10 Best marketing automation tools for small businesses in 2021

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Looking for the best marketing automation tools to help you expand your business? Here are the Internet’s top offers.

Marketing automation tools for small businesses help to reduce the time you spend promoting your business using digital tools.

They simplify complex tasks, take away repetitive tasks, and schedule activities that help in increasing awareness of your business and services.

Automation tools also save you countless hours in the long run. And with time being a very valuable asset, you are set free to devote yourself to more challenging or rewarding tasks.

Companies have different needs. So, the tools below have evolved to cater to diverse niches. Going through the list will enable you to discover what will work best for your business campaigns.

Top marketing automation tools

NameBest ForCostWebsite
HubspotOverall Freemiumhubspot.com
PipedriveOptimized channels$12.50pipedrive.com
IFTTTRandom Repetitive tasks, cheap, simpleFreemiumifttt.com
Uncanny AutomatorWordPress automation$149/ yearautomatorplugin.com
ChatBotCustomer service bots$42/ monthchatbot.com
ZapierFlexible automationFreemiumzapier.com
Customer.ioTech Savvy teams$150/ monthcustomer.io
DripShopping$19 /monthdrip.com
AgoraPulseSocial mediaFreemiumagorapulse.com
ZohoSmall TeamsFreemiumzoho.com

1. Hubspot

  • Highlights: Complete platform, flexible, extensive features, free plan
  • Cost: Freemium, from $45 per month
  • Website: hubspot.com

Hubspot tops this list for many reasons. First, it is a complete marketing solution for small and medium-sized businesses. It comes with blogging, email, analytics, lead management, social media, SEO, and other tools.

You can manage your contacts with the included CRM and prospect on autopilot using email sequences. The email system also comes with templates and tracking to make things easier. Then there is predictive scoring to help you target the most likely prospects to convert.

In addition, you create customized landing pages for each of your campaigns with ease. Then gain insight into your customer’s behavior using the analytics tools.

Finally, Hubspot’s visual automation tool is both flexible and powerful. It lets you automate everything from emails to to-do lists, chatbots, sales processes, workflows, lead nurturing, webhooks, and so on.

Hubspot is available as a free plan, which includes most of its features in the basic versions. Then if you want more, premium plans start from $45 per month.

2. Pipedrive

  • Highlights: Laser-focused tasked, proper tracking, integrations
  • Cost: From $12.50 per month
  • Website: pipedrive.com

Designed based on a sales pipeline that you can easily visualize and optimize, Pipedrive uses a unique marketing approach to help businesses drive up to 28% more sales.

You will first have to break down your sales process into measurable stages though, then use the CRM to make the best of each stage.

Pipedrive also features AI-powered automation. You will get performance tips from an AI mentor and even automatic recommendations of tasks to automate.

Its Workflow Automation tool offers you the ability to automate any repetitive task in your sales process. Just set triggers, which can be any event or activity by a lead. Then select the desired action that you want the platform to take. This system is intuitive and does not take long to set up.

There is also one-click data collection of your customers’ information, webhooks to connect to web services, and automation of your email marketing efforts.

Of course, there are many more features on Pipedrive, but there is no free plan. You can test-drive it free for 14 days. But accounts start from $12.50 per month after that.

3. IFTTT

  • Highlights: Automate repetitive tasks across the web, free plan
  • Cost: Freemium, $3.33 per month for unlimited
  • Website: ifttt.com

IFTTT stands for If This, Then That. This means if This condition is true, then do That. It is called a conditional statement in computer programming and can be written in c-style languages as:

if(condition){action}; 

On the web, you can use IFTTT to connect to services or the Internet of Things to check if any given condition is true. Then have the platform perform action commands that you want. It is also available for Android and iOS platforms.

You can use IFTTT to spy on your competitors by automatically monitoring their websites and alerting you when necessary. You can also use it to thank your new followers on Twitter, for instance. Or monitor your business name mentions.

IFTTT can automatically share your blog posts to multiple social media accounts, save tweets to spreadsheets, monitor hashtags, schedule social media posts, backup your WordPress to Google Drive, switch on the lights in your home, upload camera photos, and much more.

Each automation on IFTTT is called an applet and you can use all the tons of available ones for free, as well as easily create 3 applets on your own. To create more than 3 applets though, you will need the Pro plan for $3.33 per month.

4. Uncanny Automator

  • Highlights: Unlimited WordPress automation, 30-day money back
  • Cost: From $149 per year
  • Website: automatorplugin.com

The WordPress platform now powers 65% of websites with a known content management system. And 42% of all websites on the Internet.

Uncanny Automator lets you automate repetitive tasks on your WordPress blog by connecting triggers with actions. For instance, if a user performs a specific action on your site, then run a webhook.

