Marketing automation has become something of a buzzword in the digital marketing arena over the past few years, and with good reason. Some of the marketing automation tools out there can save individuals, teams and companies significant time on their marketing efforts, but often the perception is that it’s an expensive exercise.
That’s not necessarily true, though, and these 5 options show just how affordable automation can be.
MailChimp is an email-specific tool that allows you to collect and manage email addresses, create subscription forms, create email campaigns and conduct A/B testing, among other things. It is not only low in cost, but there is an ‘always free’ option for smaller companies and startups who are just building their lists. This is definitely a must-have for companies that use email marketing or newsletters as a part of your digital marketing strategy.
If you are using social networks as a part of your online marketing efforts, then Hootsuite, which allows you to manage up to three social networks free (and more for a small fee) is an essential tool. Create and schedule posts, include pictures and see all of your social media feeds in one place. A major time saver and a must in the social media age.
If you are looking for a combination of a CRM-type of customer management system, email marketing, landing pages and analytics (among other features) then Leadsius is a great choice. There is a free option for one user, with up to 2,500 contacts, and low cost options for bigger team and lists starting at under USD 300 per month.
If you are one of the millions of people using WordPress to create and manage your website, then the ORBTR plugin is a great marketing automation tool that you can plug directly into your site. The free version notifies you by email of new and returning leads, offers some email marketing and other features, while paid options include additional features and support, starting at less than USD 100 per month.
Sales Autopilot is another ‘kitchen sink’ marketing automation tool that offers a little bit of everything. Lead generation, email marketing, text messaging, process management and more, all in one place. There are free packages available with limited numbers of emails, so you can test out the system, but if you plan to send more than 400 emails per month, you will need to opt for a paid package.
Getting Started With Marketing Automation
If you have never used marketing automation tools before, then you will probably find that it takes a few tries before you find a tool that works for you. It is a good idea to test the water with free versions until you find some that you like, and then upgrade. Also, remember that the trick to successful marketing automation is to identify one or two tools that save you time – not to fill up that time with dozens of different tools! There will be some overlap, but there are also a variety of integrations available for various tools, so it may be possible for you to even plug them into each other. You may also discover that different tools work better for different website platforms.
Marketing automation is a great advance in digital marketing, and if you can find the right tools and get the right balance, you can reap big rewards. There is an element of trial and error and new tools all the time, but it is well worth exploring your options.