Small business owners are responsible for several tasks that can take a lot of valuable time away from other important jobs. Running a business often involves managing a team, overseeing customer service and making sure the word gets out about the company and what it offers to its target audience. To make the most of your small business budget while generating awareness, you may be considering adding marketing software to your tool arsenal. Understanding the software options can help you determine which will fit best with your expectations and needs.
What Can Marketing Software Do?
In the past, advanced marketing tools were only available to large companies that had the budget to pay for them. In today's world, even a small business owner without a large marketing budget can generally afford a marketing software option that will include the tools needed to connect with current and potential customers in a personalized and logical way. One of the most appealing aspects of marketing software is its ability to automate many of the processes that can take a lot of time, including lead generation, nurturing, and follow-up actions.
Marketing software programs can also provide insights into your business marketing activities through customized reporting. Additional tools include those designed to execute email campaigns and manage time more efficiently. By using this type of software, it becomes easier than ever to connect with clients in a more personal and targeted manner. You can save time and resources by putting more of the marketing tasks you're handling into the software, rather than trying to handle the steps manually.
The Importance of Marketing Software
Marketing software for small businesses is important for the following reasons:
- Time-savings and efficiency . Without marketing software, owners of small businesses may not be able to reach their customers as easily or efficiently. Putting together an online marketing campaign could take hours or even days, especially if you're combing through lists and manually inputting information to push it live.
- Analytics . If you're trying to send an email through your own inbox, you won't know who has opened it or engaged with it. Automated software can eliminate all of these hurdles associated with contacting your customers, giving you insights into what marketing activities are working and which ones could use some improvement.
- Automation . According to a survey performed by Statista in 2018, 91% of users of marketing automation software report that technology is very important to their overall marketing success. Among companies whose marketing activities contribute to over half of the sales leads, 58% have adopted some type of marketing automation. The top benefits from business owners include timely communication, increased customer engagement, more opportunities, upselling, and time savings.
- Productivity . The time that marketing apps save you is more time that can be put toward your other marketing efforts. With this extra time, you and your team can be more productive. And even if you choose to use this extra time for non-marketing needs such as project management, it’s still time you wouldn’t have without your marketing software.
- ROI . Free marketing strategies certainly exist, but you’ll often have to spend at least some money to reach potential and current customers. The price of marketing software, though, is often a fraction of the potential revenue it can generate for your business. The potentially high ratio of revenue to spending gives marketing software a great ROI.
Best Marketing Software Options
Some marketing software options to try include the below:
1. HubSpot Marketing
HubSpot is one of the top options for small business owners. It's an advanced software option that includes tools for web design, building email marketing campaigns and landing pages, reporting, publishing content, and integrating with other systems. You can also use the built-in social media and SEM suggestions to drive traffic and share content with targeted audiences. Contact forms, A/B testing, and lead generation and assignment all make it easier to develop successful marketing strategies and campaigns.
HubSpot is an excellent option for businesses of all sizes, especially because it has available courses to teach business owners and others in the company about specific tasks associated with marketing. You can get certified in certain marketing skills, allowing you to become an expert in this area. Pricing varies depending on the number of email lists and contacts you have and the number of tools you want included in the solution. The lowest you’ll pay is $45 per month.
Delivra is another appealing marketing software for small business owners who focus more heavily on email marketing. The platform is built on the idea that automated emails are opened about 95% more than standard emails, as well as maximizing engagement on your emails. Integrated tools include assistance with email drip and text message campaigns, tracking of email open rates, alerts regarding purchase and engagement tendencies, and A/B testing with clear results and outcomes.
Delivra has a drag-and-drop editor that simplifies the building of email campaigns, even if you have no experience with coding and design. If you want to tie your business marketing efforts to e-commerce tools, such as an online storefront, Delivra integrates with many different systems to re-engage and segment those who visit the site. The pricing of this software option is flexible, allowing small business owners to pay for what they need. You can get a free demo and the starting price is $100 per month, with higher pricing for more advanced tools.
When it comes to tracking your online presence, RankActive is a leader. This all-in-one toolkit allows you to monitor competitors, follow your brand online, and enhance visibility in search engine rankings. The name of the software comes from its built-in rank tracker, which shows you how your website ranks on all the top search engines. Additional tools include detailed analyses of the top 10 sites from any search engine, improved processes for building links to do business online, and audits for broken links and technical errors on your sites.
You can also use RankActive to manage notifications and check rankings more frequently, review reports, create a subdomain and connect it to the platform, and schedule reports with added data for a detailed comparison. The ultimate goal of this platform is to help small business owners stay a step ahead of their competitors.
RankActive offers a free trial, while the price varies depending on how many sites and marketing tools you need. The Minimal plan is $99.99 per month, while the top Ultimate plan is $229.99 per month.
4. Constant Contact
Constant Contact is one of the older automated solutions available to business owners. It has been around since 1995, and over the decades, the company has acquired more than 650,000 customers. In that time, Constant Contact has continued to build on its platform, adding the tools and resources that today's business owner needs. Some of the more unique features include the ability to build campaigns to push out through social networks, event management tools, and surveys.
Constant Contact also allows for simplified email lead management and the building of campaigns, including automated drip campaigns and recurring newsletters. The available marketplace includes more than 400 integrations and apps for a variety of products. However, it's not the most automated software platform available, and customization isn't as robust as it is within other options. The pricing range is between $ 1 0 and $ 1 95 per month and is based on the number of subscribers you have on your emails.
