17 Aug

8 Small Business CRMs With iPhone & iPad Apps

Today, you have a huge amount of choice for awesome small business CRMs. However, the availability of mobile CRMs i.e. software that come with apps that enable monitoring of your CRM and/or marketing automation right from the comfort of your smartphone is less abundant.

In this post, we’ll take a look at 8 small business CRMs will allow you to manage your customers on-the-go on your iOS device.

1. ActiveCampaign

ActiveCampaign are one of the hottest marketing automation & CRM tools for small businesses right now.

Why? Because they have one of the best products despite being 10X less expensive than many of the clunkier alternatives. While there isn’t an office ActiveCampaign iOS app, there is a Moboop app that allows you to manage your ActiveCampaign contacts and campaigns.

You can download the app here. To learn more about ActiveCampaign, you can start a free trial here.

2. Marketo


The Marketo iOS app isn’t quite as functional as HubSpot’s app, but then again it’s not meant to be. You see, although Marketo doesn’t currently offer a mobile app to manage your entire CRM, it does come with an Event Check-in app that’s available on both iOS and Android.

This app is a great tool to have in your belt if you ever find yourself hosting an offline event. As your guests come in, you can check them in with a simple click of a button. All of the attendance information is then immediately synced with your customer database in real-time.

Because of the database-app connection, you can also create specific attendance-related triggers as your guests check in. For instance, you could forward a welcome email to a guest as soon as his/her attendance is recorded. Or, you can also automatically request guests to complete a poll or questionnaire at the end.

You can even send notifications to specific team members when the attendance of a VIP guest is registered.

Download the Marketo Events iOS app

3. Ontraport


Ontraport is another popular CRM that offers a mobile app.

The app offers a variety of functions right from the dashboard. You can email a contact or a segment of contacts, send text messages, or tag leads based on specific criteria.

There are also built-in management capabilities for your pending marketing and customer service tasks. Tasks can be marked complete, reassigned to different team members, rescheduled, or canceled on the app.

There are a couple disadvantages, however. Just as in Ontraport’s desktop software, the interface is just a little bit clunky and some of the screens are visually unappealing. That said, the UI is still (for the most part) relatively easy to navigate, even though it might not be the nicest thing to look at. And if you ever do get stuck, Ontraport has written up a detailed forum post that documents the app’s capabilities fully.

Download the Ontraport iOS app

4. Infusionsoft


Infusionsoft is a veritable giant in the marketing automation industry, and their iOS app is much the same.

The app comes with a whole host of tempting functions. Contact management, of course, comes standard with viewing, adding, editing, and searching capabilities built-in. You can also create tags that will trigger actions from your sales team or set an automation workflow in progress.

Follow ups can be done right from the mobile UI as well, with features for call, email, and text messaging. Map directions can be sent/received to/from your contacts.

Download the Infusionsoft iOS app

5. Base


Base is a popular CRM with a powerful mobile app. Base itself does not come with marketing automation capabilities, although you can use Zapier to integrate it with software like HubSpot and Infusionsoft.

Even so, Base touts its mobile CRM as the “#1 Mobile CRM Experience”; to be honest, it’s a little hard to disagree. The UI of the app is not only gorgeous, but also functional. You get a beautiful analytics dashboard, graphic pipeline visibility, emailing capabilities (with templates included), and automatic call tracking.

The app will also import contact geolocation data to display any customers in your CRM that are near your current location. Notifications can be set up when high-value leads, contacts, or deals are updated.

Download the Base iOS app

6. Insightly


Insightly is a vastly popular CRM and project management app with a user base that’s over 900,000 strong. Its mobile apps are also widely used. One of Insightly’s most attractive features is not in their product itself, but rather in their pricing. For up to 2 users, Insightly is completely free and allows you to store up to 2500 records with 250 MB worth of storage.

Inside the app you can communicate with your team and manage your task calendar. Events can be scheduled right from the UI, and you can also get in touch with your leads (via call, text, or email), whose locations will be mapped. What’s more, you can also record meetings and create contacts & leads simply by scanning business cards.

All your data will sync in real-time with the web app.

Download the Insightly iOS app

7. Nimble


Nimble is a social CRM targeted towards small businesses. Because of its social media based nature, Nimble has a few unique and quirky features that you aren’t likely to find common in other mobile CRMs.

The big idea behind the Nimble iOS app is “intelligent insight”. Nimble allows you to be better prepared as you walk into meetings with your contacts. It searches the web for contextual information about your contacts, pulling in data from the top 3 social networks (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn) and from email. It then personalizes the information for each contact and presents it to you in a clean interface.

Download the Nimble iOS app

8. HubSpot


HubSpot is easily one of the world’s most popular CRM and marketing automation combo software. It’s an all-in-one inbound marketing platform that’s been praised highly for its superior versatility and reliability, with functions that are ideal for small businesses.

One of HubSpot’s best features is their mobile app. With it, you can schedule new social media posts (right from the comfort of your standard web browser, e.g. Safari), monitor brand mentions on Twitter, follow up with new contacts, and a whole lot more.


The iOS app also comes with a neat analytics dashboard that allows you to easily view your website performance in real-time. You can even manage multiple HubSpot accounts right from the same iPhone/iPad.

One of the main drawbacks to HubSpot’s service is their steep price creep. As your contact base grows, your fee for the HubSpot software will also grow quite significantly.

Download the HubSpot iOS App

Wrapping Up

Which of these mobile CRMs do you plan to use or integrate with your current software? Which one fits your budget and business needs the best?

Let us know in the comments!

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04 Aug

7 Small Business CRMs that Offer Marketing Automation

Nowadays, if you’re a digital small business with a significant customer base, you can’t afford to not have a CRM. Customer relationship management tools allow you to organize contacts and consolidate all customer information into one place. Without one, you’ll waste time flipping between various interfaces trying to figure out how to make your data from one platform play nicely with the data from another.

