Best Marketing Automation Software 2021
A marketing campaign never really “ends.” Many processes and management efforts go into each campaign; so much so that it’s almost impossible for marketers to keep track of what’s going on without robust software. For example, before you even launch a campaign, you need to figure out your target audience — how old are they? What do they do for a living? Which advertising channels are they most in touch with? When you have a persona, you then have to design your marketing materials and track how those messages are performing. When the campaign ends, you analyze the data and put them into a report. But to engage with your customers, it’s much easier to have a marketing automation tool to help you streamline processes and nurture leads.
In a nutshell, marketing automation software helps businesses automate marketing processes and manage campaigns throughout their life cycle. Some main things that a marketing automation platform can do include: designing campaigns, identifying the demographics of target leads, tracking and reporting the real-time performance of marketing efforts, tracking leads throughout the sales process, creating an automated workflow so the software knows when to follow up with leads, and coordinating marketing efforts across channels such as email campaigns, landing pages, and social media.
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Top 5 Rated Marketing Automation Software
Best for growing customer relationships
ActiveCampaign is one of the leaders in the marketing automation software world. It’s especially great for small and medium-sized businesses. With ActiveCampaign, you will have access to 500+ pre-built automation workflows and a comprehensive library of email templates. You can also segment your contacts and personalize your messaging so that your marketing efforts go to the right people, saying the right things.
Many of its users love that you can easily sort and filter customer lists and e-commerce data with ActiveCampaign. Their powerful automation capabilities have helped many companies tackle complex business processes. You can also create your own CRM pipeline to fit your company’s timeline.
- There are four plan tiers available, with the cheapest one at $9 per month. Free trial available.
Best for predicting customer behavior
The keyword for Constant Contact seems to be artificial intelligence. Using AI and predictive analytics, Constant Contact helps companies create the best content for their customers and automate the messages so that they get sent out at a time most likely to get customers’ attention.
Besides AI, Constant Contact does a great job managing large lists of customers. You can manually remove people who unsubscribed to your emails and tackle any errors that happened during a campaign. Their email builder tool also lets you custom the CSS coding per block, encouraging you to create personalized emails for your customers.
Constant Contact has special integrations with e-commerce platforms as well, allowing you to build a custom-designed website or online store and driving more sales with targeted emails.
Most Constant Contact users are small business owners, side-hustlers, and nonprofits.
- There are four plan tiers depending on your needs (building a website, managing email campaigns, and managing an e-commerce platform). The cheapest plan costs $10 per month.
Best for team collaboration
Perfect for enterprise companies, Wrike is a powerful marketing automation software that offers advanced security and full customization for marketing and sales teams. Not only does Wrike allow you to easily custom workflows, but it also creates shareable dashboards, tracks time, and automates approvals. You can also get real-time insights into how your creatives are performing!
Wrike has a range of tools that can help teams manage complex projects. They have a messenger platform where teams can coordinate and communicate quickly, which largely cuts down on the time needed to complete repetitive tasks. Wrike can also be integrated with other applications.
- There are four plan tiers, with the cheapest being free of charge. The next tier comes at $9.8 per user per month. Free trial available.
Best for client communication
Using Keap means you can grow your business on an all-in-one platform and stay organized! You can capture leads, segment your contacts, and use pre-made templates to send targeted campaigns and set up follow-up automations. That doesn’t apply to just email campaigns, but also when you need to send reminders to approve and pay invoices.
When we say all-in-one, we mean it. With robust integration capabilities, you can easily collect payments on WePay, Stripe, and PayPal.
Many users like that they can segment their clients into different groups and email them directly from Keap. The fact that everything is in one place makes it super easy to communicate with clients!
- There are three tier plans, with the cheapest one at $79 per month.
Best for lead generation between the sales and marketing teams
Pardot claims itself to be the world’s #1 B2B CRM tool — and it’s not without reason. Like other software mentioned in this review, Pardot’s features allow users to build beautiful emails and landing pages, design customer journeys, nurture leads by providing them relevant information throughout the sales cycle, perform lead scoring to see which prospects would bring the most profit to the company, and get data on the ROI of their marketing campaigns.
One thing that separates Pardot from the pack is its ability to connect the sales and marketing teams. Their software encourages the two teams to work together to engage buyers, close deals, and grow relationships. Because of its smooth CRM features, the two teams can generate and qualify sales leads and shorten sales cycles. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.
As a Salesforce software, Pardot integrates seamlessly with Salesforce CRM and a wide variety of 3rd party applications.
- Pardot’s pricing is on the higher end. There are four plans available, with the cheapest one at $1,250 per month. Though the price point is quite high, Pardot’s cheapest plan significantly comes with a lot more functionalities than other software introduced above.
Our Rating Process
To help you decide which marketing automation solution works best for you, we’ve identified four criteria to consider when making a decision:
With these four criteria in mind, we assessed five of the best automation software out there and scored them each out of five points. Hope you’ll be able to find a tool that suits your needs!
Frequently Asked Questions
A lot of activities can go under the umbrella term “marketing automation.” Essentially, the most important things a marketing automation tool can do for businesses is generating leads, creating an automation workflow so the system knows when to follow up with leads, and tracking and reporting the ROI of marketing efforts.
It’s hard to say which marketing automation software is the absolute best since they all offer different features and help businesses excel in different ways. However, we did do research a few sites and can confidently say that ActiveCampaign has consistently showed up as one of the top marketing automation tools.
- Many industries can benefit from using marketing automation tools. Before we look into particular industries, we need to understand that both business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-customer (B2C) companies are big fans of automation. For B2B companies, marketing automation is great because it enables them to segment customer data easily and create ad groups that cater to specific industries. This means no wasting ad space on customers that are unlikely to be converted! Some B2B industries that frequently use marketing automation software include: software and internet, telecommunications, computer and electronics, and financial services.
- When it comes to B2C, the usage of marketing automation tools is also on the rise as companies rely more and more on multi-channel marketing including email, blogs and social media. Marketing automation software can greatly boost the effectiveness and efficiency of marketing strategies! Some B2C industries that frequently use marketing automation tools include: healthcare, manufacturing, and real estate.