8 HubSpot Alternatives for Marketing Automation
There are many HubSpot alternatives that offer the core functionality a business needs to successfully generate leads and automate marketing.
HubSpot is good at what they do, that’s why they are one of the most well-known marketing automation platforms out there. Let’s look at the 8 HubSpot alternatives for marketing automation and see how their basic plans compare.
This post has been updated in September 2022, and I update it at least once every quarter to stay on top of pricing and feature changes.
In addition to actual platforms, you’ll also learn a bit more about WordPress marketing automation as an added bonus.
When looking at these alternatives to HubSpot, here’s a list of features you should consider to be able to implement an inbound marketing strategy and campaigns for your business:
- Landing Pages and Lead Capture Forms
- Automation, Lead Nurturing, Autoresponders
- Email Marketing and Email Blasts
- Social Media Updates and Monitoring
- SEO Tools and Optimization
- CRM and Sales Tools
You will quickly realize that HubSpot is the only all-in-one platform as there are no competitors that would match HubSpot 1-to-1 in features. It’s not a bad thing, it’s actually good. HubSpot has added a service component to their stack, I won’t be getting into that as it’s not relevant for marketing automation discussion here.
Why Businesses Leave HubSpot
All businesses I’ve worked with that left HubSpot have barely used 10% of all the features the platform offers. You pay for everything, yet end up using 2-3 top features. That’s why you need to find a platform that fits your critical needs. Don’t get HubSpot because it has everything. You’ll be wasting money. Here’s what one client and former HubSpot customer said about the experience:
I donated my arm and leg to be able to pay for HubSpot’s coaching in hopes to increase my traffic. As a beginner to the online marketing and web developing world, I had to learn quite a lot, from basics to advanced material. If my responsibilities as a business owner only revolved around website and online marketing, I’d be on cloud nine. But for someone that didn’t have a lot of experience, I couldn’t devote all the time necessary to really take advantage of my investment, unfortunately. And when it was all said and done, I had a good website, but not a GREAT website, and a flat-lined lead-to-customer generator.
You have to be prepared to use HubSpot, it’s not just about the budget to pay for it.
In many cases, without a dedicated team, you will be overwhelmed with HubSpot’s platform. You’ll end up procrastinating, not using it, and wasting your precious budget.
The following alternatives to HubSpot will give you the necessary tools to help you drive traffic, generate and nurture leads, and convert leads to happy customers without giving up an arm and leg for it. Let’s dive in.
Marketing Automation That Listens and Learns
ActiveCampaign is a great option for those looking for an affordable, yet powerful HubSpot alternative. They started out years ago as a simple email marketing platform, but over the years they’ve added marketing automation, CRM, machine learning, and live chat to be a proper marketing automation provider for SMBs.
I particularly like their automation campaigns (the heart and soul), which allow you to automate not only marketing activities (emails, SMS, tagging, etc.) but also sales and productivity. In CRM I have different pipelines where I’m able to cater to different sales processes based on the services we offer.
To help automate some backend office stuff (and help increase productivity) I’ve created automation campaigns that are triggered by stuff that either I’m doing or data that changes inside ActiveCampaign. For example, I have campaigns that will move deals to different stages or create tasks based on the stage the deal is in.
One very helpful feature in ActiveCampaign is the ability to share email templates and automation campaigns with others, simply by giving another ActiveCampaign user a unique link to import them into their account.
With higher-end plans, you can add site messages (messages that show up on your website), attribution tracking (see where leads are coming from), machine learning (helps predict the win probability of your deals), predictive sending (emails sent based on contact’s engagement to get the opens you need), and many other features.
If you’re a GSuite or Gmail user, like I am, you’ll find ActiveCampaign’s Gmail extension for Chrome invaluable. That little bitty thing is a lifesaver. It tracks open rates of my emails sent in GSuite, plus I can access and manage contact records in the sidebar when I view email conversations. So I always know who I’m talking to, where we left off, and where we are on the deal!
If you’re an e-commerce business, you can take advantage of the “deep data” integration ActiveCampaign offers for e-commerce platforms to import orders into your account. Right now it’s available for WooCommerce, Shopify, BigCommerce, Square, and API to build your own integration.
