Looking for a roundup of the best marketing automation tools? You’re in the right place!
If you’re trying to run a business, it makes sense to automate as many repetitive tasks as you can – and that’s where marketing automation software comes in.
These tools can help you to better optimize your campaigns, simplify your workflows, and take care of many of the regular day-to-day tasks involved in marketing operations for you, thus saving you a ton of time and money.
Below, we’re comparing the best marketing automation software. We’ve also included recommendations for specific situations.
Let’s get started.
The best marketing automation software – summary
- ActiveCampaign – Best marketing automation solution overall.
- Drip – Best marketing automation software for ecommerce.
- GetResponse – Best “full-stack” marketing automation tool.
- Sendinblue – Most affordable marketing automation tool and best for SMS marketing.
- Freshmarketer – Best for small to mid-size businesses.
- Omnisend – Another great email and SMS automation tool.
- HubSpot – Best automation software for larger businesses.
- Keap – An easy-to-use marketing and sales automation platform with outstanding support.
- ManyChat – Best chat marketing automation tool.
- ConvertKit – Best email marketing automation tool for content creators.
- ConstantContact – A complete email marketing toolkit with powerful, built-in automation.
#1 – ActiveCampaign
It’s a full-featured solution that can help you to automate a range of tasks from email marketing automation to customer relationship management and sales processes. Some of the most useful automation features that ActiveCampaign offers include:
- Automation mapping – This tool allows you to gain a better understanding of how your automations connect together, and it can help you identify key bottlenecks in your customer journey. It’s essentially a way for you to view all your automations in one easy-to-understand dashboard. You can edit, remove or add new automations within the automation map and generate high-level reports.
- Automation goals – The automation goals features allow you to set up and track goals for your campaigns. You can use this feature to automate things like sales and follow-up emails based on specific actions that your customers take. You can also segment your audience based upon the completion of different goals which will help to add a level of personalization to your campaigns.
- Dynamic content – With the dynamic content feature, you can ensure that your customers see the best and most optimized content for them. You can create multiple email versions with different images, CTA’s, and more and set up automations to send them to the right customers at the right time.
What’s great about ActiveCampaign is that it can really help you get a better understanding of your customer journey and optimize your processes to improve lead generation and sales. With ActiveCampaign, you can use every bit of information available to you, as this powerful software can pull information from every online and offline channel.
Pricing: Pricing plans start from $7.50/month.
#2 – Drip
Drip is an email and SMS automation software that is designed with ecommerce businesses in mind.
This software can help you create and automate campaigns that will target your customers based on their behaviors and interactions with your brand. Some of the most useful features of Drip include:
- Behavior-based automations – This feature is key for ecommerce businesses, as you can set up powerful automations based on how your customers are interacting with your site or product. You can set up different triggers such as someone viewing your products, or making a purchase so that you can automatically get in touch with your customers at key times during their shopping experience.
- Scheduled sending – This will help your businesses to save time on sending essential emails such as welcome emails, win-back, and loyalty-building messages. You can set up exactly when your customers will receive these communications, and you can even set up time zone information so that all of your customers see the emails at prime time.
- SMS automation – Unlike many other marketing automation software tools, Drip offers optional SMS marketing. For ecommerce businesses, SMS provides an instant way to get in touch with customers and it has extremely high conversion rates. With Drip, you can automate your SMS campaigns in as much detail as you do your email campaigns which is perfect for increasing engagement and improving sales.
In addition to automating your email and SMS campaigns, you can also use Drip to generate lead generation forms. It also comes with some powerful segmentation and reporting features that are useful for optimizing your campaigns.
Pricing: Plans start from $19/month.
#3 – GetResponse
GetResponse GetResponse is a full-stack marketing tool that can be used to manage every aspect of your lead generation and sales efforts. It includes features for building websites, landing pages, and sign-up forms, as well as marketing automation tools.
With GetResponse, you can build a robust base of customer data in order to inform your campaigns and automations. Then using the GetResponse visual automations building tool, you can craft the perfect automations that will help you to sell more and build relationships with your customers without any extra effort.
You can assign tags and filters based on user behavior to ensure that customers receive emails that are most suited to them at their current stage in the funnel. You can also use GetResponse to create detailed customer profiles thanks to the unlimited tags feature and the engagement scoring system.
In addition to automation features, GetResponse provides a ton of email marketing features that can help you manage everything from autoresponder emails to transactional emails. There is also live chat, paid advertising, and conversion funnel features too.
Overall, this is a great full-stack tool. If you’re looking for an all-in-one solution that can help you to supercharge your marketing campaigns, GetResponse is just what you need.
Pricing: Plans start from $12.50/month.
#4 – Sendinblue
Sendinblue is an affordable all-in-one marketing tool with built-in automation. It offers enterprise-level features at an entry-level price point.
