marketing automation tools

4 Must-Have Marketing Automation Tools for Small Businesses



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marketing automation tools

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Traditional marketing is complex. Marketers must develop and track marketing campaigns, collect and analyze customer data, create targeted messages and many other things. There’s never enough time to complete all of these tasks.

Even the best marketing team can’t do it alone. Marketers need marketing automation tools to manage all the data and marketing efforts. The demand for these solutions increases every year.

According to one research, 31% of marketers said they would purchase a marketing automation solution in 2023. There are also reports that 72% of successful companies already use marketing automation.

As a small business owner, you can leverage these software platforms, too. They can help you eliminate manual work and focus on more critical elements, such as customer loyalty to your business.

With PassKit, our loyalty program app, you can put consumers first and improve their experience across all brand touchpoints. Create loyalty program cards and various digital passes with our platform. 

Show consumers your small business is eco-friendly by eliminating paper cards and introducing loyalty customer cards they can save and use with Google Wallet and Apple Wallet.

Sign up for your free 45-day trial now!

In this article, we’ll review the best marketing automation tools for small businesses and show how PassKit integrates with these solutions.

What is marketing automation software?

marketing automation software

Image source: Freepik

Marketing automation software automates repetitive tasks like lead generation, email marketing and social media campaigns. The technology streamlines marketing processes, allowing marketers to focus on high-priority tasks.

According to Statista, global marketing automation technology revenue will reach $25.1 billion in 2023. The ability to manage customer journeys, build personalized campaigns and track user behavior is one of the reasons why marketing automation software is in such high demand.

Why do you need marketing automation tools?

Small business owners shift to marketing automation tools to simplify marketing tasks. You can automate monotonous work to improve efficiency and create a more personalized customer experience. How?

Marketing automation tools help you deliver your content to the right customer. They also collect data when consumers interact with that content. 

Which email campaigns perform well? What social media posts have the highest engagement rate? Are your campaigns driving lead generation?

Marketing automation software solutions can answer these and many other questions.

Is marketing automation the future?

Marketing automation is likely to shape the future of marketing. 

Businesses gather many data and face increased competition. They need automated workflows to become more efficient and effective.

Marketing automation solutions enable them to reach their target audience, measure their marketing campaigns and scale their efforts quickly and easily. 

For instance, these tools have features such as segmentation. It ensures that targeted messages reach the right audience.

What do stats show us about marketing automation?

marketing automation statistics

Image source: 99Firms

Here are some marketing automation statistics to consider:

The rise in marketing automation will continue as businesses aim to optimize their marketing processes and stay ahead of the competition.

Marketing automation vs. customer relationship management: How they differ

marketing automation vs customer relationship management

Image source: Forbes

Customer relationship management (CRM) and marketing automation are popular in business. How does CRM and marketing automation differ? 

They serve different purposes.

Marketing automation manages marketing tasks and processes. You rely on this technology to enhance your email marketing, social media and content marketing efforts.

On the other hand, CRM manages sales efforts and processes. A sales team can use it to discover information such as:

  1. How long has the customer been with the company
  2. Prior conversations with a consumer
  3. Previous online orders and purchase record

Let’s now see the benefits of marketing automation software for small businesses.

What are the benefits of marketing automation tools for small businesses?

Marketing automation software for small businesses has these benefits:

  1. Increased efficiency – the tools automate time-consuming and repetitive tasks. For instance, your team doesn’t have to manually post on social media as marketing automation automates the process.
  2. Better targeting – marketing automation solutions collect insights that help you identify whom to target. It ensures you attract potential customers and increase user retention.
  3. Improved personalization – you can deliver the appropriate content to the right buyer at the right time. The tools follow each unique visitor to understand their preferences and behavior online.
  4. Higher conversion rates – as they track your leads, these solutions help you retarget website visitors who didn’t convert.

You can enhance customer engagement and grow your business by utilizing the insights these marketing automation tools provide.

What features to look for in marketing automation tools?

The best marketing automation software for small business has the following features:

  • Lead management – the tool should collect behavioral and personal data to ensure you manage leads more effectively. It helps you separate serious leads from those who are just browsing. You then know who’s ready to buy and whom you need to target with personalized marketing campaigns.
  • Campaign management – automation gathers and processes marketing data. It relies on A/B testing, social listening and other features to help you develop and launch successful marketing activities. The best part is that you don’t have to set up every step of the process manually – automation does it for you.
  • CRM integration – make sure it integrates with sales CRM. That way, you will know when a new prospect signs up for your newsletter to send them appropriate nurture campaigns.
  • Advanced analytics and reporting tools – a marketing automation platform should break down all data it collects. It helps you tweak your social media or email campaigns to draw more customers.

These are just some features your go-to marketing automation software must include. Make sure to analyze the platform extensively before committing to it.

How to choose the right marketing automation software for your small business?