- Unlimited emails
- 500 contacts
- Email marketing and newsletters
- Marketing automation
- Up to 3 users
The basic (Lite) plan starts at $15/mo ($9/mo annually). If you want to add landing pages, CRM, sales automation, lead scoring, and SMS marketing you’ll need to go with the “Plus” plan at $70/mo ($49/mo annually) and you get 1000 contacts. If you also want website personalization, site messages, predictive sending, and marketing attribution then you need a Professional plan for $187/mo ($149/mo annually). This is the plan I’m on.
The pricing is incredibly generous compared to HubSpot, keeping in mind how sophisticated ActiveCampaign is. Plus, ActiveCampaign offers free migration and an active Facebook group where you can get help from other ActiveCampaign users.
If you need a live chat and want to integrate it with your automations for a unified experience, ActiveCampaign offers Conversations that costs $19/mo/user.
Ideal For: Small businesses and startups looking to start with marketing automation, but any business (medium and large enterprises) can use ActiveCampaign. It is packed with features, considering how affordable it is. SaaS businesses can leverage ActiveCampaign for user onboarding and customer success, while e-commerce businesses can personalize their email marketing based on purchasing behavior, order data, and recover abandoned shopping carts. It’s also a great tool to sell services and info products, you can create funnels to sell, upsell, and cross-sell your services/products.
If you need transactional (SMTP) emails, you can also integrate Postmark with your automations in ActiveCampaign. ActiveCampaign acquired Postmark recently. I’ve used Postmark for many years. They offer the best deliverability on the market.
If you’re migrating from another provider (like HubSpot), ActiveCampaign offers a free migration service to migrate contacts, email templates, opt-in forms, and automation workflows. Will save you a ton of time and resources.
Agencies: ActiveCampaign is a great option for agencies, and they offer several different options. You can resell (and white label) it, you can let ActiveCampaign handle payments while you handle the account, they also offer an affiliate program for customers. I’ve used a combination of these with my clients over the years. The reseller option is great if you want to handle everything and include ActiveCampaign cost in your retainer.
G2 Crowd Score: 4.6 out of 5 (10,181 reviews)
TrustRadius Score: 8.5 out of 10 (836 reviews)
Capterra Score: 4.6 out of 5 (1,765 reviews)
Related: HubSpot vs. ActiveCampaign: What’s Right For Your Business?
CRM, Sales, and Marketing Automation
Keap, which you may know by its former name, Infusionsoft, is a great HubSpot alternative, particularly for e-commerce businesses. It’s also one of the most established tools on this list with roots going back to 2001.
All Keap plans give you access to the Keap CRM, marketing automation, sales automation features, and more. Where Keap really shines is when it comes to its e-commerce features. Keap comes with built-in checkout forms and payment processing, meaning you don’t need to use an external shopping cart tool (this alone is a huge money saver!). Keap lets you seamlessly accept payments via PayPal, Stripe, WePay, and other major payment processors. With Keap’s “Max” plan, you can even offer coupon codes and upsells.
Another great feature of Keap is its email marketing capabilities. Unlike some of the tools on this list, Keap offers robust email campaigns, segmentation, and automations. This will ensure your leads receive highly-targeted emails from you, keeping them engaged and nurtured, and always keeping your business top-of-mind. While there’s no denying that HubSpot is an incredible tool, it requires a huge investment of time and money upfront. However, when you sign up with Keap, you not only get access to their migration services, you’re assigned an expert business coach for free. This coach will help you define your top three business-related goals, and then help you execute an action plan. This ensures you’ll actually use the tool, and use it in a way that increases revenue – often right away.
- The Keap “Pro” plan starts at 1,500 contacts
- All plans come with email marketing, sales & marketing automation, quotes, invoice and
payments, CRM, a dedicated phone line, and more
- The “Pro” plan lets you add up to 2 users (additional users are $29/month)
Ideal For: Keap is ideal for small to mid-sized businesses, particularly e-commerce businesses (infopreneurs). Their migration service and expert coaching help even new entrepreneurs can make the most of Keap’s rich set of features from day one. Keap is also a great HubSpot alternative for anyone wanting to focus on email marketing.
Keap’s basic plan is called their “Pro” plan starts at $169/month (or $129/month when billed annually.) The “Max” plan lets you add up to 2,500 contacts, and will run you $249/month (or $199/month when billed annually.)