The max potential of a CRM is reached when teamed up with marketing automation. Marketing automation uses the information of your contacts to send them personalized messages based on their onsite behaviour.

In this post, we’ll explore 7 of the top small business CRMs that come with marketing automation features out of the box.

1. Infusionsoft

Infusionsoft is one of the most popular CRM/marketing automation tools for small business. One quick look at the feature list, and it’s not hard to see why; Infusionsoft is easily one of the most powerful platforms out there.

Infusionsoft has been praised in particular for its intuitive UI, which allows you to manage everything right from one convenient dashboard. The campaign builder is also very visual and has a sequential flow to it.

Infusionsoft campaign

One drawback, though, is Infusionsoft’s mandatory $1,500 kickstart fee. If the kickstart fee is a little higher than what you’re able to commit to upfront, then you might be better suited to a cheaper option.


  • email marketing (follow up triggers include specific actions, profile traits, or contact)
  • advanced landing page builder (pages can be hosted for free on Infusionsoft)
  • very detailed metrics of website visitors (even down to their screen resolution)
  • task management tools
  • 300+ integrations (some require extra payment)
  • eCommerce tools (supported payment gateways include PayPal and all major credit cards)
  • referral marketing programs

Starting price: $199/month for 2,500 contacts & 3 users + $1,500 kickstart fee

Go to Infusionsoft

2. Ontraport

Ontraport is another giant in the marketing software field, with a user base comparable to Infusionsoft’s. Unlike Infusionsoft, though, Ontraport comes with no kickstart fee and has very competitive pricing and low price creep.

Ontraport is also mobile-enabled, and comes with several advanced eCommerce features (overall, its very suited to any digital store). It’s very scalable as well: the starter package includes support for 25,000 contacts.

The story isn’t all roses, though, because Ontraport’s text-based campaign builder isn’t as intuitive as the more visual ones you get in other tools. Additionally, the dashboard isn’t very appealing, and the rest of the UI also has a pretty steep learning curve.



  • customize user permissions
  • web form builder with lots of predesigned templates
  • ONTRAmail (email marketing tool with responsive templates)
  • automatic follow-ups via email, phone call, direct mail, and SMS
  • one of the highest deliverability rates in the industry
  • integrations with Facebook apps
  • event management for physical meetups

Starting price: $297/month for 25,000 contacts and 2 users (14-day free trial, no credit card required)

Go to Ontraport

3. ActiveCampaign

ActiveCampaign is a highly functional CRM and marketing automation tool. Don’t let its relatively low popularity fool you: ActiveCampaign gives you a whole lot of bang for your buck. In fact, it’s the very tool we use here at Marketing Automation Insider.

The email marketing tool allows you to create responsive templates in a drag & drop editor; lots of segmentation options and triggers are possible. ActiveCampaign can also fetch extensive contact data, like age, gender, location, interests, and more just from a contact’s email address. The UI feels very smooth and the campaign builder has a nice flow to it.



  • email marketing (split testing enabled)
  • embed content in emails from eCommerce platforms or via RSS feeds
  • social analysis and tracking
  • SMS/text messaging
  • multiple automation triggers
  • smooth UI with a drag & drop campaigne editor
  • integration with custom apps (e.g. Facebook apps)

Starting price: $9/month for 500 contacts and 3 users

Go to ActiveCampaign

4. Hatchbuck

Hatchbuck is a popular CRM and marketing automation platform with a big emphasis on simplicity. Hatchbuck’s Email Nurturing Engine was designed especially to meet that goal; it comes with over 450 responsive email templates and a visual campaign editor.

Hatchbuck also boasts several features that enhance your productivity like activity management, task prioritization, and more.

Hatchbuck CRM


  • hot lead alerts (get notified when a lead is ready to buy)
  • detailed activity and engagement tracking
  • simple email marketing (with a huge template library and a drag & drop email editor)
  • segmentation & lead nurturing
  • contact management and extensive reporting

Starting price: $99/month for 2,500 contacts and 1 user

Go to Hatchbuck

5. Jumplead

Jumplead is a popular tool; its main purpose is marketing automation, but it also comes with a few CRM features as well. Jumplead comes with a free plan, but the free plan is so limited in scalability that it’s essentially just a free trial.


One of the best features Jumplead offers is the ability to chat with your visitors in real-time while they’re browsing your site. Most automation tools, even some top-of-the-line products, don’t come with this feature built-in. You’ll usually see it instead in a third-party solution like Olark and Zopim.

Getting live chat as a native feature, though, allows you to directly transfer new leads or contacts generated through the chat into the CRM and automation flows; this would be harder to do with a third-party option. Unfortunately, though, the feature isn’t available in the free version.


  • live chat
  • email marketing
  • detailed engagement activity (you can view users’ onsite activity before you start chatting with them)
  • lead qualification & scoring
  • plenty of automation triggers (like a pricing page revisit, web form submission, or when a lead visits a certain number of pages)
  • lifecycle stages (specify the requirements a lead must meet to be considered in a certain stage of your sales funnel)
  • WYSIWYG landing page editor
  • in-depth analytics (including UTM reporting)

Starting price: $0/month for 200 visitors & 200 contacts and no chats; then $49/month for 3,000 visitors, 2,000 contacts, 10 concurrent chats

Go to Jumplead

6. Leadsius

Leadsius is a CRM/marketing automation combo suite that’s been growing rapidly in popularity in recent months. Like a couple other tools on this list, one of Leadsius’s main attractions is its $0 starting price tag. With it, you can manage up to 2500 contacts with 1 user account.

For a free tool, Leadsius comes with a whole host of intriguing features that manage your system right from lead generation to sale conversion, like a WordPress plugin (due soon) that will allow you to manage your campaign right from the WP dashboard.