When you're looking for software that can help you build your company's marketing strategy, take a closer look at Marketo. This automation platform includes tools to build and analyze email campaigns, mobile and digital ads, social media accounts and profiles , and websites. The goal is to allow small business owners to build positive and long-lasting relationships with their engagement, and the platform helps to achieve that goal by including management tools that create engagement throughout every step of the process.
Marketo is a cloud-based software program that can handle millions of activities on a daily basis, which allows for improved scaling as your business grows. It has developed solutions for businesses in many sectors, including finance, health care, manufacturing, media, education, and technology. Within the platform, the Engagement Hub gathers data to personalize how you interact with the various tools, as well as adapt to your needs. The three pricing tiers are $895, $1,795, and $3,175 per month, so it's one of the most expensive software options available.
Sendinblue is a leading email, text, live chat, and social media marketing platform. Of these capabilities, text and email marketing automation are Sendinblue’s bread and butter. Its Facebook advertising and social media management tools are only available at higher price tiers. Its reporting is also limited for lower-tier users.
Sendinblue offers a free tier. The next-highest tier, Lite, starts at $25 per month. The platform’s premium plan starts at $65 per month, and custom pricing is available for its enterprise tier.
SeedProd is a marketing software platform focused on converting your website traffic into meaningful leads. It integrates with your email marketing automation platform so that, even while your website is under construction, your lead capture form will remain prominently on display.
You can also use SeedProd to build your website even if you lack coding or HTML experience. Its only notable flaw is that, at its lowest pricing tiers, you can’t use stock photos as you build your website unless you pay extra.
SeedProd’s introductory Basic tier costs $39.50 per year. Its Plus tier costs $99.50 per year, its Pro tier costs $199.50 per year, and its Elite Bundle costs $239.60 per year.
Drip is an e-commerce marketing platform through which e-commerce business owners can grow their email lists, conduct targeted email marketing campaigns, and prioritize customer loyalty. Drip says that its platform can triple your sales and increase your revenue eightfold. Drip also includes e-commerce text message marketing tools, though these tools are extras for which you must pay additional fees per text sent.
Drip costs $19 per month and includes a 14-day free trial. SMS texting costs $15 per 1,000 texts sent, and MMS texting (which includes pictures or videos) costs $30 per 1,000 texts sent.
9. Uncanny Automator
Uncanny Automator is a business app that turns your entire website into a hub for automated workflows. Its tools mean that every time a website visitor takes a certain action (called a “trigger”), your business will automatically take some other action to engage them. Uncanny Automator calls combinations of triggers and actions “recipes” and says most recipes require just one plugin. This user-friendliness comes with a potential drawback: After your first year with Uncanny Automator, you lose access to updates and certain types of support.
Uncanny Automator’s lowest-price tier is Pro, which costs $149 per year. The next tier up, Business, costs $249 per year. The highest tier, Unlimited, costs $399 per year.
10. Freshworks CRM
As with Uncanny Automator, Freshworks CRM is a great choice for small business owners in need of workflow automation. Unlike Uncanny Automator, Freshworks CRM is also a customer relationship management app (that’s what CRM stands for). Through the CRM side of things, Freshworks CRM gives you AI-based lead scoring and extensive activity capture tools. This way, your sales team members are all on the same page regarding your prospects.
Freshworks CRM is available in two types: Sales Cloud or Marketing Cloud. The lowest Sales Cloud tier, which doesn’t include offline mobile app access, costs $29 per user per month. The two higher tiers cost $59 per user per month and $99 per user per month. For Marketing Cloud, the tiers are priced the same, except the lowest-cost tier is $19 per user per month.
ActiveCampaign combines CRM, email marketing, and automation into one platform. It also includes tools for developing custom audiences for your Facebook page. However, ActiveCampaign’s free trials don’t include access to all of the platform’s tools.
ActiveCampaign’s pricing starts at $9 per month for the Lite tier. The Plus tier starts $49 per month, the Professional tier starts at $129 per month, and the Enterprise tier starts at $229 per month.
How Do I Choose Marketing Software?
To find the best marketing software platforms for your company, take the below steps:
- Ask other businesses like yours . Let’s say you’re getting into the fast-casual dining scene in your city and you have a friend who has successfully run a similar spot in another city. Ask that friend which marketing software platforms they use and enjoy. Chances are that if these platforms work for your friend, they’ll work for you too.
- Compare costs . Marketing software platforms vary significantly in price, and one platform may have several differently priced tiers with different features. As you compare platforms and pricing plans, look at what your money will get you in each case, then figure out which software has the best ROI.
- Read customer testimonials and reviews . Almost every trustworthy software platform’s website will feature customer testimonials. These reviews make great starting points for understanding the value the platform brings to its users, but they’re solicited by the company, potentially introducing bias. Reviews on TrustPilot and other open-to-all sites may give a more honest view into what the platform does (and doesn’t do) well.
- Try out demos . Many leading marketing software platforms offer free trials or demos. You shouldn’t hesitate to sign up for these and start using them as though your business has fully purchased a plan. Whether your trial lasts a week or a full month, it’s the best possible way to determine whether the software suits your business. Plus, once your trial ends, registering for a paid plan will be easy as pie.
Get Started With Your Choice of Marketing Software for Small Business
Most of the available marketing automation software options offer free trials for small business owners, so you can try out those that seem to offer the tools you want to build your marketing strategy. As you try each platform, you can determine which is the easiest to use and still delivers what you want and need to grow your business and generate awareness.