It takes a lot to run a profitable business these days.
Sadly, we barely have enough time to attend to all of these tasks. Most people complain that the 168 hours per week doesn’t suffice in customer service alone, talk of creating engaging content.
But the good news is, you’re not alone.
Whether you’re a B2B or B2C company, you can leverage one or a handful of marketing automation software that’s proven to deliver results.
In a 2013 Survey, Magestore found that 79% of marketers in different industries were using already using some kind of software to help them manage their business.
On the other hand, a new study by Salesfusion on almost 700 SMB company marketers show that 62% have adopted marketing automation from 40 different vendors.
Every aspect of marketing can be automated. Even the most delicate aspect; customer service is now being automated, too.
If you’re stuck and don’t know how to pick the right automation software, remember that I went the extra mile to put this in-depth guide together for you.
I’ve selected the best of the best software out there, based on customer reviews, ease of use, and results generated.
Although, they’re not listed in any particular order, but you can rest assured that you’re making the right decision, if you go with any of them.
Have you been using HubSpot?
Before I explain why you should use or ignore it, here’s a quick overview of something important:
In this competitive digital age, you need to automate your business.
According to Aberdeen Group, “Companies who use marketing automation convert 53% more leads to qualified leads, and report revenue growth 3.1% higher than non-users.”
Inbound marketing is one of the easiest way to grow your business. If you’re yet to take advantage of it, start today.
However, there are challenges, too. One of such is determining the right software that puts inbound marketing that works.
I love inbound marketing because it’s based on permission marketing. In other words, you’re not interrupting your target audience with annoying offers. But rather, you’re delivering enormous value which they can’t resist.
Inbound marketing (e.g., blogging, SEO) revolves around customer service and creating a great experience for users.
On the other hand, outbound marketing (e.g., cold calling, cold emails) puts more emphasis on the marketer and what he can get from the target audience.
That’s why it’s pushy, and not recommended for long-term business growth and expansion.
So, how do you power your inbound marketing processes?
HubSpot is not like every other marketing automation software out there.
It’s widely recognized, and delivers dramatic results, perhaps, because the platform was developed by digital marketers. And not some strange developers who appeared from nowhere.
You can use its rich features and capabilities to generate leads, launch lead nurturing programs, and get more sales. And you can achieve tremendous results without talking to a customer in person.
Trust me, this is so important.
According to Gartner Research, “By 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationship without talking to a human.”
HubSpot comes with a full suite of integrating marketing tools, which makes blogging, email marketing, customer relationship, SEO, social, and more easy to implement.
Truly, if you want to improve your marketing effectiveness and efficiency, you might want to give this tool a shot.
Specifically, you can use HubSpot range of marketing automation software tools to:
- Add new leads to your campaign, monitor landing pages, and streamline content creation.
- Get get real-time data, which can be used in content creation, and optimizing the contextual marketing experiences.
- Set definite goals, and develop automated workflows that improve productivity
- Convince, convert, categorize leads, and most importantly, track lead performance.
With a 30-day free trial, you can enjoy the flexibility of doing inbound marketing with HubSpot.
Yes, HubSpot works. For example, ShoreTel, a cloud-based communication company uses HubSpot to scale their business, with less hassle, more control, and undiluted customer service solution.
Are you ready to treat your ideal customers as Kings?
It all begins at your website homepage.
A recent data from Microsoft Research shows that, “visitors spend only 10 seconds on your homepage before leaving if they don’t immediately connect with your marketing messages.”
Sure, inbound marketing truly works. But one of the challenging obstacles to its success is lack of tactical integration.
The truth is, without a robust automation tool, you can’t capture these site abandoners, or build a relationship with them.
But the ultimate question is, “which software will do the job efficiently?”
It happens to all of us.
We already know there are over a million marketing automation software, but choosing the right one can be difficult.
I’m as concerned as you are.
But if you look closely, you’ll notice the difference and similarities between these software tools.
For example, HubSpot and Act-On basically have a complete suite of applications, including social, email marketing, and so on.