G2 Crowd Score: 4.2 out of 5 (1407 reviews)
TrustRadius Score: 8.3 out of 10 (353 reviews)
Capterra Score 4.1 out of 5 (1129 reviews)
Complete Sales and Marketing Toolbox
SendinBlue is another viable alternative to HubSpot, with an interesting mix of marketing tools to help you get stuff done.
It offers marketing automation that allows you to create automated campaigns to engage and nurture your leads and customers. You’re able to use email, SMS, and live chat to engage with contacts. Plus, it allows you to optimize the send time of your campaigns for each recipient – similar to ActiveCampaign’s predictive sending.
In addition to marketing automation tools that rival HubSpot’s, SendinBlue includes a fully-featured CRM to help you manage contacts and your sales process. You can have unlimited contacts with SendinBlue since they charge based on how many emails are sent. So you don’t have to worry about going over the limit and deleting old contacts.
The 2 features that make SendinBlue stand out from the rest of these alternatives to HubSpot are transactional emails and Facebook ads.
If you have a web app that sends emails (invoices, order notifications, sign-up emails, etc.), you can use SendinBlue to send these emails just like SendGrid, Mailgun, or Amazon SES. Keeping this inside SendinBlue gives you the added advantage of having this important data available in your contacts’ records. So not only do you see marketing emails but sales and app usage emails as well.
If you run Facebook ads, using SendinBlue you can create and run ads within the platform while getting the benefits of having reporting data available right there. This way to can compare ads and campaigns to see what’s working and what’s not working. Facebook ads platform can be complex for beginners, so with a simpler UI you’ll be able to create and run ads quickly, and more of them to get better ROI.
- 300 emails/day
- Unlimited contacts
- Sales CRM
- Marketing automation workflows
- Page tracking
This is SendinBlue’s free plan. The main limit is 300 emails/day. It’s a nice plan to get started, but be prepared to upgrade to send more emails. Your emails will also include the Sendinblue logo/branding. The first paid plan starts at $25/mo with 10,000 emails per month and no daily limit. You can store an unlimited number of contacts.
If you want marketing automation, landing pages, Facebook ads, and other features you would start at $65/mo with 20,000 emails.
Ideal For: With its free plan, SendinBlue can provide startups and micro-businesses without a marketing budget a way to get started. If you send transactional emails and want to tie reporting with everything else to get a better insight into what happens SendinBlue can be a good alternative to SendGrid, Mailgun, etc.
TrustRadius Score: 7.8 out of 10 (166 reviews)
Capterra Score: 4.6 out of 5 (1,336 reviews)
G2 Crowd Score: 4.5 out of 5 (1,499 reviews)
Business and Marketing Automation
Ontraport (formerly Office Autopilot) is somewhat unique as it brands itself as business automation, not specifically marketing automation. It’s actually a closer alternative to Infusionsoft, but its marketing automation features make it a perfect candidate for specific businesses as an alternative to HubSpot.
I’ve noticed that many online businesses (coaches, course creators, infopreneurs, etc.) use Ontraport, because it offers ecommerce functionality to sell digital products and even offer subscriptions. It offers everything from order forms, one-click upsells, subscriptions, coupons, lead management, and CRM to power your online business from a “sales” perspective. In addition, you can manage your own affiliate/partner program as well.
Plus, unlike all other platforms, Ontraport gives its customers the ability to create membership websites to create recurring revenue streams. This is a nice feature for non-technical users that don’t want to mess with WordPress plugins.
On the other hand, Ontraport includes all the features of a marketing automation platform to help you get leads and sales. It offers email marketing and leads nurturing, landing pages, forms, and extensive reporting capabilities. Plus, it offers SMS, postcards if you need those, and WordPress integration.
- 1000 active contacts
- Unlimited emails
- 1 user
- Unlimited landing pages and forms
- Unlimited popups
- Limited if/then rules automation
The basic plan starts at $79/mo billed monthly. Ecommerce, membership sites, referral programs, etc. do require a higher-end plan starting with $147/mo. The basic plan is great for marketing automation alone.
Ideal For: Ontraport is uniquely positioned to help run and automate online businesses. It’s great for anyone selling digital products like courses, ebooks, service subscriptions, and memberships. I see coaches using it to sell their packages and courses and infopreneurs selling ebooks, courses, and other educational resources.
