Wondering if you need marketing automation software? Let’s look at that from another angle. How much time and money do you waste while managing critical marketing processes manually? More than you think.
More conversions, increased productivity, and more sales leads are among the key benefits of marketing automation. Moreover, 88% of small businesses say automation helps them compete with larger companies.
So if you haven’t implemented automation software yet, it’s a crystal clear sign it’s time to find one. We’ve compiled a list of the best solutions for marketing automation, highlighted their best features, and collected users’ reviews to help you pick the best tool for your business needs.
At a Glance: The Best Marketing Automation Platforms
What Is Marketing Automation Software?
Marketing automation software is technology helping businesses to streamline marketing processes, create automated workflows, and avoid manual effort in repetitive tasks. In particular, it’s great for drip marketing.
Today’s marketing automation platforms don’t require any technical skills from marketers — most automations can be set up through intuitive user interfaces.
75% of businesses report they use business automation tools. With that being said, it’s impossible to stay competitive without automation.
Marketing Automation Benefits and Common Use Cases
If you’re here, you know what marketing automation is. So this is just a brief overview of the use cases where marketing automation platforms drive the most significant benefits for marketing teams.
Personalized customer journeys
It’s impossible to create highly personalized customer journeys without using automation. The software allows you to personalize every interaction with your customers — be it a website user experience or an email marketing campaign.
You can’t know each customer by name or remember which products they prefer. And your marketing automation platform can.
Examples of personalized automated campaigns:
- Individual birthday email with discount for the customer’s most shopped product category
- SMS order status updates
- Reply to customers who give you negative feedback
Effortless lead capture
Collecting leads’ contact information with online forms is the most common example of marketing automation.
A signup form embedded on your site, landing page, email, or chat widget automatically records the data users enter and sends it to a customer relationship management system (CRM) where the data is made usable.
It can also evaluate the chances of converting this lead based on predefined rules. This is called lead scoring.
An automated welcome email then can start a lead nurturing process with each new lead. Individual interactions with your emails and website can be steps in the automation scenario and each next step will depend on the last.
For example, if someone visits your website every day and looks at specific products, a consultation offer can be triggered. But if they don’t come back at all, you have another email with more information to lure them back in. The automated workflow will send one or the other based on client behavior.
Customer relationship management
Marketing automation helps keep the customer, not just convert it the first time. Most touch points for retention and loyalty can be automated. Plus, the accumulated data enables you to customize each customer’s experience without compromising efficiency.
Examples of automated relationship management:
- Trigger a special offer email when the customer reaches VIP status
- Re-engage idle customers after a certain time has passed
- Ask for feedback after an order
- Reconnect with old customers to offer maintenance services for products they bought before
Automated email sequences
Email automation is a life saver for small businesses. It lets you reach each customer with the right message at the right time for maximum impact without actually doing anything manually.
For instance, abandoned cart recovery only makes sense to be automated. You cannot possibly be monitoring live who’s abandoning their cart at any given moment.
Your marketing automation tool will keep track of user behavior on your site, spot trigger actions, and trigger emails (or SMS, push notifications) with relevant content or offers.
Read more: 10 Marketing Automation Workflow Examples
Best Marketing Automation Software Compared
Now, let’s introduce you to the top marketing automation tools that help you set up all the scenarios mentioned above and even more.
|Solution||Best for||Free Plan||Pricing starts at|
|Sendinblue||Growing businesses, SaaS, Ecommerce||Yes, automation to 2,000 contacts||$25/month/2,000 contacts|
+ unlimited contact storage
|Marketo||Mid-sized companies, Enterprises||Trial only||$895/month|
|Eloqua||Mid-sized companies, Enterprises||No||$2,000/month/10,000 contacts|
|ActiveCampaign||Small businesses||No||$15/month/500 contacts|
|HubSpot||SMBs, Mid-market companies||Yes, but automation not included||$50/month/1,000 contacts|
|Pardot||Mid-sized companies, Enterprises||No||$1,250/month/10,000 contacts|
|Keap||Small businesses||No||$169/month/1,500 contacts|
7 Top Marketing Automation Software Providers
Sendinblue is the best marketing automation software for growing businesses.