Leadsius CRM with Automation


  • lead qualification and scoring
  • email marketing (with ready-made templates)
  • Leadsius WordPress plugin (coming soon)
  • personalize email messages according to past behavior with campaigns
  • WYSIWYG landing page editor with embedded forms and 1-click publishing
  • basic website traffic analytics

Starting price: $0/month for 2,500 contacts and 1 user; then $295/month for 5,000 contacts and 5 users, billed annually

Go to Leadsius

7. Maximizer

Maximizer is a very powerful CRM platform with detailed analytics and an excellent sales integration. One of it’s more unique features is multilingual support: you can choose from English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and Dutch languages to manage your dashboard.


Maximizer is also a mobile CRM, which means its fully accessible on your phone or tablet. It includes a streamlined interface for mobile use, shortening the steps or clicks needed to perform certain functions like contact search and emailing.

It’s a little on the expensive side; although the $55/user/month doesn’t seem like too much for unlimited contacts, the integration connectors and other add-ons quickly tack on some hefty fees. Furthermore, your only payment option is an annual plan.


  • multi-phased email campaigns (triggers include site downloads, purchases, and service incidents)
  • lead qualification
  • 175 predesigned analytics report including, spanning sales, marketing, and management departments
  • configurable analytics dashboards
  • reports on sales team effectiveness that show you exactly where you’re losing customers
  • forecast sales pipeline data and estimated revenue

Starting price: $55/month/user for unlimited contacts

Go to Maximizer

Which Tool is Right for You?

There’s no one-size-fits-all in marketing automation; the CRM & marketing automation platform you go for will depend on factors like your business size, budget, and industry.

Which of these platforms do you think would work best for your business? Let us know in the comments below.

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19 Jul

The Complete Guide to Marketing Automation

Marketing automation is one of the biggest competitive advantages available to you as a marketer.

Sending limitless personalized messages to customers and leads, triggered by their actions, is a luxury that would be unfathomable to the previous generation of marketers.

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25 Jun

5 Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing & Implementing Marketing Automation Software

The first step to increasing productivity and ROI with marketing automation is choosing the right tool with which to do it. Too often, businesses don’t do enough research when selecting automation software and end up with expensive subscriptions to tools that don’t suit their needs, budget, or marketing strategy.

In this post, we’ll go over 5 common mistakes people often make when choosing and implementing marketing automation software, and how you can avoid them.

1. Choosing a Software that Doesn’t Suit Your Needs

By far the biggest mistake you could make when choosing a marketing automation tool is selecting one that doesn’t suit your needs; i.e. one that doesn’t have all the capabilities that you need.

It would be frustrating to sign up with Infusionsoft, which has a $1999 kickstart fee, only to discover that they don’t offer a specific feature you need.

To avoid this sort of mistake, try planning out a basic overview of your marketing strategy before you make any commitments. That way, you’ll have a good idea of what you need from the software you end up purchasing and will be able to choose accordingly.

2. Choosing a Software that Doesn’t Align with Your Budget

You might think that it’s impossible to choose a software that’s out of your budget. After all, if you don’t have physically have the money to buy something, you can’t buy it, right?

Well, no. It turns out, even though your desired automation tool may seem to be priced right at first glance, that could change a few months down the line.

This is because most marketing automation tools come with price creep. In other words, as your list of contacts/leads grows, so does the amount you pay.

Hubspot is one such software that a pretty steep pricing structure. Let’s see how their pricing structure works:

The minimum buy-in is $200/month for the most basic package. But there’s one thing you should know: for $200/month, you can only have 100 contacts in your system.

Most likely, your business already has a lot more than just a hundred leads in your system. With Hubspot’s basic package, though, you still won’t be able to track or engage with any more than hundred of them.

You can of course buy support for additional contacts, but that comes at a rate of $100/1000 contacts, which works out to a pretty significant $0.10 per contact.

Let’s take an example of a business that signs up to Hubspot with a $250/month starting budget. Initially, they have a relatively low volume of 50 contacts in their system, so the basic package services them just fine at $200/month (plus the $600 onboarding fee).

A couple months down the road, their marketing campaign is turning out to be quite successful, and they already have 2000 contacts in their system. They are now paying $450/month (more than double the original rate), and it’s not even as if they are getting any extra functionality for their trouble.

You could upgrade to the Pro or Enterprise plans, but they start at $800/month and $2400/month respectively with 4-figure onboarding fees; and you’d still have to pay more if you exceed the 1000 contact limit for Pro and 10,000 contact limit for Enterprise.

While this pricing can work quite well for larger businesses with higher turnover, it’s a very significant expense for your average startup.

So when choosing the right tool for business, remember to keep in mind the sort of price creep you can expect as your list of contacts grows and whether or not your budget will be able to keep up.

3. Choosing a Software that Doesn’t Integrate with Other Apps Used

Another common mistake to avoid is selecting marketing automation software that doesn’t integrate with the CRM, ecommerce platform, analytics tool, etc. that you currently use.

For instance, let’s say that your e-commerce website is built on the Bigcommerce platform. If you’ve signed up for a subscription to Ontraport, you’ve put yourself in a tricky position because Ontraport currently doesn’t natively integrate with Bigcommerce.

Your options would then be to change your ecommerce platform (a big hassle) or switch to a different tool that does integrate with Bigcommerce (a waste of money). A lose-lose situation you definitely want to stay away from.

When short-listing a possible choice of marketing automation software, be sure to research how they integrate with all of the other apps you use: CRM, marketing, analytics, payment gateways, social networks, etc.

4. Not Considering Email Deliverability

One frequent problem that many marketing automation tools face is poor email deliverability.

