Automating key marketing strategies is a crucial part of scaling your business and making more money, especially if you’re not interested in expanding your team. We’ve used just about every marketing automation tool available over the last decade. Based on our experiences, Constant Contact works the best for most users. It comes with a drag-and-drop visual automation builder, segmentation features, advanced reporting, and SMS marketing tools.
The Best Marketing Automation Software for Most
If you’re looking for a marketing automation tool that’s powerful, but doesn’t require a developer to make changes, Constant Contact is the way to go. The interface does not take long to master. You reach more customers with less effort, and the clear reporting dashboards let you know where to focus your efforts.
Don’t take our word for it. You can take a 60-day free trial of Constant Contact, no credit card required.
The 7 Best Marketing Automation Software Options to Consider:
- Constant Contact – Best marketing automation for most
- ActiveCampaign – Best for marketing and sales automation
- Keap – Best for growing service-based businesses
- Brevo (formerly Sendinblue) – Most feature-rich marketing automation software
- Campaigner – Best for advanced email automation
- Rejoiner – Best for ecommerce businesses
- Act-On – Best software for reporting and real-time analytics
When It Makes Sense to Invest in Marketing Automation Software
The main concept of marketing automation is simple; it takes mundane tasks and turns them into automated workflows that run 24/7 without you (or anyone on your team) lifting a finger.
By leveraging automation, you can make sure that every unique visitor, sees the most relevant information.
This is true regardless of their actions or where they’re at in your funnel.
With that said, any business with a website and email list can (and should) invest in marketing automation software.
And whether you’re selling tangible goods, digital products, or services, automation is the easiest way to move people through your sales funnel.
However, if you’re still in the early stages, or launching a startup, it might be too soon for marketing automation software. You should hold off until manual management becomes too much to handle.
#1 – Constant Contact — The Best Marketing Automation for Most
Any company can help you send out lots of emails or texts–Constant Contact will help you do it right.
It’s a designed to help you automate as many parts of your marketing processes as possible. From getting customers to opt-in to text campaigns to warming up new leads over the course of a drip campaign, you’ll be able to move much faster.
Constant Contact allows you to easily embed signup forms on your web pages that can even be tailored to only appear based on behavioral triggers (like when a visitor is about to leave your landing page, for example).
You can set up a detailed, tailored welcome sequence so that these new additions to your list are automatically greeted and warmed up for the next stage in their sales journey. Segment out any series based on initial circumstances like where they signed up, their job title, their location, or any other piece of information.
The template selection is very good–just plug your content in and forms are going to look as good on a desktop as they do on a mobile phone. Customers can opt in with a single click, which is a must if you plan to automate SMS marketing.
At any point, set triggers to activate drip campaigns—which, of course, can also be finely segmented—and get prospects more interested in making a purchase. Set the timing of sends and use dynamic content in your emails to lend extra personalization to messages so they land perfectly with each recipient.
Basically, Constant Contact allows you to build a Rube Goldberg machine of sorts that automatically handles email sends at any stage of your sales funnel. That frees up your sales team to monitor progress and then strike when the iron’s hot.
All of this comes in Constant Contact’s Standard plan, which starts at $35/month for up to 500 contacts. With it, you get all the automation capability the platform has to offer, pre-built automation templates, A/B testing tools, and social media ads integration
Pricing scales upward for larger lists. It’s $75/month for up to 2,500 contacts, $110/month for a list of 5,000, $160/month for up to 10,000 contacts, and so on. Constant Contact can also create a custom plan for list sizes over 50,000.
Put your routine email tasks on autopilot while also improving them with powerful customization and segmentation– try Constant Contact free for 60 days.
#2 – ActiveCampaign — The Best for Marketing and Sales Automation
ActiveCampaign is an affordable option for marketing automation that comes with built-in tools for your sales team. The end result is a single platform that saves you a ton of time on the back end and creates a seamless experience for customers.
Even as a small business, the power of automation goes a long way.
It’s the logical choice when you want to grow but don’t have the budget for new teammates or contractors to help you out.
ActiveCampaign’s visual builder is one of the most intuitive we’ve seen. It leverages basic logic and approachable visual symbols to help you create even the most complex automations in just a few clicks with no technical skills required.
With it, you can get all of your campaigns, pipelines, and engagements running seamlessly on autopilot. But it also takes automation one step further by automating something many tools gloss over: analytics.
The best way to personalize customer experiences is to know everything about them, from how and why they buy things to what they interact with on social media.
On a small scale, doing so is easy enough. But manual processes break down as you add more customers and leads to your workflow.
