10 Marketing Automation Platform Reviews & Everything You Need to Know to Find the Right Platform For You
Selecting the right automation platform can take your marketing to the next level — here’s a rundown of everything you need to know.
Image courtesy of Pixabay.
Are you thinking about investing in a marketing automation platform to take your marketing to the next level?
Whether you’re looking for ways to make the most out of your current marketing efforts or improve the customer experience, the right marketing automation platform can make all the difference.
Before you can make the final decision on what platform works best for your company, there are a few things you should consider. From understanding what benefits a platform can offer you to the capabilities of each, it’s something you’ll want to take time to research before diving in.
Luckily, in this article, we’ll outline everything you need to know about choosing the right marketing automation platform for your business. From the 101 courses on what marketing automation platforms do to a detailed explanation of 10 platforms, after reading this article you’ll be much more confident moving forward.
Here’s a breakdown of what we’ll cover in this article:
- What is a marketing automation platform
- Marketing automation features to know
- 10 marketing automation platforms you should check out
- The benefits of using a marketing automation platform
What is a marketing automation platform?
Marketing automation platforms are designed to help improve your everyday marketing efforts by decreasing the need for manual intervention. A marketing automation platform allows you to do everything from capturing leads and providing a more personalized experience to helping move your customers through the sales funnel.
Automation allows you to target the right customers, with the right messages, at the right time. It’s all done by capturing and analyzing customer behaviors and data across multiple channels and bringing it together to build a comprehensive, cross channel marketing solution.
Leveraging omnichannel marketing efforts can increase the average order value by 13% while also drastically increasing purchase and engagement rates.
Couple that with the decreased time and money spent by your marketing teams on on-going campaigns and it’s a no brainer.
Here are a few examples of the different marketing channels that can be integrated into your marketing automation platform:
- SMS/MMS messaging
- Social media
- Mobile push notifications
- Website lead generation
- SEO and digital advertising
- Direct mail
Reaching customers through multiple channels greatly increases your purchase and engagement rates. By utilizing an automation platform to help facilitate this communication will result in even higher profits. Image courtesy of ClickZ.
Investing in a marketing automation platform will allow you to take your current marketing efforts to the next level while freeing up time for your marketing team to expand their responsibilities. By creating workflows and triggered campaigns, the necessary messages will be automatically sent based on the interactions of your customers.
Here’s an example of how a marketing automation platform can automate communication across channels based on a user’s behavior.
A user is shopping on your website and adds an item to their cart, but shortly after the customer leaves your site and abandons their cart. This can then trigger a number of abandoned cart tactics to be sent to the user including email, remarketing, and even social media ads to encourage the user to come back and complete their purchase.
In this scenario, the abandoned cart messages are automatically triggered by the user leaving an unpurchased item in their cart. There are no manual actions that need to be done by anyone on the marketing team.
When you consider that sending a series of three abandoned cart emails can result in over 60% more conversions, abandon cart strategies are a great way to leverage automation and increase sales.
Marketing Automation Platform Features to Know
Not all marketing automation platforms are created equal. That’s why before diving into the different marketing automation platforms we’ll discuss in this article, it’s important to discuss the features that may be available from one platform to another.
While this may not be an all-inclusive list, these are a few of the most common automation features you can expect to see from one platform to the next.
Email Marketing Tactics
When looking for ways to automate current processes, email marketing is often one of the first places many companies start. That’s because it’s one of the more established practices and provides a higher ROI than many other digital tactics — making it a great candidate for automation efforts.
Email still outperforms many of the other digital marketing tactics out there. When you consider the benefits of automation and the high ROI value of email marketing, it’s the perfect place to start. Image courtesy of Smart Insights.
Nearly all automation platforms will include email marketing options. This can include sending mass emails, automating workflows based on user behaviors, improving segmentation, and even optimizing send times based on customer engagement data.
By taking real-time customer data and coupling it with the benefits of automation will take your email marketing efforts to the next level — without much intervention. Let your marketing teams focus on new innovative campaigns while your automated messages are sent to customers based on specific criteria and leave the rest to the automation platform.
Lead Nurturing Capabilities
If you’re looking to increase lead nurturing, an automation platform is a great solution. Marketing automation platforms can help improve your current nurturing efforts and help you land more sales.
For many companies, lead nurturing is an important part of their overall marketing strategy. From increasing conversion rates to building strong customer relationships, taking the time to get to know your customers can be a big difference to your bottom line.
An automation platform can help you track user behaviors, better segment your audiences, and send the right messages to potential customers at the right time. In fact, for many companies, the lead nurturing capabilities is the most valuable feature that comes with a marketing automation platform.
Lead nurturing is a top priority for many companies and is listed as one of the top most valuable features of automation platforms. Having the ability to identify qualified leads and help move them through the funnel is a big advantage. Image courtesy of Neil Patel.
