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Marketing automation software allows to automate routine processes and help marketers to improve their efforts. This kind of software is able to analyze user behavior and target customers effectively with automated messages. Emails, sms, retargeting campaigns, setting tasks and other channels can be used in the most effective way to generate sales leads.

With the help of marketing automation software you can create personalized communication processes within different customer segments.

For example:
- first ad campaign shows up for people who never visited your website;
- second campaign for those, who visited your site, but didn't submit an application form;
- third campaign for those, who submitted the application form, but didn't make a purchase;
- forth ad campaign for those, who made a purchase and are willing to buy another product.

The entire customer journey must be created in advance. Every ad campaign can be run and controlled automatically. There are different communication channels in the various scenarios. You get started with Facebook and Google ads followed by emails and finally you reach a customer with text messages in chat-bot and sms. Scenarios can vary. The main thing to understand about it is that marketing automation is a pre-designed sale funnel that a user follows and every customer segment has its different way.

Best marketing automation software

ActiveCampaign
ActiveCampaign is a marketing and sales automation platform that helps growing businesses meaningfully connect and engage with their customers. Its SaaS platform enables businesses to create optimized customer experiences by automating many behind the scenes processes and communicating with their customers across channels with personalized, intelligence-driven messages.
GetResponse
GetResponse is an email marketing platform that provides additional features such as landing pages, webinar hosting as well as marketing automation. The platform delivers the service in multiple languages to over 180 countries. GetResponse sells itself as the world's easiest email marketing system. The platform makes it simple and hassle-free to create professional-looking emails and landing pages with its simple drag and drop editor.
Hubspot
HubSpot is an all-in-one marketing software used by marketers, designers, and developers across the world. Those trained in HubSpot use it to: manage and update website content, create specialized landing pages, schedule social media posts, generate more traffic to their website, set up automatic marketing workflows, enhance search engine optimization (SEO).
Sendinblue
SendinBlue is an email marketing automation software to help you with email marketing, SMS, list management and transactional emails. It also comes with a landing page builder and a gallery of responsive email templates.
Autopilot
Autopilot is a cloud-based email marketing and marketing automation software platform that helps companies connect their marketing systems, automate their marketing touchpoints, and convert more customers.
Autopilot's built-in integrations to bmarketing, messaging, lead intelligence, and CRM tools allow marketers to message consistently using email, SMS, and physical mail.
OntraPort
Ontraport is a powerful suite that enables SMEs to automate their internet marketing efforts. This service includes many useful features such as a CRM service, WordPress hosting, automated email delivery, payment processing, lead generation, and task management. Marketers can gather lead and client information from web pages, using custom-built web forms and light boxes, just using a pop-up form that shows up on a visitor's click.
Convead
Convead - is a service, that helps you increase your sales with automatic scenarios, including newsletters, widgets, popups, chat, text messages and ads.
Act-on
Act-On is a subscription-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) product for marketing automation. Its software products are for email marketing, landing pages, social media prospecting, CRM integration, lead management, webinar management, and analytics.
Drip
Drip is the world's first ECRM–an E-commerce CRM designed for building personal and profitable relationships with your customers at scale. E-commerce marketers around the world are starting to see their customers in full color with Drip features like comprehensive tracking, hyper-segmentation, and robust email marketing automation. They're graduating from typical email platforms, bloated CRMs, or overhyped marketing automation tools, and making more money with Drip.
Marketo
Marketo is SaaS based marketing automation software built to help organizations automate and measure marketing engagement, tasks and workflows. Based in San Mateo, California the company sells marketing automation software to help B2B and B2C marketers target qualified leads, produce lead-to-revenue opportunities and execute automated, personalized marketing campaigns across multiple digital channels.
Infusionsoft by Keap
Keap (formerly Infusionsoft) is a private company that offers an e-mail marketing and sales platform for small businesses, including products to manage and optimize the customer lifecycle, customer relationship management, marketing automation, lead capture, and e-commerce.
RDstation
RD Station Marketing brings together the essential tools for your company to effectively manage and automate your Digital Marketing activities: attract visitors to your website, turn them into business opportunities, close deals and monitor all your results, all in one place.
Klaviyo
Klaviyo is marketing automation platform which features email marketing combined with campaigns through social media. Klaviyo features the capability to integrate with manifold platforms and to orchestrate automated customer communication with the aim to generate business growth.
Pardot
Pardot enables organizations to track and measure the effectiveness of their communications, gain insight on user behavior, and personalize content across campaigns based on any number of specific criteria. You've heard the axiom, Right Place, Right Time. With Pardot, you can be confident that you're speaking to the right person at the right time with the right language.
Omnisend
Omnisend is an omnichannel marketing automation platform built for eCommerce. With email marketing at its core, creating effective email campaigns is easier than ever before. Using Omnisend's marketing automation, you can personalize your message with customer data, campaign engagement, and shopping behavior. Omnisend allows you to add several channels into the same automation workflow: email, SMS, push notifications, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and more.
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The profile of the vendor is not complete. Check other solutions below:
ActiveCampaign
GetResponse
Hubspot
Sendinblue
OntraPort
Convead
Content Oriented Web
Make great presentations, longreads, and landing pages, as well as photo stories, blogs, lookbooks, and all other kinds of content oriented projects.