ActiveCampain makes it easier than ever to score leads and customers, sort them by engagement (or however you prefer), personalize their experiences, and make your marketing processes more efficient.
All without lifting a finger—set up the workflow once and it’ll work forever or until you turn it off.
You can easily segment your email list, score leads based on user activities and behavior, and leverage dynamic content to send personalized messages at the right time.
The introductory plan includes access for up to three users, unlimited monthly emails, 500+ pre-built automation recipes, and 300+ integrations.
So, you get tons of functionality, even at the most basic level. As you grow and your automation needs expand, you can upgrade to higher plans for more advanced features, like SMS marketing and sales CRM.
On top of that, every plan comes with other powerful features, including:
- Site messaging
- Site tracking
- Engagement tracking
- Integrated signup forms
- Advanced reporting
- CRM app
You can also benefit from exceptional customer support, including free training, free chat/email support, and free migration from the software you’re currently using.
ActiveCampaign offers monthly, and annual pricing plans to suit businesses with varying needs. Their annual plans include:
- Lite — $9 per month
- Plus — $49 per month
- Professional — $129 per month
- Enterprise — $229 per month
These rates are valid for up to 1,000 contacts, so as your list grows, you’ll need to pay more every month.
#3 – Keap — The Best MA Software For Growing Service-Based Businesses
Best For Service-Based Businesses
Marketing automation and sales CRM designed for growing service-based businesses. Includes a robust visual automation builder, automated appointment scheduling, invoicing, lead capture forms, and more. Plans start at $79 per month for up to 500 contacts.
Keap is a marketing automation tool specifically designed for growing service-based businesses with at least one employee and a growing list of leads.
It’s a comprehensive solution that delivers advanced automation features for marketing, sales, and CRM.
As such, you can start creating automated systems and processes to help you get more done in less time, freeing up more time to scale your business.
With it, you can create custom automated campaigns built to move leads through the funnel, develop nurturing welcome sequences, send automated reminders, and utilize powerful logic-based automations.
On top of that, you also get various features designed specifically for service-based businesses, including:
- A real-time activity stream
- Automated campaign builder based on user actions
- Automated appointment scheduling
- Quotes, invoices, and online payments
We love how seamless it is to take prospective clients from your marketing funnel and get them on your calendar. Appointment scheduling is a cinch. Whether you’re doing a virtual consultation or booking an on-site job, Keap syncs with the platforms you’re already using to make it easier on everyone involved.
Plus, with Keap’s automation capabilities, you can set a chain reaction of reminders, messages, or other actions to happen when an appointment is booked or a consultation is completed.
You can also automatically assign tasks to various team members based on customer actions or other triggers at your discretion. This makes it not only possible but incredibly easy to follow up with leads, regardless of where they come from.
Plus, you get the added benefit of built-in CRM features and sales pipeline management so leads flow seamlessly from one department to the next.
Pricing is based on the number of contacts in your database, with introductory plans for up to 500 contacts starting at:
- Keap Grow — $79 per month
- Keap Pro — $169 per month
- Infusionsoft — $199 per month
While the price might initially seem steep for small businesses, it’s important to remember you’re getting a CRM alongside sales and marketing automation features.
These tools separately could easily cost hundreds of dollars a month. So, packaging them together is actually a great deal.
For a limited time, Keap is offering 30% off your first three months. Sign up for a free 14-day trial to see if it’s right for you!
#4 – Brevo (formerly Sendinblue) — Most Feature-Rich Marketing Automation Software
Best Automation Features
Regardless of your experience level or the number of contacts you have, Brevo offers a wealth of automation features and unlimited users on every plan. Get everything you need to start automating your email, SMS, live chat, and advertising campaigns in one place, complete with drag-and-drop visual builders.
Brevo (formerly Sendinblue) is a marketing automation tool that helps with multiple communication methods, including email marketing, SMS marketing, live chat, landing pages, ads, and more. The software can even double as a fully functional CRM solution so you can build stronger relationships with your customers.
With automated tasks and campaigns across multiple channels, you can market your business on autopilot. In other words, you can reach more of the right people while doing less work.
Brevo lets you grow your contact list with signup forms, retargeting campaigns, and social media ads. From there, you also get all the tools you need to nurture your contact list and push your leads closer to buying from you as they make their way through your sales funnel.
It covers the entire marketing workflow, with some features crossing over into the sales realm too.
On top of that, the workflow editor uses basic logic and intriguing visuals to help you build out automations. Want to automate an entire six-month sales funnel that starts the moment someone joins your list? No problem.
You can even score leads based on how they interact with your messages. Notice someone’s eagerly opening every email, responding to your texts, and repeatedly browsing a section of your online store? You can send a gentle nudge that may be all they need to finally click “buy”.
