Marketing automation can be an incredible time and money saver for any business. It allows employees to remove the human error element and to use their time on other tasks. It’s also effective for streamlining several areas of your marketing campaign such as: creating consistency in your branding message, generating quicker response times and tracking valuable customer data to improve targeted marketing strategies and more.

You can automate web content, email, social media and SMS. If you’d like to automate all of these areas you might want to consider a suite program. If you prefer to focus on just one of these areas, then you’re better off choosing a best-of-breed that specializes in that category.

Here are the 10 best marketing automation tools (divided into suite and best-of-breed):

Suite automation tools

  1. Marketo

This software is perfect for large businesses who want one-stop shopping that will cover all their automation needs. But, it also allows you to pick and choose among categories and buy specified bundles such as mobile marketing, email marketing, lead management, customer base marketing, consumer marketing and email marketing.

Especially popular among users is its stacked list of workflow functions that allows you to drag and drop commands in an orderly fashion. Marketo also beats competitors in its streamlining of A/B testing of landing pages, an essential feature for maximizing site performance. Also, its content calendar makes it easy for you to optimize one of your site’s most valuable assets: content.

Marketo also developed a product especially for small businesses: Spark. Spark allows businesses to set up and monitor marketing campaigns of any type. There are also one-to-one Internet Marketing trainings available where small business owners can discuss the problems occurred and get the insights from marketing professionals.

  1. Hubspot

Widely acclaimed for its simplicity, Hubspot is another favorite among big businesses. It’s kind of the Apple of marketing tools – employees overwhelmingly prefer its intuitive user interface. Once you’ve set it up, it’s easy for your marketing team to manage it on their own without having to call in a specialist.

Though it’s not the cheapest software out there, the fact that it allows you to fly it solo with barely a wrinkle in its management features, makes it worth the while for those who want a hassle-free program and, if you’re going to buy an automation program, hassle-free is kind of the point.

And what about small businesses? Hubspot team takes them in account as well. They designed a CRM system for small business and made it easy to learn. This system doesn’t require any changes in the current sales process, so your sales team should love it too.

  1. Act-On

Reviewers give it top ratings for user interface and user experience. They’ve been described as a budget version of Hubspot, offering similar features at lower prices. Solid data and tools, easy-to-understand analytics, reliably streamlined. If cost is an issue, you’d be hard-pressed to find a reason not to use this tool: benefit is stellar.

  1. Infusionsoft

The most popular automated marketing software designed for small businesses. They offer most of the same features as the big-scale marketers above: CRM, automated lead capture and follow-up, personalisation based on information tracking, sales automation and online sales. Comprehensive analytics and system integration round it out. Prices reflect their small-business compatibility.

Best-of-Breed automation tools (by category)

Email:

  1. Hatchbuck

A new all-in-one CRM marketing software especially tailored for small businesses. It has high customer satisfaction rates along with state of the art contact managing, follow-up automation and tracking. Touted for its simplicity and elegant drag and drop email templates.

  1. Autopilot

Another highly praised email marketing & marketing automation software. Sign up for their conceptually designed “journey” through customer building, message personalisation and analytics in a seriously simple interface. Customers also like the price which makes it affordable for small businesses.

SMS Marketing Automation:

  1. TextMagic

Provides businesses with bulk text messaging service, including automated messages. They have a lot of convenient features including email conversion into SMS, two-way SMS chat online and texting directly from your businesses app. It works in over 200 countries, so it’s ideal for international businesses. Lots of free tools and a helpful blog are also available. They offer a free trial and after that it’s a pre-paid service, no contract.

  1. Enger

Another SMS messaging service that automates your message scheduling, provides a sign-up handle on your website’s landing page, unlimited groups and subscribers and real time analytics. They boast its simplicity and DIY-ability.

Social Media Marketing Automation:

  1. Hootsuite

Boasts 800 of the Fortune 1000 as clients, Hootsuite is a premium social network integration software. Automated publishing, analytics, content management, customer targeting and post scheduling are some of its main features. Hootsuite University offers tutorials on how to use all their cool features, such as the app directory, a library of more than 100 useful apps. They offer tiered prices for small, medium-sized and large enterprises and a 30-day trial.

  1. Sprout Social

Another popular social media automation software, their features include unlimited custom reports, advanced scheduling and team collaboration tools. You can join social conversations, provide rapid responses to customer issues and experience optimal social marketing. Customers like their easy-to-use dashboard and appreciate the “Smart Inbox” that shows you all your Twitter, Facebook and Google+ profiles in one stream. Still missing: integration of LinkedIn in their stream.

No matter what you’re looking to automate, the companies on this list are sure to provide you with the solutions you need.

  • Louis

    Awesome list, though where’s GetResponse?