Many companies fall into the same pain point. They use too many tools for too many different tasks.
Most marketers start their workday by opening a tab to schedule social media posts.
Another tab to update a content calendar or project management platform.
Yet another to check on email analytics from last week’s newsletter.
Maybe one more to score new leads.
Or draft up that SMS marketing campaign to a segmented list of phone numbers.
It can be confusing and frustrating. Marketers already have multiple campaigns to worry about. They don’t need a toolbelt of random platforms, too.
That’s where marketing automation software comes in. It handles all these tasks and more in a single platform. One tab is all you need.
How to Use Marketing Automation
Marketing automation is the process of digitally automating marketing tasks. It enables businesses to streamline and measure campaigns more efficiently. It also helps nurture leads, frees up to-do lists for more creative campaigns, and saves money over time.
Automation softwares for marketing are most commonly associated with email marketing. Whether it’s an A/B test or website trigger, emails are made easier when you set it and forget it.
Here are a few examples of what you can do with email automation:
- Welcome new subscribers
- Ask for feedback after attending a webinar or downloading a guide
- Request a review after purchasing a product
- Send tracking and shipping information
- Confirm orders and deliveries
- Celebrate birthdays or sign-up anniversaries
- Remind potential customers if they left something in their cart
- Send similar products after completing a purchase
- Re-engage with “dead” subscribers
You can use marketing automation software to perform other daily tasks, too. Schedule out social media posts, respond to online chats, send SMS marketing campaigns, and more.
How to Choose a Marketing Automation Platform
It’s easy to find shiny new marketing solutions. With thousands of options out there, the market is saturated, right down to industry-specific tools.
Just check out all those tabs you have open.
So, how do you know which platform is best for your business?
When choosing the best marketing automation software for your business, you should consider a few key factors:
- Budget. Does your company have the budget to invest in a new software? Many marketing budgets run tight, between Google AdWords (www.ads.google.com), paid social media, and so on. Not to mention the cost of keeping up with content and existing email campaigns.
Automation software would definitely help streamline these tasks, but can you afford it? Crunch the numbers to ensure purchasing marketing software is worthwhile.
- List Size. How many contacts does your company have? 500? 5,000? 50,000?
The size of your email list (or total contacts in your CRM) might not seem like a huge consideration for a marketing automation software, but it is. That’s because many platforms charge by list size.
So, it’s important to know how many total contacts you have in order to properly calculate the cost of a new software. (This is also a great opportunity to clean your list using an email verification tool.)
Platforms may also charge for the number of users or number of website domains.
- Features. The best marketing automation tools offer tons of features to make your workday easier. However, if the software is too robust, it can be overwhelming and counteractive.
To pick the best platform for your business, figure out your top priorities. Do you need email marketing workflows? Are you looking to implement dynamic content or smart CTAs? Or, maybe social media is your go-to marketing strategy.
No matter where your needs lie, there’s an automation software for you. You just have to do a little research.
- Pricing Structure. Differing from budget, pricing structure is one of the bigger considerations when committing to any new product or service.
How much is it going to cost? Are payments annual or monthly? Can you pay as you go?
Most SaaS companies offer a tiered pricing structure with access to various features and/or support options. As we mentioned before, it’s usually calculated by the number of contacts. Be sure to ask about any potential onboarding or training fees.
A lot of automation companies also offer add-ons or extra features. Double-check the bonus options to see if they’ll make your campaigns just a little bit better.
Don’t be afraid to look into discounts either. Some softwares offer lower prices or free versions for nonprofits or certain industries like education or healthcare. Most offer a discount if you choose to pay per year instead of per month.
If you bundle marketing automation with other tools from the company, you might be able to save there, too.
- Human Factor. Last but not least: The human factor. What does this mean?
It’s a nod to the fact that while automation is performed by tech, it still needs to be set up by people. Ensure that your marketing staff understand the basics of automation, prepare them to handle new software.
This is why asking about onboarding and training fees is so important. It’s rare that a marketer can go into a new software and use it to its full potential. They’ll need to watch videos, take courses, and talk to software consultants — all for a price.
