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5 Key Marketing Automation Tools for Small Businesses in 2023

Kirsten Von Der Wroge

Product Marketing Manager

When you run a small business, every minute counts. Spending hours on monotonous tasks is not only unenjoyable but can take you away from other, more important tasks. Luckily, there are small business marketing automation tools to help make your operation more efficient. 

Today’s marketing automation tools can help your small business in big ways, from optimizing campaigns to maximizing revenue. Whether you’re just getting started with automation software or have been using it for a while, understanding the next generation of marketing tools is critical to stay competitive in the digital age.

What is Small Business Marketing Automation?

Small business marketing automation is the process of leveraging intelligent tools to optimize marketing operations and increase returns on investment (ROI). 

No longer reserved for enterprise operations, the most recent marketing automation statistics show that small businesses can save significant time, money, and resources by streamlining marketing processes and delivering personalized content to targeted audiences.

Ready to unlock your brand's full potential? Read on for an overview of what marketing automation is and the best automation software for small businesses on the market today. 

The Benefits of Using Small Business Marketing Automation Software

Marketing automation software brings a new level of customization, precision, and optimization to small businesses. Below, are the key benefits of marketing automation: 

  1. Automate repetitive tasks - By automating mundane marketing activities, automation tools free up human resources and allow teams to focus on more strategic tasks.

  2. Speed up campaign execution - Automation helps you speed up the process of executing campaigns from start to finish.

  3. Increase ROI - Automation enables you to personalize content and increase conversion rates, making your campaigns more profitable in the long run.

  4. Generate more leads - Automation helps you generate and qualify leads faster, enabling sales teams to target prospects and close deals faster.

  5. Improve customer experience - Automation allows you to personalize the customer journey and create a seamless experience for your users.

What are the Best Small Business Marketing Automation Tools and Platforms?

Whether you want to leverage B2B marketing automation or better connect with your eCommerce customers, small businesses have access to a wide range of marketing automation tools that can help you reach your goals. 

Below are seven popular automation tools. Some specialize in specific channels or tasks and others have multi-channel automation capabilities.

Customer.io

Customer.io is a powerful, user-friendly marketing automation platform for small businesses and startups. It enables users to create automated customer journeys tailored to their target audience's needs with features such as an intuitive drag-and-drop email builder, segmentation capabilities, detailed analytics, and more. 

Its suite of features helps generate leads faster and improve the overall customer experience.

Pricing starts at $100 per month, with options tailored to businesses of all sizes. 

Pros: 

  • Easy-to-use drag-and-drop email builder: The intuitive interface enables users to easily create automated customer journeys tailored to their target audience‚Äôs needs.

  • Segmentation capabilities: Leverage customer data and segment audiences to create personalized campaigns that get better results.

  • Detailed analytics: Gain insight into how customers engage with your brand to make informed decisions on product development and marketing initiatives.¬†

Cons: 

  • Limited automation capabilities: The platform does not have the same level of automation available as more comprehensive marketing platforms.¬†

  • Limited integrations: Not all third-party tools are supported by Customer.io, limiting your ability to integrate with other services.

ActiveCampaign

ActiveCampaign is a comprehensive email marketing automation and customer engagement platform designed to help small businesses grow. It offers features such as message personalization, audience segmentation, A/B testing, and more. Users can create powerful campaigns for email, web push notifications, SMS messages, and webinars. 

ActiveCampaign's intuitive interface makes it easy for teams of all sizes to quickly deploy automated campaigns, while its detailed analytics and reporting help measure performance in real-time. 

Pricing starts at $49 per month for up to three users, with professional and enterprise packages designed to support teams at every stage.

Pros:

  • Message personalization: Create personalized messages that engage customers on a deeper level and drive conversions.

  • Audience segmentation: Leverage customer data to develop targeted campaigns that connect with your ideal customers.¬†

  • A/B testing: Test different versions of emails and other messages to determine which ones get the best results.¬†

  • Comprehensive analytics: Monitor performance in real-time and adjust strategies for maximum efficiency.¬†

Cons:

  • No free trial option: You will need to sign up for a subscription plan to use ActiveCampaign.¬†

  • Limited integrations: Not all third-party tools are supported by ActiveCampaign, limiting users' ability to integrate with other services and across multiple channels.