They also integrate with other applications and solutions. However, Act-On stands out in the area of integration.
If you’re looking to host a webinar or plan an event with ease, instead of trying to figure things out all by yourself, Act-On might be one of the best solutions for you.
Act-On currently service over 3,000 businesses worldwide, including Xerox. Depending on the size of your business, 3,000 businesses might seem small or big.
The upside isn’t in the number, though. But on the impact the marketing automation software is making on businesses.
Any software that doesn’t put the customer first, is not worth your time and money. With Act-On, your customers get the best experience.
From brand awareness and demand generation, to customer retention and loyalty, you can stand out with Act-On.
When it comes to building your brand, here’s how Act-On can be of immense help:
If generating qualified leads is somewhat difficult, how about turning those leads into customers?
One of the top automation tool that integrates with over 20 third party applications out there is Infusionsoft.
If you’re a hard worker, then Infusionsoft will bring you closers to getting much results from your efforts.
As an example, TITIN, a company that sells weighted compression gear leveraged Infusionsoft and grew by 400%.
Infusionsoft has been around for over 15 years. In fact, more than 120,000 users trust the marketing automation platform, which is designed to grow their business.
What can Infusionsoft do for your business?
i). Capture more and better leads: With it’s user friendly features and rich capabilities, you can capture better leads, easily.
ii). Engagement: Once the leads are there, the next phase in the funnel is to engage them. Without engagement, it would be impossible to improve conversion rates.
iii). Become an ecommerce pro: Setting up an online store, creating awareness, getting the ideal customers and building your personal brand all require skills. With Infusionsoft, it’s easy to get the best out of your online store.
Use it to provide a seamless shopping experience for your customers, at all times.
iv). Sales management: The process of sales requires some element of patience, dedication, and relationship.
And as such, you need a software that will enable you manage the entire process, without being pushy or cunning.
v). Save more time: Your time is precious. You need to know how to stay focused on credible tasks that will yield results.
Rather than dwelling on mundane tasks, you can channel your energy on worthwhile tasks. Infusionsoft helps you save more time, and thus, achieve more.
4. Salesforce Pardot
B2B companies can make do with Salesforce Pardot. This is one of the marketing automation tools you can use to drive sales with intelligent marketing.
“Intelligent marketing” is just another fancy word for “relevance.”
This means that everything you do in order to generate leads and build a strong rapport with them, must be driven by relevant communication. For example, your content needs to appeal to your audience.
Else, the majority of them will likely not respond to your offers, as you move them down the bottom of the funnel (BOFU).
One of Enterprise Marketer’s Organisational Goals for Content Marketing is to increase sales. But increasing sales isn’t a standalone process: you need to first cater to customers at every stage of the buying process.
To proof the power of intelligent marketing, The Day Publishing Company embraced and implemented it into their campaign, and this led to a 12% increase in consumer revenues, a 290% increase in registered users, and 52-week retention rates that grew from 30% to 50%.
Use Pardot software to generate high quality leads, create custom, targeted emails, accelerate sales pipeline, and improve your marketing processes, to maximize ROI.
There is no alternative to great customer service. How your customers view your business or product all boils down to how you treat them.
Customers are Kings, so treat them as one. That’s where Experiture comes in.
Whether you’re a brick and mortar business, or you’re primarily reaching prospects and customers online, you need to continually deliver a memorable customer experience.
Recent data shows that 73% of customers love businesses that deliver friendly staff and great service.
If you fail to do so, you’ll lose more money and jeopardize your business.
According to New Voice Media, “each year companies lose an estimated $41 billion due to their poor customer service.”
Irrespective of where you’re right now, you can always improve on your customer service experiences. Here’s why
About 99% of your ideal customers, if not 100% are not only looking for a helpful product/service, but an experience that will keep them attached to your brand.
The good news is, you can power your customer experience with a simple software.
It’s called Experiture.
Experiture is a human engagement platform. It’s equally a software that provides insights about the customer, and guides you in the right direction when choosing an offer or content for them.