Considering that 96% of visitors who come to your website aren’t ready to make a purchase, nurturing these leads is a very important task.
By sending potential customers the right messages at the right time, you will greatly increase your sales potential while improving the customer experience.
Here are a few examples of how you can use utilize the lead nurturing capabilities in automation platforms:
- Understand user behaviors and engagement
- Create welcome, loyalty, and retention campaigns
- Build drip campaigns based on user segments and interests
- Implement lead scoring to help qualify leads for your sales team
Whether your company does most of your business through eCommerce or you have sales representatives in the field — nurturing and qualifying leads is an invaluable tool.
Social Media Efforts
Another way many companies use marketing automation platforms is commonly used is to manage social media efforts. While separately each social media platform allows you to schedule and manage postings, pulling it all into one platform will make your life ten times easier.
You can quickly schedule posts, manage mentions, and see statistics across all of your social channels in one central location. With more advanced technology you can even begin to integrate cross channel campaigns and target customers based on their behaviors across a number of marketing efforts.
Here are a few of the ways an automation platform can help improve your current social media efforts:
- Plan content in advance and schedule posts weeks ahead of time
- Know what customers are saying about your brand by make social listening more manageable with quick and easy to read dashboards
- Report your monthly analytics across all social media outlets easier and more efficiently from one central location
Social media is a great way to communicate with your current customers and reach new audiences. By utilizing an automation platform, you can easily increase your reach and start bringing new customers into your database.
Finding The Right Marketing Automation Platform
When it comes time to start searching for the right marketing automation platform for your company, it can quickly get a little overwhelming. That’s why we wanted to compile a list of the top automation platforms.
We’ll take a look at the benefits each brings to the table in an effort to help you find the right partner for your needs. Just because a company says they provide marketing automation doesn’t mean their services will help you reach your goals.
It’s important to have a clear understanding of what you need out of an automation platform and choose based on the factors that affect your business. For some, just automating their email marketing efforts is enough while others are looking to leverage several automation tools within one platform.
Whatever the case may be, one of these marketing automation platforms will help take your efforts to the next level. We’ve compiled a few different options in this list, from all-inclusive platforms to some that focus specifically on one area of automation — let’s dive in.
Listrak's marketing automation platform hits all the checkboxes and more. From offering integrations for all of the platforms you need to using real-time data to help you reach the right customers at the right moment — it’s a solution you’ll want to consider.
Listrak’s automation platform provides all of the different tactics needed to take your marketing efforts to the next level. Image courtesy of Listrak.
- Good solution for all company sizes
- Pricing varies based on company needs
- Leverages advanced technology including artificial intelligence, machine learning, and predictive analytics to improve customer targeting
- Training and support is available for clients
- Email and SMS marketing
- Social media publishing
- Integrate mobile push
- Track website interactions and behaviors
- Predictive content and product recommendations
What makes Listrak stand out from the crowd? The advanced technology you get when partnering with them.
With the help of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and predictive analytics, you have the ability to dive into more customer data than ever before. As the wants and needs of your customers change, so does the content the platform serves them.
Marketo uses cloud-based software you can easily create, automate, and track marketing campaigns.
The Marketo platform allows you to easily automate your marketing efforts in one location. Image courtesy of Marketo.
- Best for mid to enterprise sized companies
- Pricing varies based on company needs
- Solutions available based on specific industries
- Campaign management
- Landing page tools
- Email marketing
- Social media management
- Account-based marketing
Marketo works well for larger companies looking to build and manage their marketing efforts in one location. From email automation to account-based marketing efforts, Marketo offers a wide range of solutions.
With a simple drag and drop email editor and a simple automation builder, automating your email marketing has never been easier than with Automizy.
Easily create automated campaigns to engage your customers with advanced email marketing campaigns. Image courtesy of Automizy.
- Used specifically to automated email marketing
- Best for small to mid-sized companies
- Pricing varies on list size and can range from $9 to $115+ depending on your needs
- Test subject lines with their free subject line tester tool
- Drag and drop email creator
- Automation workflow editor
- Website behavior tracking
- A/B testing available
If you’re looking for an intuitive, effective way to improve your current email marketing efforts Automizy is a great solution. You’ll quickly see an increase in open rates and engagement across all of your email marketing efforts.
Constant Contact is an automation platform that specializes in email marketing and can help you easily improve your current email marketing efforts.
Constant Contact is a great solution for companies just starting out into marketing automation. With a heavy focus on email, it’s a good option for smaller businesses looking to save time and improve customer interactions. Image courtesy of Constant Contact.
