The 8 Best Marketing Automation Software Tools in 2021

As of 2019, the marketing automation software industry was worth $3.3 billion and by 2024, it will be worth $6.4 billion.

So as you look for the best marketing automation software to use in your business, you have lots of options to choose from and as time goes by, it won’t get any easier.

Your options aren’t only limited to the number of tools in the market. You’ll also have to sift through overlapping features, reviews, and pricing to decide on which software to use.

And that’s not all.

How long will it take for you to learn how to use the software you choose so that you’re able to effectively implement your marketing automation strategy?

So if you’ve found it difficult to decide on what marketing automation software to use, you’re not alone.

In this post, we’ll talk about eight of the best marketing automation software tools today to make it easier for you to decide on the best software to use.

But first, what is marketing automation software and how do you decide on the best software to use?

What is Marketing Automation Software?

Marketing automation software is a platform that helps you deliver a consistent customer experience by improving the efficiency of your marketing processes such as lead generation, lead nurturing among others. It also provides you with reports to help you analyze the efficiency of your marketing campaigns.

As a marketer, the problem you face today isn’t deciding whether you need to use marketing automation software.

At some point, you’ve used a tool or two and realized that most marketing automation software platforms have overlapping features and functionality.

These features range from ease of use, quality of reports and analytics, customer support, number of integrations, ability to scale as your needs grow, and pricing structures.

You’re also aware of the moving parts in marketing automation and where you’re lagging so the results you’re looking for might not be what another marketer is looking for.

Maybe you need to improve your digital marketing strategy and streamline the execution of your automation campaigns.

Maybe you need to run better A/B tests to help you optimize the campaigns you’re running to get better results.

Or you want to start getting better reports and analytics for your campaigns to make better decisions that will help you hit your marketing metrics.

So the real question is: which is the best marketing automation solution from the list of tools available today and how can it help you improve on the results you’re getting from marketing automation?

To answer that question, we’re going to focus on the eight of the best marketing automation software solutions available.

Just to be clear, this isn’t a list of marketing automation software to add to what you’re already considering. Neither is it a silver bullet that will solve all your marketing automation problems.

We’ll be talking about the best tools we have, their capabilities, what you won’t like about each tool, and a link to customer reviews for each tool on G2. This way, you’re going to have an easier time identifying a tool that will help you achieve your marketing automation goals.

Ready? Let’s get started.

The 8 Best Marketing Automation Software in 2021

  1. Moosend
  2. Sendinblue
  3. GetResponse
  4. Active Campaign
  5. HubSpot Marketing Automation
  6. Marketo Engage
  7. Ontraport
  8. Omnisend

1. Moosend

If you’re looking for a marketing automation tool for the first time, you’ll have to figure out a couple of things; learn how to use the tool, build your automation workflows, synchronize your customer data, and integrate the software with your tech stack.

You don’t need to dive into the deep end by trying to figure out how everything works at the same time before running your first campaign. You’ll get stuck.

That’s why Moosend makes a great choice at this stage with its intuitive user interface for a hassle-free setup, simple workflows and email marketing automation templates to get you started. It also has a simple reporting dashboard to see and understand how your campaigns are performing:

 

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And if you get stuck, they have a dedicated support team who will help you backed up with informative tutorials to help you set things up fast and get going.

The only thing you won’t like about the tool is that once you figure out the basics, you’ll want to do more with your marketing automation campaigns.

Moosend doesn’t have the capabilities that will help you build advanced automation sequences and as your tech stack grows, you might get stuck along the way due to a lack of sufficient integrations.

Want to hear what other marketing automation beginners think about the tool? Here you go: G2 score: 4.7/5

2. GetResponse

One thing that doesn’t get the attention it deserves is the amount of logical thinking and creative energy that goes into building automation workflows.

What are the possible steps a buyer will take on their journey before they buy from you? How do you design your workflow to be present without being pushy or annoying.

So the workflows you build are going to determine the quality of experience you deliver to buyers.

And if you’re still struggling with building workflows, then GetResponse has you covered.

It has nine categories of templates each with different email campaign templates to inspire your creativity and save time while building your workflows.

For example, if you’re selling online courses, you have four different templates:

  • Course promotion template
  • Basic email course template
  • Advanced on-demand course template
  • Post-course retargeting template

Here’s how the post-course retargeting template looks like:

Post-course retargeting preview shown

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So you won’t find yourself building a workflow from scratch every time and then wondering what’s next after a lead or customer takes a certain action.

