The Top Small Business Marketing Automation Tools

In today’s competitive and fast-paced digital world, marketing automation is the key to efficiency. To the marketers out there: manually completing repetitive mundane tasks won’t lead to the results you want. Instead, invest in marketing automation software that can speed up the process and scale your business. That way you can use your valuable time and money on other factors of your business. 

Marketing automation is a technology service that automatically manages repetitive marketing activity across multiple platforms. Companies see a 10% increase in revenue after between six and nine months of marketing automation use, highlighting its importance for even small businesses. With marketing automation, you can send automated messages to your target audience across mail, social media, web, and text. In addition to this, you can also schedule social media posts – wow, talk about saving time!

It’s time you reach and track more people with less effort. Marketing automation can help your business do that!

what is the best marketing automation software for small businesses

6 Best Marketing Automation Software in 2020

Before getting into the best marketing automation software, here are a few tips to keep in mind when getting started and trying to narrow down your choices: 

  • Make a Plan: The more clear your goals are, the easier it will be to choose the most well-fit marketing automation software for your business. 
  • Consider Cost: Marketing automation software is not cheap – but, it provides a lot of high value. So, be sure to check the pricing page and scan for any extra fees to ensure clarity. 
  • Search for Feedback and Ask Around: Look up customer reviews and ask people with similar websites for their recommendations (especially if they have successful business going for them).
  • Test Out Demos: Sometimes the best way to know if it works is to try it out, and many of this automation software provides trial demos (some of which are free!).
  • Be Detailed: Invest enough time from the start to find the best marketing automation software – particularly one that will grow with your website needs. This means paying attention to usability as it will determine how much value your team may extract from the tool. 

Now let’s discuss a selection of the best marketing automation software available: 

1. ActiveCampaign

ActiveCampaign is used by more than 100,000 businesses and is among the best marketing automation platforms. For starters, they provide you with a visual automation sequence builder to organize and customize actions. Whether you’re an influencer or running an e-commerce business, ActiveCampaign can cater to your industry. Importantly, they are constantly updating their features to stay on top – including predictive content, predictive seeding, and win probability. One feature that has been noted as a real time-saver is the ability to import and share automation series. In a couple of clicks, you can drag-and-drop automation sequences from other platforms – then sit back and allow the workflow to function.  

Their cost is affordable and reasonable compared to other marketing automation tools on the market. A great point is that ActiveCampaign remains affordable as you grow, unlike many software which starts off cheap and then becomes ridiculously expensive with time. If you’re still unsure, you can sign up to try some of their services for free!  

2. Autopilot

Next, we have Autopilot, your go-to for building email automation sequences. They are easy to use and highly rated for visual appeal and smart segments. This includes annotating with features like emojis, stickers, or explanations and setting goals to achieve. Their software is well-suited for beginners in marketing as it has entry level-pricing (probably your cheapest option) and design. Also, their customer service has been highly ranked by many users, an important factor to consider when just starting out.

marketing automation

3. Hubspot

This option would not be ideal for those with a very low budget, as Hubspot is known for having costly fees. Their all-in-one service is technically divided into 4 main ‘hubs’: a Marketing Hub, CMS Hub, Sales Hub, and Service Hub. In order to master the visual board, they provide online classes at the HubSpot Academy to grow your professional skills. Also, their analytics are extremely good, which is very important when deciding what is and what isn’t working. However, they do get more expensive as you grow. 

4. Omnisend

If you are running an e-commerce business, this one’s for you. Omnisend is a multi-channel marketing platform – it covers beyond just email but also includes SMS, Facebook messenger, or even Whatsapp. The best part is that the messaging is integrated and harmonized across these various platforms, rather than sent out independently. This connectivity allows for more opportunities, makes it easier to keep track, and considers the most appropriate timing. 