- Used for email marketing, but also has a few additional capabilities
- Best for small to mid-sized companies
- Price ranges from $20-$335 per month based on list size and features
- Email templates
- Create trigger messages
- eCommerce emails
- Facebook and Instagram ads
- Google ads
Through social media and Google ads, Constant Contact provides you with a few additional marketing automation options to help grow your website traffic that will in turn grow your email lists.
Getting your digital ads running to their fullest potential can be a complex process, but with AdRoll you can easily run and manage ads across multiple channels.
With the help of AdRoll, you can take comfort in knowing that your customers are seeing only the most relevant content. The more your ads relate to your customer, the more likely they are to click and eventually purchase. Image courtesy of AdRoll.
- Designed to automate digital advertising efforts
- Best for small to mid-sized companies
- Pricing varies based on specific needs
- Digital advertising
- Dynamic ads
- Product recommendations
With the help of this platform, you can reach the right customers, at the right time, in the right location via digital ads. The more you know about your site visitors and potential customers, the more likely you are to convert them.
Shoelace helps you to automate your digital advertising to improve customer journey marketing.
Automate your process and improve the customer experience by providing them with the right ads at the right time. Image courtesy of Shoelace.
- Used to automate digital advertising
- Pricing can range from $79 – $1,500+ per month based on the featured used
- Improves ad placement to provide only the most relevant content
- Customer journey retargeting
- Integration with Shopify and Shopify Plus
- Facebook advertising
- Advanced segmentation and personalization
When working with Shoelace, the team helps simplify the process and automate your digital advertising. You can expect to see higher engagement and ROI when working with Shoelace to automate your advertising.
If automating your social media account is a top priority, Sprout Social is a platform you should consider.
Sprout Social lets you manage and automate your social media channels in one place. With the help of this platform, you can spend more time developing social media campaigns and less time monitoring your pages. Image courtesy of Sprout Social.
- Good solution for companies of all sizes
- Pricing is based on the features used and number of social profiles
- Helps take your social media efforts to the next level with advanced capabilities
- Implement chatbots
- Automate scheduling
- Manage social listening
- Message prioritization
So if you’re looking for a platform that cuts through the clutter and lets you focus solely on your social marketing efforts, Sprout Social is a great choice.
Buffer is another social media automation platform for those companies looking to expand their reach through social platforms.
With Buffer you can manage your social media efforts in one location. From creating tailored posts and scheduling to tracking analytics. Image courtesy of Buffer.
- Specializes in social media automation
- Price ranges from $15-99$ per month based on the number of accounts, users, and posts
- Buffer works well for companies of all sizes
- Social media dashboard for all channels
- Content development, scheduling, and publishing
- Content calendar for a comprehensive view
Buffer is a great solution for companies that are looking for a social media automation platform that encourages collaboration across team members. By allowing multiple team members to create, edit, schedule, and manage posts in one platform — it’s an extremely collaborative platform.
With LeadSquared you can develop meaningful interactions and move customers through the sales funnel.
LeadSquared allows you to send relevant content to customers across various platforms based on previous interactions for better results. Image courtesy of LeadSquared.
- Works well for all company sizes
- Pricing can range from $150-$2,000+ per month based on contract details
- Utilizes and integrates with various marketing channels
- Email marketing
- Dynamic content
- Landing pages and forms
- Lead scoring and grading
- Automated alerts and tasks
If you’re looking to expand your marketing automation efforts and quickly move customers through the sales funnel, LeadSquared is a great solution for your company.
Act-On will help you land more sales with simple automation that helps you reach customers on a more personalized level across multiple marketing platforms.
Act-On let’s you manage and schedule interactions with your customers through a simple to use dashboard — allowing you to quickly and easily create strategic campaigns. Image courtesy of Act-On.
- Works best for large and enterprise brands
- Pricing ranges from $900-$2,000+ per month based on specific features and number of users
- Offers a number of integrations to help expand your marketing even more
- Email marketing automation
- Lead generation
- Social media marketing
- Account-based marketing
If you’re looking for a platform that provides you with various integration options and a lot of room to grow — Act-On is a platform to consider.
The Benefits of Marketing Automation Platforms
The benefits of marketing automation are plentiful. For many companies, the reasons for using automation can vary from company to company. Whether it’s to see a higher ROI to acquire new customers or leverage the data management and reporting capabilities — marketing automation platforms cover it all.
No matter your goals, marketing automation can help your team meet them. From increasing ROI to improving campaign management, the right automation platform will go a long way. Image courtesy of Finances Online.
In this section, we’ll cover a few of these benefits in more detail, but here’s a quick glance at some of the benefits you can expect to see when using automation as part of your marketing strategy:
- Decrease time spent on recurring campaigns
- Build a more personalized customer experience based on customer data
- Move customers through the sales funnel and increase your bottom line
- Market to customers based on where they fall within their personal journey
- Better measure campaign success with detailed reporting
- Increase consistency and build stronger brand awareness across all channels
Let’s take a closer look at a few of the most sought after benefits of marketing automation platforms.