Being in the dark is a choice. Because, with Experiture, you can personalize beyond the emails, provide relevant user experiences through a seamless automation.
If you’re a B2B or B2C marketer, you’ll benefit from Experiture’s rich and dynamic All-in-One marketing platform.
Top brands such as Vivint, Capgemini, Edelmen, and even DELL uses Experiture to nurture their leads and solve their customer’s problems.
6. Active DEMAND
Startups have one major challenge: maximizing ROI.
Every task, whether it’s directed towards lead acquisition, lead nurturing, customer service, are all geared towards maximizing ROI.
As a business owner, you already know that without investing in your business, it would be difficult or impossible to make profit.
On the flip side, this challenge not only affects small and medium-sized business, but also multinational companies.
Have you heard of ActiveDemand?
If you’ve always wanted to get rid of assumptions in your marketing, then, it’s time to give ActiveDEMAND a shot.
As a marketing automation software, it’s predictive – and one of the best platforms for marketers and agencies.
ActiveDEMAND can help you out with:
i). Call Tracking: You either wait for the phone to ring, or you trigger it. With more phone calls that offers value to your customers, you can get more sales.
ii). Seamless automation: With ActiveDEMAND, you more or less have your very own marketing department. Thus, you can expect significant results when you automate follow ups.
iii). Value delivery: Grow your retainer business, and increase your clients’ revenue.
7. Sales Manago
Are you ready to start using Sales Manago?
Before we explore the power of this marketing automation software, here’s a quick question that you need to answer:
Is email marketing dead?
I don’t think so. On the contrary, the inbox is one of the most viable places to engage with your ideal customers.
It doesn’t matter which channel (e.g., search, social media, PPC) that you acquired your email subscribers from, you can rest assured that once you nurture them, your revenue will most likely increase as well.
If you want to engage your audience, you should give more attention to email marketing. Surprisingly, email surpasses social network marketing by almost 20%.
Though the average person gets 121 emails per day, and the human race as a whole gets 193.3 billion, it doesn’t make emails less effective than it was years ago when AOL advertised “You’ve got an email.”
Sales Manago, a complete suite of marketing automation tools that will bring you results, even if you’re a beginner.
Does Sales Manago work?
Yes it does. And it produces results within a short time. You don’t believe me?
Well, 75% of companies using SALESmanago see ROI in maximum 12 months.
The software contains more features than most out there.
For example, Sales Manago is programmed with a Next Generation user behavioral engine – which provides advanced tracking, scroll map and heat map.
Whether it’s identified or anonymous visitors, the software gives you a deeper insights as to why they came to your page, and what they’re most likely looking for.
This puts automation on steroids.
Other great features include:
i). Contact management and lead scoring: The quality of a lead is what matters, not the quantity. Through lead scoring, you can gauge the Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) of a particular lead.
ii). Funnel management: A marketing funnel is what make sales predictable, profitable, and sustainable.
However, your ability to manage visitors at the top of the funnel (TOFU), till they move to the bottom of the funnel (BOFU) and become buyers is critical. The funnel management feature is what you need.
iii). CRM and call center integration: Trust me, this rich feature you hardly see in some of the top marketing automation software.
Customer Relationship Management is what keep tracks of your customers’ contacts, and when integrated with call centers, it means that you can set up and make calls automatically to your customers.
You only have to set it up once, and continue to tweak it, based on user behavior.
iv). Conversion and ROI analytics: Visitors only become leads when they subscribe to your list. From there, you begin to study and relate with them, by answering their questions.
When you begin to convert casual site visitors into leads, it’s time to check your analytics, for insights on what you must do to increase ROI. Sales Manago can help you in ROI analytics tracking and conversion.
v). Text and voice messages: You need to keep in contact with your customers. We’re living in a mobile age, and since your customers are mobile, you have to be where they’re, if you still want to be relevant.
Else, your traditional marketing techniques would fizzle out.
vi). Dynamic website: Do you know that you can turn your website into a channel of communication between you and your ideal customers?
