Review: Choosing the Best Marketing Automation Platform for Your Small Business



Marketing Automation tools can be categorized into three different groups:

 

  1. The first, most basic group are the tools that only offer email marketing software.

  2. The second group are platforms that offer email marketing software plus other features that are useful to small businesses.

  3. The third, top tier group, includes features that are useful for teams of people.

 

Statistics show that most small businesses only utilize a scant 10% of top tier marketing automation platform’s capabilities.

 

What this means, is that one of the most common problems when choosing a marketing automation platform, is choosing the wrong tool.

 

If you’re a small business who chooses a top tier platform, but only uses 10% of it, then you’re wasting 90% of what you’re paying for the monthly cost of the tool.

 

This post will help you make a better choice by evaluating three of some of the most popular marketing automation platforms in the world:

 

  1. GetResponse

  2. ConstantContact

  3. InfusionSoft

Be aware of these common small business pitfalls

We’ve already mentioned the problem about small businesses using top tier marketing automation platforms, but wasting their money by not utilizing the full functionality of the tool. Here are other common mistakes businesses - in particular small businesses where the owner is the marketer - make when they select the wrong tool:

 

  • Not being able to master the learning curve of top tier tools. Learning how to use these tools can take up a lot of time, and if you are new at online marketing, you will find it exceptionally hard to master. This is probably the greatest reason why small businesses only use a small per cent of the tool’s capabilities. If you insist on using a top tier platform, you may need to consider hiring some help.

  • Choosing a tool you’ll outgrow before the next three years. When you select a platform, you’ve got to make sure you won’t outgrow it too fast. This is why planning is essential.

  • The tool doesn’t integrate with the other software you already use. If you don’t use any other software, kudos to you. But if you’re paying for other software that needs to be integrated with the marketing automation tool of your choice, make sure it’s possible to do so, otherwise you’ll be wasting your money.

  • Thinking the tool is going to maketh the marketing. The tool is just a tool. The real power is the strategy that is implemented by the tool. Don’t think the tool is going to be responsible for creating brilliant marketing results if the planning wasn’t there to begin with.

  • Not having a strategy before selecting the platform. This ties in with the point before. You can only really select the right tool if you’ve done your due diligence first by having a marketing plan. This is because each tool offers varying features and you’ll need to choose the one that can implement your strategy.

 

Statistics suggest that the choice of a marketing automation platform needs to be based on two aspects to ensure you don’t waste your money:

 

1. Ease of use.

 

EffectivsVsDifficult.jpg

According to an Ascend2 study, 30% of marketers find marketing automation tools hard to figure out.

 

2. The tool that can best implement your marketing strategy.

Which tool is the easiest for small businesses to use?

To answer that question, we need to slot each of the tools we’re evaluating into the right group.

 

InfusionSoft is part of the top tier group, and is ideally used by companies who already have teams in place for marketing, sales and CRM. Having said that, their onboarding fee of $999 includes coaching, so you’ll know how to use the tool. Still, if it’s only you - the owner of the company - doing the marketing, you probably won’t use all the features, which makes going with InfusionSoft a waste of money (all $199 per month of it) until your business has grown.

 

That leaves us with GetResponse and ConstantContact; both tools that are categorized in the mid-level group, and perfect for small businesses. Not only are they affordable, but they offer the kind of features that can be utilized fully by entrepreneurs.

 

GetResponse was known for years as the “world’s easiest email marketing software”, and their marketing automation platform follows suit:

 

GR login screenshot.png

As you can see with this screenshot of the dashboard, GetResponse makes marketing automation easy.

 

Now that we’ve narrowed down the choices, it’s your marketing strategy which should determine which tool is best for you.

 

So let’s check out each of the features of all the tools, so we can make a fair comparison.

Common features GetResponse, ConstantContact and InfusionSoft offer

All three tools offer:

 

  • Email marketing

  • Email templates

  • A/B testing

  • Email automation

  • Analytics

  • Segmenting and tagging

 

That’s where the similarities end.

Major differences between the three platforms

 

 

GetResponse (Pro)

ConstantContact (Email Plus)

Infusionsoft (Essentials)

Marketing campaign workflows

Yes

No

Yes

Build landing pages

Yes

No

Yes

Call to action form templates

Yes

No

Yes

Webinars

Yes

No

No

Shopping carts integration

Yes

No

Yes

Website tracking

Yes

No

Yes

Create a poll

No

Yes

No

Create a survey

Yes

Yes

No

Facebook promos

No

Yes

Yes

Scoring

Yes

No

Yes

Funnel analysis

No

No

Yes

CRM integration

No

No

Yes

Sales teams notifications

No

No

Yes

Lead management

No

No

Yes

Event marketing

No

Yes

Yes

Collect donations

No

Yes

No

Coupons

No

Yes

No

Pricing per month

$49pm

$45pm

$199pm

One-time fee

No

No

$999

 

 

Marketing campaign workflows

This feature makes planning email marketing campaign workflows a breeze.

 

bg_easy_2.jpg

GetResponse’s email automation workflows are simple to use.

Offered by

  • GetResponse

  • InfusionSoft

Landing page builder

If email marketing is the path to online success, then landing pages are the stepping stones.

Offered by

  • GetResponse

  • InfusionSoft

 

landing-pages-and-facebook-13-728.jpg

InfusionSoft’s landing page builder.

Sign-up form templates

Landing pages would be rendered null and void without sign-up forms to collect email addresses. Having templates make your life a lot easier.

Offered by

  • GetResponse

  • InfusionSoft

Webinars

Hosting webinars is a great way to attract new business.

 

GetResponse-webinars.png.jpg

GetResponse is the only tool out of the three that offers webinars, and all that goes with the planning of one.

Offered by

  • GetResponse

Shopping carts integration

Important if you have an ecommerce business.

Offered by

  • GetResponse

  • InfusionSoft

Website tracking

Monitor and learn from customer behavior. Understand what went wrong if the shopping cart was abandoned.

Offered by

  • GetResponse

  • InfusionSoft

Creating polls

Engage prospects with polls that can be distributed to social media or added to your website.

 

poll.png

ConstantContact is the only tool to offer poll-making functionality.

Offered by

  • ConstantContact

Create a survey

Find out stuff from people by using a survey that can be distributed by email, added to your website, or via social media.

Offered by

  • GetResponse

  • ConstantContact

Facebook promotions

Offer promotions and run campaigns to get more Facebook followers.

Offered by

  • ConstantContact

  • InfusionSoft

Event marketing

Send out invitations and manage event responses.

Offered by

  • ConstantContact

  • InfusionSoft

Collect donations and offer coupons

If you’re a charity, you’ll appreciate the donation collection feature. Offer coupons to attract prospective business.

Offered by

  • ConstantContact

Funnel analysis, CRM, sales team notifications, lead management

These features are only offered by InfusionSoft.

Conclusion


Marketing automation tools can be categorized into three different levels. The best fit for small businesses is a tool that resides mid-level like GetResponse, because the top tier tools include features that small businesses often don't require.

 

Be aware of the most common mistakes made by small businesses when purchasing a marketing automation tool. The tool you choose should be easy to use and chosen for it's ability to implement your marketing strategy.

 




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