Some tools have email marketing platforms that simply don’t have the capacity to deliver emails to everybody on your list. Worse yet, some tools also have a history for letting emails end up in the spam folder, which is the absolute last place you want to be.

You’ve spent good money building your list, and if you choose a marketing automation tool that isn’t able reach as many people of your contacts as possible, then more money is left on the table.

If email is a big part of your marketing strategy (which it definitely should be), then you need to check up on the deliverability rates for each automation tool you consider. Ask fellow email marketers who use the tool, check online reviews, and try to find a case study or two if possible.

5. Not Building a Good Foundation with Your Tool

Before you can make the most of your automation strategy with your tool of choice, you need to build a solid platform.

There are several steps you should take soon after purchase to correctly implement your new automation software. Let’s go over a few of them now:

1. Plan your marketing strategy in detail: before you bought a tool, you should have already had a basic marketing strategy in mind (as we discussed in mistake #1 on this list). Now’s your chance to plan out this strategy in full. Iron out the finer details of your plan, see what all of the tool’s features you’ll be using, select the content formats and distribution channels you’ll be focusing on, and more.

2. Build some basic workflows: you should already have gained some hands-on experience with your automation tool during the onboarding process, but allow yourself to test the waters a bit further with some very basic automation workflows. Setup things like opt-in forms, major lead segmentations, lead scoring, and the like.

For example, here’s a very simple automation I created in Active Campaign. When a new subscriber enters the system, a welcome email is sent and my marketing manager (we’ll call him James) is notified.


3. Add the right users: most standard automation tools will allow multiple users to access the tool’s UI. Make sure that everyone in your company who needs access to the tool has it.


Let’s quickly recap the various mistakes we covered when choosing and implementing marketing automation software:

  1. choosing a software that doesn’t have all the capabilities & features you need
  2. buying into a pricing structure with a high price creep that won’t fit your budget down the line
  3. using a tool that doesn’t integrate with the other apps and services you use
  4. signing up to a platform with a history of poor email deliverability
  5. not planning your marketing strategy or setting up some basic workflows before launching automations

While these mistakes are easy to make, they are also just as easy to avoid with a little bit of research and careful planning.

How do you plan to dodge these common slip-ups when you choose your marketing automation tool? Let us know in the comments!

Featured image credit: Stuart Miles

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04 Jun

5 Email Marketing & Automation Tools That Accept Online Trading, Gambling, Adult, and Pharmaceutical Clients

I was recently helping a Venture Harbour client, a financial tech company, to implement marketing automation software.

After setting up our first campaign, we received an email from the provider saying that our campaign had been blocked due to using words related to FOREX.

After browsing the acceptable use policies of other major automation and email marketing services it became clear that the majority of services do not accept customers from niches that are notoriously associated with spam. As a general rule, the following niches are usually disallowed:

  • Escorts and dating
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Make money on online
  • Online trading, stock market & day trading tips
  • Gambling
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Credit & debt repair
  • Mortgages and loans
  • Nutritional, herbal, and vitamin supplements
  • Adult
  • Multi-level marketing & pyramids
  • Adult
  • List brokers or list rental services


While understandable, this struck me as an unusual way of preventing spam. The pharma and finance industries, after all, are among the fastest industries to adopt marketing automation.

Trying to avoid the prospect of developing a bespoke emailer solution, I managed to find the following tools which are relatively lenient towards accepting customers from the niches listed above.

1. GetResponse

GetResponse is, in my opinion, one of the best email marketing providers. While they’re yet to release their automation offering, their email marketing capabilities are some of the best in the industry. At Venture Harbour, we use GetResponse for the majority of our ventures.


As it happens, GetResponse are one of the only major email marketing tools to not explicitly discriminate companies by their industry. After researching the various options, we ended up using GetResponse for our project.

With good deliverability rates, and a large range of features such as A/B testing, mobile optimization, and well-designed templates, GetResponse is a good option for companies of all sizes.

2. Ontraport

Ontraport are a leading marketing automation provider for small businesses. Unlike similar tools like ActiveCampaign and Infusionsoft, who explicitly deny users from the niches listed above, Ontraport only deny users from the adult industry.

Their acceptable use policy reads:

The client agrees not to use the service for illegal purposes; (3) not to use the service to infringe any third party’s copyright, patent, trademark, trade secret or other proprietary rights or rights of publicity or privacy; (4) that illegal adult oriented websites featuring nudity and acts of a sexual nature are expressly prohibited; and (5) not to transmit through the service, through feedback or otherwise, any unlawful, harassing, libelous, abusive, threatening, harmful, vulgar, obscene or otherwise objectionable material of any kind or nature.

I have personally used Ontraport on a few projects and am a big fan of their platform. While their reporting dashboard and campaign builder could do with a redesign, the overall functionality is extremely good and well-priced.

With Infusionsoft out of the option Ontraport are arguably the best marketing automation provider for companies in the niches above looking to spend less than $500 / month on an automation provider.

3. Marketo

Marketo have built a reputation as one of the most comprehensive marketing automation providers. While their platform doesn’t come cheap, it offers many advanced features that aren’t offered by other providers.

Marketo’s acceptable use policy requires only that you comply with the CAN-SPAM Act, and that you provide recipients with the ability to opt out. There is no mention of disallowing users from specific niches.

4. Pure360

Based in Brighton, Pure360 are an enterprise-level email marketing solution who have recently ventured into the marketing automation space.

During my research, I found several gambling and financial marketers recommending Pure360 for large-scale email marketing campaigns for restricted niches.

I was unable to find Pure360’s acceptable use policy on their website. Given that Pure360 typically work with enterprise-level clients, I imagine they review accounts on a case-by-case basis.

5. Hubspot

Hubspot are a popular small business marketing automation tool, popular among agencies and marketing consultants.

