Internet Marketing
Published March 05th, 2016 by

Marketing Automation Software for Small Business

Marketing is one of the most important aspects in a business, especially in a growing company. The often complex tasks and responsibilities involved in capturing the right market for your business and engaging ideal clients also make it the most challenging area as well. For small business marketers with a growing number of marketing channels and opportunities to manage, using a combination of basic programs like Outlook, Word and Excel spreadsheets will no longer be sufficient. This is when marketing automation software becomes the right solution to augment your marketing efforts.

What is Marketing Automation?

Marketing automation is a process and a broad range of technology that automates repetitive marketing tasks and streamlines marketing workflows to improve operational efficiency and achieve sustainable revenues. Beyond email marketing, marketing automation software has now evolved into an integrated marketing platform that provides tools and applications for data collection and storage, marketing campaign development, revenue analysis and reporting.

Marketing automation goes hand in hand with customer relationship management (CRM). It nurtures prospects and clients by targeting them with relevant and personalized content based on attributes like buying interests, personal preferences and online behavior.

Basic Features of Marketing Automation Software

Small to medium-sized businesses and enterprises need marketing automation software to manage a variety of marketing channels and processes. To achieve marketing goals, marketing automation software requires these three main features: a marketing database, a marketing engine, and an analytics engine.

A central markMarketing Automation software for small businesseting database is a place where all the essential marketing data relevant to current and potential customers are stored. Marketing data may include detailed reports and history of customer interactions, activities and behaviors.

Marketing processes and business conversations done through online and offline channels need an environment where it can be managed comprehensively. Having an engagement marketing engine allows marketing automation software to streamline customer interactions efficiently.

Lastly, marketing is a dynamic and complicated process that involves a variety of approaches and tools. To measure the effectiveness of a marketing campaign primarily on its impact on ROI and revenue, the marketing automation software’s analytics engine effectively presents which approaches work, which didn’t, and what aspects can be improved.

Essential Functions of Marketing Automation Software

Marketing automation software is equipped with unique sets of features that allow them to perform different marketing tasks and functions. These functions may include but are not limited to email marketing, campaign management, prediction and scoring, mobile and social media marketing, and marketing analytics.

With an email marketing feature, marketing automation software can construct personalized emails, automate email responses, and ensure inbox delivery. It is also capable of pre-defining steps of a marketing campaign and initiating sales-related alerts via email, RSS, SMS and other types of media. It also helps in understanding client preferences and online behavior by tracking recency and frequency of web page visits, and by identifying keywords and topics they are engaged and interested in. With social engagement capabilities, it can also publish polls and referral programs in your website, emails, landing pages and social media accounts.

Another important function of marketing automation software is to build and manage a marketing lead database. It builds an organized list of target leads and contacts and assigning filters based on demographic and company attributes. This helps the companies gain holistic insight to refine current marketing strategies to produce better results.

Marketing automation software is also useful for marketing campaign and program management. It provides tools to analyze web performance, and campaign revenue and ROI. This helps in identifying which marketing activity generates the greatest return thus improving future marketing budget allocation.

Is Marketing Automation Software Beneficial for Small Businesses?

Large companies and enterprises have long known the value of marketing automation for improved productivity and higher revenue. The current trend, however, shows that small and medium-sized businesses now occupy the largest segment of marketing automation software users. Business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) industries have already adopted marketing automation to maintain customer relationships across the sales pipeline.

Small businesses spend the majority of their operating hours doing marketing activities with the use of various online tools and offline channels. With marketing automation software, small businesses can limit marketing time, cost and effort by automating the marketing process including those activities relating to search engine optimization (SEO), online advertisements, and e-newsletters.

Marketing employees, managers and consultants also benefit directly from marketing automation software by increasing task efficiency and reducing the possibility of human error. With its integration to the client relationship management (CRM) software, it allows marketing and sales teams to align themselves with marketing interactions and sales engagement activities that lead to successful results.

Challenges of Implementing Marketing Automation

Adopting marketing automation can be challenging, especially for small businesses. Despite the availability of low-cost software, powerful marketing automation features and services may come with a high price. When selecting the right automation software, it is therefore important to carefully study your marketing requirements along with your budget.

Aside from financial coemail marketing automation for small businesssts, implementing marketing automation and reaping its benefits take time. It may take as long as six months before the marketing staff can fully understand the ins and outs of your chosen marketing automation software. Thus, it is necessary for the organization to uphold patience and dedication when completing the software integration process.