Sendinblue comes with a ton of tools to help you with all your marketing efforts in one place. You can use it to automate your marketing campaigns and customer communication across multiple channels, including email and SMS.
Despite being a very affordable option, Sendinblue offers some advanced email automation features. For example, you can set up A/B testing to split test two different automation workflow paths to better optimize your campaigns. You can also manage the whole experience with global restart and exit conditions.
One of the coolest features of Sendinblue is its chatbot. You can create your own chat environment in minutes, personalized to match your branding, and then implement it on your site in seconds by copying and pasting the code snippet into your site header.
Once it’s installed, your chatbot will automatically field customer queries for you. You and your team can answer questions from leads in real-time. You can also streamline workflows and reduce response times by automatically assigning conversations to different chat agents based on the specific query.
Pricing: Sendinblue offers a free plan limited to up to 300 emails per day and a single user. Paid plans start from $25/month but vary depending on your monthly email volume.
#5 – Freshmarketer
Freshworks is a full-featured customer relationship management tool, that’s great for small to medium businesses.
Freshworks is broken down into three different tools which can be purchased individually:
- Freshdesk – For managing multi-channel customer service.
- Freshsales – For sales and revenue growth.
- Freshmarketer – For creating powerful marketing automations.
All these tools are extremely useful for small and mid-sized businesses, but it’s the Freshmarketer tool that really knocks it out of the park when it comes to automation.
Freshmarketer includes tools like heat mapping that can help you get an in-depth understanding of our customers and their behaviors. You can then use this information to set up chatbots that will support customers at the most crucial stages of their customer journey.
Freshmarketer also has an easy-to-use dashboard where you can get an end-to-end view of each individual customer’s journey which can be used to segment your audience and lists with detail and precision.
You can use this automation software to manage other marketing tasks such as transactional emails, and general customer communication. From inside the CRM dashboard, you can contact your customers via email and chat.
There are also features to help you manage conversion rate optimization, create landing pages and generate marketing reports. Freshworks is a great choice for businesses that are looking for a good value CRM tool that includes powerful automation features.
If you’re looking for a tool that combines sales and marketing, Freshsales Suite combines the functionality of Freshsales and Freshmarketer in one.
Pricing: All tools have a free plan, with Freshdesk having a free trial. Paid plans start from $15/month.
#6 – Omnisend
The biggest benefit to combining all that under one roof is inter-channel communication. Omnisend unifies your multi-channel marketing efforts so you can oversee cross-channel campaigns from one dashboard.
This allows you to trigger notifications on different channels in sync so you don’t have to worry about disjointed campaigns (for example, there’s no risk of mistakes like sending out a 10% SMS discount code and a 20% push notification at the same time).
It also aids with customer communication: you can drag and drop different messaging channels (like email, SMS, and push notifications) into one single workflow to provide your customers with a more consistent experience.
Omnisend is easy to get started with as well. If you don’t want to build your workflows from scratch, you can take advantage of ready-made settings to quickstart your automation implementation.
For example, there are ready-made welcome email sequences, product abandonment emails, cross-sell message templates (recommend products based on previous orders), and more.
To help you to optimize your campaign, you can take advantage of automation splits and A/B testing, and draw insights from robust analytics tools and advanced reporting features.
Pricing: Omnisend has a flexible pricing structure that depends on how many people you’re sending messages to.
You can get started with Omnisend for free (limited to 500 emails, 500 push notifications, 60 international SMS, and 250 contacts). Paid plans with much higher caps start at $16/month.
#7 – HubSpot
HubSpot is the perfect automation software for larger businesses, as it encompasses not only powerful marketing automations, but everything you would need to manage large-scale marketing campaigns, customer service, and more.
One of the main benefits of HubSpot is that it centralizes all of your marketing tasks in one easy-to-use software package. Within the marketing hub, you can perform essential automation tasks such as nurturing and scoring leads, personalizing large-scale email campaigns, and managing and analyzing bulk data sets.
With HubSpot, understanding your customer data and managing your automation workflows is extremely easy thanks to their visual workflow editor. HubSpot’s advanced segmentation features mean that you can send automated emails to your customers, but they will still have a personal touch.
In addition to automation features, HubSpot also provides a range of tools that can make marketing a lot easier. You can use Hubspot to create blog content, improve your SEO and monitor your brand mentions across social media. You can also track ads from across social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, and Linkedin.
Alongside the Marketing hub, HubSpot customers also get access to a full toolkit for customer relationship management. You can take advantage of a sales hub, service hub, CMS hub, and operations hub. Overall, it’s an extremely expansive and useful tool that is well suited to large scale marketing teams.
Pricing: Plans start from $45/month.
#8 – Keap
If you want to get started quickly without having to build complex workflows first, Keap’s Easy Automations can help. These are quick-win automations that take next to no time to set up but can still lead to big gains in your marketing and sales performance and include:
- New lead captures – Quickly set up automations to grab leads who fill out your contact form and automatically book an appointment with them.