In case you don’t know, you can get started right away, by making your website dynamic through this rich feature that’s available inside Sales Manago.
vii). Personalized RTB: Are you ready to retarget or remarket your site visitors? This feature enables you to reach your prospects with targeted ads & emails, regardless of the website they’re on, or how they connected with your brand.
viii). Lead management: Acquiring leads cost time and money. And as such, you don’t need to waste more of your target leads. It’s high time you start managing them.
ix). Event management: Regardless of the kind of event – it could be webinars, live online coaching or calls, you can manage it easily from your dashboard.
x). Social media: Buffer, HootSuite, and several social media automation tools are popular because they help both B2B and B2C companies reach the right audience via social media networks.
But, when you start using Sales Manago, all you need is a simple integration, and you can post directly to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and the like.
If you’re looking for perfect mix of speed and power (I think you should), then you might want to critically consider Marketo.
There are so many marketing automation software, but very few have been around for over a decade.
Marketo has probably being around, even before I started marketing online. Just like HubSpot, Marketo is equally at the forefront of inbound marketing.
You’ll hardly see the company hard-selling you on their range of automation products. On the contrary, they use content to drive user engagement, and convert site visitors into customers.
With Marketo, customer base marketing and mobile marketing are easily deployed. It may be hard to achieve with some other tools, but not with Marketo.
It’s hard to argue that without relevant, unique, and helpful content, it’s very difficult to convince prospective customers that you’re the right company with the exact product that will solve their problems.
Did you know that each time I’m looking for credible statistics and data to back up my content, that I usually resort to Marketo’s resources?
I don’t know about you, but that only meant one thing to me:
These guys are influencers. They’re digital marketing practitioners, and just as you would trust HubSpot for inbound marketing advice, Moz for SEO advice, Neil Patel for content marketing advice, and Shopify for ecommerce advice, you can trust Marketo for lead generation and lead nurturing advice.
As an example, Algonquin College leveraged Marketo’s rich and dynamic user friendly platform to increase lead generation by 71% year-over-year, and also increased sales by 18%.
Perhaps – I left one of the best automation software in the 9th position.
Eloqua is a marketing automation software designed and developed by Oracle. It enables you to plan and execute campaigns, and gives you an unfair advantage over your competitors.
But recently, I read several negative comments about Oracle Eloqua. Customers claim that the software doesn’t help them achieve their core goals, and each time they want to automate a new task, they usually dread it.
I think the only way to be sure is to try it.
I haven’t used Eloqua before, but to get the best output, you’re expected to contact a sales professional to guide you.
“Their customer service is awesome,” says Frank Danielle.
Now comes the big question, “what are you going to send your prospects, now that they’re taking the bold step to join your email list?”
Are you going to bore them to hell with the same type of content that doesn’t resonate?
If you’re a service provider, you can’t afford to joke with your customers. Data from Accenture shows that, “overall poor quality of customer experience is one of the main reasons why customers switch providers.”
Unlike other automation software, Customer.io is a behavioral messaging software that automates every form of message to your customers.
Let’s assume that your leads haven’t converted to customers yet, did you know there could be a reason why they’re still skeptical?
Maybe they don’t trust you well enough?
What about your product, are you sure it’s relevant to them?
You see, if your market is large you’re bound to attract both qualified and unqualified leads and prospects to your funnel.
However, the easiest way to filter these audience, and get the most out of them is to use a messaging automation software, like Customer.io.
Use it to personalize, harness web & mobile app data, and scale messages that convert.
In a competitive market, you need to cater for your customers.
It’s not enough to attract and acquire thousands of customers if you can’t meet their needs. That’s why a marketing or sales funnel is essential.
Because, every stage of the customer buying cycle is considered, right from the top of the funnel until conversion down the funnel.
Customer.io is powerful. Apart from helping you with messaging automation, it also delivers strong engagement with your contact list (i.e., customers).
After engagement has been borne, gradually, you can build strong rapport with the same customers and get more sales.
For example, By leveraging Customer.io, Thinkful, an online education company, increased email engagement by 67%.
Most people are not using it, are you?