Automate Your Current Process
This may come as no surprise, but simply having the ability to automate your current marketing processes is one of the biggest benefits to an automation platform.
According to one study, 82% of respondents agreed that marketing automation can make them more efficient.
The problem is that for many people when they think of automation, they think email marketing, but it’s so much more than that. Yes, automation is a great solution for your email marketing needs, but your company can benefit from using it in many other areas of your business.
Across the board, automation will help your team make the most out of their time. When you equip even the smallest marketing team with the right tools, the results can be better than you could have ever imagined.
When looking at the top marketing tactics used by small businesses, you can quickly identify areas that can be automated. By integrating your social media, email, SEO, and more into an automation platform, your teams can start doing even more. Image courtesy of Statista.
For most companies, there is an opportunity to automate their most used marketing tactics. With the help of your marketing automation platform can easily integrate your current email, social, SEO, and even direct mailing efforts.
Here are a few examples of things you can easily automate to save time and money:
- Sending emails triggered emails such as welcome messages and shipping details
- Social media publishing, monitoring, and analytics
- Automatically send SMS and MMS messages such as appointment reminders
- Using customer data to identify and personalize customer segmentation across platforms
- Improve lead nurturing by marketing to customers based on where they fall within their customer journey
- Simplify your monthly tracking and analytic reports with easy to read data management dashboards
While you may not do it all at once, integrating automation into your already well-established marketing efforts will help open up more time for new marketing efforts. Take that opportunity to expand your current marketing and find new ways to grow and improve your customer experience.
You’ll Have More Sales and Qualified Leads
Automation platforms are a great area to increase sales and identify more qualified leads. Whether your company relies heavily on sales representatives to complete sales or sending people to your eCommerce store — leads are important to your growth.
Using a marketing automation platform will allow you to not only attract new leads, but can also help you nurture them into purchasing customers.
Marketing automation can make a big difference in the quality of your leads. Better leads equals more sales and higher ROI — making automation a no brainer for most companies. Image courtesy of Salesforce.
Lead nurturing is a big deal. When you consider that on average it can increase your sales opportunities by 20%, it’s well worth the investment.
The right marketing automation platform will help you better engage your leads and quickly see a return on your investment.
Of course, there’s always a portion of leads that just aren’t worth investing in. Luckily, automation platforms can help you qualify leads based on their interactions and make sure you’re only targeting the most relevant people.
For example, If someone signed up for a coupon one time and hasn’t interacted with your brand since, it’s not worth investing much time and effort into converting them. On the other hand, if someone is frequently engaging with your messages and downloading resources — they are very likely to convert into a purchasing customer.
Marketing automation platforms can help you pinpoint those leads that are much more likely to convert so you can spend your time where it matters.
Better Leverage Your Data, Analytics, and Reporting
Beyond simply helping to automate your current processes, marketing automation platforms are great for improving your data management, analytics, and reporting efforts. Most platforms offer a simple to use reporting tool that lets you quickly identify what is work and what’s not.
While it may vary for each platform, these are a few common data and analytic points you can expect to see with marketing automation:
- Website analytics including site visits, conversions, and browsing behaviors
- Social media engagements and audience growth
- Email open, click-through, and conversion rates
- Customer data including funnel stages and engagement rates
Having this type of customer data is a powerful tool. It allows you to truly understand exactly what your customers are engaging with and where you may need to make adjustments to your current tactics.
Learning this insight about your customers is an invaluable tool in today’s marketing world. When you consider that 52% of customers are likely to switch brands if the content they are sending isn’t personalized — there’s a lot at stake.
Getting to know your customers on a more personalized level and then using that to market to them is well worth the effort. From increased sales to more repeat customers, personalization is vital to keeping customers interested. Image courtesy of Neil Patel.
Marketing automation platforms are making it easier than ever before to take advantage of the benefits that come with personalization. Some of these platforms will actually use advanced technology to handle a lot of the steps that go into personalization for you.
With the help of the right marketing automation platform, you can continue to evolve your marketing efforts across the board and create a more personalized experience. You’ll quickly notice that your metrics will improve and the investment will payoff.
Make The Most Out of Your Marketing Automation Platform
The first step to improving your marketing automation efforts, is to choose the right platform. There’s no one size fits all when it comes to the different platforms and capabilities available — it all depends on what you’re looking to get out of it.
Whether that’s a full marketing automation toolbox or just something to help ease the burden of your email and social media efforts, there’s an option out there for you. By having a clear understanding of what marketing automation is, how it can benefit you, and what each platform can do for you will help you make the best possible choice.