Despite its moderate price tag, Brevo is the most feature-rich marketing automation solution on the market. Some of the top features include:
- Unlimited contacts
- A/B testing
- Sales CRM
- Advanced segmentation
- Custom signup forms
- Workflow editor
- Page tracking
- Real-time reporting
- Email heat maps
- Send time optimization
- API integration
Here’s a look at the plans and pricing for Brevo’s marketing software:
While Brevo is one of the only solutions on our list that doesn’t charge you based on the number of contacts on your list, the plans do come with a monthly email cap. So just keep that in mind when you’re selecting a plan.
Full marketing automation features aren’t available on all plans either. You need to sign up for the Premium subscription, starting at $65 per month, to access those automation tools.
#5 – Campaigner — Best For Advanced Email Automation
Advanced Email Automation
Looking for an easier way to build advanced email automations? Whether you want to build hyper-personalized automations or campaigns that span years, Campaigner is an excellent place to start. For $59 per month, you can set up conditional workflows, set behaviorial triggers, and build custom campaigns.
While most marketing automation solutions include email marketing as part of a larger digital marketing strategy, Campaigner specializes in delivering advanced email marketing features and automation functionality.
If you want to use customer data and behavior to build out personalized email campaigns that deliver on autopilot, it’s your new best friend.
When you’re getting started, Campaigner doesn’t skimp out on the basics—it covers the essentials, including web forms, landing pages, email templates, and a drag-and-drop email designer. It has everything you need to capture new subscribers, nurture your leads, and convert them into paying customers.
However, it takes email marketing a step further by coming with features you can use post-sale as well, like upsells, personalized repurchase campaigns based on previous purchases, and more.
The best part about Campaigner is how easy it is to use. Even for advanced email automations, it’s surprisingly easy and the visual builder makes setting everything up a breeze, even if you’ve never built out automated email campaigns before.
Use Campaigner to create conditional workflows based on behavioral triggers such as purchase conditions, historical engagement, clicks, opens, and more. You’ll also be able to trigger workflows based on different types of conversion data.
Campaigner supports conditional content, dynamic content, and custom fields for your subscribers. It integrates with ecommerce platforms like Shopify and Magento, as well.
Pricing and plans for Campaigner:
- Starter — $59 per month
- Essential — $179 per month
- Advanced — $649 per month
- Ecommerce — $79.95 per month
The plans support up to 5,000, 25,000, and 100,000 contacts, respectively. The ecommerce plan integrates with most ecommerce platforms and up to 30,000 emails per month with other more advanced plans available. All of the rates shown above are based on an annual contract. Month-to-month rates are about 20% more expensive.
Unfortunately, not all of the top features are available in the entry-level plan. To access complete automation workflows and all 60+ features, you’ll need to sign up for the Advanced plan.
#6 – Rejoiner — The Best For Ecommerce Businesses
Best For Ecommerce
Looking to build marketing automations for your ecommerce store? Rejoiner is your new best friend. It includes a drag-and-drop editor, visual workflows, and multi-dimensional audience segments to send the right messages at the right time. Start making the most of your marketing efforts for just $95 per month.
Rejoiner is an email marketing solution with automation features designed for ecommerce shops. The software is trusted by well-known brands like Hydro Flask, Guess, and Titleist.
The tool has a drag-and-drop editor that allows you to create beautiful emails and custom automation campaigns. Rejoiner is perfect for ecommerce websites that want to leverage automated emails to target abandoned shopping carts.
Create multi-dimensional segments based on elements like browsing behavior, email engagement, purchase history, custom tags, shopping frequency, and more. Behavioral scoring is another top marketing automation feature of Rejoiner.
Use this software to create visual workflows, map customer journeys, and optimize engagement with email templates and A/B testing.
Rejoiner seamlessly integrates with your ecommerce platform. You won’t need developers to get started either.
Pricing for Rejoiner is based on the number of contacts on your list. Rates start at $95 per month, which includes 2,000 contacts and 20,000 emails.
One of my favorite parts of Rejoiner is that all of the features come standard out of the box. Pricing is solely based on the number of contacts. Since the features are all-inclusive, the starting rates are a bit higher than other entry-level plans that we’ve reviewed.
#7 – Act-On — The Best For Marketing Insights
Best For Marketing Insights
Starting at $900 per month, Act-On's advanced marketing reports and real-time analytics help businesses of all sizes track digital marketing KPIs, generate more leads, and nurture those leads on autopilot across just about every channel imaginable. Start learning more about your marketing automations today!
Act-On is a bit unique compared to the other solutions on our list.
