With one study claiming three-quarters of companies will use marketing automation software in 2023, if you’re not already using such a platform, now’s the time to jump on the bandwagon.
So, what is marketing automation software? What’s so good about it? And how can it benefit your business?
As you may have guessed, marketing automation software permits you to automate repetitive marketing tasks. For instance, social media posting, ad campaigns, email marketing, etc. You program what you want the software to do, and it should handle everything for you – taking the monotony out of your marketing efforts.
However, when picking the right software for your business, one size certainly doesn’t fit all. But that’s where we can help. This article will explore the best marketing automation software in 2023 to help you find the right fit for your brand.
We have lots to cover, so let’s get started.
What Are The Best Marketing Automation Software Tools?
Best Overall Marketing Automation Software
With over 150,000 users, it’s safe to say that ActiveCampaign is a popular choice – and for good reasons. Specifically designed with eCommerce store owners in mind, this platform provides:
- A CRM solution
- Email marketing functionality
- Sales automation
- A customer support platform
- Targeted emails and audience segmentation: Within your CRM, you can tag contacts and split them into specific audience segments to send targeted marketing messages. Then you can send emails to a particular contact/segment and design your emails to meet their exact needs.
- Scheduled emails: You can program emails to go out to specific audience segments at pre-set times and dates
- Email autoresponder: Automate email replies based on specific triggers, including order confirmations, welcome emails, reminders, feedback requests, and much more!
- Customer Loyalty: Build and track a more effective loyalty program and automatically hand out rewards.
ActiveCampaign bases its pricing on how many contacts you have. However, if you have more than 100,000 contacts, you’ll have to talk to a sales team member to receive a personalized quote.
There are four plans. Each focuses on a specific business type: B2C, B2C, or eCommerce. All offer monthly or yearly billing. However, the latter is considerably cheaper.
For 500 contacts:
- Lite: $9 per month (paid yearly) or $15 per month.
- Plus: $49 per month (paid yearly) or $70 per month.
- Professional: $148 per month (paid yearly) or $187 per month.
- Enterprise: Contact their sales team for a quote.
Packages increase in price all the way up to 100,000 contacts, for which you’ll be charged:
- Lite: $549 per month, paid yearly or $687 per month.
- Plus: Customized plan. Have to talk to their sales team.
- Professional: Customized plan.
- Enterprise: Customized plan.
- Powerful email builder
- Machine learning enabled helps boost marketing results
- Seamlessly integrates with automations
- On-site chat is an additional, paid add on
- Advanced feature are complicated to use and navigate.
2. Keap (Formerly Infusionsoft)
Best for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses
Suppose you’re a small or medium-sized business looking to hone in on customer relationship management. In that case, Keap could be a good choice. In fact, at the time of writing, around 125,000 small businesses use this software.
Keap offers an integrated sales and marketing CRM suite that includes email marketing, contact management, and payment capabilities like invoicing and payment processing. In addition, Keap provides a highly accessible platform for novice CRM and marketing automation users with its easy-to-use interface and multiple support options.
- Email templates: Choose a template from their library, or customize your own email design from scratch. Keap provides free email templates for various uses, including welcome emails, newsletters, follow-ups, and sales.
- Automated emails and audience segmentation: To allow more effective targeting, you can segment contacts based on their behavior, industry, and personal information. You can then send emails tailored to your contacts at the right time for more effective engagement. Emails can be triggered to send automatically when specific actions occur. For example, a welcome email when a new subscriber signs up.
- A/B testing: You can send multiple email variations to a sample of recipients and send the best-performing version to the rest of your subscribers.
- Other automation features: Send automated payment reminders, appointment schedules, and invoices.
- SMS messaging: Send automated texts and text broadcasts (such as friendly event reminders). You can use Keap’s business phone number to ping personalized messages to contacts. Amongst Keap’s text marketing features, you can expect:
Keap bases its pricing on how many contacts you have. You can opt for either monthly or annual billing – the latter is the cheaper option by about 20%.
Keap has three pricing plans to choose from Lite, Pro, and Max:
- Lite: $59 per month (paid yearly) or $79 per month. This package is most suited for new businesses with 500 contacts and one user.
- Pro: $129 per month (paid yearly) or $169 per month. This package is most suited for growing businesses with 1,500 contacts and two users. Additional users are an extra $29 each. Unlike the other packages, this comes with a 14-day trial period.
- Max: $199 per month (paid yearly) or $249 per month. This package is for established businesses with up to 2,500 contacts and three users. Additional users are an extra $29 each.
Best All-in-One Marketing Tool
When it comes to inbound marketing and CRM, Hubspot is a good choice. Hubspot provides all the tools and integrations you need to provide your audience with effective customer service, content management, and marketing.