Don’t be confused, I’m talking about retargeting.
Several PPC platforms, especially Facebook allows retargeting ads to prospects who visited your site or landing page, but failed to subscribe or purchase your product.
Retargeting can help you re-engage your ideal customers and increase sales. Postano saw a 278% increase in conversion rate, after 60 days of retargeting ads.
If you’re using or planning to use display ads, you can’t afford to ignore retargeting (also referred to as remarketing).
According to recent infographic, “the average click-through rate for display ads is 0.07%, while the average CTR for retargeted ads is 10x.
Since retargeting ads is mostly used for display ads, it’s vital to understand how to set up profitable campaigns; campaigns that are relevant to your target audience.
Of course, not everyone of your ideal customers is going to see your display ads (e.g., on Facebook), but those who see it should be excited about it.
Consequently, they’ll click on your ads and take the required action steps (e.g., subscribing to your list).
At the moment, there are a handful of retargeting solutions out there. One of the best that has been around for several years is AdRoll.
AdRoll helps you deliver ads that work. It’s a retargeting + prospecting platform that delivers tremendous results for over 25,000 advertisers worldwide.
I’m particularly attached to AdRoll, because of the great its great features and richness.
For example, you’ve got the ability reach prospects and customers across devices, apps, and browsers. It also allows access to over 500 ad exchanges, including Apple iAd, Twitter, Google, and Facebook.
Through its radical technology, you’ll never overpay for ad space. BidIQ is the real-time bidding technology that takes care of your bid, and ensures you reach the right audience with minimal spend.
Regardless, you can use AdRoll to retarget ads to customers who have indicated interest earlier. This form of marketing automation doesn’t fail. And there are proofs.
According to the co-founder of TradeGecko,
“With AdRoll, our cost per conversion is an average of $7, which hits our per-conversion goal, and is a prudent option to stretch marketing dollars.”
Beyond Yoga, a company that deals on workout clothes, and Activewear for women leveraged AdRoll to run their social media marketing campaigns, cross-device retargeting, and mobile marketing.
The results were dramatic:
- 5-6x Dynamic Creative ROI
- 30x Dynamic Creative ROI (during holiday season)
- 4% non-holiday conversion rate
- 1-2% static ad conversion rate
12. OutMarket (now iContact.com)
iContact has been at the forefront of email marketing. I remember using them in 2013, but later switched to GetResponse. I had only one reason for switching:
GetResponse is user friendly. It’s basically a drag and drop feature.
OutMarket is now iContact, and the platform has become more robust. If you want to take your email marketing to a different and better level, you should try iContact.
Till date, most people still consider email marketing dead.
Unfortunately, this group of so-called marketers haven’t realised the power behind emails. It’s estimated that you get a $39.40 return on every $1 invested into email marketing.
Yes, you can increase your email open rates by segmenting your list.
But, you achieve so much success if the platform or solution you use can actually automate the entire process, and give you rich insights about your customers.
That’s why you need iContact.
If including a recipient’s name in the email subject line can successfully increase email open rates by 18.30%, imagine how you can benefit from a solution that combines a CRM with an autoresponder – coupled with deep customer insight.
Take a look at Neil Patel’s email open rates for proof:
13. Buzzbuilder Pro
Are you seriously involved with lead prospecting?
When we all thought that getting sales have become a tedious task, Buzzbuilder Pro appeared.
As a lead prospecting automation tool, you can use Buzzbuilder Pro to boost productivity by 638%, and reach decision makers quickly.
Customers are happy with this tool. One of the customers recently sent a testimonial of how he got 95 prospects within 24 hours.
One of the reasons why people frown at cold calling is because it’s too cold. This means that if you don’t know your audience, calling them up or email them will likely not produce results.
But the good news is that cold calling isn’t as cold as it once was. If you’re a salesperson or marketer, you now have access to social media networks and search engines for research purposes.
Before you even send a cold email or pick up a phone to communicate with your prospects, you can study your target audience first.