Sendinblue’s automation tools support every stage of your customer relationships. It enables you to create drip campaigns, send transactional emails and SMS messages, capture leads, store and segment audiences, and set up chatbots.
Here are the features in Sendinblue’s automation toolkit:
- Lead capture & Lead scoring
- Automated emails
- Email personalization & dynamic content
- Custom Triggers
- Ready-made scenarios to use as templates
- Complex multichannel automation workflows including email, SMS, push notifications, and chat
- Visual flow builder with branches (if/then rules)
- Contact management
- Audience segmentation
- Website tracking
- A/B testing
- Chatbot scenarios
- Integrated CRM
- API and multiple integrations available
- Unlimited contact storage
Sendinblue lets you set up scenarios and workflows to handle most customer interactions automatically. You choose what happens after any customer action. The integrated CRM feeds personalization data and the automation can send emails, manage contacts, trigger notifications, and more on your behalf.
And the best part is you don’t need any technical skills to create marketing automation workflows with Sendinblue. The if/else conditions allow you to design any scenario without coding.
“The Marketing Automation tool allows us to customize communications which are sent with the objective of constantly re-engaging customers and reducing churn. Depending on the background and profile of the user, we will, for example, send them a message when a new country opens or offer them our services when the exchange rate of the country to which they are sending money is attractive,”
In Sendinblue’s free forever plan, you can send up to 300 emails per day to up to 2,000 contacts, including automations.
Paid plans start at $25/month and include 20,000 emails per month. You can customize your plan with add-ons such as more email credits, WhatsApp and SMS credits, and dedicated IP. You never have to pay for features you don’t need.
Unlimited marketing automation starts at $65/month. When you choose a plan, the costs will depend on how many emails you expect to send every month. But you can store unlimited contacts on all plans.
Adobe Marketo Engage is a complete toolkit for both B2B and B2C marketers. It’s a sophisticated marketing automation solution for mid-sized businesses and enterprises.
Marketo Engage helps you to accelerate the customer experience through:
- Behavior tracking
- Multichannel marketing
- In-depth reporting
- Lead management
- Automated lead nurturing
- Audience segmentation
- Customer relationship management
Users highlight Marketo’s intuitive interface as one of the best features of the product. It’s well-built and straightforward to use once you learn how it works.
The two biggest cons of Marketo are its complexity, more suited for big companies, and its steep price.
Marketo doesn’t display pricing publicly, you need to contact sales to get a quote. However, we can tell you that prices start at $895 a month and there’s only a free trial, no free plan available.
Read more: 9 Best Email Autoresponders [Free and Paid]
Oracle Eloqua Marketing Automation is a B2B marketing automation solution for mid-sized and enterprise-level companies.
Its features include:
- Adaptive campaign management
- Audience segmentation
- Data-driven targeting
- Automated retargeting
- Lead scoring
- Dynamic content for emails and landing pages
- Progressive profiling forms
Oracle Eloqua helps B2B marketers create and manage cross-channel B2B marketing campaigns and nurture leads across each stage of the customer journey. Advanced tools for campaign design, lead scoring, and inbound marketing analytics make automation workflows of any complexity possible.
If you’re looking for advanced automations and robust API capabilities, Oracle Eloqua is a good choice.
On the downside, Oracle Eloqua isn’t priced to be accessible. You should also be ready to sign a long-term contract with the company.
Oracle Eloqua pricing is only available on request. However, you should be warned it starts at $2,000 a month for 10,000 contacts.
ActiveCampaign is a marketing automation platform for small-to-mid-sized businesses, combining tools for email marketing, marketing and sales automation, and CRM. With ActiveCampaign’s drag-and-drop builder and customizable templates, you can create basic and custom automation workflows in minutes.