While their acceptable use policy goes into great detail over what you can and cannot do on their platform, it is primarily concerned with legal considerations. If you’re a company in a niche like gambling or pharmaceuticals, and your marketing is compliant and legal, you shouldn’t run into any problems.

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17 Apr

5 Best Low-Cost Marketing Automation Tools for Small Businesses

If you’re running a small business, the idea of automating your sales and marketing is compelling.

To do this while shortening your sales cycle, improving your lead qualification, and freeing up time to focus on more creative work makes it virtually a no brainer.

That is, until you look at the price tag.

Comparing marketing automation software

Marketing automation tools are notoriously expensive, as most vendors base their pricing on the approximate value that the software will add to your business. After all, what’s $10,000 per year if it’ll grow your business by an extra $250,000 per year?

With that said, it’d be foolish to not mitigate your risk by choosing the tool that’s most affordable and best suited to your business.

In this post, I’ll share five of the best low-cost marketing automation tools for small businesses. To narrow down your options between them, I’d recommend reading our post on ‘7 considerations when choosing small business automation software‘, or by using our free tool finder.

1. ActiveCampaign

ActiveCampaign are one of the best kept secrets in the small business marketing & sales world. For years very few people knew about their platform, which is among one of the best marketing automation tools out there – despite being 20-30X less expensive than many of the other tools in this post.

We used them here at Marketing Automation Insider and have done for almost three years now. So what’s so great about ActiveCampaign? For a start, their visual interface makes it extremely easy to build powerful marketing automation workflows.


They also have a built-in CRM system, which makes it easy to keep everything managed in one place. Having personally tried to use Salesforce, PipeDrive, Zoho and many CRMs over the years, this is the only one that I’ve enjoyed using.


If you want to learn more you can create a free ActiveCampaign trial here.

2. Infusionsoft

Clate Mask and brothers Eric and Scott Martineau co-founded eNovaSys in Arizona in 2001, with the dream of revolutionising the way that small businesses grow through sales and marketing automation.

The company later evolved into Infusionsoft, which is now used by over 15,000 small businesses. Mask is the current CEO of Infusionsoft and has written articles on entrepreneurship for such publications as VentureBeat, Entrepreneur and Fast Company. Clate Mask and Scott Martineau also co-authored Conquer the Chaos, a New York Times best-selling book.


Infusionsoft is one of the only sales and marketing software built exclusively for small business and promises that you’ll spend less time chasing dead ends and more time building relationships by automating the repetitive tasks in sales and marketing process.

Their cloud-based software will allow you to centralise all customer interactions and daily activities in one place, while their email marketing capabilities will capture new leads, automate follow-up and turn them into customers.

The lead scoring feature identifies the hottest leads so you can close sales faster, while custom segmentation allows you to create lists based on demographics, lead score, and behaviours like email clicks, purchases and payment history.

E-commerce shopping carts allow you to sell more online and collect payment with one centralised system. To further customise your experience, Infusionsoft Extras are additional Infusionsoft-created products and tools that plug in seamlessly to their software. An example of this is Infusionsoft Sync, which allows access to Infusionsoft’s sales and marketing features while working in gMail or Outlook.

Infusionsoft’s 4-tier pricing structure starts from $199 per month for the Essentials package, designed for companies with basic marketing automation needs. This includes 3 users and 2,500 contacts, compared to 5 users and 10,000 contacts for the most expensive package, Complete, which costs $379 per month and is suited for companies with a sales team and online store. Kickstart Services, at an additional one-off cost of $1,999, are required for all new Infusionsoft customers and include one-on-one consulting and training resources.

ICON is Infusionsoft’s annual marketing automation conference for their community of customers, small business owners and industry experts who gather for three days of product training, education and inspiration. In 2016’s conference in Arizona, attendees can expect six inspiring keynote presentations, over 39 educational sessions, personal consultations with industry experts, and networking events.

You can read our full review of Infusionsoft here.

3. Ontraport

Serial entrepreneur Landon Ray founded Ontraport in Santa Barbara, California in 2006 and currently serves as CEO. Ray has taken his exhaustive research and personal experience and created a family of products and related services that reflect his passion for educating and supporting entrepreneurs.


Ontraport is an award-winning all-in-one marketing and business automation platform designed to help entrepreneurs start, systemise, and scale their small and mid-sized businesses. The Dashboard feature allows you to create a personalised heads-up display of all your vital business stats on one easy-to-use screen, with an interface that allows you to add fully customisable metrics, set the reporting period, and stay up to date with your analytics.

In addition to the CRM that allows you to track customer interactions, manage tasks automatically and score leads, you can set triggers to perform various actions, such as sending an email, direct-mail postcard, SMS message, scheduling a rep to make a phone call or another automated action.

Their open, secure API allows developers to securely access, add, delete or edit most account information automatically, making it possible to integrate virtually any other software tool you use in your business.

The Pro package is $297 per month for two users and up to 25,000 contacts while the Team package is $597 per month for ten users and 100,000 contacts. Both packages include access to all the same features, as well as two complimentary, one-hour meetings with a Client Success Specialist where they’ll begin setting up your account. Packages are easily scaled to your business by paying extra to add more contacts, users or messages.

Now in its 4th year, Ontraport’s annual Ontrapalooza conference for 2015 will take place in Santa Barbara. Over the two days, the 600 entrepreneurs and small business owners in attendance can expect four exceptional keynotes, 24 hands-on workshops and networking opportunities. The cost is $599 with pre-sale and early bird pricing available.

You can read our full review of Ontraport here.

4. Act-On

Oregon-based Act-On was founded in 2008 and CEO Raghu Raghavan is the product visionary and driving force behind it. A seasoned entrepreneur, Raghu led the initial design of the Act-On service and the development of its core technology and infrastructure.