Hubspot offers a plethora of features, but for the purposes of this round-up, we’ll just focus on key elements from their marketing and sales hubs:
- Lead generation and conversion: Hubspot offers features like a landing page builder, marketing automation, email marketing, and lead tracking and management.
- Email templates: Save your best-performing sales emails as templates and share them with your team.
- Email tracking: Track who opens your emails when so that you and your team can follow up at the right time.
- Sales automation: Launch custom, automated emails, and follow-up tasks.
Hubspot’s pricing depends on how many clients you have and how many users you wish to register. There are three plans available: Starter, Professional, Enterprise. You can commit to a monthly payment or annual billing, with the yearly billing saving you up to 10%.
- $45 per month (paid yearly) with an additional $23 per extra user you want to add.
- This includes two users.
- $450 per month, paid yearly with an additional $90 per month for extra users.
- This includes five users.
- $1,200 per month with an additional $120 per month per extra user.
- This is only available on an annual subscription
- It includes ten users.
- HubSpot is a real all-in-one CRM solution
- It has great supplemental content
- You get email marketing support and social media scheduling features
- Offers a free version
- Squeaky-clean integration
- Big on mobile optimization
- HubSpot does not have an e-commerce platform
- It is expensive considering all the features you’re getting
- The user experience can be overwhelming for some folks
- Pricing plans are complex and get expensive quickly
- The all-encompassing features can be tricky to harness
- Customer support could be stronger given the tool’s scope
Best for eCommerce
Omnisend is geared towards online merchants trying to make more sales and engage their audience. It comes packed with a wide range of sale-focused marketing features, including SMS marketing and omnichannel solutions.
Besides its extensive suite of features, Omnisend is also renowned for its ease of use. At the time of writing, more than 70,000 eCommerce brands trust its capabilities.
- Create emails: Create shoppable emails based on email templates and Omnisend’s drag-and-drop content editor. Benefit from dynamic content blocks and discounts.
- Marketing automation: Drive sales with pre-built eCommerce workflows, or create your own automations with a drag-and-drop editor. Split automations based on conditional logic.
- Customer data: Gain insight into your customer lifecycle stages, shopping, and on-site behavior, message engagement, and much more.
- Omni-channel marketing: Automate your marketing across multiple channels, including email, SMS, web push notifications, and Facebook retargeting syncing.
Omnisend’s pricing depends on how many people you’re sending emails to. On top of this, there are three plans, the first of which is free.
Below, we compare the pricing for a subscriber list of 500 contacts.
Free plan: Valid for up to 250 contacts and 500 emails per month. You can send up to 60 SMS and use basic features, including pre-built email templates and workflows, sales and performance reports, popups and signup forms, and A/B testing.
Standard: $16 per month. Here you can send up to 6,000 emails per month. You’ll also get access to a customer success manager if you have more than 60k contacts, and you unlock 24/7 live chat support.
Pro: $59 per month. Send unlimited emails and up to 3,933 SMS per month. You’ll also gain advanced reporting and 24/7 priority support.
Click below to learn more about features and pricing.
- Impressive ‘product picker’ feature
- Lots of automation features
- Effortless signup and streamlined UI
- Supports native integrations with top ecommerce platforms
- Great customer service
- Email design options are limited
- Manual input of data every time users launch a social media campaign
Best Budget Marketing Automation Software
With over ten years of experience, Sendinblue is used in over 160 countries and sports around 300,000 users.
Sendinblue is an intuitive, affordable platform that successfully puts marketing automation into the hands of smaller businesses with smaller budgets. It combines a wide range of features, including email and SMS marketing, live chat, a CRM, and a consolidated inbox where your team can track communications.
You can generate leads with signup forms and landing pages and even launch Facebook ad campaigns from your dashboard.
- Email design: It’s easy to create professional-looking emails. You can pick a template and customize it or build a new design from scratch using Sendinblue’s intuitive drag and drop builder.
- Customize your email content: Dynamically add text to your email content, including your contact’s name. You can also automate your segmentation and marketing messages.
- Create unlimited contact lists: You can group contacts however you wish – gender, location, purchase history, etc.
- SMS marketing: Send SMS messages to communicate more directly with consumers.
Sendinblue offers a freemium plan. Here you can send up to 300 emails per day to an unlimited number of contacts. However, your emails will have Sendinblue’s ads on them, and you can’t access the more advanced features.
Then there are three premium plans. The prices below are based on 20,000 emails a month. The more emails you want to send, the higher the price.
- Lite: $25 per month – There’s no daily sending limit, and you can optionally add on A/B testing and remove Sendinblue’s branding.
- Premium: $65 per month – No more ads, and you can access A/B testing and Facebook ads. You get five landing pages included and three inboxes for your team. You also get more advanced reports.