- Automated reminders – Once you’ve set up an appointment with a customer, they’ll automatically be sent reminders at set intervals.
- Sales nurturing – Any new leads you generate are added to your sales pipeline to receive follow-up emails with promotions, offers, and deals just for them.
- Post-purchase communications – Automations will automatically send out invoice reminders and thank you emails once they’ve paid.
If you want to set up more sophisticated automations, the ‘Advanced Automations’ builder can help. It’s a drag-and-drop builder that can help you to quickly put together custom automation processes in an intuitive visual interface. Just drag different triggers, sequences, and goals onto the page.
You can integrate Keap with the rest of your marketing stack through Zapier integration.
Pricing: Keap plans start from $40 per month. A 14-day free trial is available.
#9 – ManyChat
If you feel like you’re spending too much time responding to messages on social media, ManyChat could be the tool for you. ManyChat is a powerful Chatbot software that can help you to automate your SMS and social media marketing efforts.
Chatbots are becoming a common feature of social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook, and with ManyChat, you can ensure that your customers get the help and support they need, whenever they need it and on their platform of choice.
Building chatbots with ManyChat is extremely straightforward, and you can deploy your bots to Instagram or Facebook within minutes. Overall, it’s the perfect tool for people looking to save time on their social media marketing efforts.
Pricing: ManyChat has a free plan available. Paid plans start from $15/month.
#10 – ConvertKit
ConvertKit is a ‘creator marketing platform’ and offers the best automation toolkit for musicians, artists, and other content creators.
Unlike most of the other tools on this list, ConvertKit isn’t targeting businesses – they’re targeting creators. They know their audience well and understand that creators want different things out of their marketing tools, like simplicity, affordability, and ease of use.
As such, they’ve built a tool that’s super easy to use. The visual automation platform makes creating simple automations a breeze. You can build custom paths for your funnels by linking up events, actions, and conditions to create a complete customer journey.
Once you’re done, you can look at your visual automations any time for a quick update on what’s happening (you can see how many subscribers have completed each step of the journey so far).
When you click on a form or sequence within your visual workflow, it’ll open up the content (e.g. email) in the same window, so you can customize it without having to leave the page.
If you want to keep things even simpler, you can create individual automation rules using the ‘if this, then that’ trigger function, without having to build a whole funnel.
Aside from email marketing automations, ConvertKit includes a basic landing page builder, an integrated commerce solution (create product pages, implement buy buttons and a payment gateway, and start selling), and tons of integrations with third-party tools.
Pricing: You can try ConvertKit for free for up to 1,000 subscribers. Paid plans start from $9 per month.
#11 – ConstantContact
ConstantContact makes it easy to create branded emails, build a website, sell products, and drive traffic from a single platform. Advanced automation features are built-in right out of the box.
You can automate your email marketing campaigns by sending out welcome emails, setting up drip campaigns, automatically segmenting your contacts, and more.
One cool feature is the ability to trigger specific email series based on how your subscribers interact with other emails. For example, you can automatically resend emails to contacts that don’t open them the first time around.
You can also use ConstantContact to create the sign-up forms you need to grow your list, and set up ‘text-to-join’ SMS opt-in messages.
Pricing: Start at $20 per month. A free trial and 30-day money-back guarantee are available.
What is marketing automation software?
Marketing automation platforms provide the tools marketers need to automate repetitive tasks – not just for efficiency’s sake, but also to improve the overall effectiveness of their marketing campaigns. These tools can be deployed across various channels, like email, social media, and even ad campaigns.
Without getting too complicated, it works like this: marketers can use automation software to set up automated sequences (for example, that might be a series of emails) and specify criteria to trigger these sequences (for example, joining your mailing list might trigger a series of welcome emails).
Of course, this is a very simple example. Modern-day marketing automation software tends to be very sophisticated and can do a lot more than that. It can assist greatly in many different areas, particularly with things like lead nurturing, customer communication, and segmentation.
For example, some marketing automation software solutions can track user behaviors and use this to split up your audience into several different segments. Then, AI can automatically execute different automation sequences for specific segments in order to deliver more personalized customer experiences and achieve better results.
This is easier to illustrate with an example, so let’s imagine we’ve just automatically sent a welcome email out to a bunch of people that have recently joined your mailing list.
Person A opens the welcome email and clicks through to your website (indicating they’re actively engaging with your emails), while person B immediately deletes it (indicating they’re not).
Depending on how you want to set up your automation sequences, person A may be automatically pulled into an email chain designed to continue to nurture them and move them further down your sales funnel.
On the other hand, person B may be pulled off the workflow completely so you don’t send them any more emails or move into a separate workflow designed to re-engage them.
