Marketing is an inevitable part of every business. Running a successful marketing campaign requires rigorous efforts and involves a lot of mundane and repetitive tasks on a day-to-day basis. But what if you could put all these activities on autopilot?
Marketing automation gives you complete control of your marketing campaigns and allows you to automate repetitive and time-consuming tasks. According to emailmonday, on average, 51% of companies use marketing automation, and more than 58% of B2B companies plan to adopt the technology.
Before investing in a marketing automation platform, there are a few features that you must look for in the solution- such as email marketing automation, lead nurturing, SEO, social media automation, paid media and digital advertising, and analytics and reporting. Although there are a wide variety of platforms available in the market, let us look at the top five marketing automation platforms that are most featureful and efficient based on our experience.
One of the most popular marketing automation platforms, Hubspot is widely accepted by businesses large and small. It is mainly due to the intuitive and easy-to-comprehend interface that makes it user-friendly for even small businesses with zero technical background. Being sort of an “all-in-one solution” for all marketing needs, its offerings enable small businesses to grow faster and conveniently.
This platform offers a few basic features such as HubSpot email templates, landing pages, live chat capabilities, forms, etc., for free for unlimited users. It is, therefore, an affordable platform that makes automating sales, marketing, and customer services a cakewalk. It streamlines your business workflow by optimizing and integrating functions of various departments in one centralized system.
The drawback: Although the free version is quite convenient for small businesses to start with, the onboarding fees for the enterprise customers and professional customers plans can get a bit expensive as your business grows. There are other platforms available that offer similar features at a cheaper rate.
ActiveCampaign is very similar to HubSpot but with cheaper and more affordable pricing plans. This platform is suitable for building complex automation sequences without any training or support. It features machine learning-enabled automation split tests, predictive content, and predictive sending that lead to optimized automation sequences.
Its features are built for leads at every point in the funnel- right from the Engage, Nurture, and Convert to Support stages. It features a drag-and-drop designer with over 25 pre-built responsive design templates that can be used to build beautiful emails. Moreover, with ActiveCampaign, you can set up auto-responders, broadcasts, scheduled emails, triggered emails, and automated funnels, along with omnichannel automation via Facebook, SMS, live chat, etc.
The drawback: Despite being a go-to platform for setting up and running email campaigns for starters and advanced marketers, the comprehensive reporting and analytics module of ActiveCampaign can get difficult and confusing to navigate. The users may need additional training to use the reporting feature for insights on sales and goal conversion.
Mailchimp is not just an email marketing tool but a full-fledged marketing automation platform. It is widely used by digital businesses, eCommerce store owners, marketing agencies, and freelancers to run email marketing campaigns. It allows users with zero design skills to create neat email designs with their drag-and-drop functionality. It offers automated workflows for marketing, which can be customized and optimized as per business needs.
Mailchimp can be integrated with some of the most popular as well as niche apps such as Magento, BigCommerce, Drupal Commerce, and many more. Moreover, its smart recommendations and predictive insights features give you information about your customers’ behavior and let you make data-backed decisions.
The drawback: Although creating campaigns on Mailchimp is a breeze, the platform has a very limited library of pre-built automation workflows, and you get only about 20 templates to choose from. Moreover, the advanced features come at an expensive paid plan.
Pardot is the go-to platform for B2B businesses wanting to turn business relationships into revenue. Built by Salesforce- the world’s best CRM platform, Pardot is being used by over 2.8 million users worldwide. It encompasses a wide range of features such as lead management, customizable dashboards, personalized messaging, CRM integration, sales alignment, email and landing page builder, smart forms, automated engagements, and many more.
It allows you to set up winning lead nurturing campaigns and workflows with its click and drag interface. It also features an analytics module that helps you track and monitor performance to improve your campaigns.
The drawback: The platform lacks social media management features and would need you to use separate tools for managing social media such as Hootsuite, Buffer, etc. Moreover, the free trial version does not include A/B testing, which is an inevitable feature for emails and landing pages.
OmniSend is a leading marketing automation tool amongst eCommerce companies. It is best suited for eCommerce businesses, as it effectively manages the typical challenges faced by them. OmniSend can be easily integrated with native eCommerce platforms such as Magento and Shopify, and used to manage cart abandonments, triggered campaigns, product reviews, etc. It allows companies to automate their workflows across numerous channels by seamlessly integrating with social channels such as Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, and so on.
The drawback: OmniSend has very limited options for creating visually appealing emails as compared to its competitors. Hence it might be difficult to use for users with no email design experience.
There are countless options to choose from when it comes to marketing automation platforms, and the list continues to grow every year. But there is no one-size-fits-all solution, and you need to assess the available options and choose the most suitable platform based on your goals and needs.
So, which platform do you use for your business?
Author: Kevin George is the head of marketing at Email Uplers, that specializes in crafting Professional Email Templates, PSD to Email conversion, and Mailchimp Templates. Kevin loves gadgets, bikes & jazz, and he breathes email marketing. He enjoys sharing his insights and thoughts on email marketing best practices on email marketing blog.