  • Learning curve: The platform is complex and may require a learning period for users unfamiliar with marketing automation.

Mailchimp

Mailchimp is one of the most popular marketing automation platforms for small businesses. It features an intuitive drag-and-drop design tool, segmentation capabilities for personalizing campaigns, customer support options, and more.

Marketers can quickly create and schedule targeted emails and push notifications, helping to generate leads faster, boost ROI, and increase customer engagement. Additionally, its detailed analytics dashboard provides insights into campaign performance in real time, which allows users to adjust their strategies on the spot for maximum results.

Mail chimp allows users to send up to 1,000 emails per month with a free trial account and pricing starting at $13 per month for its basic package.

Pros: 

  • Intuitive design tool: Mailchimp‚Äôs drag-and-drop interface makes it easy to create and schedule automated campaigns in minutes.¬†

  • Segmentation capabilities: Leverage customer data to develop targeted campaigns for maximum engagement.¬†

  • Comprehensive analytics: Get detailed insights into campaign performance in real-time and adjust strategies for maximum efficiency.¬†

  • Free trial: Test out Mailchimp‚Äôs features with up to 1,000 emails per month before committing to a subscription plan.¬†

Cons:

  • Email scheduling reserved for paid accounts: Users will need to upgrade their plans to schedule emails and other messages.¬†

  • Limited pre-built automation: Mailchimp‚Äôs automation library is limited compared to some other platforms.

  • Multi-channel limitations: Inability to manage multi-channel campaigns across different platforms.

Zapier

Zapier is an automation tool that connects different apps, allowing you to create automated workflows for a variety of tasks. This platform allows you to easily integrate data from disparate systems into one unified view.

Zapier comes with pre-built automation templates, which give you the ability to quickly set up automated workflows for customer onboarding, data cleanup, and more. Additionally, its intuitive design makes it easy for users of all levels to create customized automations.

Pros: 

  • Pre-built automation templates: Get up and running quickly with Zapier‚Äôs pre-built workflows.¬†

  • Intuitive design: Create customized automations without the need for coding skills.¬†

  • Comprehensive dashboard: Track your performance in real-time and adjust strategies on the fly.¬†

  • Free trial: Test out Zapier‚Äôs features with its free plan before committing to a subscription plan.¬†

Cons: 

  • Cost: Price can increase dramatically for high-volume users.

  • Less variety: Limited customization and workflow options.

Tealium AudienceStream

Tealium AudienceStream is a customer data platform that enables marketers to capture, activate, and personalize data from multiple sources. This platform offers real-time insights into customer behavior across all channels, helping marketers identify new opportunities for engagement and optimization.

Using AudienceStream’s automated campaigns, marketers can quickly create targeted messages and promotions. Additionally, its powerful segmentation capabilities allow users to develop customized workflows tailored to meet the specific needs of their customers.

If you’re interested in this platform, you will need to contact the company to request a demo and pricing quote.

Pros: 

  • Real-time insights: Get an in-depth look at customer behavior across all channels.¬†

  • Automated campaigns: Create and schedule personalized messages for maximum engagement.¬†

  • Powerful segmentation: Leverage data to develop targeted workflows tailored to your customers‚Äô needs.¬†

  • Seamless user experience: AudienceStream provides a consistent user experience across all channels.¬†

Cons: 

  • No free trial:¬† While users can request a product demonstration, Tealium does not offer a free trial period, so users must commit to a subscription plan before using the product.¬†

  • Opaque pricing structure: Tealium AudienceStream pricing is quotation based, which can make it difficult to determine the cost upfront.¬†

  • Geared towards enterprise-level teams: Tealium‚Äôs pricing and features may not be suitable for certain small businesses.

Klaviyo

Klaviyo is an AI-powered growth marketing platform designed to help businesses leverage data to create personalized email, SMS, and mobile push campaigns. One of its primary strengths is its high interoperability, which gives marketers the ability to capture data from multiple sources and create highly personalized messaging campaigns. 

