Marketing automation platforms have long been considered a driving force behind the success of large companies, with 79% of “top performing” companies saying they’ve used marketing automation tools for more than two years. Now, hyperlocal vendors have set their sights on the SMB market, developing customized marketing automation tools to fit the unique needs of small business owners.
“We want to help SMBs leverage that data as a means to continue the conversation about personalization and automated marketing and that first step into the email and tracking everything,” explained Drew Schwartz, VP of Product at ShopKeep, during a panel discussion at the 2014 Street Fight Summit. Schwartz and other industry leaders agreed that a “huge opportunity” exists in the coming year for vendors offering marketing automation solutions to SMBs.
Here are five popular solutions that are available right now.
1. LocBox: Leveraging multiple platforms to grow local businesses.
An all-in-one online marketing solution for small businesses, LocBox combines the effectiveness of marketing tools like email, Facebook, Google, and Yelp, and provides business owners with integrated strategies to keep their campaigns running smoothly. Using LocBox’s platform, merchants can create their own online offers, email newsletters, and mobile marketing campaigns. They can also manage social media postings, reviews, and create landing pages for online ads. LocBox brings the results of these separate campaigns under one roof, providing merchants with a clearer view of how certain areas of their marketing strategies (like online coupons) are impacting other areas (like Facebook comments). LocBox offers custom pricing solutions.
2. OutboundEngine: Engaging content created by experts.
OutboundEngine is a “complete marketing engine” that automates the individual parts of a merchant’s hyperlocal strategy, focusing primarily on email and social media marketing. The company says it personally designs, tests, and automates its clients’ social media updates and email newsletters. OutboundEngine’s “content experts” write the articles that businesses publish in their email newsletters and provide personal recommendations on which social networks are most likely to generate the best ROI for individual businesses. OutboundEngine works most frequently with clients in the real estate, mortgage, beauty, wellness, auto, and home services industries. The company’s Basic plan costs $149 per month.
3. LeadSquared: Identify, capture, and nurture leads.
Developed for customers in the health, beauty, travel, real estate, education, and technology industries, LeadSquared is a marketing automation solution that focuses primarily on streamlining the customer acquisition process. SMBs can quickly create landing pages built for capturing leads, and they can filter their contact lists and databases by behavior or geography. Businesses can also nurture leads with email auto-responders, which are triggered by actions and delivered at pre-determined times. Merchants can capture inbound calls with their leads and track things like email campaign results and landing page analytics. LeadSquared offers a Basic plan that costs $125 per month, billed annually.
4. Spokal: Automated tools for increasing website traffic.
Hiring an in-house online marketing expert is a cost that most small businesses can’t afford, which is why Spokal has developed a lower-priced, automated alternative. The company’s SMB marketing automation platform provides merchants with tools for creating their own online content, streamlining social media practices, and lead scoring. The company reserves its deepest integrations for those with WordPress websites. Using email automation tools, businesses can create conditional flows and re-connect with their most “highly-engaged” website visitors. They can also research online marketing tactics to improve SEO effectiveness and social media reach. Spokal has a Starter plan that costs businesses $49 per month.
5. SALESmanago: Reach customers with tailored offers.
SALESmanago takes all the data that B2C and retail businesses have about their customers and uses that information to generate tailored offers, like birthday emails, welcome messages, and coupons that are tied to seasonal trends. A marketing automation platform with features like lead nurturing and generation, customer engagement indexing, real-time content personalization, and multi-channel marketing, SALESmanago provides small businesses with ways to identify visitors on their websites, maximize social media efforts, and manage email marketing campaigns. SALESmanago provides free tools for lead generation, email marketing, and CRM.
Know of other marketing automation platforms for small business owners? Leave a description in the comments.
Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.
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