Small businesses are smart and scrappy. They’re accustomed to working with a small staff, limited resources, and trying to find ways to battle their competitors (who are often larger companies with larger budgets). But just because their budgets aren’t as big doesn’t’ mean small businesses should miss out on the advantages that come with having exceptional marketing automation tools.
One of the most common things we hear from our small business clients is that they don’t need a ton of bells and whistles when it comes to the perfect marketing automation software. They typically find a solution they think will help them, then get buried under robust features and confusing processes. For people who are quite literally doing everything themselves, the last thing they need is to feel extremely behind when it comes to implementing an effective marketing strategy.
So, if you find yourself looking for a new marketing automation tool that will give you what you need and none of the stuff you don’t, this blog post is for you. We’ve accumulated a list of the best small business marketing automation tools that offer the right set of features at just the right price.
Let’s take a look!
BenchmarkONE’s automation tool is designed by a small business team for small business teams. That means you get super affordable features intended to help you grow assembled by a team that has a deep understanding of your frustrations and needs. With BenchmarkONE, you get access to a marketing and sales dashboard so you can organize all your deals in the pipeline and keep track of your email nurture and performance. Their CRM allows you to manage your customers and get to know them as much as possible so you can send them personalized email nurture. And don’t worry about building emails from scratch. Their email templates mean you can create beautiful, clean, and professional-looking emails in minutes (development or coding skills not required).
Want to generate new leads? BenchmarkONE has a Landing Page Builder so you can create important pages for your promo campaigns and convert site visitors to leads. Lastly, their pop-up forms mean you can capitalize on those high-traffic pages of your site by adding forms that encourage new visitors to enroll in your email marketing or download a piece of valuable content. We’re confident you’ll be able to flex your marketing skills and find everything you need with Benchmark ONE.
Where BenchmarkONE Excels
BenchmarkONE offers plenty of robust features without bogging users down with tools they don’t need. It’s just right for smaller B2Bs who want to centralize contact management and automate workflows but still want free reign to build their marketing stack. A monolith solution, like Hubspot, may offer features like live chat, a blogging platform, or social media posting. But often, these extra features pad the cost of the software and are left untouched, while businesses invest in additional best-of-breed tools that better fit their needs.
If you’re an eCommerce or B2C business, be wary of investing in BenchmarkONE. Purchase tracking and eCommerce integrations are lacking in this solution.
Pricing: They have a 14-day free trial; however, if you’re interested in more features, plans start at $39 a month. If you act fast, you can take advantage of their discounted promo that ends tomorrow.
Omnisend is an email and SMS marketing automation tool for eCommerce small businesses. This niche is all too familiar with the obstacles that come with targeting customers and providing them with positive purchase and post-purchase experiences. With Omnisend, eCommerce small businesses can launch conversion-worthy email campaigns with pre-built workflows and take advantage of other features that are intended to help your e-commerce business excel from checkout to delivery and beyond.
Where Omnisend Excels
According to user reviews, Omnisend makes it simple to create automations, even for beginners. And it’s great news for businesses in the cannabis industry. Some email marketing vendors won’t work with that sector, however Omnisend will not block cannabis companies from using their platform.
If you need a plethora of email marketing templates and design options, Omnisend may fall short. Users find the templates and editing options lacking.
Pricing: Depending on the features and capabilities you need, pricing ranges from $0 – $99 a month. Their enterprise package is custom-built, so you’ll have to contact sales for that option.
HubSpot is one of the biggest names in the marketing automation industry. They have tons of tools that help you be a better, more efficient marketer. However, it’s important to note that their robust platform isn’t always the best fit for small business needs, so make sure you do a lot of research before committing. And check out their free CRM and marketing tools that can offer you some basic functionality without the heavy costs.
Where Hubspot Excels
HubSpot pioneered inbound marketing, so it’s no surprise that their platform is bursting with tools to help you capture inbound leads. In addition, their new CRM provides built-in contact management, so there’s no need to integrate with an enterprise CRM, like Salesforce.
From a pricing perspective, the leap from HubSpot’s free and starter plans to their professional plans is quite substantial. So, if you’re planning on growing your business, be advised that you could be paying hundreds to thousands per month for software in the future.
Pricing: As mentioned, HubSpot has some free tools, but their marketing plan ranges from $45 to $3,200 a month. Note that they do have startup fees tied into their paid plans, so make sure to factor those into your decision-making process.
Thryv’s big mission is to help you provide a top-notch customer experience, which they do through automated engagement, payment, and project management tools. We’re particularly fond of their calendar tool, where the ability to automate tasks ensures you’re always right on track. And, like most marketing automation tools, you’re able to send scheduled nurture, so you don’t have to spend tons of time crafting and sending emails.
Where Thryv Excels
Thryv is a strong solution for small businesses needing to manage invoices and estimates and is suited particularly well for businesses in the construction industry. Users find the CRM easy to use, and they like how Thryv automates their workflows.
If you’re looking for a solution that allows you to communicate with prospects and customers through an email newsletter, Thryv may not be the best choice. There are limited ways to create and send email newsletters, so if email marketing is important to your businesses, a different solution may be a better fit.
Pricing: Sorry, no standard pricing here! Thryv customizes their pricing based on an individual business’s needs, so you’ll need to reach out to them directly for a quote.
Formerly Infusionsoft, Keap understands the demands a small business owner is met with. That’s why Keap is another marketing automation tool that does a good job of melding marketing processes with your sales processes (however, marketing capabilities depend on which plan you select). Keap allows you to build campaigns and optimize their deployment for more predictable outcomes — and more predictable growth.
Where Keap Excels
Keap helps small B2C businesses thrive with appointment-setting and invoice apps. Users like that Keap enables them to manage their contacts and automate workflows.
Shiny new tools built on an older platform means that there can be a substantial learning curve when getting to know the ins an d outs of Keap. In addition, the app is very contact-centric rather than company-centric, making it less ideal for B2B users. Give Keap a thorough examination before investing in their solution.
Pricing: Plans range from $79 to $199 a month.
ActiveCampaign offers email marketing, marketing automation, and CRM and sales automation. You can also create subscription forms, segment your email lists, and use their site tracking tool to track the engagement your site visitors have with specific web pages. Their plans cater specifically to SMBs and enterprise organizations, so make sure you examine each feature set to determine what plan is best for your needs.
Where Active Campaign Excels
Although it has added a CRM, Active Campaign has traditionally been a marketing automation software, making it a great fit for businesses looking for powerful, robust automation.
Active Campaign Drawbacks
As with all tools that offer a plethora of features, the learning curve can be quite steep, and pricing increases quickly as you add more contacts and features. If you’re not a seasoned marketing automation user, or if you don’t need a ton of features to put a sales and marketing process in place, Active Campaign may not be right for you.
Pricing: Plans range from $9 to $299 per month, with a free trial available as well.
We know it’s been a tough year, and you’re looking to make up for lost time and revenue in 2021. Make sure you select the marketing automation tool that will provide you with everything you need without over-complicating your process. And, if you’re not quite ready for full-blown marketing automation, our email tool includes Automation Pro, a visual email campaign builder that packs a punch. Sign up for a free email marketing account to give us a try!
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