Omnisend has numerous pricing plans starting from $0 with basic and easy-to-build campaigns. Next is 16$ a month with automation and SMS. From here we move to the pro, which is 99$ a month giving you the omnichannel benefits mentioned above. Lastly, there is enterprise-grade customization pricing, which caters exactly to your preferences.  

5. SendinBlue

Although the visual appeal is not as aesthetically beautiful as other marketing automation software, the automation builder at SendinBlue is just as powerful. They cater to wide-ranging industries and have the advantage of giving real-time deliverability reporting. SendinBlue would be a good option if you’re looking for an impressive free plan. It allows 300 emails per day, unlimited contacts, and phone support. 

6. Adplorer

Your local marketing solution:

Adplorer’s marketing software is the world’s first all-inclusive digital marketing automation platform built specifically to help you manage local marketing campaigns. This technology enables you to scale marketing campaigns across thousands of SMBs, Franchise Locations, and Enterprises all over the world. Agencies and internal marketing departments use this software to automate the creation and management of campaigns on Google, Bing, and Facebook, as well as manage their Social Media platforms and Reporting all in one platform!.

best marketing automation software

Conversion Funnels 

What are conversion funnels? A simple way to put it: a conversion funnel maps out the customer’s journey. That is, how the viewer goes from a lurker on your Facebook page, to then becoming a sale. 

An example of a funnel or journey: Amy comes across your post via a Facebook-generated ad, then chooses to click on your Facebook page. After scrolling through, she decides to make a small commitment and follow. Then she begins engagement by viewing your stories and reacting to your content. After a week or so, she makes it to your mailing list and you email her with your $50 product—and she decides to purchase it! 

The most important question to ask to achieve a complete conversion funnel is: “How do I get the customer to discover me, like or follow me, and ultimately trust me with their investment?” In order to increase your loyal customers, you should take the time to discover which activities are bringing in most of your revenue. This is known as the 80/20 rule, which basically states that 80% of results come from only 20% of the action. Your job is to narrow down that most productive 20% activity and make it a priority. For instance, you find that content generated via Instagram is bringing in the most success and conversions so you focus your efforts on that. 

Here are a few tips on how to create better conversion funnels:


Don’t overwhelm yourself with multiple funnels at once—instead, prioritize your best product/service and move from there. Also, consider visibility: where will customers find you.


You don’t want the wrong audience or wasted traffic clicking into your conversion funnel, so the best way to avoid this is: make your content clear. For instance, a call to action should be precise and straight forward targeting exactly what your audience wants. 

Retarget Viewers to the Funnel

People who click on your funnel might not reach the end because they got interrupted, forgot about it, or maybe they’re not ready to buy right away – the key is to retarget them into your funnel. This means you must track people who go into your funnel and provide follow-up advertisements. 

conversion funnels

Email Marketing Automation 

Several of the marketing automation software mentioned above provide email marketing automation. The point of email marketing automation is to reach your target audience at the right time with the right message – without manually doing the work each time. 

Most email marketing campaigns fall into two camps: 

1. Event-Based Trigger Emails 

Generally, the most common, event-based trigger emails send out reminders based on a customer’s behavior (or lack of it). These can range from warm welcomes, getting started guides, referring-a-friend or milestone reminders (such as months of membership commitment or wishing a happy birthday). You can add behavioral email marketing strategies by including things like coupons, rewards, or bonuses. 

2. Drip-Feed Email Content

These are emails sent out based on a time sequence set up via email marketing automation software. They are commonly used when a customer signs up and expects a free report in return. They have strong potential to get the customer to take the next step in your conversion funnel – especially if you heighten their interest in your email subject line with the right word choice. Strong examples of drip-feed email content include limited sale campaigns, closing a deal with a potential buyer, providing customers with a 14-day fitness challenge, exclusive content, and more. What’s important to include in all of these is personalization, which will push your audience to click, connect and establish a sense of trust. 

email marketing automation

SEO Design Chicago can help you out with email marketing services catered to your business goals. For help with email marketing or other services, contact us at SEO Design Chicago today!

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