What features does marketing automation software offer?
Most marketing automation software will offer a broad set of features to help with every aspect of your marketing operations and assist with other marketing channels (e.g. social media).
These marketing automation features include:
- Visitor tracking – Keep track of who’s viewing your business website, what pages they’re clicking on, and how long they’re spending on the page.
- Prospect activity tracking – Some marketing automation software can track your prospects’ actions as they move through your funnel and alert you or trigger certain messages when specific actions are taken.
- Lead scoring and grading – Some tools can be programmed to assign a score to leads based on factors like actions they’ve taken or their demographic data. This score tells you how close the lead is to being ready to purchase.
- Automated lead assignment – You can program many automation tools to automatically assign leads that meet certain scores to your sales reps.
- Landing page builders – Build high-converting landing pages to use in your campaigns using frontend drag-and-drop page editors.
- Dynamic content – Automatically display personalized content to your different audience segments. This can help boost engagement and conversions.
- Social media management – Manage your social media accounts, set up automatic posting, and more. Note: see our dedicated article on social automation software if social media is a priority for your business.
- Email marketing – Create autoresponders and email sequences, set up triggered emails based on purchases, site visits, etc., and more.
- CRM features – Most marketing automation software will have built-in customer relationship management features like a unified inbox, automated chatbots, and more.
- List segmentation – Segment your mailing list into groups based on user actions, lead scores, demographics, and more, then launch personalized email campaigns.
- Visual email builder – This can help you create awesome emails from customizable templates to use as part of your automated campaigns.
What should you look for in a marketing automation tool?
There are a few things to consider when you’re looking for a marketing automation tool. Firstly, you’ll need to consider whether you want an all-in-one solution or if you want a tool that focuses on just one marketing channel.
It’s well worth looking at the specific marketing automation features that are critical to your business.
For example, if you only do email marketing (and don’t ever both with social media marketing, ads, etc.), then you’ll just want to look for an email automation tool. Investing in an all-in-one tool would be overkill as they tend to cost more and you’d be unlikely to use most of the features.
Next, consider how much you want to spend and look for something that fits your budget. Marketing automation tool plans can range from a few dollars per month at the bottom end to thousands of dollars per month at the top end of the market (like Hubspot’s Enterprise plan).
Other factors to look out for are:
- Caps and limitations – Some automation tool plans may limit things like the number of emails you can send, or the number of contacts you can have in your mailing list.
- Ease of use – It’s a good idea to choose a marketing automation tool that’s easy to use, with a simple but sophisticated user interface. Ideally, it should be developer-friendly too and support things like APIs and Webhooks.
- Support – Everyone runs into problems and has questions from time to time. the best marketing automation tools will offer knowledgeable and helpful support that you can contact easily at any time.
What are the benefits and ROI of marketing automation software?
There’s a reason over half of all B2B organizations use marketing automation. Here are some statistics that show some of the biggest benefits of marketing automation software, and the kind of ROI you can expect:
- It helps you generate new leads. 80% of marketing automation users say they saw their number of leads increase after adding the software to their technology stack.
- It can help you to convert more leads. 77% of marketing automation users report an increase in conversions.
- It boosts sales productivity. According to the stats, marketing automation increases sales productivity by 14.5%.
- It reduces costs. Marketing automation leads to a 12.2% reduction in marketing overheads, on average.
- It frees up your time. Marketing automation can take care of tasks you don’t have time to do yourself, freeing up your time to focus on improving your business in other ways, driving more sales, and increasing your revenue
- It can improve your response metrics. Response metrics include things like email open rates and click-through rates. 57% of marketers say these metrics are how they measure ROI, and marketing automation tools can dramatically improve them by enabling you to better personalize your marketing messages for your different audience segments so that they’re more likely to engage with them.
- It can increase your ROI. 65% of marketing influencers say the top priority of their marketing technology strategy is to increase ROI, and automation tools can help get you thereby enabling you to drive more sales.
- The top three biggest benefits of marketing automation are lead management, more relevant messaging/content, and increased revenue, according to the data.
And that’s not all – there are plenty more stats where those came from. See our roundup of marketing automation statistics for the full list.
Choosing the ideal marketing automation software for your business
That concludes our roundup of the best marketing automation tools. The only question that remains is: which one is the best platform for your business?
As we mentioned earlier, there are lots of different factors to consider when weighing up your options, but if you want a quick answer, here’s what we’d recommend:
- Choose ActiveCampaign if you want the overall best marketing automation tool (includes email marketing, CRM, lead management tools, site tracking, and more)
- Try Drip if you’re running an ecommerce store and want to automate campaigns across multiple channels.
- Go for GetResponse for an awesome full-stack marketing automation tool that offers advanced email marketing, contact scoring, and lead segmentation
Hopefully, one of these tools will be the right fit for your needs.