The difference between simple sale funnel and marketing automation

To some extent they are the same. "Classical sales funnel" is a part of marketing automation.
Most companies have linear sales processes. For example: User gets on your website by a search engine, looks through the information, gives you a call, reads your offer, makes a prepayment, gets a product or service.

But in fact, the customer way is much more difficult. The first step involves information search and using keywords on Google. That is the exact moment when you can run your first ad. After that, he clicks on your ad and visits your website without leaving his contact details. Next step is the moment to show retargeting campaign. The customer clicks on the retargeting ad and gets on your website again.

At this stage he is reading an interesting article or watching a video, which sells your product natively. Finally, he submits the form and leaves his email. Having received his contacts you start targeting him with helpful content via emails.
It is important for a salesperson to give the customer a call and find out about his needs. He adds a tag and some notes to filter the customer In CRM.

Marketing automation software processes it and automatically launches another campaign, after terminating the previous one. Imagine, that you have a remote with button №1, №2, №3. When you press a button, the system launches the whole series of actions and communication chain with your leads.

Why you should use marketing automation

Marketing automation helps you to improve sales due to automation of routine processes and personalized offers. This approach helps you to measure results and understand a pulse of your business. For instance, company specialises in selling goods for kids.Target customer is a young mom seeking some kid's stuff. You might send the following email: "Best Cribs! Hot sale! Last Day!".

It is always a good idea to ask customers to fill out the date of birth and sex information fields. That makes sense because parents who have boys and parents who have girls will get relevant personalized selling proposals. In this case the ultimate personalization boosts the conversion rate at least 3 times bigger.

Marketing automation benefits

Boost productivity
Engage more customers
Enhance sales
Optimize average order value
Увеличить LTV, ROI
Increase Conversion from enquiry to purchase
Lower Customer acquisition cost (CAC)
Automate Sales process
Replace humans in some processes
Shorten Sales cycle

Marketing automation stages

The entire sale process consists of several stages. They might vary depending on the company's niche. Generally, this scheme is suitable for 99% of businesses. It is important to understand, there is no software, that will cover all stages and processes. You have to build a digital ecosystem with different softwares, that integrate with each other. Every software is responsible for its process.
Creating and managing content
This is the very first stage and almost every company implemented it. CMS (content management system) - is a software that helps you to manage your website.

Website - is a set of pages, where you place the content like a product description, product pictures and a video review of you service. Content - is a kind of information, that sells your product. This information is placed on the website. You must have a specific tool that manages the creation of the pages. There is a lot of software of the kind. Starting from a simple website builder, a landing page builder and ending up with sophisticated e-commerce platforms.
Acquisition traffic
After launching the website, the next step is to tell everyone about it. You need website visitors. You need specific tools. There are several variants: contextual advertising, targeting ads, affiliate marketing, seo and other. There is a lot of software that helps you to optimize ad campaigns. Keep in mind, this process helps you to get visitors on your website and that different software is working on different ad channels.
Traffic conversion
When visitors come to your website you must get their contact details. There is a variety of software that helps to convert users from visitors into leads. At this stage company needs to collect emails, phone numbers and get the visitors to subscribe for a chat bot or push notifications. You need to have a tool that helps to get visitors back on your website, starting from simple pop ups and ending up with helpdesk and livechat services. You must activate visitors and start conversation.
Retention in sales funnel
After a user left his contact info you can engage him with sending emails, sms, messages in a messenger or giving calls. You can have not only different communication scenarios in each customer segment, but also analyze a specific user behavior on your website and send personal offers. Marketing automation software can be helpful here.
Lead management
CRM - (Customer relationship management) is a system where all customer data are collected and kept. The information can be as follows: what purchase a customer made, number of calls a manager made, what stage of sale a customer is at. It is a heart of your salesforce. Within this system salespeople create tasks and notes about customers. This marketing automation stage helps you to turn a contact into lead and finally into a paying customer.
Payment acceptance
In this case customer personal details get into CRM directly. If you accept payments by invoice there are a great deal of services that offer the payment method. It is crucial to understand that every business process has a different payment process and there is a variety of software that can automate the process.
Analytics
After you adjusted and launched the system, the next step is to analyse the process and measure the results. There is a lot of specific software that can collect data from different sources and make nice dashboards and spreadsheets. That kind of software helps you to get a grasp on the big picture of your business.

