Marketing Automations 101

Linsey Knerl
February 21, 2023
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We would be nowhere without our digital marketing tools, and the newest ones handle a little bit of everything, including social media, customer journey tracking, email newsletters, webinar administration, and more. If you can create a process, these marketing automation platforms will help you get it done with less human input and provide all kinds of useful data, too!

Here are some of the most talked-about all-in-one platforms. Which one is the solution you’ve been looking for? 

Top Marketing Automations Compared:

1. Hubspot

Hubspot is one of the biggies in the game, with a wide range of integrations and almost endless ways to segment audiences, track engagements, and share data across the platforms of your choosing. It offers its services as one of many “hubs,” and the marketing hub is a full-featured suite of advertising, email, blog, landing page, SEO, and even chatbot tools. If you can use it in a marketing campaign, Hubspot can connect it to your campaign with hundreds of integrations and compatibility with HubSpot’s own powerful CRM base.

While Hubspot claims to be the right option for companies of any size, the sheer number of tools may be more than the small business needs right away. It’s best for companies with big visions and no limits on where they want to go with their marketing automations, especially with its premium price tag.

Pricing: Hubspot’s $800 a month for the Professional level includes support for 2,000 contacts. The Enterprise level supports 10,000 contacts for $3,600 a month. A limited Starter plan is available for less than $50 a month but doesn't come with the automations.

2. Zoho

A slightly less expensive offering is Zoho, which has an incredible CRM platform, and many of the same customer touchpoint tracking and lead generation planning tools as the bigger names. With SMS marketing and email campaigns, it's a good option for even those on a budget. It has some simple workflow options and automations that make sense for even startups with a limited user base.

With a very clean interface and some neat autoresponder templates, users can easily set up instant, time-based, or activity-based actions. No previous workflow experience is needed to get a basic marketing plan underway.

Pricing: Zoho offers a 15-day free trial to test it out. Pricing is based on every 1,000 subscribers, starting at just $23 for basic features and $46 for custom tracking and analytics. Bulk add-ons are available.

3. Active Campaign

Active Campaign offers many of the same features as the rest of the tools while pushing sales and marketing as both individual bundles of services and a powerful duo that work well together. Its highlights are offered in its more premium plans, which target all parts of your sales funnel, including ecommerce and CRM strategy.

Of all the things Active Campaign seems to be most "actively" promoting, AI seems to be the most relevant. While most all marketing automation tools try to use some form of predictive functionality, Active Campaign has promoted it as one of its stand-apart features, from when it predicts you should send your emails to what segments are most likely to respond. It has many of the same types of tools other platforms have, but this extra focus on hands-free optimization may appeal more to those who aren't sure how to best reach their customers and want some guidance in getting it right.

Pricing: It starts at just $29 a month for the limited email and marketing features for a 1,000-email subscriber list. The Predictive Sending (AI-based feature) comes with the more expensive Enterprise Plan at $149 a month.

4. Get Response

Get Response has been around since 1997 and has quickly grown to be a favorite among those who want a powerful tool without having to learn a lot of technical jargon. The platform has many of the features of the larger tools, including service bundles for email, marketing automation, and the full-featured marketing automation “plus.”

The more robust plans give you access to webinar promotional tools, advanced segmentation, and sales funnels that tie into your ecommerce customer journeys and let you send out the right message at just the right time. Simple buttons and a responsive site design help Get Response to feel approachable for all marketing levels.

Pricing: While Get Response is one of the most affordable options (at just $16 a month), the automation tools begin at around $50 a month for 1,000 contacts. Those wanting access to the whole suite can get the ecommerce integrations for under $100 a month.

Bottom line: What product is right for you? It may depend on the tools you already know and love, since integrations are often the difference maker. If you don’t want to reinvent the wheel, look for a platform that can plug and play with the processes you already have in place. Be aware of whether your contract lets you scale up as well as scale down since it can get expensive to add to your list over time. If you don't think you'll be amping up your list quickly, consider a slow-growth tool that lets you bump up your list by 1,000 members at a time.

Linsey Knerl

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