It specializes in lead generation and nurturing using marketing automation but it’s built specifically for large-scale, complex campaigns with massive marketing budgets behind them.
On top of traditional automation tools, you also get email and social media automations, account-based marketing features, lead generation tools that integrate with your website, SEO auditing tools, and dozens of CRM plus martech connectors to automate large-scale campaigns from start to finish.
However, Act-On truly shines with its comprehensive suite of analytics and reporting tools that offer an incredibly deep look at what works and what doesn’t.
With it, you can easily track KPIs for different aspects of your campaigns, including email performance, landing page conversions, traffic conversions, social media engagement, and content downloads broken up by device, email client, region, and more.
Besides KPI tracking, you also get behavior tracking that covers how your customers engage with your website, loyalty programs, emails, social media profiles, SMS messages, ads, and landing pages for a full 360-degree look.
You’ll also benefit from custom campaign reports to gain deeper insight into what matters most.
Whether you want a bird’ eye view that makes sense of data at a glance or the ability to dig deep into the raw data to spot trends and identify areas of improvement on your own, Act-On’s performance analytics are truly the best out of all the tools on our list.
Act-On delivers real-time data snapshots related to your marketing funnel and leads. The reports include information related to potential revenue, generated revenue, and bottlenecks in your process.
With all of this in mind, Act-On is not for everyone. Beginners and small businesses will likely find the software a bit too complex for basic needs. Plus, the price point is definitely geared towards larger organizations and SMEs with more room in their marketing budgets.
Act-On has two plans, starting at $900 and $2,000 per month, respectively. Each plan includes 2,500 active contacts, and the price increases as your list grows.
Basic customer support is included, which gives you access to knowledge base posts, community forums, and technical support during business hours. Advanced customer support costs $6,000 or $15,000 per year, depending on your needs.
Overall, Act-On’s software is exceptional, but it’s expensive. Startups, small businesses, and even companies on the smaller side of the SME spectrum should probably look elsewhere.
Methodology For Choosing The Best Marketing Automation Software
Finding the best marketing automation software for your business can be challenging if you don’t know what to look for. But certain factors allow you to make an informed decision as you’re shopping around.
This is the methodology that we used during the research process to come up with the best software on our list. I’ll explain how you can weigh these factors according to your personal needs below.
Type of Software
Not every marketing automation solution is created equally. Some software is branded as an email marketing tool, others specialize in CRM, and some are a combination of the two.
To be clear, marketing automation, CRM software, and email marketing software are not the same. Marketing automation falls within the general scope of managing customer relationships. Some email marketing tools have automation features.
If you’re looking for an all-in-one marketing solution, make sure you find a tool that has all three of these features.
But not every business needs an all-inclusive solution for automation. Some of you will be just fine with a basic email tool for marketing automation.
The size and type of your business will play a significant role in your search for marketing automation software. Some solutions are designed for smaller businesses, while others are better for larger organizations and SMEs.
Ecommerce businesses will also have unique needs, such as setting up triggers for abandoned shopping carts.
Are you targeting website visitors or just email subscribers? Does the solution help you build custom forms? What about social media ads or SMS communication?
When you’re evaluating a prospective solution, make sure that it accommodates the needs of your business type and marketing goals.
Obviously, automation is a critical component of marketing automation software—that goes without saying. But some automations are more complex than others.
You need to find a solution that makes it easy for you to set up and build your automations with custom rules. For the most part, user behavior or some type of action will trigger an automated sequence. But the best software allows you to dig even deeper to personalize that campaign based on multiple rules and segments.
There’s a fine line between building the best possible automations for personalized campaigns and confusing yourself during the process.
I always recommend starting with a free trial or demo. This is the best way to get a feel for which platform you like the most when building custom workflows.
Marketing automation software ranges anywhere from $10-$2,000+ per month. In most cases, the price is based on how many contacts or subscribers you have on your list.
However, $10 won’t give you many automation tools, and $2,000 will likely be more than you need. The vast majority of you will benefit from software starting in the $60-$200 range for full automation features.
Small businesses and startups will typically fall on the lower end of this spectrum. Larger organizations can expect to pay a bit more.
Just remember, the price is rarely fixed. It will usually change as your list grows. For those of you paying a fixed rate that isn’t based on the number of contacts, you might be limited to how many messages or campaigns can be run in a month.
Marketing automation makes your life easier. Not only does it automate basic marketing tasks, but it allows you to generate leads, nurture them, and drive conversions at scale.
Constant Contact is our top recommendations for most users. However, choosing the best marketing automation software depends on what you need.
Regardless of your business size, industry, or unique needs, you can find what you’re looking for using the reviews and methodology in this guide.