- Enterprise: Bespoke pricing – Comes with unlimited landing pages and user inboxes.
- Transactional and autoresponder mail options are available
- Offers 40,000 free emails monthly
- Design templates are well designed and very responsive
- Unable to recognize additional fields such as gender and date
- Limited third party integration
Best for Startups
Founded in 1998, GetResponse offers startups marketing automation, a website builder, email marketing features, and sales conversion funnels.
It’s a powerful tool that provides everything you need to automate your marketing efforts and create web pages. Set up is simple. You just use pre-built workflows to kickstart specific campaigns, or you can build your own from scratch.
You can send automated emails to new subscribers to entice them with offers and reach out to abandoned cart customers.
You can personalize customer communications for further engagement, and using data concerning your customers’ behavior, you can tailor campaigns to meet their exact needs.
- Email marketing: Send personalized and relevant automated email marketing campaigns based on customer behaviors
- Contact profiles: Build individual customer contact profiles with unlimited tags. You can also monitor engagement scores to better evaluate customer behavior.
- Automatically share blog content: Use predesigned RSS-to-email templates to push out your content; you can also automatically share on Facebook and Twitter.
- Lead generation: Create and publish landing pages and build signup forms with custom fields.
It’s free to create a GetResponse account. There are several individual plans, including a free program ideal for startups or anyone keen to try before they buy. In addition, there is a separate pricing structure suitable for mid and large companies.
The free plan offers up to 500 contacts, unlimited newsletters, one landing page, access to the website builder, and you can connect your own domain and signup forms. After that, there are three individual paid plans. Prices are based on the number of contacts you have (starting at 1,000 for each program, rising to 100,000), and the longer you take a plan out, the cheaper it is. You can opt to pay monthly, every 12 months, or every 24 months; discounts are offered on the latter two.
Based on 1,000 contacts and yearly billing:
- Basic: $15.58 per month – Aside from the free features, you also get basic customer segmentation, email scheduling, unlimited landing pages, and you can build as many websites as you want.
- Plus: $48.38 per month – Additional features include marketing automation, advanced segmentation, etc.
- Professional: $97.58 per month – Unlimited automations are included in this plan as well as unlimited sales funnels, ecommerce features, and much more.
There are two other plans: Max and Max2 for mid and large companies. Prices are customized according to the number of contacts you have, SMS messages you want to send, and how many account users you need.
- The Campaign Builder feature makes it easier to respond to leads
- There is a list building option available
- GetResponse offers good templates
- Awesome list automation
- Easy to use design and spam testing
- Supports powerful lead generation features best for eCommerce sites and webinar promotions
- Lets users monitor Google , Facebook, and Instagram from the GetResponse account
- Lets you customize your webinar URL
- Gathers detailed statistics to help improve conversions
- Easy, one-click webinar recording feature
- Some of the landing pages don’t work great on mobile devices
- The drag-and-drop feature could use some tweaks
- There are minor issues with the user interface
- The deliverability rate needs improvement
- Basic plan doesn’t offer webinar features
- Phone support is available only for the custom paid price plan
7. Pardot by Salesforce
Best for B2B Marketing
Salesforce describes Pardot as a Marketing Cloud Account Engagement platform. It’s a B2B solution that helps businesses simplify their marketing, including sales automation, lead nurturing, and understanding the impact your automated marketing has on your revenue.
The automated marketing tool provides businesses with features to target new leads, move them through the sales funnel, and reconnect with cold leads. You can also make better marketing decisions using the sales and customer data at your disposal.
- Send automated emails: Potential triggers include use interactions, time, and other custom variables.
- Customized messaging: Use data to send automated and personalized messages to customers
- Stay updated: Receive real-time customer behavior alerts.
- One centralized marketing platform: Manage and track your marketing efforts, including webinars and events, from the convenience of one place
Pardot has four pricing tiers. To reiterate, this solution is aimed at larger businesses, sales teams, large email campaigns, and so on and is reflected in the pricing. Plans are billed annually and based on up to 10,000 contacts:
- Growth: $1,250 per month – automated marketing with email marketing, customized messaging, prospect tracking, and lead nurturing.
- Plus: $2,500 per month – advanced dynamic content across all marketing channels, Google ad word integration, advanced email analytics, etc.
- Advanced: $4,000 per month – for businesses that want customized marketing automation, API access, and a dedicated IP address.
- Enterprise: $15,000 per month – this unlocks enterprise-level features, including predictive analytics and support.
Best Free Marketing Automation Software
Some of the marketing automation tools we’ve mentioned above offer free versions. These are great if you’re just starting out and don’t have much budget. But unfortunately, free versions typically come with severe limitations, so eventually, you’ll have to upgrade sooner or later. For example, you might only be allowed to send emails/texts to a limited number of contacts. Or you won’t get access to essential features like automation, analytics, or A/B testing.
