Last updated on July, 27

🏆 Best Marketing Automation Software for August 2021

Automate marketing functions and help your business achieve higher ROI. Marketing automation software helps with the building, running, and analysis of automated marketing campaigns.

What is marketing automation software?

Are you looking for ways to market your business effectively and efficiently? If so, marketing automation software is perfectly suited for you. Marketing automation software can help you optimize your business’ processes. Through this platform, you can capture leads, form a personalized connection with each customer, and develop several marketing strategies.

Why do you need marketing automation software?

Nothing is better than a convenient way of doing something. With automatic marketing software, not only are you improving your business, but you’re also saving your time and, to some extent, money. You can then use all these saved resources to improve a different aspect of your business. Here are a few benefits of having marketing automation software.

Accomplish Repetitive Tasks

With a single automated message, you can reach out to potential customers across different platforms, including emails, websites, and SMS messages. This significantly increases the chance of gaining customers faster but with lesser effort. Also, it provides a much wider avenue for potential and existing customers to contact your business for inquiries.

Personalized Customer Communication

Through an automation system, your business can freely construct a message that reaches out to different customer demographics. You can tailor the message for specific ages or personalize it according to specific customer types. The construction of personalized messages for various types of customers has never been easier through marketing automation software.

Analyze Leads and Campaign Performance

After collecting data from various respondents, the software will analyze your data and see how your marketing campaign has performed. Through this, your business can thoroughly strategize how to improve the campaign and reach a wider audience. Plus, interested and potential customers can also easily be differentiated from the non-interested ones.

Easier Input Gathering

Marketing strategies may involve the opinion of several teams in the company. With marketing automation software, it’s easier for your teams to conceptualize what they have in mind and compile them into a single system. Changes and improvements are also easier to execute than manual systems since communication can be simply be done in just one platform.

Leverage Cookies

Cookies, in this sense, are those that are installed on a website visited by a person. Your market automation software can use these cookies to track the specific websites your visitors go to. You can leverage this information to build scores and generate more data about these people and tailor a message fit according to their tastes and preferences.

Filter Relevant Content

Eliminating unnecessary information is essential when trying to reel in customers. Given that personalizing your messages is a crucial part of the software, providing meaningful and relevant information to potential customers’ interest can be made easier and better. This means that communicating with your leads without actually talking to them is made possible. 

Reduced Expenses

Choosing to automate a system can require quite a hefty sum of money. But, over time, this also means lower costs in employee salaries. Eliminating your redundant and repetitive tasks means lesser cost and effort regarding hiring people to do such things. Money saved from this can then be used to improve the other aspects of your business further.

Improved Customer Relationship

Nothing beats a customer that is engaged and interested in what you have to offer. Since you’ll be making the message suitable to your targeted customers’ demographics, this will say a lot about your business culture. Customers will think that you’re trying your best to learn about their interests and not view them as mere buyers but as humans as well.

Core features of marketing automation software

The best marketing automation software will have most of the features, if not all, that software of such kind has to offer. When choosing what software to purchase, always remember that price doesn’t always equate to value. You’ll have to select what is best suited for you and your business. For your convenience, here are some of the core features to look for.

Lead Management

Every marketing automation software should have a complete lead nurturing process function—from lead gathering, lead scoring, and lead assigning. Marketing is all about reaching out to potential customers. The top marketing automation software should allow your marketing and sales team to work together to increase your customer conversion rates.

Email Marketing

Email is a popular way to reach out to a customer. And, businesses nowadays strive to automate their email marketing to reach a much wider audience. All essential information that a customer needs, such as product summary, business contact details, and discount codes, if any, should be present to entice them to check out your products and services.

Social Media Functionalities

In today’s social media world, social media presence is vital to your business’ marketing. Social media automation is a convenient way to be available to your customers 24/7. That way, you’re increasing the effectiveness of your marketing campaign. Tracking and analyzing your customer’s social activities, on top of chatting with them, will surely boost your social presence.

Customizable Workflows

Whether the software is a B2B or a B2C marketing automation software, it should contain easy workflow creation, customization, and management. A planned workflow that is easy to follow is essential in increasing your productivity and organizing your processes. Accordingly, changing your workflow quickly to suit strategies should also be included in the software functionalities.  