There are some factors to consider when choosing the right marketing automation software for small businesses. Here they are:

  1. Cost – pricing plays an important role. We suggest you establish a budget for the platform and start from there. Then, check the paid plans of each tool to understand what they entail. See if the price fits your budget and if you get all the features you need. It’s a plus if the tool offers a free trial so that you can explore it before paying.
  2. Features – create a list of features you need to improve your workflows. For instance, you might need social media marketing automation, lead management or contact management. You can choose the right tool by knowing which features you’re after.
  3. Learning resources – it’s easier to use a new system if learning resources are available. Some platforms offer how-to videos, guides or knowledge bases to teach you how to use the tool.
  4. Evaluate different vendors – don’t choose the first software for the small business you find. It’s better to have a list of options to compare their paid plans, features and customer reviews.
  5. Customer support – the marketing software tool should provide customer support. You will need as much help as possible when you first start using the platform. Dedicated representatives should be there to answer all of your questions.

Let’s now discuss PassKit and its integration with marketing automation software.

What is PassKit?

PassKit customer loyalty software

PassKit is a customer loyalty software for businesses that want to create, manage and distribute loyalty reward cards, digital coupons, or digital passes. 

Since customers can save and use these loyalty business cards with mobile wallets, you can provide them with a connected customer experience to always be aware of how, when and where your consumers interact with your brand.

With PassKit, you can connect your online and offline channels. A digital pass on Google Wallet or Apple Wallet is all a customer needs to earn points and receive rewards whether they’re purchasing online or in-store.

How does PassKit work?

PassKit loyalty card templates

Forget about custom app building when you have PassKit. Our all-in-one marketing solution allows you to create, distribute and track the performance of your loyalty program from a centralized location. 

How does it work?

It’s pretty simple. The first step is to access the Pass Designer. You can use our loyalty card design aligned with the latest standards for mobile wallet membership cards. That means you will create a digital pass that adheres to Apple Wallet or Google Wallet guidelines.

After that, you can distribute loyalty cards to consumers through different channels. For instance, you can leverage SMS marketing, email marketing or QR code. The card link or code automatically adds the digital membership card to a customer’s mobile wallet app.

You can also use PassKit to manage digital passes, such as digital tickets. You can update the design, track usage and analyze your performance. We give you the tools to stand out with your customer loyalty program.

Start a 45-day free trial now.

What are the most critical features of PassKit?

You get access to the following features with PassKit:

  • Loyalty card templates to make the design process easier
  • The Pass Designer to build your loyalty program in just a few clicks
  • Integration with CRM, POS, email marketing and other marketing automation tools
  • The multichannel distribution system to ensure your promotions reach customers via email, social media, SMS and other channels
  • The PassKit PassReader for Android and iOS
  • Mobile wallet APIs and SDKs
  • Flight API for airline loyalty programs

These are just some of the features that come with PassKit. If you own a gym, hotel, restaurant, coffee shop or other small business, attract more customers with a unique customer loyalty program, courtesy of PassKit.

What are the most significant benefits of using PassKit?

PassKit benefits

Here is what we’ve singled out:

  1. Convenience and ease of use – customers store the digital passes on their mobile devices, meaning they don’t need to carry physical cards around. After a quick scan, they can earn points or use a voucher or discount code.
  2. Multichannel distribution – customers use numerous channels to connect with their favorite brands. PassKit allows you to distribute your loyalty program right where customers expect you to – email, SMS and many other media!
  3. Pricing based on usage – our pricing plan is transparent—it depends on the number of issued passes per month. We also offer a free trial to show you why you need PassKit for business growth.
  4. Over 30 languages supported – you can personalize your digital passes further thanks to PassKit. We support over 30 languages to ensure you display your content in your customer’s language.

Let’s now discuss whether PassKit integrates with marketing automation software for small businesses.

Does PassKit integrate with marketing automation tools?

Zapier integration with PassKit

Image source: Zapier

Yes, it does! PassKit streamlines your marketing processes by integrating with tools like Mailchimp, Shopify and Hubspot through Zapier.

This feature reduces manual work and automates your processes. For instance, let’s say you currently add new loyalty members to a Google Sheets file manually. 

You can connect PassKit with Google Sheets via Zapier to speed up this process. Whenever a new member enrolls, your file will be updated automatically.

How to use marketing automation for loyalty program rewards and incentives?

Loyalty reward cards have one purpose – to award customers for their loyalty. Sometimes, however, managing the rewards and incentives is challenging. Your membership list grows, and you can’t keep track of individual rewards.

It is where automation comes in. The technology ensures rewards and incentives reach customers before they expire. Some businesses connect their loyalty programs with email marketing services.

They create a series of emails to cover different scenarios. For example, if a voucher expires soon, the email marketing tool notifies a consumer using the information from the loyalty cards.

Did you know that PassKit provides a Mailchimp integration? Every time you register a new customer on Mailchimp, you can send an update to PassKit. 

Our platform then creates a digital pass for the new customer.

How to use marketing automation to create targeted promotions?

