These days, marketing is as much a science as an art. The marketing landscape has become increasingly more complex, producing whole platforms and tools that help automate marketing and marketing tasks — from email and content marketing and promotion to entire campaigns.
According to G2 Crowd, there are more than 30 enterprise-level marketing-automation platforms to choose from, assuming you have lots of cash to spend. But what about those of us with smaller budgets?
The good news is, there are plenty of low-cost or even free tools offering robust features and capabilities to help you streamline and automate repetitive tasks, reduce human error, manage complexity and make it easier for your startup to market, measure and optimize all efforts.
So, if you want more automation, but aren’t in the market for an entire enterprise platform, check out these seven automation tools you can on-board without crushing your SaaS company’s budget.
Drip is a light-weight alternative to systems like Infusionsoft and Marketo. It provides a lot of functionality, but at a fraction of the cost. You can automate actions based on user and visitor triggers, enabling you to produce countless drip campaigns that can be modified based on subscriber criteria.
Buffer saves you time by scheduling content for distribution and promotion on your social media platforms. You place content in a queue to send out, based on time slots you have pre-configured. There’s also browser integration, so when you see something you like on the web, you can click a “Buffer” button to queue it up for sharing.
Buffer isn’t just pushing the envelope with automation, it’s also pushing out serious content to help businesses understand digital and content marketing. Its high-value content keeps the tool top-of-mind with marketers. It’s full of great insights and advice that can be a good education for anyone who wants to learn how to improve his or her content promotion efforts. Find a way to work that kind of content marketing into your strategy, and you’ll capture the attention of your own audience.
As John Jantsch, speaking at the Marketo Virtual Summit: Road to Success, said, “No one talks about boring businesses.”
IFTTT (If This Then That) makes it easy to automate a broad range of activities by streamlining your workflow based on triggered events. For example, when you create a new blog post, a tweet is generated. There are more than 4,000 preset trigger events or “recipes” to choose from, or you can set up your own. Once it’s established, you can set it and forget it. The automation handles the rest each time you post.
Wishpond is well known for its lead-generation tools, which include landing pages, popups and contests. The platform assists with lead-scoring as well as website tracking, and offers integration with most of the commonly used customer relationship management (CRM) tools on the market today.
A big part of content marketing is curating content for your audience so that you’re not just pushing your own content on them. Unfortunately, manual content-curation can suck up a large amount of your time. Quuu is an amazingly simple application that automates your content curation based on categories and topics that you choose. It allows you to share something relevant with your audience on a regular basis.
Intercom makes it easy to reach any of your customers within seconds, through personalized messages. The automation helps scale your business while keeping the human aspect alive and thriving in your communication. This simple, free tool shows you who’s using your product while giving you the ability to talk to these customers through targeted, behavior-driven email and in-app messages.
Information is great to have, and as marketer Dave Jung says, “While an awareness of the customer’s use of your product is important, repeating what they already know . . . obscures the real information they want. And that’s what B2B marketing thrives on . . . information.”
One of the best tools to help with closing deals and strengthening customer relationships is a handwritten note, but that’s not really a scalable solution. MailLift offers a viable approach to handwritten notes that includes CRM integration to help automate this personal touch. The MailLift team handwrites letters on your behalf so you can make your customers feel that they’re getting special attention, and let your team focus on growing your business.
You can personalize your sales and support process for no more than the cost of a cup of coffee.
Make automation personal
Automation is an important part of sustainable growth and scale for your business, but never lose sight of the personal interactions your customers require. As marketer Rohit Roy says, “Technology is here to help the modern marketer evolve, and not drive them towards extinction.” Automation at the loss of engagement is never a smart trade.
Always make it your goal to help solve the problems your customers have from the moment they first engage with you, and build your automation around that.