Best Marketing Automation Software – 2020 Review

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Marketing automation software is designed to simplify complex or tedious marketing tasks. 

In addition to automating marketing processes, the best marketing automation solutions pull information from multiple data sources to deliver data-driven insights for campaign management. Lead generation, customer relationship building, and driving conversions are three of the top benefits of leveraging automation software for marketing. 

The complexity or simplicity of your automated marketing campaigns depends on your business type, goals, and platform you choose. 

But most marketing automation software follows the same format. You’ll set up workflows or automated triggers based on consumer behavior or stage in your conversion funnel.

ActiveCampaign

Best Overall Automation Software

Starts at $9 per month. All-in-one solution for marketing automation, email, and sales CRM. Easy to use drag-and-drop visual automation builder.

The Best Marketing Automation Software Options to Consider:

  1. ActiveCampaign
  2. Keap
  3. Act-On
  4. Sendinblue
  5. Campaigner
  6. Rejoiner

When it Makes Sense to Invest Into Marketing Automation Software

The main concept of marketing automation is simple; you can’t manually manage each website visitor, email subscriber, or customer at scale. By leveraging automation, it ensures that every unique visitor, regardless of their actions or stage in your funnel, gets the most relevant information. 

With that said, any business with a website and email list can invest in marketing automation software. 

Whether you’re selling tangible goods, digital products, or services, this software is the easiest way to move people through your sales funnel by delivering highly relevant marketing content. 

For those of you who are still in the early stages of launching a startup, it might be too soon to get marketing automation software. You can still benefit from basic marketing automation features with traditional email marketing software. 

#1 – ActiveCampaign Review — The Best Overall Marketing Automation Software

ActiveCampaign

ActiveCampaign

Best Overall Automation Software

Starts at $9 per month. All-in-one solution for marketing automation, email, and sales CRM. Easy to use drag-and-drop visual automation builder.

ActiveCampaign is the top overall marketing automation software available on the market today. In addition to marketing automation, the software has tools for email marketing and CRM, making it a one-stop-shop for your marketing needs.

More than 100,000 businesses worldwide rely on ActiveCampaign for marketing automation. 

Regardless of your technical skill level, anyone can use ActiveCampaign’s drag-and-drop visual building tool. 

Some of the top features and benefits of ActiveCampaign include:

  • Email segmentation
  • Lead scoring
  • Site messaging
  • Site tracking
  • Engagement tracking
  • Integrated forms
  • Advanced reporting
  • CRM app
  • Automation goals
  • Dynamic content

ActiveCampaign easily integrates with more than 280 different third-party apps for tools that you’re already using. Examples include Shopify, WordPress, PayPal, Zendesk, Twitter, and more. 

You’ll also benefit from exceptional customer support, including free training, free support, and free migrations from the software you’re currently using.

Here’s a quick glance at the starting price points for ActiveCampaign with an annual contract:

  • Lite — $9 per month
  • Plus — $49 per month
  • Professional — $129 per month
  • Enterprise — $229 per month

The rates increase as your contact list grows. CRM with sales automation comes free with the Plus, Professional, and Enterprise plans. Try it free for 14 days.

#2 – Keap Review — The Best For Small Business

Keap

Keap

Best For Small Business

Starts at $79 per month. Marketing automation and sales CRM designed for small businesses. Automated campaign builder and email marketing.

Keap is a marketing automation tool that’s specifically designed for small businesses. This robust software delivers advanced automation features for both marketing and sales. 

You can use Keap to create fully customized campaigns and move your leads through the sales funnel. 

With Keap, you’ll benefit from features like:

  • Powerful segmentation tools
  • Customizable messaging
  • Automated campaign builder based on user actions
  • Automated appointment scheduling
  • Quotes, invoices, and payments
  • Email marketing

The software has everything small business owners need to automate the marketing and sales process. Tasks will be automatically assigned to your sales staff based on marketing behavior. This makes it possible to follow up with leads on every channel, and automate mundane internal processes. 

Here’s a look at the starting price points for marketing automation from Keap:

  • Keap Grow — $79 per month
  • Keap Pro — $149 per month
  • Infusionsoft — $199 per month

While the price might initially seem steep for small businesses, remember, you’re getting a fully integrated CRM, in addition to marketing automation. With that said, the software might not fall into the budget for lots of small business owners. 

For a limited time, Keap is offering one-month free for all packages. 

