Your New Toolkit: Top Online Marketing Tools for SMBs

Business.com / Marketing Strategy / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

A look at some of the most popular online marketing tools for small and mid-sized businesses.

It can be difficult for small business owners to find affordable marketing tools to help their business grow.

Some of the key things to look for when choosing a new marketing tool are price, scalability, interface and automation.

GetResponse

GetResponse is an established authority in the field of email marketing. They have recently expanded their offerings to include marketing automation.

The results are impressive. GetResponse has created an affordable and scalable marketing automation option that’s fun to work with and also provides the detailed data points needed to maximize interaction efforts with customers.

Related Article: Using Sales and Marketing Automation to Improve Your Bottomline

Transitioning to a complete online marketing platform GetResponse has created a truly comprehensive system that goes far beyond email marketing. Small business owners can now create landing pages, webinars, track visitor behavior and monitor and possible salvage shopping cart abandonment. When it comes to email automation it’s possible to easily import data from an existing list and to integrate the system with other sites such as Amazon and PayPal.

Anyone familiar with the concept of mind mapping will intuitively understand the design process of creating an automated marketing campaign with the GetResponse system. Even people who have never worked with mind maps will find the platform easy to use, unlike some of the other marketing options that require a customer relationship management (CRM) platform.

GetResponse Screenshot

Analytics are strongly supported and allow the process to be tailored based on the efficacy of specific marketing campaigns to individual consumers. In addition to unsubscribe rate, click-through, and open rate, the company also offers email return on investment (ROI), one-click segmentations, metrics over time, and more.

Having a large variety of data points is essential to creating effective marketing. However, many services make it difficult for those with limited marketing experience to understand. GetResponse excels at making the data easily accessible to business owners running their own marketing campaigns.

GetResponse has a tiered pricing structure which allows small business owners to only purchase the services they need for the customers they currently have. There are three levels of service for each of the number-of-subscriber tiers. Small businesses with fewer subscribers who want to start with only basic email services and landing pages pay only $15 per month.

GetResponse can support business with lists in excess of 100,000. The ability to grow a business from under 1,000 to more than 100,000 while staying with the same marketing system is invaluable and truly opens the process of automated marketing to all business owners.

MailChimp

MailChimp is one of the best known automated email marketing services available. It has a strong and loyal following partially due to the forever free pricing model for businesses who want to send fewer than 12,000 emails per month to a list no bigger than 2,000 subscribers. This plan is also scalable up to 100,000, however, some people have difficulty transitioning from the free service to the paid options. Another scalability issue is the price point for the higher subscriber limits.

Mailchimp Report example

MailChimp has a great selection of free learning resources that help small business owners become accustomed to the interface. While it is not as intuitive as some of the competitors who have more recently entered the market, the video tutorials make it user-friendly.

MailChimp offers a variety of analytical tools in easy to understand and interactive graphs. Some of the data points that can be tracked include where emails have been opened, open rates, click rates, unsubscribes and bounces. The data provided by MailChimp can be integrated with Google Analytics to offer deeper insight into marketing campaigns.

Related Article:4 Ways to Use Marketing Automation to Boost Leads and Conversions

Marketo Screenshot

Marketo

Marketo has some truly amazing marketing tools. The design platform is intuitive and easily one of the main selling points. It has one of the most visually pleasing interfaces on the market and everything is clearly labeled which makes navigating the system a cinch. The setup is easy to work with and transitioning an established list to the system is a quick process.

There are several marketing tools available, including landing page creation, email creation, social platform integration, digital ads, and predictive content. Marketing automation functions make it easy to create and automate campaigns across multiple channels and then monitor and measure the results. Marketing analysis tools allow businesses to evaluate various campaigns and make improvements where necessary.

The tools themselves are impressive. The two main drawbacks for small business owners are the advanced nature of the tools and the price. While many of the features are extraordinarily useful, they are unlikely to be used to their full potential by someone unfamiliar with marketing software. This is a good starting point for midsize businesses who have more than 100 employees. The price point begins at $895 a month, which is a big jump from the other marketing tools reviewed.

HubSpot

HubSpot offers a variety of fantastic tools, some of which are free. The CRM software is robust and a great way to get a feel for how the platform works. The CRM capabilities are separate from the main marketing tools, but they do make a nice addition to the suite of offerings.

There are three tiers of marketing services; basic, pro, and enterprise. The basic package offers content creation and optimization, social media tools, email marketing, and marketing analytics. The pro package includes everything in the basic package as well as marketing automation, custom workflows, goal based nurturing, smart content, salesforce integration, user roles, and attribution reporting. The enterprise package includes all of the features of the basic and pro packages as well as revenue reporting, predictive lead scoring, company reporting, event-based segmentation, custom event automation triggers, and more.

HubSpot Screenshot

The biggest drawback of HubSpot for small business owners is the extremely high price point. The basic package has a price point of $200 per month with a $600 onboarding fee. This covers 100 contacts, and each additional 1,000 contacts is another $100 per month, making it an excessive financial burden for most small business owners.

Related Article: The Small Business Guide to Online Marketing #DreamSmallBiz

Making the Choice for Your Business

Small business owners have many marketing tools from which to choose. Virtually every type of need can be met from email creation to fully automated and in-depth marketing campaigns. The price points for these services also run the gambit, from less than $20 to more than $2,000 per month.

GetResponse offers a good starting point with plenty of top end features for a fraction of the cost compared to some of the larger companies. You should, of course, try the platform that works best for your business in terms of pricing and ease of use, but don’t be afraid to try some of the new kids on the block.

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