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Marketing Automation Software for Small Business

In today’s fast-paced digital landscape, small businesses are in a unique position to leverage marketing automation software to catapult their growth and streamline their marketing efforts. With the right tools, these businesses can automate repetitive tasks, personalize customer interactions, and ultimately, enhance their overall efficiency and effectiveness. This comprehensive guide explores the multifaceted benefits of marketing automation software tailored for small businesses, offering insights into selecting the perfect tool to suit your business needs.

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Why Marketing Automation Software is a Game-Changer for Small Businesses

Marketing automation software is not just a luxury reserved for the big players; it’s a necessity for small businesses aiming to compete and thrive in the digital age. By automating tasks such as email marketing, social media posting, and lead nurturing, businesses can save valuable time and resources. This efficiency allows for more focus on strategy and creativity, leading to better customer experiences and increased sales.

Key Features to Look for in Marketing Automation Software

When selecting marketing automation software, it’s crucial to consider features that align with your business goals:

  • Email Marketing Automation: Automate your email campaigns, segmenting your audience for personalized messages that resonate and convert.
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM): A centralized system to manage your customer interactions, ensuring personalized engagement at every touchpoint.
  • Social Media Management: Schedule and publish content across platforms, track engagement, and analyze performance to refine your strategy.
  • Lead Generation and Management: Capture leads through various channels, score them based on their actions, and nurture them towards conversion.
  • Analytics and Reporting: Gain insights into campaign performance, customer behavior, and ROI to make data-driven decisions.
Implementing Marketing Automation in Your Small Business

Implementing marketing automation requires a strategic approach:

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  1. Define Your Goals: Understand what you want to achieve with automation, whether it’s increasing leads, boosting sales, or improving customer satisfaction.
  2. Choose the Right Software: Select a tool that matches your business size, industry, and specific marketing goals.
  3. Train Your Team: Ensure your team is well-equipped to use the software effectively, maximizing its benefits.
  4. Integrate with Existing Tools: Seamlessly integrate your marketing automation software with other tools and platforms your business uses.
  5. Monitor and Optimize: Regularly review your automation strategies and results, optimizing for better performance and ROI.

Best Marketing Automation Software

So, what really are the best marketing software for small businesses when it comes to automation? Let’s take a look:

1. Constant Contact: Expand Reach Effectively

Constant Contact is one of our top favorite email marketing tools because of its beginner-friendly interface and powerful automation features.

We were immediately impressed by its interface, which is very neat and uncluttered. On the left, you have all the blocks you’ll need to build out your email. And on the right, you have the live preview area of your email.

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The email builder is designed for convenience. There are separate tabs for the blocks, design, and images, so you can easily change any aspect of your email while observing the effect of your edits in real-time.

The fact that it shows a preview of how your email subject line and pre-header would appear in a typical mailbox is a great touch too.

It also has a huge library of pre-built email templates. You can always find something decent that suits your campaign and get started immediately, making Constant Contact one of the easiest marketing tools to work with.

There are a lot of different types of emails you can send with this tool. For instance, you can send a single welcome email, targeted messages to specific people, or an automated email series that helps with lead nurturing based on conditionals.

Constant Contact is excellent for lead generation thanks to native integration with WPForms. If you’re using signup forms built with WPForms on your WordPress site, you can send your leads to your Constant Contact email list automatically. It’s an incredibly efficient way to maintain your email lists and generate new leads.

Segmentation is another area that’s handled nicely by this tool. It can automatically generate segments of customers based on their behaviors, such as repeat customers and potential customers. Like most tools, you can also use various triggers like email opens and clicks to target your newsletters and other email campaigns.

You can also easily set up autoresponders and abandonment campaigns for WooCommerce and Shopify stores.

We’re also huge fans of Constant Contact’s A/B testing features. You can run subject line tests or content tests for each email campaign, which gives you a lot of freedom in terms of different variations you can check against a real audience.