The solution is good for all things email marketing automation, from setting up welcome email series to sending personalized follow-ups with dynamic content.
As a marketing automation platform, ActiveCampaign offers a standard set of features:
- Signup forms
- Automated email sequences
- Dynamic content
- Event tracking
- Contact management
- Lead scoring
- A/B testing
The software also offers an exclusive feature, Automation Map. This is a tool that lets marketers see how their automations connect to each other. With it, you can easily trace all your workflows, update existing automations, and create new ones.
Users tend to complain about ActiveCampaign’s interface and a steep learning curve. So it may not be a go-to option for teams that are only getting started with business automation. But if you already have some experience and are ready to invest a bit of time on implementation, then it’ll eventually pay off.
ActiveCampaign has a contact-based pricing model. This means you pay more as your number of email subscribers goes up, which makes it a costly solution for fast-growing companies.
Pricing starts at $15/month for 500 contacts. On the cheapest plan, you get access to basic marketing automation features, segmentation, lead capture forms, and customer analytics.
There’s no free plan, but you can try it for free for 14 days.
HubSpot is a famous all-in-one platform for marketing, sales, customer service, operations, and CRM. It streamlines and automates the key processes all the way through the customer journey.
Similar to other tools on our list, HubSpot offers no-code tools for building automation workflows without any technical skills. You can choose from dozens of pre-defined triggers, conditions, and actions or build custom automations.
The visual editor is easy to navigate, allowing everyone to build complex, multi-stage journeys with multiple branches without hassle.
Aside from email automation, HubSpot offers tools for setting up webhooks, automatically scoring leads, and segmenting subscribers.
HubSpot starts at $50/month. At this price, you can store up to 1,000 contacts, set up lead generation campaigns, and basic email automations. To access multichannel marketing automation, dynamic personalization, and contact scoring, you’ll need to upgrade to the Professional plan, starting at $890/month.
Salesforce Account Engagement, formerly Pardot, was designed as a B2B marketing automation tool. It helps B2B companies streamline marketing and sales activities, generate a pipeline on autopilot, and eventually close more deals.
Pardot offers intelligent lead nurturing and dynamic content personalization. The most powerful side of the platform are the in-depth insights about prospect activity. The software is great for data-driven marketers who want to have a granular view of their audience activities from the first click to the close.
Similar to other high-ticket marketing automation platforms, Pardot is best used by tech-savvy marketers and developers to build complex automation sequences.
Pardot isn’t cheap. It starts at $1,250/month billed annually. The cheapest plan includes up to 10,000 contacts, email marketing tools, Salesforce CRM integration, lead nurturing, and prospect scoring tools.
Keap, formerly Infusionsoft, offers automation software for digital marketing, sales, and CRM. It’s focused on helping small businesses grow.
With Keap, you get:
- Automated lead capture and follow-ups
- Email campaigns
- Automated sales nurture
- CRM automation
Keap’s Advanced Automations builder allows for creating advanced nurture sequences, multi-step workflows, personalization response triggers, and more. You can also capture lead information like user behavior or preferences and then set up highly personalized automated workflows.
Keap connects to over 4,000 apps. You can easily integrate the platform into your existing ecosystem without writing a single line of code.
Keap starts at $169/month for up to 1,500 contacts. On this plan, you access all features except for promo codes and real-time marketing analytics. To get these features, you’ll need to upgrade to the Max plan starting at $249/month.
What Is the Best Marketing Automation Software?
Automating your marketing efforts is a must for a business of any size. Automated marketing platforms allow you to scale your campaigns and keep all your customer interactions under control.
But a quality automation solution shouldn’t be expensive. It should let you create basic workflows as well as complex custom sequences. Usability is one of the most important features of a great automation platform.
If you’re looking for flexible, affordable marketing automation software, sign up for Seninblue for free and create your first workflows right away.
Get started with marketing automation from Sendinblue
Full automation toolkit, ready automation scenarios, multichannel flows, unlimited contact storage and event tracking. 300 emails/day free.