Data Segmentation

Enterprise marketing automation software relies on customer data. Being able to manage, maintain, and filter such information is another crucial feature of the software. Tailoring your message to suit your target audience based on a criterion is what segmentation means. Your software should let you segment your data by combining behavior, demographics, and more.

Analytics and Reporting

Gathering insights from a lot of data and input will help you make an informed decision. This function will also present how the marketing campaign has performed, whether it was a success or needs further improvement and changes. Your software should also generate real-time reports for added accuracy and relevance.

Trigger Responses

Your software should have a feature that allows real-time responses to customers. Trigger word functionality is the best example of this. You set “price” or “available” as a trigger word, and it should recognize this as a customer inquiring about the price or availability of your product. This way, you do not have to check emails or chat 24/7 for a customer inquiry.

CRM and Website Integration

Marketing automation software is a great stand-alone software that can gather, manage, and provide tons of data. But, you can get the most out of it if you can integrate to both your customer relationship management (CRM) if you have any, and your website. Through this, you can track behavior and determine what marketing effort has a positive effect.

Personalized Messages

Customer communication is an essential feature of marketing automation software. You should be able to construct and send personalized emails every time. Plus, you should have the freedom to use existing canned email formats offered by the software and, at the same time, customize these emails to ensure that they don’t look artificial and canned.

Ease of Use

Your marketing automation software should also have a user-friendly interface. More than 80% of marketers and users say that “ease of use” is an essential feature for marketing automation software. A complex and hard to use software may prove to become a problem instead of the software being purchased to improve your marketing campaign.

Information Security

Business data and customer information are both sensitive and can be the target of malicious access and use. Most marketing automation software providers offer cloud-based information storage and provide easy access to your staff. However, due diligence from the customer is still crucial to ensure that safety measures effectively and efficiently protect your assets.

Reliable Customer Support

Marketing automation software vendors should offer continuous customer support. This is an essential feature since automation software is complex, and even a small downtime can cause huge losses. Consider choosing a product from a reputable and trusted vendor with 24/7 customer support who can help you troubleshoot and solve potential problems.

Testing Tools

Premium marketing automation software allows you to test your campaign and generate possible outcomes, and it can also test the effectiveness of your marketing effort. These tests may include A/B testing or multivariable testing using your existing and different types of assets.

Types of marketing automation software

Before choosing what software to purchase, keep in mind that there are several types of marketing automation software in the market today. Some types may be convenient and suited for you, while some may not be. Fortunately, you don’t have to look for them yourself—here are the types of marketing automation software.

Open Source Marketing Automation Software

Feeling creative and wanting to design your system to suit your business needs? Choose open-source marketing automation software. With its source code made available to customers, customization and style are within reach. But, it’s worth keeping in mind that a competent programmer or a group thereof is necessary to pull this one off.

Pro #1: Highly Customizable

With appropriate knowledge about the software and coding virtually, anything is possible to do with an open-source marketing automation software.

Pro #2: Free or Sold at a Low Price

Open source marketing automation software is usually free to download or sold by most providers at a lower and affordable price.

Pro #3: Stability and Security

Since you and your staff will be the ones to build the system, security measures can be set at a much tighter level, and assets are protected well and thoroughly.

Con #1: Not So User-Friendly and Easy to Use

Attention is mainly given to functionality rather than the user interface, and writing codes can be a pain, especially with a novice coder.

Con #2: High-Maintenance

Not a lot of drivers are found for some specific devices. If you decide to buy hardware in the future, it may be difficult to update and maintain your software.

Free Proprietary Marketing Automation Software

This type of marketing automation software is free to download. It’s a version of a fully functional proprietary marketing automation software with limited functionalities. If you want to try using marketing automation software without buying it right away, then this is the one for you. 

Pro #1: Free to Use

Considering that there’s no outflow of money and resources, this is the best marketing automation software for small businesses and those who are still undecided about what to buy.  

Pro #2: Test Before Purchase

With this type of marketing automation software, you get to try and see if its functionalities are fit for your business needs.

Con #1: Limited Functionality

Since this is a free version, it’s expected to have limitations. You cannot use the software entirely up to its capacity.

Con #2: Can Be Time-Limited

Most of the time, these software types are only free to use for a certain amount of time. After that, you will then be asked to avail of the full version of it.