If you’re looking into automation software for your marketing team, remember these key considerations: Crunch the numbers, list the features you need, consider how big your campaigns are, and prepare your staff.
The Best Marketing Automation Software
If you’re ready to take the next step, check out this list of the best marketing automation platforms:
For All-in-One Marketing: Mirabel’s Marketing Manager
This new marketing automation software is from Mirabel Technologies. The sister product to The Magazine Manager and The Newspaper Manager, Mirabel’s Marketing Manager is an affordable marketing automation and audience development software.
This marketing automation platform offers a duo of must-have tools, an Email Builder and Landing Page Builder, to keep all your efforts in-house. Trigger the workflows based on:
- Form Submission
- Import or Add New Profile
- Email Activity
With sub-triggers for each option, the possibilities are endless.
To round out the software, Mirabel’s Marketing Manager includes email, landing page, and form templates; list segmentation and a built-in email verification tool, Clean Your List; a spam score checker; scheduling options; and more.
It also includes a robust CRM and website visitor tracking, so you can set up workflows for “anonymous” and known leads. It also has a competitor analysis function, as well as traffic and conversion analytics.
Unique to this platform is a marketing intelligence feature that feeds from a 50-million contact prospecting database, combining the power of data and affordability.
For Enterprises: Pardot
Pardot (www.pardot.com) is part of the Salesforce empire of marketing and sales tools. It’s a cloud automation software that is practically made for enterprises. Because of its robust library of features, it’s best for those who have technical experience and the time to learn all it has to offer.
Automating communication with prospects is easy with email marketing, lead nurturing, lead scoring, and reports.
Unfortunately, unlike Mirabel’s Marketing Manager, it only offers CRM integrations, because it doesn’t come with a built-in tool. It also doesn’t offer many lead generation tools for getting new business.
Overall, Pardot improves business processes and keeps sales and marketing teams on track.
For SMS Marketing: ManyChat
While email marketing dominates the definition of automation, text messages (also known as SMS marketing) can also be automated.
ManyChat (www.manychat.com) functions as a chatbot that can respond to texts and Facebook Messenger messages. Built in only a few minutes with templates and a drag-and-drop interface, ManyChat can also be linked to your CRM. It’ll even connect with WhatsApp and Instagram soon.
For Ecommerce: Omnisend
Built for ecommerce, Omnisend rings true to its namesake by offering an omnichannel marketing automation platform. This platform boasts five tools on one workflow, including:
- Facebook Messenger
- Push notifications
- Retargeting strategies for Google, YouTube, and more
Say hello to workflows for cart abandonment, pricing discounts, transactions, similar product emails, and more.
For Small Business: ActiveCampaign
What began as an email marketing software, ActiveCampaign grew into a fully functional workflow automation solution with the basics: email marketing and forms. Offering near-perfect email deliverability and flexible functionalities, ActiveCampaign markets specifically toward small businesses.
Users may need to have existing marketing experience and/or knowledge under their belt to use this software, but that’s only a testament to its power.
If you’ve got room in your budget to upgrade, users also have access to Facebook and other integrations, lead scoring, SMS marketing, dynamic content, custom reports, web design services, and more.
For Solopreneurs: Keap (formerly Infusionsoft)
Keap is great for solopreneurs that are wasting time doing copy-and-paste for manual messages. It offers an easy-to-follow “when/then” template that is based on time triggers or client actions.
Keap also offers those lead generation tools that most larger softwares are missing. This makes generating new business easier for a one-businessman show. They even offer Sales Pipeline Automation to ensure customer service is stellar across the board.
Automation is nearly a necessity in successful marketing campaigns, whether it’s for email, SMS, or chats. If you’re looking to commit to the best marketing automation software out there, here’s what you should do:
- Consider your marketing budget
- Talk to your staff about being training on a new software
- List the features you need and those you’d like to have
- Research the top automation platforms
- Sign up for free trials and demos with sales consultants
If you’re interested in trying out Mirabel’s Marketing Manager, click below to schedule a demo with us.