The best part is that Constant Contact generates a heatmap to display how visitors really interacted with different variations of your email. This is excellent for visually comparing the results of your A/B tests and making data-driven decisions about your next email designs.

Constant Contact also gives insightful analytics reports about your campaigns. It tracks open rates and clickthrough rates, allowing you to measure and compare your campaigns over time.

We also discovered a small but handy feature that instance, you can have Constant Contact automatically design an email template for you based on your website and logo color themes and styles.

And you’ll also get lots of support with this lead generation tool because it’s known for having incredible customer support, online training, and helpful webinars.

Cost: Starts at around $12/month for the Lite plan (which includes automated marketing) and they offer a free 60-day trial.

2. Brevo (formerly Sendinblue): Simplify Your Messaging

Brevo is a sales and marketing solution that helps you market to your customers through things like social media, live chat, email, and even text messages. It’s a complete digital marketing suite that works with every channel.

You can use Brevo to segment your email list and automatically send personalized emails to your customers. It comes with an intuitive drag and drop editor that gives you tons of block elements to design your campaign.

You can easily create completely automated email campaigns and choose form a huge range of trigger events to set up complicated workflows if needed. Plus, you can set up Brevo with WP Mail SMTP for reliable transactional email deliverability.

Overall, Brevo offers one of the most comprehensive range of marketing features for small businesses.

Cost: Starts at around $25 per month for the Starter plan with unlimited contacts.

3. HubSpot Marketing: Integrate, Automate, Grow

Hubspot is a very popular and highly reviewed CRM that has a standalone marketing automation service. It’s got a visual board where you can make your own drip campaigns based on specific conditions.

Plus, you can automate many other tasks beyond just email marketing. You can score leads, rotate leads to sales, use workflows to set up webhooks, trigger internal notifications when contacts take important actions, and more.

This tool can be a little tricky for beginners but luckily they have HubSpot Academy to help you get the hang of it.

Cost: Plans start at $45 per month and they offer a free version of the basic Hubspot CRM.

4. Uncanny Automator: Automation Made Simple

With Uncanny Automator, you can put your entire small business website on autopilot. This tool lets you connect all of your existing plugins and apps together to perform actions automatically.

You can easily create “recipes” based on user behavior and turn those behaviors into marketing workflows and sales opportunities. No coding required!

For example, when a user visits a series of pages, they get sent a sales email. Or, when a user buys a product, they get sent a follow-up email.

Cost: The pro plan starts at $149 per year for 1 site and they offer a free version.

5. ActiveCampaign: Engage Smarter with Customers

At its core, Active Campaign is a sophisticated customer relationship management and marketing automation platform. You may build sophisticated automated workflows that respond to user actions using Active Campaign.

Active Campaign is quite similar to Constant Contact in many ways. However, when it comes to customizing rules for your processes, Active Campaign offers a lot more freedom than Constant Contact.

The automation triggers are more comprehensive than Constant Contact’s, allowing you to fine-tune your CRM and marketing workflows.

Cost: Starts at $9 per month.

6. Zapier: Build Automated Workflows Easily

Among the many available automation tools, Zapier stands out. With over 6,000 app integrations, it’s user-friendly and powerful.

Zapier is fantastic for automating activities by linking apps, but Uncanny Automator offers more flexibility for WordPress automation.

The free version of Zapier has a constraint that prevents you from having several action events linked to a trigger. Zapier doesn’t work with a lot of WordPress plugins, but Uncanny Automator is compatible with a lot more.

To this day, Zapier remains one of the best automation plugins available, particularly for connecting third-party programs that aren’t WordPress-specific.

Cost: Paid Zapier plans start at $19.99 per month.

7. Drip: Nurture Leads Intelligently

This highly-rated marketing automation tool is different than the rest on this list because it’s focused on eCommerce businesses. It offers excellent eCommerce integrations with a well-designed email editor. Plus, it offers some super useful blocks like product recommendations which is great for online stores.

