs

Bryan Miller is an entrepreneur and web tech enthusiast specializing in web design, development and digital marketing. Bryan is a recent graduate of the MBA program at the University of California, Irvine and continues to pursue tools and technologies to find success for clients across a varieties of industries.

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