Can My Business Afford Marketing Automation?

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It’s a question that comes up often in the digital marketing world. Start-up marketing agencies, small businesses and organizations that have not leveraged digital marketing have all at one time asked this question, “How can I afford marketing automation?”

With email marketing remaining a stable tool and strategy for many years, many digital marketers are unfamiliar with marketing automation as a way to boost their lead generation and dismiss it, believing it to be too expensive or resource intensive. This couldn’t be farther from the truth – starting from free to use basic automation tools to $300 dollar per month automation tools designed for the high end user, there is an automation solution for everyone.

While it is true that marketing automation requires some initial investment of capital and resources, the benefits that follow have been proven to be successful. 80% of marketing automation users saw their number of leads increase, and 77% saw the number of conversions increase according to VB Insight “Marketing Automation, how to make the right buying decision” (2015).

The good news is that there are many ways to implement marketing automation and many different pricing plans that can suit your needs, whether you’re a tech-startup or a multi-million dollar company. It all depends on what you want to achieve – which will correlate with how much you’re willing to invest and how many resources you want to dedicate to the process.

What do you want to achieve?

This may seem like an obvious question with an obvious answer. However, the details of the answer will vary from company to company.

While every company would like more leads, conversions and overall revenue the question of how you’d like to accomplish this will inform your decision on what marketing automation platform you require and how much you need to invest in it.

Very Basic automated digital marketing and nurturing

If you’re interested in taking your first step up from basic email marketing, but are intimidated by concepts such as dynamic content, personalized forms, lead scoring and specialized landing pages, this is your category. It’s worth noting that most of these platforms are primarily email marketing focused with some automation features, usually forms of segmentation, basic personalization and drip campaigns.

The following platforms are designed for small companies with limited budget and human resources who would like to try out marketing automation:

Suggested Platforms

  • SimplyCast – Free Version, starting price $5 Monthly
  • Omnisend – Free Version, starting price $8 Monthly (price depends on number of subscribers).
  • MailerLite – Free up to 1000 subscribers, thereafter starting at $10 Monthly
  • CampaignMonitor – $9 monthly, free 24/7 support

Lead Scoring, automated features and personalized nurturing campaigns

This category is for the marketer who knows what they want, is clear on their objectives and wants to boost their sales or conversion journey by automating the process, but does not need the more complex and detailed tools that a full featured platform offers.

The typical user in this category is a company looking for their first marketing automation solution. They will typically have 1 – 3 users accessing the system, about 750 active contacts per month (but have 1,000 contacts total per month), and plan on sending 2,500 emails per month. They would like to track the success of the email, as well as the interest of the lead, but not necessarily every action from every website visitor.

The starting prices below will be based on this scenario.

Suggested Platforms

  • Retainly – $9 per month
  • ActiveDEMAND – $15 per month
  • ActiveCampaign – $17 per month
  • Autopilot – $20 per month
  • Jumplead – $24 per month
  • Sendinblue – $25 per month
  • Drip – $49 per month
  • Wishpond – $49 per month

Integrated marketing automation, website tracking and personalized dynamic content

The final tier of marketing automation is aimed at slightly more sophisticated companies or marketing agencies that aim to offer a full service to their clients and maximize their gains with 5,000 leads or subscribers. Marketing automation found in this category offers dynamic content, customizable sales journeys, lead scoring, website and lead tracking, but is not interested in detailed reports and statistics or additional features.

This category is still ideal for those who are just getting started with marketing automation, but you will need to ensure that you plan to treat marketing automation like a proper project and be willing to invest time into it to show decent returns.

Suggested Platforms

  • Smoove – $57 per month
  • InfusionSoft (Keap) – $115 per month
  • GetResponse – $165 per month

Complete marketing automation suite for Mid-Sized companies or agencies

A company that is an advanced user of marketing automation and has need of advanced tools and analytics, or is outsourcing their marketing services to multiple high-end clients will need a full marketing automation suite.

These are often where many companies are put off of marketing automation due to the higher price. However, realistically, smaller companies that don’t already have a proper marketing function and are just getting started with marketing automation do not need to invest in these extensive marketing automation suites.

The starting pricing below is based on users who have over 1,000 subscribers, but less than 10,000.

  • SharpSpring – $450 per month
  • HubSpot – starting at $800 a month
  • Marketo – $895 per month
  • Pardot – $1250 per month
  • Eloqua – $2000 per month

Where to start

Finding the right marketing automation platform for your company’s needs is tricky – and that’s only the beginning of the automation journey!

Deciding how to use the platform, how to optimize sends and tailor your communication to your industry requires training, patience and education all by itself.

As a digital leader in marketing, automation and campaign strategy, FunnelGrowth is the perfect partner to assist you with your marketing automation journey.

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