Besides, one of Drip‘s many strengths is its email marketing automation. So, it can help you out with building emails, automation workflows, and targeted email campaigns. Drip allows unlimited email sends, so it’s ideal for businesses with high sending volume requirements.

On top of that, the platform also has a robust analytics dashboard so you can see exactly how your marketing strategies are going.

Cost: Plans start at $39 per month and they offer a free 14-day trial.

8. AgileCRM: Versatile Customer Engagement

AgileCRM is an all-in-one CRM platform with automation features for sales, marketing, and customer support.

AgileCRM offers a visual dashboard to help you with your email campaigns. Not only that, but the tool lets you build things like web popups, auto-responders, and personalized campaigns. And you can use them for web, mobile, and social media channels.

Plus, AgileCRM can help with your lead scoring efforts by tracking things like email opens, link clicks, web browsing activity, and custom tags. And with lead scoring, you’ll know exactly which leads to focus on and when.

Cost: Plans start at $8.99 per month and they offer a free limited plan.

9. Freshsales: Sales Automation Redefined

Freshsales is a CRM with automated marketing tools built right in. Their simple workflows let you set up triggers that send emails externally to customers or internally to other people within your business.

And, Freshsales can help you get set up with automating repetitive emails such as follow-ups and webinar invites.

Cost: Plans start at $15 per month and they offer a limited free version.

10. Omnisend: Omnichannel Marketing Automation

Omnisend is a marketing platform for eCommerce sites that includes several useful tools, such as email and SMS campaign builders.

You can set up automated workflows to send emails, texts, and push notifications to customers based on different triggers.

Omnisend also offers several pre-built workflows for onboarding new customers, recovering abandoned carts, and more.

Cost: Free plan with limits. Paid plans start at $16 per month.

11. OptinMonster: Maximize Lead Generation

For your automated marketing plans to be a success, you need to have subscribers.

OptinMonster can help you make stunning lightboxes, landing pages, and popups that capture tons of leads. You can easily use the WPForms block to embed your custom newsletter signup forms and lead capture forms. And the awesome ChatBot feature lets you automate social media campaigns, too.

Plus, you can easily segment leads and customers with OptinMonster’s behavior personalization feature to automatically funnel people right into your campaigns as you sit back and watch.

Cost: Plans start at $9 per month (billed annually).

12. WPForms: Streamline Form Interactions

WPForms is the most beginner-friendly drag-and-drop form builder on the market. This single form builder can be used for a huge variety of marketing scenarios, from creating signup and lead forms on your WordPress site to creating advanced surveys.

All marketing begins with lead generation. And you need engaging and user-friendly forms to start your lead generation campaign and build an audience.

This is where WPForms comes in. You can instantly add a signup form on your WordPress site using one of the hundreds of form templates included in WPForms Pro. If classic, one-page forms aren’t your cup of tea, you can use a more styling layout by taking advantage of the Lead Forms addon.

This addon turns any form into a multi-page form with options for customizing every component of that form with gorgeous styles.

But once you start collecting your emails with stunning forms like that, you still need an efficient way to add them to the contact list of your email marketing software.

To help with that, WPForms includes powerful integrations with marketing tools, including Constant Contact, HubSpot, GetResponse, ActiveCampaign, Mailchimp, MailerLite, and more.

These integrations allow you to automatically send new signups to your preferred audience list in your marketing tool. That means you won’t have to manually copy and paste your leads or update information about them because WPForms can automate all of that for you.

WPForms also includes a wide range of advanced features for power users. For instance, you can the track customer journey of each visitor that fills your form, revealing valuable insights about your traffic sources and user behavior.

Additionally, you can use WPForms to automate your marketing with workflows for payments, subscriptions, registrations, and more (with the Pro version).

Cost: Plans start at $39.50 per year.

13. SeedProd: Launch New Pages Swiftly

It’s a good idea to keep your marketing strategies active all the time, even before you launch your site. And with SeedProd, you can automatically collect leads for your marketing funnels while building your website. That way, you won’t lose any potential customers.