Proprietary Marketing Automation Software

This is the full version of the free proprietary marketing automation system, and it has better functionality than the free one. Marketing automation software companies usually also provide continuous customer support along with it.

Pro #1: Tried and Tested

Since you’re already purchasing this one, it goes without saying that the software has suited your taste after trying the free version.

Pro #2: Continuous Customer Support

Software and hardware updates can easily be integrated into your system through the provider’s customer support team’s help.

Con #1: Lesser Customizability

Customers are given ready-made templates to work with. It still has a lot of customization features but can be lesser as compared to open-source software.

Con #2: Lesser Security

Open-source software is usually preferred when it comes to security since it are typically patched to address security threats faster than proprietary software.

Cloud-Based Marketing Automation Software

A critical marketing automation software comparison is how and where information is stored. Cloud-based marketing automation software is a web-based type of software where data is stored in virtual servers, called the cloud, and accessed anywhere using the internet.

 Pro #1: Ease of Access

Since data and information are stored online, management and staff can quickly get a hold of essential information across multiple platforms and devices.

Pro #2: Accuracy and Relevance

Information is easy to update and is timely and accurate. Data are readily available, and redundancy can be minimized.

Pro #3: Cost Reduction

Costs required for physical and manual document-keeping can be reduced or eliminated since data are already stored through virtual storage and servers.

Con #1: Server Downtime

Server downtime, or worse, your internet access going down can be disastrous and potentially cause you substantial business losses.

Con #2: Security

There have been many reports where cloud-based software systems were hacked, and malicious entities stole information about a user or an entity. This can be harmful to your business’ reputation and security. 

On-Premise Marketing Automation Software

This type of marketing automation software refers to software hosted in-house on your business’ server. It’s typically costly since setting it up is usually more complicated compared with cloud-based software. Installation may also require the purchase of supporting hardware and costs extra for IT support and maintenance.

Pro #1: Greater Security

Given that data is stored in-house, third-party individuals have no way of accessing sensitive data. It’s a lot easier for businesses to restrict access to their hardware than a server located at a different place.

Pro #2: No Internet Connection Necessary

With on-premise, you can access data without using the internet. An internet connection loss hardly matters when your information is stored in an in-house server.

Con #1: Very Expensive

Setting up an on-premise marketing automation software will require huge capital investment for the required supporting hardware and servers. Not to mention the added cost for extra IT support and staff needed to manage the servers.

Con #2: Risk of Data Loss

A system malfunction or a compromised system may cause the business to lose data permanently. This can be very destructive as data is the backbone of a business.

Who needs marketing automation software?

Small Businesses

Marketing automation software for small businesses is essential to optimize the business’ marketing effort and campaign. Given that small businesses do not have many teams and may have overlapping duties, they could benefit from having an automated system to organize tasks. Plus, automation can help in responding to customer inquiries and eliminating repetitive tasks.

Large Businesses

Large businesses benefit from marketing automation software mainly because it allows them to reach a wider audience. You can integrate your software to different platforms and channels so that you can gather information quickly. Also, you can create a summarized report to improve your marketing campaigns and efforts.

Multinational Corporations

The fact that this type of corporation has branches in several countries and parts of the world is enough to justify marketing automation software. Information corroboration and analysis can be done by different teams and reflect through the software’s templates and workflows. Information dissemination will then be a lot easier to achieve

Professional Firms

Customer retention is vital for building your firm’s reputation. Through marketing automation software, firms can reach out to their existing customers and talk to them in a more personalized way. This interaction would lead the customer to refer the firm to a friend in need of the same services. You can form successful campaigns to create a word of mouth advertisement.

Publishing Companies

Emails and newsletters are smart ways to reach out to potential clients for a publishing company. With marketing automation software, a publishing company can customize its newsletters to entice a specific target demographic, for example, when trying to advertise a fantasy novel for young adults. Key information can also be included for customer convenience.

Financial Companies

Financial companies hold a lot of sensitive information that’s always at risk of getting compromised. By using marketing automation software, data can be stored where only specific staff or team members are given access. Both cloud-based and on-premise software offers different security functions to suit better what your company needs.

