Three classes of marketing automation tools and how they can help your business

Post written by Norah Abraham
On Thursday, January 19th, 2017

#1: Beginner marketing automation tools

How to spot them

These tools will focus on the term “email marketing”. The best way to identify them is by 1) understanding how they are different to the other more advanced types of tools, and 2) price. These marketing automation tools are the most affordable out of all the types of tools.

Major features

  • Email marketing and autoresponders
  • Email templates
  • Analytics

Who are they best suited to?

These beginner automation tools are best suited for online entrepreneurs who are just starting out and have come to the conclusion that they need an email marketing software provider.

Cost

They range between $10 and $20 a month.

Pros and cons

They are a lot more affordable than any of the other tools, but it’s likely you’ll still need to invest in another option for landing pages, because generally speaking, every email campaign needs a targeted landing page and these beginner tools don’t provide them, which means you’ll eventually have to spend more on yet another service provider.

The other problem with starting out on this very basic level, is if the tool does not provide an intermediate option for when your business grows at a later stage, so when choosing a beginner tool, make sure you can change your option at a later date. An example of a beginner tool that gives the option to progress to an intermediate option later on, is GetResponse. Most of them do not include this benefit.

#2: Intermediate marketing automation tools

How to spot them

These intermediate-level tools are built for the more advanced small to medium sized business owner and can save a huge amount of time and effort, as many mundane online marketing tasks can be automated.

These tools will feature the phrase “marketing automation”, and can be identified by price: they are more pricey than the beginner email marketing tools, but a lot less expensive than advanced platforms.

Major features

The difference between each tool on this level, is business need. One tool will be a good option for charitable organizations because they’ll offer a way to collect donations, and another tool will offer shopping cart abandonment workflows for e-commerce stores.
But what the most popular tools in this level all consistently provide are:

  • Email marketing automation, autoresponders and analytics
  • Email templates
  • Landing page builders
  • Segmenting and tagging

Who are they best suited to?

These tools are built for the small business owner who wants more advanced marketing automation features than just email marketing. It is usually the business owner who will work on the system.

Cost

They usually range between $45 and $129 per month.

Pros and cons

Out of all the tools, these provide the best value for money for the small business owner, and depending on the type of business, for the medium sized organization too. But…as with any tool, you’ll have to put in the time and effort to learn the tool or you won’t get full use out of it.
It’s best to take a free trial – if offered – of how the tool operates from the inside. This will give you an idea of how difficult it’s going to be to learn.

#3: Advanced marketing automation tools

Advanced platforms are the Big Boys of marketing automation; also offering collaboration tools for sales teams and customer relationship management.

How to spot them

They’ll usually sport the terms, “sales teams” or “CRM”, together with “marketing automation”. They also usually charge an onboarding fee in addition to the monthly payment.

Major features

Just as intermediate tools offer different functions, so do advanced platforms. But they usually all provide:

  • Email marketing automation, autoresponders
  • Email templates
  • Landing page builders
  • Scoring, segmenting and tagging
  • Advanced analytics and reporting
  • AB testing
  • CRM functionality
  • Sales team collaboration

Who are they best suited to?

They are best suited to the more established company who already boasts sales, social media and CRM teams.

Cost

The least expensive tool on this level starts at $199, while the heftier ones will set you back $895 per month. You’ll also need to pay an onboarding fee.

Pros and cons

It’s a fact that smaller businesses who opt for these top level tools usually waste their money because they don’t have the time or resources to learn all the functionality. In fact, most businesses using these advanced tools only utilize 26% of what the tool is capable of.

Summary

Your choice of marketing automation tools boils down to the 3 different types of platforms:

1. Beginner tools only provide email marketing features. As you progress in your online marketing abilities, you’d need to invest in other tools to support your email marketing initiatives.

2. Intermediate platforms have been built for small to medium sized businesses who require more advanced marketing activities. Although most of these tools have many of the same foundational features, one may be more suitable for your business than the other.

3. Advanced marketing automation tools can be spotted easily as their pricing is usually substantially more than any of the other types. These tools include CRM capabilities and sometimes sales team features.

The quickest way to spot which level each tool falls into is by price: beginner tools range from $10 – $20 per month, intermediate platforms cost about $45 – $125 per month, and advanced tools will set you back $200 – $895 per month, together with a once-off onboarding fee.

Be careful to make the right choice, or you will simply waste money on a feature-rich tool of which you’ll only utilize a fraction of. And as always, if you are using WordPress and want an affordable entry into Inbound Marketing then Inbound Now is a great start.

About the Author:
Norah Abraham has been a freelance writer since 2005. She attended the University of Boston and graduated with a Bachelor in English Literature. She loves public speaking and motivates people in her own comic style. She loves gadgets and techie stuffs. In her career, she has written dozens of Press Releases, Articles, and Essays.

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