WordPress is also a host for tons of plugins that add different extra functionalities. From wooCommerce to Upsell, Slack, Mailchimp, GoToWebinar, and many others, you can also automate 60+ of these most popular WordPress plugins using Uncanny Automator.

Its downside is the lack of a free plan, although they offer a 30-day money-back guarantee. Plans start from $149 per year for one site and $249 per year for up to 10 sites.

5. ChatBot

  • Highlights: AI-powered chatbot, reports, secure data
  • Cost: From $42 per month
  • Website: chatbot.com

Some businesses are customer-service-dependent. And you know that means extra costs, which in turn, increases the price of your products or services.

ChatBot offers you artificial intelligence chatbots to handle most of these tasks. These bots stimulate human-like behaviors to engage your clients and prospects via chat.

You can integrate it directly on your website and other messaging platforms. From Slack to WordPress, Zapier, and Facebook Messenger. And the result is often an increase in leads and new conversions.

There is no free plan though. ChatBot starts from $42 per month for the Starter pack with one active bot and $126 per month for the Team plan with 5 active bots. All plans come with many features.

6. Zapier

  • Highlights: Flexible automation, 2,000+ integrations
  • Cost: Freemium, from $20 per month
  • Website: zapier.com

Zapier works the same way as IFTTT. Both platforms let you automate processes by connecting trigger events to your desired actions.

Their differences lie in IFTTT’s simplicity, which contrasts with Zapier’s extensive integrations and more detailed approach.

In the end, Zapier is more geared towards business users, while IFTTT better fits small business and personal uses. Zapier also supports 2,000+ plus services, which is much more than you get on IFTTT.

For downsides, Zapier is harder to master and also costs more. Its plans start from $20 monthly and although it has a free plan, you cannot do much with it. Plus you are limited to just one zap, while IFTTT offers more.

7. Customer.io

  • Highlights: Flexible & in-depth messaging automation
  • Cost: From $150 per month
  • Website: customer.io

This platform is not for everyone. But if your business needs to handle multiple messages and you want a deeper level of automation and control than what most CRM platforms offer, then check out Customer.io.

You can automate all your messages here. From SMS to Slack, email, and push notifications. Provide feedback, cross-sell, re-engage, welcome, onboard, and nurture, the choice is all yours.

Also, you can create transactional messages and newsletters or deliver the messages at a particular time or after a certain user action.

Customer.io is a CRM like no other, and used by over 3,000 companies. There is no free plan and the cheapest one starts at $150 per month, with unlimited messaging and 12,000 profiles.

8. Drip

  • Highlights: Pre-built workflows, email templates, 100+ integrations
  • Cost: $19 per month
  • Website: drip.com

A drip marketing campaign refers to an automated series of emails to a list of subscribers that is based on specific triggers.

The Drip service offers you a platform that maximizes this marketing method. It includes pre-built workflows, behavioral segmentation, role-based access, and many integrations.

Drip includes a visual workflow builder to make the entire design process easier. There are over 100 integrations, including Shopify, wooCommerce, Magento, and many more.

There is no free plan, and pricing starts from $19 per month for up to 500 contacts on the list. You can also test the platform free for 14 days.

9. AgoraPulse

  • Highlights: Multiple social profiles, 5 major networks
  • Cost: Freemium, from $79 per month
  • Website: agorapulse.com

If your business depends on social media platforms for leads, then you may quickly find that managing multiple channels can be quite a challenge.

A platform like Agorapulse makes it easier to maintain many channels while saving time and keeping other parts of the business running.

There is a free plan, which offers 3 social profiles for a single user and up to 40 posts a month. You can use it to manage sites from Facebook to Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube.

For $79 per month, you can upgrade to the Pro plan with 10 social profiles for up to 2 users and unlimited posts. The next plan is Premium for $159 per month, with 20 profiles for 4 users.

10. Zoho

  • Highlights: Extensive features, multiple automation possibilities
  • Cost: Freemium, from $12 per month
  • Website: zoho.com

Zoho is an affordable CRM and marketing platform that is great for small teams and businesses.

It offers lots of automation features to cut down on your workload. From internal workflow automation using Zoho Creator to more complex ones using Zoho Flow to connect apps across the cloud.

You can automate everything from leave requests to purchase orders, employee onboarding, reimbursement processes, customer support, etc. The platform also contains pre-built applications.

Zoho offers many services from basic CRM to Email hosting, sales, project management, and so on. Plus, it always offers free plans to try out.

Conclusion

We have reached the end of this list of marketing automation tools for small businesses. And as you can see, there are varied offers for different styles of marketing.

It is up to you then to analyze your business to see what it needs best. Then carefully pick the right campaign automation tool for it.

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Nnamdi Okeke

Nnamdi Okeke is a computer enthusiast who loves to read a wide range of books. He has a preference for Linux over Windows/Mac and has been using Ubuntu since its early days. You can catch him on twitter via bongotrax

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