SeedProd lets you gather emails and continue to get traffic to your site even if it’s under construction. So, in other words, you can put this marketing automation software to work for you while you focus on creating your website.

Cost: Starts at $39.50 per year for 1 website.

Best Email Marketing Automation FAQs

Still wondering about email marketing tools? Take a look at some of the frequently asked questions and their answers below:

Can Email Marketing Be Automated?

Yes, many aspects of email marketing can be automated with email automation tools like Constant Contact, Brevo, and Drip. These email marketing service providers allow you to set up workflows and email series to automatically send emails to relevant audiences depending on specific conditions defined by you.

So whether you’re a blogger setting up a weekly email newsletter or promoting offers for your eCommerce store, you can automate as much as 80% of your routine email-sending tasks with proper email marketing solutions.

What Is a Marketing Automation Software?

Marketing automation software is a technology platform and service that automates repetitive online tasks. It’s designed for marketers and organizations to more effectively market their brands over websites, email, and social media.

Companies using automated lead management tools see a 10% increase in revenue, so it’s important to use marketing automation software, even as a small business.

What Is the Difference Between CRM and Marketing Automation?

The biggest difference between these types of software is which area of your business they focus on. Simply put, CRM (Customer Relationship Management) services focus on sales while marketing automation software focuses on marketing.

However, because CRM and marketing automation tools both handle leads and contacts, sometimes their features overlap. And since CRM programs have tons of functions, you’re more likely to see a CRM offer marketing automation functionality than the other way around.

So if you’re looking for tools to help you or your sales team with lead nurturing and relationship management, be sure to check out our post on the best CRMs for your small business. Now, let’s find out exactly how to choose the best marketing automation software for small business so you can pick the right one for you.

How Do I Choose a Marketing Automation Software?

Ready to start automating your online marketing but not sure which solution is best for your small business? These tips can help you narrow down your choices:

  1. Ease of Use. It’s vital to invest in a tool that’s designed with usability in mind. That means new users should find it easy to access all the important options and settings within that tool, requiring minimal assistance.
  2. Consider Cost. A marketing automation platform provides a ton of value, so it’s not free. Make sure you check the pricing page for any setup or extra fees so there are no surprises.
  3. Look at Feedback. Make sure to see what customer reviews say about their experience using the software and the support.
  4. Test Drive Demos. Sign up for trial demos and get a feel for the software by actually using it. You may instantly find the one you want once you’re inside the software.
  5. Be Thorough. The more research you put into picking your software, the better off you’ll be later on. You don’t want to pick a platform that can’t continue to meet your needs as your website grows.
The Impact of Marketing Automation on Customer Engagement and Retention

Marketing automation enables small businesses to create highly personalized customer experiences. By understanding customer behavior and preferences, businesses can tailor their communications and offers, making customers feel valued and understood. This personalization fosters stronger customer relationships, enhancing loyalty and encouraging repeat business.

Overcoming Common Challenges with Marketing Automation

While marketing automation offers numerous benefits, small businesses may face challenges such as choosing the right platform, setting up complex automation workflows, and ensuring data quality. Overcoming these challenges involves thorough research, continuous learning, and sometimes, partnering with marketing experts or consultants who can provide guidance and support.

Success Stories: Small Businesses Thriving with Marketing Automation

Many small businesses have transformed their marketing efforts and seen remarkable results with automation. From local boutiques increasing their online sales through targeted email campaigns to tech startups scaling their user base with automated onboarding processes, the success stories are diverse and inspiring.

Conclusion

Marketing automation software holds the key to unlocking new levels of efficiency, engagement, and growth for small businesses. By wisely selecting and implementing the right automation tools, small businesses can not only compete but excel in the digital marketplace. Embrace the power of marketing automation to propel your business forward, creating more meaningful connections with your customers and driving success in an ever-evolving digital world.

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