The best marketing automation software tools can help you improve your efforts. With automation, social media marketing, email marketing, and lead generation are all much more effective. The same applies to your promotions – they become more targeted if you:

  • Segment customers – leverage marketing automation to segment consumers based on their preferences, purchase history and behavior. You can then target specific groups with relevant offers.
  • Send automated messages – marketing automation helps you send promotional messages to the target audience, like push notifications and emails. It delivers them to customers at the right time – when they are active the most.
  • Personalize promotions – as we said, marketing automation tools collect customer data. You should use this data to develop an effective marketing strategy. Include personalized promotions that cater to a customer’s preferences and habits.

Four marketing automation tools you can integrate with PassKit today

PassKit integrates with some of the best marketing automation software tools. We’ll go over four of them below.

1. Klaviyo 

Klaviyo marketing automation

Image source: G2

Klaviyo is a marketing automation tool that enables businesses to create targeted SMS and email marketing campaigns. It is mainly suitable for eCommerce businesses that want to grow their customer list.

It integrates with platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce. That allows Klaviyo to connect data such as browsing behavior. It relies on these insights to spark a personal and meaningful conversation with a customer.

PassKit also integrates with Klaviyo. For example, when you have a new loyalty program member, you can add them to Klaviyo automatically.

2. ActiveCampaign

ActiveCampaign marketing automation

Image source: G2

ActiveCampaign is a customer experience automation platform. It focuses on each customer journey stage to improve engagement and deliver relevant content to consumers. Small-to-mid-sized businesses usually use ActiveCampaign.

With ActiveCampaign, you can introduce email marketing automation. Your customers can trigger emails based on the action they take. For instance, they can buy a product or visit your website.

You can also build landing pages with this tool. You can customize them for each person to encourage them to purchase from your business.

The PassKit integration with ActiveCampaign is available via Zapier.

3. Hubspot

Hubspot marketing automation

Image source: G2

Hubspot is an all-in-one solution that offers tools for social media management, content creation, email marketing and more. It also supports marketing and sales automation. For example, your sales team can use Hubspot for lead management or sales forecasting.

Marketers, on the other hand, can develop a unique customer experience. For instance, Hubspot allows you to set triggers or actions. When a consumer does a specific activity, the platform automatically sends them a corresponding email.

The platform is suitable for small to medium-sized businesses and enterprises. It also integrates with PassKit through Zapier.

4. ManyChat

ManyChat marketing automation

Image source: G2

Another marketing automation software for small businesses is ManyChat. The platform enables you to communicate with customers through SMS, Instagram, Facebook Messenger and other channels.

You can automate various messages through ManyChat, including:

  • Customer service inquiries
  • Appointment scheduling
  • Order updates

You can create chatbots that deal with customer inquiries instead of you.

This marketing solution is perfect for small and medium-sized businesses. You can integrate it with PassKit.  

Marketing automation tools for small businesses: Wrapping up

Technology has made marketers’ lives easier. They now have more time to improve a marketing strategy because automation does manual work instead of them. Improved efficiency and better targeting are just some of the benefits automation tools bring to the table.

We suggest you try out the four marketing software tools we mentioned. They can boost your social media, content marketing and email campaigns. Go over their paid plans to see if they fit your budget.

The good news is that you can combine these tools with your digital loyalty program, like PassKit. Our platform supports automation, synchronizes contact records and distributes digital passes among your contacts. Remember, it also delivers your digital loyalty program to consumers’ mobile devices.

Start a 45-day free trial!

FAQs about marketing automation software

We’ve compiled the most frequently asked questions about marketing automation software. Let’s go over the answers.

What is the best marketing automation software for a small business?

The best marketing automation software for a small business has features like lead management, campaign management, and analytics and reporting tools. It also enables marketers to schedule emails, posts or other messages.

Which is the best marketing automation tool?

There isn’t a straightforward answer to this question. You have many tools at your disposal today. We would say that the best is the one that has features your business needs to grow even more.

How do I choose marketing automation tools?

You should consider several factors:

  • Price
  • Features
  • Integrations
  • Customer support

Is HubSpot marketing automation free?

You need to pay a monthly or annual fee to use marketing automation.

Is marketing automation a CRM?

No, marketing automation is not a CRM. CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is a software solution that helps businesses manage their interactions and relationships with customers, clients, and sales prospects. 

On the other hand, marketing automation is a software solution that helps companies to automate repetitive and time-consuming marketing tasks such as email marketing, lead generation, and social media management.

What are examples of marketing automation?

Examples of marketing automation include

  1. Email marketing automation: automating email campaigns and personalized communication with customers
  2. Lead generation and nurturing: automating lead capture and lead qualification processes
  3. Social media management: automating social media posting and engagement
  4. Customer segmentation: automating the creation of customer segments based on behavior and preferences
  5. Website personalization: automating personalized content and offers based on visitor behavior

Is Google Analytics a marketing automation tool?

Google Analytics is not a marketing automation tool. Instead, it is a web analytics service that analyzes website traffic and user behavior. 

While it is a valuable tool for gaining insights into website visitors and shaping marketing strategies, it does not have the same automation and optimization capabilities as a dedicated marketing automation platform.

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