#3 – Act-On Review — The Best For Marketing Insights

Act-On

Act-On

Best For Marketing Insights

Starting at $900 per month. Advanced marketing reports and real-time analytics for SMEs. Automatically track digital KPIs for marketing.

Act-On is a bit unique compared to the other solutions on our list. The software specializes in lead generation and nurturing using marketing automation. 

In addition to traditional automation tools, you’ll also benefit from features for email marketing, social media marketing, account-based marketing, website lead generation, CRM connectors, and martech integrations.

But marketing analytics and reporting is the area where Act-On truly shines above the competition.

The software automatically tracks digital KPIs across different categories, such as email performance, landing page conversions, traffic conversions, social media engagement, content downloads, and more.

You’ll also benefit from custom campaign reports to gain deeper insight into the impact of your automations. 

Act-On delivers real-time data snapshots related to your marketing funnel and leads. The reports include information related to potential revenue, generated revenue, and bottlenecks in your process. 

With all of this in mind, Act-On is not for everyone. Beginners and small businesses will likely find the software a bit too complex for basic needs. Plus, the price point is definitely geared towards larger organizations and SMEs with more room in their marketing budgets.

Act-On has two plans, starting at $900 and $2,000 per month, respectively. Each plan includes 2,500 active contacts, and the price increases as your list grows. 

Basic customer support is included, which gives you access to knowledge base posts, community forums, and technical support during business hours. Advanced customer support costs $6,000 or $15,000 per year, depending on your needs.

Overall, Act-On’s software is exceptional, but it’s expensive. Startups, small businesses, and even companies on the smaller side of the SME spectrum should probably look elsewhere. 

#4 – Sendinblue Review — Best Marketing Automation Features

Sendinblue

Sendinblue

Best Automation Features

Full automation features starting at $66 per month. Unlimited contacts with every plan. Omnichannel communication tools.

Sendinblue is a marketing automation tool with multiple communication methods, including email marketing, SMS marketing, live chat, landing pages, ads, and more. The software doubles as a full-blown CRM solution to build stronger relationships with your customers.

By automating tasks and campaigns with Sendinblue across multiple channels, you can essentially put your marketing process on autopilot.

Sendinblue allows you to grow your contact list with signup forms, retargeting campaigns, social media ads, and more. 

At such an affordable starting price point, Sendinblue is the most feature-rich marketing automation solution on the market today. Some of the top features and benefits include:

  • Unlimited contacts
  • A/B testing
  • Sales CRM
  • Advanced segmentation
  • Custom signup forms
  • Workflow editor
  • Page tracking
  • Real-time reporting
  • Email heat maps
  • Send time optimization
  • API integration

Here’s a look at the plans and pricing for Sendinblue’s automation software:

While Sendinblue is one of the only solutions on our list that doesn’t charge you based on the number of contacts on your list, the plans do come with a monthly email cap. So just keep that in mind when you’re selecting a plan. 

Full marketing automation features aren’t available on all plans either. You need to sign up for the Premium subscription, starting at $66 per month, to access those automation tools. 

#5 – Campaigner Review — Best For Advanced Email Automation

Campaigner

Campaigner

Best For Advanced Email Automation

Starting at $40.95 per month. Create custom email campaigns based on customer data. Build conditional workflows with behavior triggers.

While most marketing automation solutions include email marketing, Campaigner specializes in this category. It’s an ideal solution for marketers that want to use customer data to build personalized and automated interactions via email.

Campaigner has all the tools you need to capture new subscribers, nurture your leads, and convert them into paying customers. The software even has features to help you upsell along the way.

The best part about Campaigner is the visual builder. Even for advanced email automations, it’s surprisingly easy to use. 

Use Campaigner to create conditional workflows based on behavioral triggers such as purchase conditions, historical engagement, clicks, opens, and more. You’ll also be able to trigger workflows based on different types of conversion data. 

Campaigner supports conditional content, dynamic content, and custom fields for your subscribers. It integrates with ecommerce platforms like Shopify and Magento, as well.

Pricing and plans for Campaigner:

  • Starter — $40.95 per month
  • Essential — $119.95 per month
  • Advanced — $449.95 per month

The plans support up to 5,000, 25,000, and 100,000 contacts, respectively. All of the rates shown above are based on an annual contract. Month-to-month rates are about 20% more expensive. 