Act On

Act-On provides a cloud-based integrated marketing automation platform that enables small and medium-sized marketing teams to effectively acquire customers, build loyalty and expand their relationships with them through inbound, outbound, and advanced marketing automation capabilities.

Functionality includes email creation and delivery, social media campaign creation and management, webinar/event communications and management, website visitor tracking, advanced SEO for websites and marketing content, integration of SEO with blogs and CMS, Google AdWords integration, lead management, lead scoring and nurturing, out-of-box CRM integration, API access for third party integration, and reporting.

All tiers include the same features but prices range from $600 per month to $8,750 per month, based on the number of active contacts and whether billing is monthly or annually. Fees for implementation and training are not included and are an additional $500 to $2,500.

iHeartMarketing is Act-On’s regional user conference and will be in the form of a Road Show for 2015. This complimentary, half-day marketing workshop will be visiting Seattle, Atlanta, Los Angeles and Boston. Attendees can expect a hands-on workshop with strategies for getting the most out of Act-On solutions, a look at the latest Act-On product roadmap, a sneak peek of some upcoming features, and networking opportunities with other Act-On users and success managers.

5. Marketo

Phil Fernandez, Chairman and CEO, co-founded Marketo in San Mateo, California in 2006 and has led the company’s product vision and unique marketing and sales strategy to help them become an acknowledged leader in digital marketing technology.

Phil is a Silicon Valley veteran with more than 30 years of experience building and leading breakout technology companies. He is a well-known writer and speaker on topics related to digital marketing, marketing automation, big data, and entrepreneurialism, and is the author of Revenue Disruption (Wiley, 2012), which delivers bold new strategies for any company to transform its sales and marketing to accelerate revenue growth.


Marketo profess that their Engagement Marketing Platform has been built from the ground up and provides everything marketers need to succeed in this new era of engagement marketing. Capabilities include: targeted campaigns with lead-scoring, lead-nurturing and advanced workflow automation; cross channel engagement, including email, web, mobile, events, direct mail, and social media; integrated social marketing; a unified marketing calendar that fuses campaign planning and execution in one place; and more.

For small companies and beginners, the Spark package offers fast and easy B2B marketing automation for $895 per month for up to 10,000 contacts. The Standard package has more advanced features and is the most popular package for B2B marketing automation at a cost of $1,795 per month for up to 10,000 contacts. The Select package offers an advanced B2B marketing solution with full insight into your revenue funnel at a cost of $3,195 per month for up to 10,000 contacts.

Marketo’s Marketing Nation Summit 2015 will bring together over 6,000 of your peers, colleagues and thought leaders to San Francisco, California to celebrate Innovation in the Nation over two and a half days. The registration fee is $1,295, with early bird rates available.

You can read our full review of Marketo here.

Extra: HubSpot

Still headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Hubspot was founded out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2006 by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, now CEO and CTO, respectively. Since then, it has grown to have 11,500 customers in more than 70 countries. Shah also founded OnStartup.com, an online resource for and about software startups, and is a frequent speaker and writer on the topics of startups and inbound marketing.


HubSpot recognised the mismatch between how organisations are marketing and selling their offerings and the way that people actually want to shop and buy. They focus on pulling people in rather than just broadcasting information in the traditional way. HubSpot also differentiate themselves by building workflows around your marketing goals.

The Basic package, an entry tool for those new to inbound marketing, is $200 per month and includes up to three users and 100 contacts. The Pro package, an integrated solution for professional marketers, is $800 per month for unlimited users and up to 1,000 contacts. The Enterprise package, an advanced platform for marketing teams, is $2,400 per month for unlimited users and 10,000 contacts.

This can be scaled to suit your business by purchasing extra contacts in increments of 1,000 for an additional fee. Onboarding services are required for new customers and cost a one-time fee of $600, $3,000 or $5,000, depending on the package purchased.

Hubspot’s 4-day Inbound Conference in Boston includes six inspiring keynotes, over 170 educational sessions, networking and over 10,000 attendees. The cost varies between $499 and $1,998, with early bird rates available.

You can read our full review of Hubspot here.

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09 Apr

Marketing Automation Market Size & Vendor Market Share

As of 2015, over 142,700 business are now using marketing automation software. Yet, only 369 of the top 10,000 websites have implemented it.

The marketing automation industry is now worth approximately $1.62 billion per annum, and Hubspot are the most popular marketing automation vendor, with a 36.3% share of the total automation market.

These are just some of the highlights from our recent analysis of the marketing automation industry, which we’ve published in our 2015 marketing automation industry report & buyer’s guide.

In this post, I thought I’d share some of the insights that we uncovered on vendor market share and on the industry in general.

Which marketing automation tool has the most users?

First of all, let’s look at which marketing automation vendors have the largest share of companies using marketing automation software.

2015 marketing automation market share1. Hubspot (36.3%)
2. Infusionsoft (24.3%)
3. Marketo (11%)
4. Pardot (8%)
5. Eloqua (7.8%)
6. Act-On (6.5%)
7. Silverpop (2.8%)
8. Ontraport (1.9%)
9. Sharpspring (1.3%)

The astute among you might have noticed that this market share overview incorporates two very distinct markets: small business marketing automation software, and enterprise automation software.

Separating the two isn’t easy, given that companies like Hubspot and Marketo cater to both markets. For the sake of simplicity, if we assume that 85% of Hubspot and Marketo’s users are small businesses, and 15% enterprise, we can create a more realistic picture of which vendors are likely to be leading each market. Let’s start by looking at the small business marketing automation market.

Which marketing automation tool has the highest market share among small businesses?

For the small business market, Hubspot are the clear leaders in customer volume with a 41.6% market share, followed by Infusionsoft with 32.8%, and Marketo with 12.6%.

small business marketing automation market share

Which marketing automation tool has the highest market share among large businesses?