What companies should use marketing automation

Marketing automation is beneficial for every type of business. People often consider their business, customers and process to be "unique". They think that marketing automation is not for their business.

It is totally wrong. Every kind of business is the same. You have a product, you pitch it and some information encourages a person to buy.
It is critical to understand which information makes people act. The next step is to realize how you can deliver this information into customer's mind. For this purpose there are a lot of technologies of content delivery: call making, sending email, sms, demonstrating videos and other.

Marketing automation is the best fit for the companies which are aware of selling product via information. Being certain that content marketing is working results in article publishing, recording appropriate videos, blogging etc. Once, your customer started searching some information before a purchase you must implement marketing automation in your business.

Type of business where marketing automation really works

Education business
E-commerce
Selling of Expensive services (building, lawyer, consulting etc.)
Selling frequently recurring services (beauty salon, barbershop etc.)
Selling high-priced products (real estate, yachts, professional equipment and tools)
SaaS
B2b business with a long selling cycle
Business with recurring billing

Company size for implementing of marketing automation

Small and midsized business are strongly afraid of word "marketing automation". There is a common thought it can be used only by enterprises. In fact, marketing automation is a great platform for a business of any size to leverage. It doesn't depend on the number of employees. For example, you are a psychologist and you have written a book. You don't have a sales force and other employees. In this case marketing automation will be of great help to notify people about you and sell other products like consulting, trainings, courses, lectures etc.

Another example, you work in an enterprise that sells turbines for power plants. Your goal is to email one of the C-level managers directly. You might think it's better to give your customer a call, but c-level managers are not the customers you can often call to.
Let's assume, deal value is 100$m and a billing cycle is 1 year.
It is not a good idea to give calls every week and ask annoying questions like: "How are you? What have you decided? Will you buy our product?"
To be more effective you can grasp your customers attention with retargeting ads, which show videos about you product work in a similar power factory.

Marketing automation can be useful in all types of companies, From SMB to Enterprise.

Marketing automation features

Every application has its own set of features. Each solution is focused on its own niche. Some applications cover several business processes. Below, you can find the main marketing automation features popular apps contain.
Email marketing
One of the main features of marketing automation software is sending emails. For example: a user submits a form on your website and the system starts sending emails automatically with certain intervals.

You can create nice emails in drag and drop HTML editor, embed images and links in buttons. You must have received similar amazing emails on your inbox once.
Lead management
Advanced automation services usually have customer card with all personal details for every lead.

You can create different deal stages and guide a lead within them. For example: enquiry, making an offer, signing a contract, prepayment, full payment. A responsible seller can be assigned for every deal. He can make tasks, notes and notifications and send direct emails from CRM interface.
Chat bot in messenger
Function is very similar to classical email marketing, but messages are delivered in messengers. You can create mini landing pages, subscribe people on messenger and launch marketing funnel. User will get all messages in Facebook messenger like a personalized message
Dynamic content
In customer card you can add different tags and filter audience. System can add a personalized content depending on a tag.

For example, you have gender split. You create one email campaign for male and female. Software automatically spots a recipient's gender and shows him a relevant content. This feature increases content delivery
A/B testing
You can create different sales funnels and test each for efficiency. The easiest way to check them is an email topic.
Software sends 20% of emails to define which email topic has the best open rate and send the rest 80% of emails to subscribers with the winner. You can also test the whole chain of emails . For example, user submits an enquiry and system sorts him out to one one of the segments. In segment №1 people get 5 emails, but in segment №2 users get 7 emails and invitation to watch a video. A week later you can get analytics as to which segments sells better. Such tests can be run endlessly in different variations and filter options.
Trigger-event marketing
You can send different campaigns based on a particular date. Let's say you want to start nurturing emails 2 week before the customer's birthday. On his birthday you send him a greeting along with a product offer. This feature helps you to send campaigns on specific dates like birthday, wedding anniversary etc. This is not a plain "Black Friday campaign". This is a unique campaign for each user.
CRM retargeting
When people visit you website you can show them ads on other websites. It is called retargeting. For better segmentation you can launch retargeting from your CRM system. For example, on the first deal stage "enquiry" you show the first ad. On the second deal stage "Make an offer" you start showing the second ad and turn off the first ad. That's how you increase conversion rate with the help of personal ads.
Website tracking
This feature helps you to track user's behavior on your website and sends different ad campaigns according to their behavior. It is crucial to understand that the system identifies each person who visits your page.
You will know that specific person "John Black" have visited some pages, read product description for 3 minutes and after that hit another article on your blog.
In Google Analytics you know the number people who visited particular pages, but you don't know who exactly was on which page and how you can make a call or send an email to this lead.
Lead scoring
The software assigns a particular number of points to a particular lead for any particular actions. For example: a user opened a certain email + 1 score, a user clicked on a certain link + 3 points, a user visited some particular pages + 1 point, a user is from a specific city + 10 points etc.
It's reasonable to set your measure scale according to your demands.
User lead scoring clears information as to which leads are ready to buy and who needs further nurturing.