Unfortunately, not all of the top features are available in the entry-level plan. To access complete automation workflows and all 60+ features, you’ll need to sign up for the Advanced plan. 

#6 – Rejoiner Review — The Best For Ecommerce Businesses

Rejoiner

Rejoiner

Best For Ecommerce

Starting at $95 per month. Drag-and-drop editor and visual workflows for email automations. Ideal for targeting abandoned shopping carts.

Rejoiner is an email marketing solution with automation features designed for ecommerce shops. The software is trusted by well-known brands like Hydro Flask, Guess, and Titleist.

The tool has a drag-and-drop editor that allows you to create beautiful emails and custom automation campaigns. Rejoiner is perfect for ecommerce websites that want to leverage automated emails to target abandoned shopping carts. 

Create multi-dimensional segments based on elements like browsing behavior, email engagement, purchase history, custom tags, shopping frequency, and more. Behavioral scoring is another top marketing automation feature of Rejoiner. 

Use this software to create visual workflows, map customer journeys, and optimize engagement with email templates and A/B testing. 

Rejoiner seamlessly integrates with your ecommerce platform. You won’t need developers to get started either. 

Pricing for Rejoiner is based on the number of contacts in your list. Rates start at $95 per month, which includes 2,000 contacts and 20,000 emails. 

One of my favorite parts of Rejoiner is that all of the features come standard out of the box. Pricing is solely based on the number of contacts. Since the features are all-inclusive, the starting rates are a bit higher than other entry-level plans that we’ve reviewed. 

Methodology For Choosing The Best Marketing Automation Software

Finding the best marketing automation software for your business can be challenging if you don’t know what to look for. But certain factors allow you to make an informed decision as you’re shopping around.

This is the methodology that we used during the research process to come up with the best software on our list. I’ll explain how you can weigh these factors according to your personal needs below.

Type of Software

Not every marketing automation solution is created equally. Some software is branded as an email marketing tool, others specialize in CRM, and some are a combination of the two.

To be clear, marketing automation, CRM software, and email marketing software are not the same. Marketing automation falls within the general scope of managing customer relationships. Some email marketing tools have automation features. 

If you’re looking for an all-in-one marketing solution, make sure you find a tool that has all three of these features. 

But not every business needs an all-inclusive solution for automation. Some of you will be just fine with a basic email tool for marketing automation. 

Business Needs

The size and type of your business will play a significant role in your search for marketing automation software. Some solutions are designed for smaller businesses, while others are better for larger organizations and SMEs. 

Ecommerce businesses will also have unique needs, such as setting up triggers for abandoned shopping carts. 

Are you targeting website visitors or just email subscribers? Does the solution help you build custom forms? What about social media ads or SMS communication?

When you’re evaluating a prospective solution, make sure that it accommodates the needs of your business type and marketing goals. 

Automations

Obviously, automation is a critical component of marketing automation software—that goes without saying. But some automations are more complex than others. 

You need to find a solution that makes it easy for you to set up and build your automations with custom rules. For the most part, user behavior or some type of action will trigger an automated sequence. But the best software allows you to dig even deeper to personalize that campaign based on multiple rules and segments. 

There’s a fine line between building the best possible automations for personalized campaigns and confusing yourself during the process. 

I always recommend starting with a free trial or demo. This is the best way to get a feel for which platform you like the most when building custom workflows. 

Price

Marketing automation software ranges anywhere from $10-$2,000+ per month. In most cases, the price is based on how many contacts or subscribers you have on your list. 

However, $10 won’t give you many automation tools, and $2,000 will likely be more than you need. The vast majority of you will benefit from software starting in the $60-$200 range for full automation features. 

Small businesses and startups will typically fall on the lower end of this spectrum. Larger organizations can expect to pay a bit more.

Just remember, the price is rarely fixed. It will usually change as your list grows. For those of you paying a fixed rate that isn’t based on the number of contacts, you might be limited to how many messages or campaigns can be run in a month. 

ActiveCampaign

ActiveCampaign

Best Overall Automation Software

Starts at $9 per month. All-in-one solution for marketing automation, email, and sales CRM. Easy to use drag-and-drop visual automation builder.

Summary

Marketing automation makes your life easier. Not only does it automate basic marketing tasks, but it allows you to generate leads, nurture them, and drive conversions at scale. 

Regardless of your business size, industry, or unique needs, you can find what you’re looking for using the reviews and methodology in this guide.

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