For the enterprise market, Pardot and Eloqua (now ‘Oracle Marketing Cloud’) are neck-and-neck with 31.2% and 30.2% market share.

enterprise marketing automation market share

It’s important to remember, however, that this is based on the number of companies using each vendor, and not customer revenue or number of individual users.

While we did not collect revenue data in our study, a report by Mintigo found that despite only having a relatively small share of total users (7-8%), Eloqua received 26% of all marketing automation revenue. This is unsurprising given that their platform starts at $2,000 per month, and is used by the likes of American Express and Sony.

marketing automation market share by revenue

Which marketing automation software do the top 10k websites use?

All of the stats above are based on automation software used by over 309 million websites (approx. one third of the whole Internet). But what if we were to only look at the top 10,000 websites?

To our surprise, we found that only 369 of the top 10,000 websites were using marketing automation (3.69%).

Used by 85 of the top 10,000 websites, Marketo was the most popular vendor among the top 10,000, representing 23% of the 369 marketing automation implementations. Hubspot, Eloqua, Pardot, and Silverpop were all found to be used by at least 50 of the top 10,000 websites each.

marketing automation used by top 10k websites

What can we expect over the next 2-3 years?

Over the past three years we’ve seen exponential growth in marketing automation adoption, causing the industry to grow from being worth $225m to $1.6bn in a matter of five years.

Given the following truisms, it’s highly probable that this exponential growth will continue into the foreseeable future:

  1. Marketing automation is becoming more accessible, with new players reducing the cost and accessibility of software to smaller / niche businesses. Over the next twelve months we will see the major email marketing providers becoming more aggressive in their marketing automation offerings, which will create a surge in adoption.
  2. Marketing automation has reached a credibility tipping point. As it’s now used by everyone from American Express, Sony, Chrysler, and Intel to many of the most influential bloggers and online businesses, it’s becoming harder to be a skeptic.
  3. Despite the massive growth in marketing automation adoption, the overall penetration is still incredibly low. As we found in our study, with only 3.69% of the top 10,000 websites using marketing automation, there is still a huge number of businesses yet to adopt the software.

As far as market share is concerned, I predict that Hubspot and Eloqua will continue to engulf their respective corners of the market. Given the external growth of the market, though, it’s likely that most major vendors will continue to grow with the expansion of the market.

Whatever happens, it’s going to be a very interesting and exciting few years for the marketing automation vendors.

How this data was collected:
It’s important that we mention the limitations of our data: as not all vendors make their current usage numbers public, our conclusions should be interpreted as ‘a close estimate’, and not as gospel.

Our data was collected by combining data from BuiltWith®, a tool that monitors the technology used by over 309 million websites, with published usage figures, we were able to create two separate calculations based on each of these data sets.

When both numbers were very close (in almost all cases), we used the BuiltWith statistics, as they are likely to be more up to date. In the case that the two numbers were very different, we used the company’s reported figures.

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07 Apr

7 Considerations When Choosing Small Business Marketing Automation Software

Despite emerging in 1999, marketing automation software has only been accessible to large enterprise organizations until recently.

Over the past five years, the price of marketing automation software has dropped significantly, attracting tens of thousands of small businesses to marketing automation platforms such as Infusionsoft, Hubspot, and Ontraport.

Declining cost of marketing automation software

With the increased demand of marketing automation, the number of software vendors has also increased to a point where choosing the right software is an overwhelming task. In this post, we’ll walk you through seven of the most important considerations and questions to ask when choosing a software provider.

#1 Where will your business be in 2-3 years time?

One of the most common mistakes made when choosing marketing automation software is focusing only on what features you need in the near future. Most software vendors have tiered pricing, which can get very expensive as you require additional contacts and features.

Migrating between software vendors can be very difficult and expensive, so it’s important that you choose a tool that’ll allow you to grow over the years. Our advice is to map out the likely number of users, contacts, and likely features you’ll require in 1, 2, and 3 years time. With this information to hand you will be able to get a clear picture of probable monthly costs over time – and whether you’re likely to outgrow your automation tool in the near future.

#2 Will It Integrate With Your Other Software?

If you are thinking about implementing marketing automation software into your marketing strategy, chances are that you already have software that you’re using. Regardless of whether this current software helps you with your marketing or your customer service, it’s important that you have the ability to properly integrate them both.

Infusionsoft marketplace

In particular, be sure that your existing CRM system integrates with the automation provider you’re considering. As many marketing automation tools have been acquired or built by CRM companies, there is a degree of politics over which providers integrate with which CRMs – and the quality of those integrations.

#3 Your Budget: Both Today and in 3 Years Time

In a report by Autopilot, marketers reported that the cost of marketing automation software was one of the main reasons why they weren’t happy with their software.

Marketing automation software is typically expensive because it’s priced on value. In other words, companies like Infusionsoft are able to charge $300 per month because most small businesses generate more than this in additional revenue when the software is implemented.

Generally speaking, there are three pricing tiers in the small business marketing automation market:

It’s important to have a rough idea of what your budget for marketing automation software is, so that you can invest in your time in comparing the most suitable tools.

#4 How much upfront cost are you happy with?

As an extension to the aforementioned budget question, you should also consider whether you’re happy paying for your software upfront or not, as this will narrow down which tools are most suitable for you.

Hubspot, for example, require you to sign a 12-month contract and pay for their software annually (up front). Infusionsoft, on the other hand, are a bit more flexible but do require you to pay a mandatory $1,999 kickstarter fee.

If you want maximum flexibility with no setup fees, you may want to consider Ontraport.

#5 Which features do you require?

Within the marketing automation industry, it’s widely known that all vendors offer 95% of the same features. While some do certain things better than others, you can be fairly certain that they all offer landing page builders, lead nurturing, lead scoring, time and action-based emails etc.