Still, if you think a freemium package might be enough to get you started, there’s no risk of making it work. You can get free accounts with Sendinblue, Omnisend, and GetResponse.
Best Marketing Automation Software for Small Businesses
For startups or smaller businesses, keeping costs low is essential. However, before leaping in and choosing the first free marketing automation software you find, first, see what features are included.
Suppose you have a budget and are prepared to invest in a paid plan. You can get some or even all the automation you need with a basic premium plan. For example, with GetResponse for as little as $15.58 per month or $9 a month with ActiveCampaign if you pay annually.
Our best advice: List the tools you need before splashing out on a software plan that offers tons of features you may not even need.
Marketing Automation Software Buyers Guide
If, having read all the above, you’re now seriously contemplating purchasing marketing automation software, here’s a quick buyers guide to help steer you in the right direction:
What Is Marketing Automation Software?
Put simply, it’s marketing automation software that takes care of routine marketing tasks without you needing to employ any human interaction. This can include email marketing, SMS marketing, social media marketing, customer behavioral targeting/segmentation, and analytics.
Your software should provide data to help you optimize your campaigns to help you attract new leads and nurture existing customers.
What Are the Benefits of Marketing Automation Software?
Hopefully, our review has outlined some of the many benefits marketing automation software unlocks. That said, here’s a quick summary:
- Automating your marketing efforts saves you and your team tons of time
- You can schedule campaigns to go out at optimum times
- Access data to create more targeted communications
- You can use automation to offer more personalized customer engagement
- Increase your sales by tracking and nurturing leads and retargeting customers who don’t buy the first time.
- Access accurate campaign reporting
When researching the best marketing automation software for your business, using the above list as a starting point doesn’t hurt.
What To Look for In the Best Marketing Automation Software?
When it’s time to make your decision, here are a few pointers on what to look for:
We’ve talked already about the benefits of utilizing a free plan when you’re just starting out. However, it’s equally important to check for hidden fees (e.g., for integrations), long tie-in times, or having to pay extra for additional features and customer support. Contact the provider directly if the website isn’t transparent about these fees.
There’s little benefit from investing in an extensive marketing automation solution when operating a small-scale business. Ideally, you want a platform that can grow with you. So as your business garners more sales and customers, you can then upgrade to a plan that accommodates and accelerates that growth. In other words, look for a scalable solution that doesn’t limit what you can do in the future.
You must examine the suite of features on offer before committing. In particular, ensure you can customize your marketing automation the way you want. You may also wish to double-check the available lead generation features, A/B testing, audience segmentation, social media automation, and analytics.
Even if your software is simple-to-use and understood, it’s always worth looking at the customer support you’ll receive. This is especially so if you’re on a free or lower-priced plan. Use review sites such as G2, Trustpilot, and Capterra. It’s also worth contacting the platforms support team before investing. That way, you’ll get a feel for their responsiveness. You should also explore their online resources. Look for how-to videos, webinars, and blog posts. These can go a long way to helping you untangle any issues you may encounter.
Marketing Automation Software FAQs
Last but not least, let’s answer some of the most frequently asked questions about marketing automation software:
Q: When’s the best time to use a marketing automation software?
Ideally, once you have your business plan in place (including marketing), you’ll subscribe to a tool that can reduce time-consuming tasks and help you to better manage customer relationships.
Q: What should I do after signing up with a marketing automation tool?
Once you’ve set up your account, configure your marketing automation platform and contact the support team/consult their self-help resources. Again, it’s essential to set things up correctly step-by-step at the start to ensure you make the most of your new tool.
Q: What’s the best kind of automated marketing campaign?
There’s no short answer to this. However, we’d say personalized campaigns, based on customer behavior and aimed at nurturing existing leads and bringing in new ones, are the most successful. Campaigns should also be tailored to suit customer communication preferences (SMS, email, social, and so on).
Choosing The Best Marketing Automation Software
Choosing the best marketing automation software can be a tricky decision. However, choosing the right fit for you depends on what you want from the software- what do you need to improve? What elements need streamlining and automating? But it also depends on the size of your business, your budget, and the number of contacts you have.
All the above options come with email automation, but they specialize in different things. To recap, here are our top picks for different use cases:
- The Best Overall: ActiveCampaign
- The Best for Small Businesses: Keap
- The Best All-In-One: Hubspot
- The Best for eCommerce: Omnisend
- The Best on a Budget: Sendinblue
We’d love to hear your experiences using some of the tools and software mentioned, so please feel free to share this with us in the comments box below!
Recommended reading on Findstack.com
To further your research, check out our reviews of the best email marketing software, best webinar software, and best online course platforms to generate more leads this year.