That’s not all. GetResponse has a lead management feature that allows you to tag and build profiles for your contacts to help you know their level of engagement, helping you send relevant emails at the right time. It also integrates with the tools you’re already using to help you stay efficient and productive.

With all the good stuff GetResponse comes with, unlimited automation workflows are limited to higher pricing plans, and the bigger your list, the more you’ll pay.

If the pricing isn’t much of a deal-breaker, then take a look at what other users think about the tool: G2 Score: 4.1 / 5.0

3. SendInBlue

If you’re getting a consistent flow of inbound leads then you need a tool that caters to your needs with a pricing structure that allows you to grow your SaaS business.

SendInBlue has four pricing tiers: Free, Lite, Premium, and Enterprise with a limit on the number of emails you can send each month.

Since the Premium plan comes with marketing automation features, sending 750,000 emails a month will cost you $499/month.

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Friendly pricing, right? But that’s not all you’re going to get when using the automation software.

It has an intuitive user interface, making it easy to set up and start creating your workflows. It also allows you to provide access to different users, and in case you get stuck, you just need to send an email or call their support team for help.

It also has a great analytics dashboard that gives you real-time reports on the performance of your campaigns.

You won’t have a ton of customer relationship management tools that integrate directly with SendInBlue so you have to use Zapier. If you have more than three users who need to use the software, then you’ll either need to pay for each additional user or upgrade to their Enterprise plan.

Here’s what SendInBlue users have to say about the tool: G2 score: 4.6/5

4. ActiveCampaign

In a B2B buying journey, a prospect will look for a solution they need, narrow it down to several viable options, and start evaluating them as they involve other decision-makers.

If this prospect is in your funnel, you want to have a tool with robust lead scoring features to help you know when they’re ready to be passed on to the sales team based on the information they provide and their actions.

And ActiveCampaign is up to the task.

Let’s say you’ve published an industry report and for your web visitors to read it, they have to fill out a form on your landing page.

If you’re using Active Campaign, you’re going to apply tags to contacts based on the fields you’ve provided. You can also segment, track, and score each of your subscribers’ actions to help you show up with the right message at the right time.

Here’s a snapshot of how that would look like when you’re setting up that workflow:

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Looks complicated right? Yes, but if you’re up for the challenge, why not learn how to build a complex automation workflow?

Besides, Active Campaign provides you with advanced reporting on your automated email marketing campaigns so you know what’s working and what isn’t.

And if you’re looking to level up and move from the software you’re already using, you won’t have to start from scratch. Active Campaign allows you to move with all your data, workflows, and journeys at no extra cost.

Having seen how complicated a workflow can be, you’re going to take time to learn how the tool works thanks to a steep learning curve.

One more thing you won’t like is a cluttered layout which is frustrating as you find yourself clicking a lot to make edits as you build your workflows.

Here’s what Active Campaign customers think about the tool: G2 score: 4.6/5

5. HubSpot Marketing Automation

HubSpot marketing automation is a popular tool among all types of growing startups, making it a leader in the marketing automation software space with a market share of 29.51%.

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So, why do marketing teams in small businesses love using the software for automating marketing processes?

It has an intuitive user interface meaning that anyone on your marketing team using the tool can set up the workflows they need and start running marketing campaigns, conduct A/B testing, and access all your marketing reports in one dashboard.

In case you or a team member gets stuck when using their software, HubSpot has a robust customer team with both chatbot and live chat support.

If you have a team working in different regions, you can set up the tool with different levels of access. This way, they’re able to access the information they need instead of having them sort through data from other teams and regions to find what they’re looking for.

With HubSpot’s built-in customer relationship management software, you’re able to centralize your inbound marketing tasks, nurture and track lead activity, set up triggers and relevant tasks.

Whenever a lead takes any prescribed action, your sales team knows so that they follow up with qualified leads.

The result? An aligned sales and marketing team and improved performance in sales and revenue.

Most features that HubSpot has, coupled with its ease of use outpace most marketing automation tools that we have today. However, that doesn’t mean it’s the software you need.

HubSpot’s pricing is way beyond what you’re going to pay using another software offering similar features. If you were to upgrade, you might end up with a ton of features you don’t need, meaning that for small businesses, that price point is out of reach.

Here’s what HubSpot users think about the software: G2 score: 4.4/ 5

6. Marketo Engage

Marketo Engage is part of the suite of tools offered by Adobe Experience Cloud which comes in second after HubSpot with a market share of 12.11%. It is popular among marketers in B2B SaaS looking for an enterprise solution that will help them run their automation campaigns.