G2 Crowd Score: 4.4 out of 5 (146 reviews)
TrustRadius Score: 8.5 out of 10 (38 reviews)
Capterra Score: 4.2 out of 5 (79 reviews)
Integrated Marketing, Sales, and Service Software
EngageBay is a comprehensive, fully-featured marketing platform that easily qualifies as an alternative to HubSpot.
It offers marketing automation features to help track, engage, and convert visitors to leads, while enabling email follow-ups and lead nurturing. You get access to email sequences, automation workflows, landing pages, live chat, forms, popups, and social media tools.
What makes EngageBay stand out from the rest of the platforms are the service desk and 360-degree customer view.
This is the only platform on this list that offers service desk features, similar to HubSpot’s service platform. This gives you the ability to manage your support tickets and support department. What makes this unique, you can create automation across all tools in EngageBay. This means that you can automate your support department similarly to how marketing automation works. Moreover, you can combine automation across marketing, sales, and support to improve the efficiency and productivity of your team (or just you).
Plus, with a 360-degree customer view, you can see everything that happens to your customer across marketing, sales, and support. So not only are you able to automate processes for all 3, but you’re able to see all of it for your customers in one place. That’s a good way to gain alignment across the entire organization. At least marketing and sales, since they do like to butt heads with each other.
- 1000 contacts
- 1000 branded emails/mo
- 2 lists
- 2 Email sequences (marketing automation)
- 5 Autoresponders
- 1 Landing page
- Social media tools
- Live chat
- Sales CRM and tools
- Services management (help desk/tickets)
All this comes with EngageBay’s free plan. It’s a generous plan with a lot of tools included, but those tools are limited. To get the full experience and higher contact and email limit, you would need to upgrade to a paid plan. They start at $14.99/mo for 15,000 contacts and 10,000 branded emails.
One thing to keep in mind, all paid plans come with branded emails. So emails you send out to your contacts will have EngageBay’s logo in them. You will have to purchase unbranded emails to remove their logo.
Unbranded emails will cost you $4/1000 emails if using EngageBay’s server. If you use your own SMTP provider like Postmark, Mailgun, SendGrid, Amazon SES, or custom SMTP then you can buy them for $1/1000 emails. This is not listed on the pricing page, you have to ask.
One thing to note about EngageBay’s pricing, they do offer separate platforms for lower cost in case you need something specific. So you only pay for the tools you use. You can pay for sales tools (Sales Bay), service tools (Service Bay), and even marketing tools (Marketing Bay).
Ideal For: With a robust free plan, EngageBay will be a good option for startups and small businesses looking to get started. Businesses with budgets can leverage EngageBay to unify their marketing, sales, and support departments to get a 360-degree view of their customers. If you need to offer support to customers, you can use help desk features to do so. IT businesses can benefit from EngageBay’s all-in-one suite.
G2 Crowd Score: 4.6 out of 5 (149 reviews)
TrustRadius Score: 8.1 out of 10 (7 reviews)
Capterra Score: 4.6 out of 5 (294 reviews)
Small Business CRM and Marketing Automation
BenchmarkONE (formerly Hatchbuck) is great for small businesses. It’s an affordable tool that’s easy to use, has a small learning curve, and it has all the necessary tools to automate your marketing and sales. You can start using Hatchbuck almost immediately after signing up. Once you tweak a few settings and integrate them with your website, you’re ready to go. Hatchbuck is simple to use, but that’s due to a limited set of features you would find on other platforms.
Hatchbuck doesn’t have social media management tools, it doesn’t have landing pages, and it doesn’t have CMS to host a website. Visitor tracking (webpage tracking) will only track contacts after they submit a form or click on a link in an email. It does not record visits prior to form submissions, so you’re losing some important data there.
Most small businesses don’t know what to do with it anyway, so it might not be important to you. Looking at what you don’t want can be more helpful than looking for what you want. One of the chief complaints with HubSpot is that you pay for tools you don’t need or use, so it’s good to find a platform that fits your specific needs and pay for that. With its simplicity, Hatchbuck is a good option for beginners and small businesses.
- Send 1000 emails/mo
- 500 contacts
- Social profiles
- Marketing automation
- Landing pages and popups
That’s the new Free plan offered by BenchmarkONE. It’s a great way to start and you’ll be up and running quickly. The higher-end plans include CRM, deal pipeline, dynamic content, Gmail and Outlook integrations, mobile app, and more.