Sole Entrepreneurs

Being the only person to run a business can be quite daunting and challenging. Getting the best free marketing automation software can help lessen the burden. With an automatic response to a customer query, you can gather and summarize information quickly. Plus, you can make an easy-to-follow workflow, helping you take a small pause before grinding again.

Step-by-step guide on how to choose a marketing automation software

Step1: Define your business needs. 

First, know your needs. Do you need an automatic email responder? Do you need to reach out to a much wider audience? Do you need improvements regarding data and lead management? You should define what you need before jumping in and choosing your marketing automation software. Remember, it always pays to know.

Step 2: Look for a marketing automation software that suits your needs. 

After defining your needs, it's time to look for software that will suit your needs. Identify the things that you should look for when choosing your marketing automation software. 

Step 3: Choose a known and reputable provider. 

Remember always to choose a trusted provider. Marketing automation software reviews can help a lot when trying to find out if the software provider is reputable or not. Nothing is more disastrous than purchasing from a shady provider that may put malicious software into your system to jeopardize your business.

Step 4: Check the pricing and packages. 

After narrowing down your prospective providers, it’s time to check the prices and packages. Look for ones that suit your budget and needs, and keep in mind that there are subscription-based and one-time purchase types of pricing. Contact the providers and see if they offer discounts or deals and promos on their products.

Step 5: Ask for input and recommendations. 

Before finalizing everything, you can always try asking for input and recommendations from your friends and colleagues. Some of them can offer additional information to consider, and some may even help you decide and choose what’s best for you. It wouldn’t hurt to ask, and you can use this as a chance to connect with them as well.

Step 6: Learn the software. 

It’s fine if you’re tech-savvy, but if you’re not, then you should learn about the software first before making a purchase. Read about the software in advance, or check the internet for tutorials. This way, you can ensure that the software you decided to purchase is not only suited for your needs but your technical knowledge as well.

Step 7: Close the deal. 

After everything is said and done, make the purchase. Ask the provider for inclusions in the package, as well as their customer care and support. If possible, check if a handbook is included. If not, ask them for one. If you followed every step, you did everything to be a good and careful customer. Congratulations!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

CRM software is focused on the sales aspect of a business, whereas marketing automation software focuses on the marketing campaign and effort. It’s worth keeping in mind that a combination of both software is critical and necessary. Still, the separate stand-alone software is likely purchased by most.

A lead refers to a potential client. After gathering data from your marketing campaign, the software will identify and manage the lead until it becomes a customer. This process is called lead nurturing—building a relationship with the customer at every stage of the sales funnel and throughout the customer’s journey.

The best marketing automation software is the one where it offers everything that you need. There are tons of software out there, so be sure to check out if it has the features necessary for your business. Be subjective; what works for others may not work for you. Be sure to check out the core features above and start from there.

Marketing automation software pricing will depend on what type of software you want. Most cloud-based and proprietary marketing automation offers subscription-based pricing, typically billed every month, semi-annually, or annually.

On-premise and open source marketing automation software is usually offered as a one-time purchase. However, note that both types rely heavily on the customer in setting up and installation. So, the decision is entirely up to you and your business needs.

The marketing team benefits the most from marketing automation software. Being able to turn manual processes into an automated system means a more manageable and convenient marketing campaign. Plus, you can reach a much wider audience and evaluate marketing campaign performance using the software.

In 2015, 80% of companies using marketing automation software had managed to increase their leads, with 77% of said leads being converted into customers. This is a very high success rate and a testament that such software is vital to a company’s marketing effort. 

Any type of industry can benefit from having marketing automation software. Every business will need a marketing campaign at some point to attract customers. The software can help evaluate your marketing strategies, manage data, implement changes and improvements, and disseminate information within the company.

Yes. While an email auto-responder is a marketing software, it only focuses on reaching out to a person or customer. In contrast, marketing automation software is an umbrella term for all automation software used to enhance a business’ marketing efforts. A marketing automation software includes an email auto-responder as one of its main features.

Data analytics and report is a core feature of marketing automation software. The data you have collected can then be used to create a report and see if the campaign has performed well, based on some metrics you or your marketing team has set. You can then spend effort on areas that require improvement.

No. Marketing automation software is for businesses and organizations of all sizes. For small businesses, marketing automation software will allow them to spread limited resources and reach as many prospects as possible.