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Given that B2B sales cycles are typically long, you don’t want to be absent when your prospects need you at any point in their journey. With Marketo Engage, you can automate the whole experience without losing a personal touch by creating customized workflows for each prospect.

And since the buyer’s journey isn’t static, it allows you to track them and set up relevant triggers and tweak your messaging based on their actions.

And if a workflow worked so well, why spend time creating a new one while with Marketo Engage you can clone it and have more time to find ways through which you can optimize your conversions?

They also have a vibrant community dubbed Marketo Nation where users share their experiences and new ways of using the tool to get better results with your marketing automation activities.

Unfortunately, Marketo Engage doesn’t come with an in-built CRM software like HubSpot so you’ll have to use the Salesforce CRM integration. Also, Marketo has a steep learning curve so you need training or hire someone with developer skills to help you use the tool and enjoy all its features.

Here’s what enterprise users of the tool think: G2 score: 4.1/5

7. Ontraport

What happens if you don’t want a tool where you’ll end up paying for a ton of features you won’t use (think HubSpot) and you’re not interested in using an enterprise-level tool (think Marketo Engage) because you’re not just there yet?

You look for Ontraport because it lets SMBs have their cake and eat it.

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  • Want to set up automation campaigns and know how they’re performing? Check
  • Want to know what channels drive conversions? Check
  • Want a clean layout that allows you to work fast and stay productive? Check
  • Want to coordinate campaigns across different marketing channels? Check
  • Want a tool that makes sure your emails arrive in your prospects’ inbox? Check.

That’s not all. Ontraport has a vibrant community where you can learn from other users. They also have a dedicated customer support team that you can reach out via email and chat.

All these features and more come in four friendly pricing plans: Basic, Plus, Pro, and Enterprise.

Ontraport falls short with its steep learning curve and you won’t find most of the integrations that come with enterprise-level marketing automation platforms, so you’ll have to use Zapier.

Here’s what other users who are already enjoying the best of both worlds have to say about Ontraport: G2 score: 4.3/5

8. Omnisend

Compared to B2B, B2C customer journeys are shorter. A significant part of the journey happens online on different channels before a shopper decides to buy either from your online store or visit a retail location.

As an e-commerce store owner, you want to build long-term relationships with these shoppers by being present at each touchpoint on different channels. Omnisend comes in handy to help you build customer relationships without burning out.

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Here’s why:

Omnisend is one of the best marketing automation platforms specifically built for e-commerce owners to improve their conversions through omnichannel marketing.

It allows you to coordinate all your multichannel marketing activities from social media, email, and SMS all in one place.

The tool has an intuitive user interface that makes it easy to set up and a drag and drop builder to create your automation workflows and run your campaigns.

You can create custom landing pages for your store to boost your conversions, run A/B tests to identify your best-performing workflows, get detailed reports to see how your campaigns are performing.

Omnisend also integrates with popular e-commerce stores such as Magento, Woocommerce, Shopify, and Shopify Plus among others.

Omnisend’s SMS feature is costly compared to other marketing platforms offering the same feature and you won’t find a ton of email templates to create vibrant emails.

Curious to hear what other online store owners think about the platform? Here you go; G2 score: 4.6/5.0

Conclusion

Choosing the best marketing automation solution for your tech stack is hard. However, running successful marketing campaigns consistently is harder.

Of course, you’re not guaranteed to succeed every time.

But if you’re able to choose a tool that is: easy to use, helps you get rid of repetitive tasks, makes it easy to create workflows, integrates seamlessly with other tools you’re using, provides great reports, and comes at a price point you’re comfortable with…

Then you have a chance, just like any other marketer to prove your worth.

So the list of tools we’ve discussed is shorter than most of what you’ll come across. There are still other marketing automation platforms such as Pardot, Act-On, Mailchimp, Keap, ConvertKit, SharpSpring, Autopilot…

….the list is endless.

And to make it easier for you to call off your search and pick a tool to work with, the fewer your choices, the better. Once you know what you need, picking a tool won’t be any harder than it should be.

And if you’ve already found a tool you want to try out, good for you. If you haven’t, no need to worry. Read through the list again and see if there’s a tool that resonates with what you’re looking for.

Over to you. What tool will you pick?

Shadrack Wanjohi
Shadrack Wanjohi
Shadrack Wanjohi is B2B SaaS and Marketing Writer who creates content for B2B brands.

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