Marketing serves as a key step in the sales process for creating awareness of your products or services to your potential clients, yet it can’t close sales by itself. Sales are closed by real people who get in touch with other real people who are usually decision makers.
All of the marketing automation tools we’ll present are aimed at helping sales and marketing teams in contacting potential customers, keeping in touch at the right time, persuade them to choose your company instead of your competitor and making sure they’re able to answer any questions that a customer may have before they’re ready to make a purchase. Automation helps avoid people having to do boring, repetitive tasks and instead lets them focus on taking care of clients and closing sales.
Marketing Automation Tools by Service Type
1. E-mail Marketing Tools
- What is it: E-mail is one of the most popular and effective Internet marketing tools which can be automated by scheduling emails at a specific time and date, or based on various different triggers. The simple scheduled ones are single e-mail blasts - such as a newsletter - set for a specific date. Trigger-based e-mail is usually part of a series of e-mails within an autoresponder/drip campaign. In some of these series, the first email is sent automatically when a user signs up to be part of an e-mail list, and subsequent e-mails are sent X days after the user subscribed to the list.
- Why should you use it: Scheduling e-mails or setting up autoresponders lets marketers save lots of manual work by programming an e-mail marketing software to deliver one or more messages to a target audience with ease and hassle-free. The computer automatically does the work that a sales rep could do for following up with a potential client. Additionally, advanced software lets marketers further filter their e-mail list based on who opened an email, or who clicked it and sending even more specific e-mails with a special message to those people.
Read the related post to learn more: Got a website, now what? How to generate leads online to make money
- Software that offers these automation tools:Mailchimp.com, ConstantContact, Aweber, Getresponse, iContact, VerticalResponse
Additionally, a new company called Conspire.com is seeking to help you reach the best path for any person without ever sending a connection request. It analyzes your e-mail, how often you contact other people, and uses real email interaction to help you connect with others based on your personal contacts. Basically, better than LinkedIn, where getting a real introduction to someone else is not as easy as your LinkedIn network is probably too impersonal.
2. Social Media Management Tools
- What is it: Today there’s a variety of web-based tools that let you manage and analyze your social media marketing from a single place. Such tools let you connect almost all your company’s social media profiles and immediately publish or schedule a post on all of them from a single control panel.
- Why should you use it (or not): The obvious reason for the amount of time you’ll be saving by posting from a single platform into all your various profiles. Question is, should you actually publish the same message on all platforms? The answer is: If you’re kind of lazy, yes, but if you want to be professional the answer is no.
Each social platform is different, and just pasting the same message on all of them through a single platform is not the best idea, mainly because you won’t be optimizing the content (text and images) to look their best on each profile - and that may translate into lost opportunities for your followers to engage with you.
Read related post: Should you use social media tools?
- Software that offers these automation tools: Hootsuite, Buffer, Sproutsocial.
3. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Tools
- What is it: A CRM is your central database of all your contacts, customers, leads and partners, and helps you keep track of all your relationships that your company has with everyone around you. Certain CRM software also offers certain automation tools that provide additional benefits to using your CRM. These usually include “Automated workflows/templates”, which are a series of actions that your CRM automates in your behalf based on triggers. A trigger could be something as simple as a new user signing up a online form, which may then trigger your CRM to send an e-mail and create a follow-up task assigned to your sales rep to call the prospect 7 days from signing up (Our company uses this automation tool, and it’s great!). Other triggers and activities can be created based on your software features and complexity.
- Why should you use it: Like most automation tools, this provides another great way to save time. But most importantly it helps marketing and sales team to automatically create activities that will help them keep track of their follow-up activities and where a prospect is in the sales funnel and ensure that they never forget to stay on top of their duties.
- Software that offers these automation tools: Salesforce (Enterprise accounts only), Most all-in-one marketing automation tools (see next section), Solve360
4. All-in-one Marketing & Sales Tools
- What is it: An all-in-one marketing and sales solution is usually a software solution that includes a variety of common small business features within a single platform, and avoid the necessity to access and sync independent software with different databases. For example, an all-in-one software will usually include the following features: A central CRM, E-mail marketing (including autoresponders), automation tools for scoring leads and closing sales, quotes and opportunities management.
- Why should you use it: If your small or medium business can afford an all-in-one marketing automation software, you should probably invest in it. Using such a service allows your company to have all your contacts sales and marketing information in a single place - and that’s super valuable. Using such a tool avoids having to use a separate e-mail marketing, quotes, and project management software. Prices can range from $300 to $10,000 per month based on the number of users, contacts, and features.
- Software that offers these automation tools: InfusionSoft, Hubspot, Marketo, Pardot, SalesFusion, Eloqua
5. Online Advertising Tools
- What is it: Creating and managing complex and elaborate online advertising campaigns are very time consuming, as many variations of an AD and target market must be tested in order to find the best performing AD. There are special online tools that simplify the process and let marketers create multiple AD campaigns, automatically create AD variations, and manage it all easily from a single central system, very similar to social media management platforms.
- Why should you use it: If you manage lots of campaigns in different advertising mediums, using such tools will mostly save you time and the hassle of having to manually create and manage every aspect of the campaigns. Additionally, there’s lots of valuable reporting and analytical data to help you understand and adjust your campaigns for optimum performance.
- Software that offers these automation tools: OpenX, AdButler, Adstage.io, Qwaya (for Facebook), Adcore
6. Integration & Syncing Tools
- What is it: With so many amazing online tools that serve almost all of your online marketing desires imaginable, it’s hard to find a single system that offers it all or comes pre-integrated with your other favorite applications. Now, thanks to companies full of innovation there’s now an easy way to connect almost all of your web-based software-as-a-service (Saas) applications with just a few simple clicks.
- Why should you use it: These services will save you the time, cost and hassle of having to hire a programmer to custom-integrate your various software. It’s easy to do, you need zero experience, and it’s dumb-proof.
Here are a few examples of what you can automate (not solely for marketing):
- Every time there’s a new customer in your CRM, save it on your online accounting system
- Every time there’s a new lead, add it to your e-mail marketing lists
- Save all your Gmail contacts tagged as “X” to be saved to your CRM
- Create a new customer on your CRM, for every new customer in your online shop.
- Software that offers these automation tools: Zapier, Ifttt (If this then that), Elastic.io
Other Marketing Automation Tools
Every day there are new tools and solutions that seek to solve a problem or make your life easier. If there’s any other marketing automation tool out there, please feel free to share it with us!
We encourage you to share your comments below.