Klaviyo leverages automation to help businesses design custom email sequences that automatically send out at the right time, enhancing customer engagement, and streamlining the sales funnel. The platform's robust segmentation capabilities let businesses segment their customer base in detail, catering to each segment's unique needs.   

Pros: 

  • Real-time analytics: Gain insights into customer behavior across various channels.¬†

  • Advanced segmentation: Use customer data to create marketing strategies tailored to individual needs.¬†

  • User-friendly interface: Klaviyo offers a streamlined and intuitive user experience.¬†

     

Cons: 

  • Limited managed services:¬† Klaviyo is primarily a self-service platform. They offer light-lift services to help with migration and a 24/7 support chat, but no strategic campaign management.

  • Expensive to scale: Klaviyo gets more expensive as usage grows. The more contacts a user has, and the more emails they send, the higher the price tag becomes.

  • Limited ads functionality: Integrations only import events and data to improve segmentation. They are unable to manage or include ads into their automations.¬†

AdRoll

AdRoll is a comprehensive marketing automation platform that provides businesses with the tools they need to attract, engage, and retain customers across a wide range of digital channels. The platform leverages AI-powered tools to help marketers execute advanced outreach and re-marketing campaigns across email, social media, and paid media.

AdRoll's capabilities extend beyond campaign automation and include retargeting services to re-engage customers who have shown interest, cross-channel attribution reporting to understand the customer journey, and brand awareness tools to reach new audiences. 

Additionally, AdRoll's innovative automation builder allows businesses to create custom automation workflows that align with their specific marketing goals. Whether it's sending an email sequence to nurture leads or scheduling social media posts to boost brand visibility, the automation builder facilitates the creation and management of these tasks, ensuring that messaging remains consistent across every channel. 

Pros: 

  • AI-driven personalization: Leverage artificial intelligence for personalized product recommendations and content delivery.¬†

  • Multi-channel marketing: Execute automated campaigns across email, social media, and the web.¬†

  • Advanced segmentation: Tailor your marketing efforts to match your customers' interests and behavior.¬†

  • Unified customer view: AdRoll consolidates customer data across all channels for a holistic view.¬†

 

Cons: 

  • Fewer pre-built automation flows: Competitors with more pre-built options may be easier for customers who prefer to plug-and-play rather than build their own automations.

  • Higher learning curve: Due to the number of customizations, tools, and reports, onboarding and getting comfortable with the platform can take some time.¬†¬†

How to Choose the Right Small Business Marketing Automation Tool?

With so many options, choosing the best marketing platforms for small businesses can be overwhelming. Here are some key factors to consider as you make your decision:

Budget: Determining a budget for automation software can be difficult in the beginning. Consider your desired features, the size of your team, and the ROI that a solution may deliver to make the best choice for your business.

Scalability: Consider selecting a tool that can grow with your business as it expands and changes. An automation solution that is scalable and configurable can help you stay ahead of the curve.

Integrations: Automation tools should be able to integrate with your existing systems and software to maximize efficiency. Look for a solution that can integrate with your CRM, email marketing tools, analytics, and any other platforms you currently use.

Features: Different tools offer different features. Some automation software specialize in specific tasks while others deliver comprehensive marketing automation solutions. Make sure to select a tool that has the features you need.

Customer support: Even when a tool is user-friendly, it is important to consider its customer support options. Good customer service can help you get up and running quickly and minimize frustration should problems arise. 

Streamline Your Marketing Operations Today

If you’re a small business owner or digital marketer, marketing automation software can simplify your marketing efforts, streamline customer engagement, and help you build more personalized connections with your target audience. Before selecting the best solution for your business, be sure to consider the budget, scalability, integrations, features, and customer support that it offers. 

AdRoll's Automation Builder is an all-encompassing marketing automation platform that lets you create consistent, personalized, cross-channel campaigns through display ads, social ads and email from one easy-to-use dashboard. You get access to real-time insights, innovative data reporting, and highly-detailed customer segmentation, designed to support your marketing initiatives at every stage of your business's journey.

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