Marketing automation software segmentation

Segmentation includes two filters: features strategy and company size. Below we consider the following features:
All in one
This approach is being used by "mature" companies, which have a long market history. This type of software combines several functions to solve many business processes. One software can contain email marketing editor, landing page builder, CRM, payment gateway, analytics and other all-in-one.
Niche solution
This approach is being used by new players on the market. They claim to be better than their mature and rich competitors. Accordingly, they create one solution, that covers one particular business process. This solution is supposed to be more functional than the their "big competitor" one. For example, they create "The best email marketing service", "The most convenient CRM", "The most powerful chatbot" etc. In most cases this type of software has more simple, more user friendly interface. However, it lacks a lot of features.
Company size
SMB (small and mid-sized business)
Some softwares are basically designed for small and mid-sized business. They are cheaper than enterprise solution.
In most cases they are nice, brand new, but less functional softwares.They might be niche solutions to cover very specific business processes.
Enterprise marketing management software
Enterprise marketing software denotes a class of software used by large organisations to manage marketing staff, assets, operations and campaigns.The software is multifunctional, but it doesn't have user friendly interface. Moreover, it doesn't provide customer support, personal account managers and onboarding team to maintain your enterprise at every implementation stage.
This type of software usually contains very specific features to show effect on a big number of leads. That is the main reason for these functions to be so costly and they are of no benefit for small businesses.

Trends in marketing automation applications

Node interface
In this software category we can see clear trend for interface changing. All leading players already has automation builder. It looks like node editor. Also, it is called visual programming interface. It is based on if/else (if this then that) conditions. There are 4 points on this automation builder.

Trigger - the reason for starting an action.
Waiting - the period of waiting after which system should do some action
Conditions - after the action and waiting the system checks the condition
Action - it is the main action, that happens after the trigger

Let's say, You are in a footwear selling business. You have a form on your website with drop down list, where a user can choose one of the fields.First option is: "I need sneakers", the second option is "I need shoes"

A customer submits a form and chooses one of the options. This is a trigger. After the system is waiting 3 hours. (this is a waiting period). and is checking the conditions. A user, who has chosen sneakers gets an email with an offer to purchase the sneakers. A customer, who has chosen shoes gets a text sms, that the shoes are no longer available. Sending an email it is an action. Sneaker or shoes it is a condition.
You can have many options.
IPaas (integration platform as a service)
It is a software like Apiway, that integrate different apps with each other. Before all vendors developed integration by themselves. The number of softwares is getting bigger, and software vendors are pressed for time to develop all integrations. This is strongly binds the consumer's hands. Marketing automation is not effective without quick data exchange between software.

Now the IPaas services are solving this problem, offering a lot of ready templates with different integrations.
This topic is very cool, but very slippery. Every company is eager to claim that they have artificial intelligence, but in reality they can own a simple if/else automation. Leading players in marketing automation are developing their AI and it will help to automate the processes.

This kind of features will help to predict the sales, and match what customer is similar to those who have already purchased. According to internal algorithms the machine will be able to understand similarities in behavior a and parameters of your customers and inform helps salespeople to prioritize customers
AI - artificial intelligence

Marketing automation software price

The prices differ. They depend on various facts. You can get the same functionality for different price, because one company focuses on an enterprise customer and another on SMB.

Basically, billing is based on a number of contacts in your subscription base.
1000 contacts - one price, 20 000 contacts other price

In SMB segment the price starts from 10$/month
In Enterprise segment stars from 500$/month

Issues with marketing automation software

Many companies usually make a lot of mistakes when they implement marketing automation in their business. This mistake costs a lot of money and time. Different type of business have different mistakes. We list most common issues in marketing automation implementations.
Mistakes in SMB implementation
  • The product has never been sold, but company is already implementing marketing automation
  • Crafting very complicated automation on the website with poor number of website visitors
  • There is no useful content to send automatically after sign up or purchase
  • It is necessary to create automation step by step. But very often people try to implement complicated, huge system and automate all the processes. You should take "Baby steps".
  • Using email marketing only
  • Using chat bots and messenger marketing only
  • Using wrong software
Mistakes in Enterprise implementation
  • Getting software which is not suitable and relevant but highly promoted by consultants. Consultants always sell what they know, what is expensive, but not what you need
  • Overpay for software brand
  • Long made decisions
  • Finding "magic people" to do all the work for them
  • Choosing reliability, but not cool features
  • Getting afraid to take risks
  • Not trusting young players in this niche
  • Buying low quality software with a few features, but with a good maintains support
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