Not all businesses that implement marketing automation have success stories. Some businesses fail to meet their marketing goals even with the use of marketing automation systems primarily because of under-utilization of helpful functionality and features. To make the most out of this important investment, it is necessary that all people involved in the sales and marketing process have the commitment to use the relevant tools in all business transactions. Otherwise, your marketing automation software will be nothing more than a sophisticated email sending program.

Best Marketing Automation Software for Small Businesses

Marketing automation software for small businesses can range from niche marketing tools that only work on a single, specific area to marketing automation suite products which offer multiple marketing features and functionality. Based primarily on unique business needs and budget, one should decide which product provides the best tools and achieves the greatest results.

Here are ten marketing automation platforms small businesses can use to build and execute more effective marketing campaigns.


ActiveCampaign is a marketing automation platform with specialized email marketing functionalities. It allows businesses to personalize email marketing campaigns based on contact preferences. It also ensures maximum deliverability by managing authentications and internet service protocol (ISP) relations. As an all-in-one marketing platform, it also has essential marketing automation and CRM features to automate client engagement activities, track sales processes, and nurture important deals.


With its inbound, outbound and advanced marketing automation properties, Act-On provides a cloud-based platform that equips small and mid-sized marketing teams to effectively acquire new leads, build customer loyalty, and nurture business relationships. Some of its essential features include search engine optimization for online findability, social media marketing for social lead generation, personalized email creation and delivery, and lead nurturing and scoring.


HubSpot Workflows, HubSpot’s marketing automation platform, primarily allows you to build automatic workflows basing on your marketing goals and customer attributes. It also has an advanced lead generation tool to provide you with a constantly growing list of prospective customers. It is also equipped with features to send targeted emails and show personalized websites determined by the client’s interests and behaviors.


Also a small business CRM, Infusionsoft is an integrated sales and marketing software that offers many marketing automation features such as email marketing, lead capture, and lead scoring. With an integrated CRM system, it allows users to send personalized emails using the existing CRM client database.

Infusionsoft’s Campaign Builder is also an essential marketing automation tool. It automates routine marketing processes and follow-up campaigns. Also with its own shopping cart feature, businesses can build professional landing pages and web forms without the support of dedicated IT personnel.


Marketo provides small companies and starting businesses with a simple B2B marketing automation platform that includes all the necessary customer engagement features. Its Engagement Marketing Platform has impressive marketing capabilities that include targeted campaigns, lead nurturing, multi-channel engagement, integrated social media marketing, and more.


ONTRAPORT is an outstanding business automation solution that integrates marketing automation software with powerful CRM features. With ONTRApages and ONTRAforms, it provides a platform to construct responsive lead capture pages and customizable web forms that appear when visitors click a button or spend a certain amount of time on your page. In addition to email marketing campaigns, it also has a service to send direct-mail postcards that can be utilized for appointment reminders and special offers.


Pardot by Salesforce provides effortless email marketing tool including its intuitive and easy email builder. It has a wide selection of responsive email design templates with custom design options and settings for scheduling email sending. Like most marketing automation software, it also has powerful features for lead generation, lead management, and ROI reporting and analysis.

Sales Autopilot

Designed for e-commerce merchants, Sales AutoPilot has an email marketing component, an e-commerce platform, multi-channel communication module, and a customer management feature. With a free subscription option, this low-cost marketing automation software utilizes surveys, list segmentation, and A/B split testing when executing marketing campaigns. It also has capabilities for text messaging, telemarketing and direct mail.


Spokal is known for its integration with WordPress to enhance your website’s SEO performance and its compatibility with MailChimp and ActiveCampaign for email marketing. It has a Twitter Builder to grow your social media follower base. It also monitors keyword effectiveness to determine how your website content is ranked in search engines.


Yodle is a comprehensive marketing and advertising software that offer the most useful marketing tools in one integrated package. It goes beyond email marketing and provides a platform to establish your company’s web presence with a search engine and mobile optimized website. It then submits your business information to over 50 directories including Google Maps and Yelp. It also helps you create and maintain a Facebook Business page with review gathering capabilities.


business optimization software for small businessWith smaller budgets and human capital, small businesses can gain enormously from the use of marketing automation software. By automating routine tasks the business can free up personnel to focus on higher ROI activities. Better yet, integrated analytics capabilities enable the small business to identify which customers and which activities generate the most revenue, thus ensuring that resources are allocated to the highest profit producing activities.

We hope this brief outline was helpful in getting you started on the path of implementing marketing automation software for your small business. Stay tuned for more!

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