While it’s good to double check that the provider does have all the features you require, it’s even more important to check that they offer them at the price tier that you’re hoping for. A lot of vendors, such as Pardot and Hubspot only enable certain features, like A/B testing, to their higher-paying customers.

Pardot pricing

The last thing you want is to end up paying an extra $500 / month for one extra feature that you needed but didn’t realise wasn’t included in your package.

#6 Platform usability

Marketing automation is an inherently complex idea. While most of the major software vendors do a good job of offering an intuitive platform, some are better designed than others.

How important this is will depend largely on who within your organization will be using the software, and how much of an issue user experience is going to be for those people. The best way to see whether you’re happy with a platform is to ask for a demo, or look at screenshots of the user interface.

You can see screenshots of all the major marketing automation tools by browsing our tool review pages in the menu above.

#7 Technical considerations: APIs, Deliverability & More

While not the funnest aspect of comparing vendors, it’s important to take into account technical aspects to ensure that you don’t run into any major technical obstacles when implementing the software.

The most important aspects to consider are firstly to do with the API. If you require custom integration with the vendor’s API, you should have your developer read through the documentation to ensure that it does everything you’ll need it to do.

Secondly, consider whether the vendor’s email deliverability rates are high enough. Most vendors have deliverability rates above 98% (with the likes of Ontraport boasting 100%). If you have a large mailing list, a few percent can result in thousands of extra emails being delivered, which can be a substantial amount of extra revenue.

Finally, if you’re hosting landing pages and microsites on their servers, you may want to check things like uptime, server speed, and other reliability metrics. As a general rule, we haven’t come across any major reliability issues like this with any of the major software providers.

In Summary: Finding the Right Tool for the Job

As you can see, there is a lot that you’ll need to consider before choosing a marketing automation software for your small business. After going through the consideration above, we’d recommend using our free automation tool matcher, which will help you narrow down the best tool for you in a couple of clicks.

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25 Mar

The Difference Between Marketing Automation, CRM, and Email Marketing

Considering that most marketing automation tools have a built-in CRM, email campaign builder, landing page builder, and much more, is there any point to having a separate CRM system or email marketing tool?

First off, let’s clarify what a marketing automation tool is and isn’t, and how it differs to a standalone CRM or email marketing tool.

What is marketing automation software?

Marketing automation is often described as ’email marketing on steroids’ or ‘CRM-driven email marketing’. While good marketing slogans, neither captures the essence or value offered by of automation software.

At the most simple level, marketing automation is the combination of CRM, analytics, and email marketing. In this case, the sum is greater than its parts, as CRM data provides additional insight into email marketing, and vis versa via analytics.

CRM vs. Marketing Automation vs. Email Marketing

As illustrated above, the alignment of CRM data with your marketing channels is surprisingly profound, as it aligns your marketing and sales teams and enables one another to build on each other’s work.

But before we go too deep into the value of marketing automation, what exactly are we automating with this software that we wouldn’t usually automate?

Where automation comes into the equation

Marketing automation provides the ability to automatically trigger emails (or text messages, postcards, voicemails, webinar invitations etc) when a segment of your contact list completes a certain action.

In other words, you can build a set of rules like ‘when a contact does X (downloads an ebook, visits a certain page, buys a product), or is Y (a C-level executive, a repeat customer), do Z (invite them to a webinar, cross-sell a specific product). When this is scaled up, you can have thousands of different emails being sent out to different customers every day – each one beautifully personalized to the recipient’s situation.

Here’s an example of such a sequence in Infusionsoft:
Infusionsoft campaign

The holy grail of marketing is to reach the right person with the right message at the right time. Unfortunately, due to human error and a limit on resources, we sometimes fall short on one or more of these points.

By automating your messaging you can, for example, ensure that every single lead is followed up with within 15 minutes of expressing interest, regardless of whether you receive one lead a day or 10,000.

What’s CRM and how does it differ to marketing automation?

CRM software simply provides a system for managing and organizing interactions with potential and future customers. While most CRMs allow you to communicate with contacts from within the CRM, this level of communication is relatively basic.

Let’s say, for example, your CRM has 10,000 contacts who are all interacting with your business in different ways. A CRM will record those interactions, allow you to prioritise which leads to focus on, and enable you to contact them manually or in one bulk-mail.

A marketing automation tool, on the other hand, allows you to set up pre-built campaigns that are automatically sent to individual leads when they complete certain actions. You can A/B test different methods of communication, and even combine multiple marketing channels (e.g. SMS and email), ultimately leading to a more scalable and efficient sales process.

CRM and marketing automation are not dichotomous. In fact, with CRM companies acquiring and bolting on marketing tools to their software, the line between CRM and marketing automation is becoming increasingly blurred.

So, in what instance would you be better off choosing a CRM instead of marketing automation?

When is it better to choose a CRM system over marketing automation software?

There are several valid reasons for why you might choose a CRM instead of a marketing automation tool:

  1. Cost – If you’re a small business just starting out, then a $10/month CRM may provide you with everything you need. Marketing automation software typically starts at around $200/month plus setup fees. For enterprise-level software, that figure can be anywhere from $1,000/month to unlimited. Ultimately the benefit has to outweigh the investment, which won’t be the case for every business.
  2. Needs – If your company does predominantly all of your sales & marketing ‘in the field’, you probably won’t benefit from automation software. Marketing automation satisfies an additional need, that isn’t necessarily present in every business. For those, a CRM will probably suffice.
  3. Migration & Integration – If your company has been using a CRM like Salesforce for ten years and your whole company is used to it, educating staff on a new piece of software is going to be a significant cost. On top of this, not all automation tools integrate with all CRMs, so implementing marketing automation can be a major time & financial investment, particularly for larger corporations.

In the majority of cases, though, marketing automation is the more powerful alternative as it provides additional insight and marketing capability on top of CRM.

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