If you go into conversation completely oblivious to what your prospect is looking for, what they need, or what their company is currently looking for, you’ll get a meager or no results at all.
A software tool like BuzzbuilderPro can help you gain deep insights about your customers. And when you’re armed with delicate information that will pique your contact’s interest, you can email them quickly.
Remember that salespeople who reach out to their leads and customers within 5 minutes are 100x more likely to qualify the prospect.
With this kind of closeness in contacting your prospect, you can rest assured that they will send you referrals.
There are lots of tweaks and tactics that’ll help you generate more sales.
Automational is primarily focused on small businesses, like yours.
As an all-in-one CRM & marketing automation platform, you can feel more confident and prevent opportunities from slipping through the cracks, thereby turning your leads into customers – give it a quick shot.
Every small business is desperately looking for growth loopholes.
Growth hacks is all about devising creative means to get more users to your platform, while maximizing your investment.
The focus is usually directed towards “growth” and every task that will sustain that growth.
Just as IFTTT (If This, Then That) automates actions between websites, apps, and platforms, gadgets, smartphones, and more, you can use Automational tool to automate emails and sales too.
Here’s a typical automation workflow from MailChimp:
At a glance, you’ll notice that automation is driven by data.
In other words, before you can automate emails successfully, you need to know which kind of email subject lines get the most opens, and how your customers interact with your content.
If you operate a small or mid-sized business, you’ve got to understand that you’re living in a world full of endless possibilities. This means that you’re no longer limited on what you can achieve, where to go, or the tools to use.
With Automational marketing automation software, you can dazzle your customers with optimum service, and deliver a great experience they’ll never forget.
Without a doubt, social media management platforms can save time and money.
If a platform allows you to integrate the major social media networks, like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and so forth, then it’s worth looking into.
I’ve been using a particular social media management software since 2009, but not Hootsuite. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try it. You should. It’s an awesome tool.
The ultimate question has always been “is one management platform better than the other?”
From experience, I think many platforms have similar features and capabilities. Virtually all of them allow users to schedule posts, add images to their posts, and even track followers and fans.
That said, some of the distinguishing factors you may want to consider is price, social networks supported, posting interface, user friendliness, etc.
Hootsuite has enjoyed a large market share since inception.
Interestingly, over 10 million business professionals (both small and large) use it to schedule posts to their favorite social media networks, and also create campaigns to monitor when their target audience are mostly engaged on social networks.
Recently, Hootsuite started supporting YouTube, making it one of the most popular social management automation tools, supporting over 35 social media networks.
Talking about advantages of Hootsuite, one of the striking advantage is the interface.
It’s organized in tabs, allowing users to easily divide engagement activity into streams and social networks. If you’re familiar with Trello cards, the Hootsuite tabs are similar.
Hootsuite is possibly the most cherished social media management software right now, but it doesn’t come without downsides.
For example, costs can mount up when you add more than one team member.
Although the Pro plan costs just $9.99 per month, but by bringing another team member aboard, cost will increase – adding a second team member or third automatically doubles the cost – you should expect to pay $20/month.
This cost might not be on the high side for big companies with a huge marketing budget, but if you’re on a tight budget, I wouldn’t recommend this burden.
More so, some of the apps in the directory are free, but you need to be a premium member before you can use the more advanced apps.
You might be surprised that several of the analytics reports require payment when you try to activate them. As long as you can chest these additional costs, you’ll not regret using Hootsuite.
Make no mistakes about it, building relationships with your customers is the easiest way to increase your customer lifetime value (CLV).
Of course, marketing automation software are useful and necessarily, but they should never substitute personal touch. Your prospects want a relationship that isn’t automated. Seriously.
As much as you can, invest adequate time to listening and addressing your customer’s questions.
Come on, you don’t have to automate your answers all the time. Automation is only necessary when there’s a general question or topic.
Customer service is hard work. There is no shortcut.
You may think that automating it will suffice, but 87% of the time you need to pick up the phone and call your customer/prospect or send a personalized email.
Which of these marketing automation software tools have you used in your business, and how much did your sales grow?