Ideal For: Small businesses looking to get started with marketing automation and a CRM. BenchmarkONE also offers agency pricing, so you can either let clients pay BechmarkONE directly or you can include the price into your retainer.
G2 Crowd Score: 4.5 out of 5 (185 reviews)
TrustRadius Score: 3.5 out of 10 (50 reviews)
Capterra Score: 4.4 out of 5 (153 reviews)
Email Marketing and Online Campaign Management Tools
GetResponse has a different approach to marketing, some of the tools it offers are a bit different from everyone else on this list and HubSpot.
Yes, it does offer marketing automation features all platforms offer. That’s why it’s on this list of HubSpot alternatives. You can do complex marketing automation workflows based on conditions, triggers, and filters to generate leads and convert them to customers. For ecommerce businesses, it does offer cart abandonment recovery so you get those missed sales.
Where GetResponse stands out among other alternatives to HubSpot are automated funnels and webinars.
Automated funnels give you pre-built funnel templates you can use to quickly create your own funnels that consist of landing pages, forms, emails, and even payments with integrations to popular payment processors like Stripe, PayPal, Square, etc. You can sell anything using these funnels – digital and physical products.
“Webinars” is another unique feature that other marketing automation platforms don’t offer. You can actually run webinars using GetResponse while taking advantage of all other tools, including automated funnels. So if you use webinars to generate leads or sell your products/services, you could combine everything in one platform and take advantage of creating funnels quickly. You wouldn’t need a third-party webinar platform like WebinarNinja, which I use.
It also includes sales CRM and landing page builder, with lots of templates.
- Unlimited emails
- 1000 contacts
- Send newsletters and autoresponders
- Landing pages
- 1 sales funnel
- Unlimited lead funnels
- Facebook and Google ads
The basic plan starts at $15/mo, which is pretty reasonable compared to HubSpot and the features you get to use. Higher-end plans include automated funnels, ecommerce, sales CRM, and many more features.
Ideal For: GetResponse can be used by anyone looking to get started with marketing automation. However, I would recommend it to online businesses selling products and/or services. This also includes businesses that market and sell using webinars. You can even charge for webinars. The combination of automated funnels and the webinar platform alone is worth the investment in GetResponse.
G2 Crowd Score: 4.2 out of 5 (855 reviews)
TrustRadius Score: 8.4 out of 10 (72 reviews)
Capterra Score: 4.2 out of 5 (358 reviews)
Lead Generation and Growth Platform
Wishpond offers a mix of tools geared at generating leads with social media, although it is not limited to social media. It offers a drag-and-drop landing page builder with a lot of built-in templates that you can start using right away. Plus, they offer marketing automation features that allow you to nurture leads with personalized emails.
In addition, Wishpond also includes popups to help you capture leads so you wouldn’t need any additional services for popups.
What really separates Wishpond from all other platforms is its contests and promotions feature. It allows you to run your own photo contests, sweepstakes, referral promotions, coupons, and many more. If these are important to your marketing, it’s nice to have them integrated with lead nurturing and lead management features for a more holistic approach.
They’ve also added a referral suite, which allows you to create viral referral campaigns to increase engagement and brand awareness. It’s nice to have it built-in, so you don’t have to pay for another tool. It’s a great HubSpot alternative if social media is a huge part of your marketing efforts, like B2C businesses.
- Unlimited visitors
- 1000 leads/contacts
- Unlimited user accounts
- Landing pages and forms
- Marketing automation
- Website popups
- Contests and promotions
- No API access with the basic plan
The basic paid plan starts at $49/mo billed annually and $75/mo billed monthly. If you need a platform that offers social media engagement tools and coupons/promos, Wishpond is a good choice.
Ideal For: B2C businesses can find a lot of value. If you’re looking to do more social media marketing and viral referral campaigns, Wishpond is a good option as it offers those features. Plus, if you already have a CRM you can integrate Wishpond with it since they don’t offer CRM.
G2 Crowd Score: 3.7 out of 5 (138 reviews)
TrustRadius Score: 5.3 out of 10 (16 reviews)
Capterra Score: 3.9 out of 5 (97 reviews)
Lead Generating Machine
You might not consider WordPress to be a marketing automation software and lead-generating machine, but you can do pretty much everything with WordPress now. Out of the box, WordPress is an excellent CMS, and with excellent plugins, it can be extended to do anything your heart desires. This includes marketing automation.
- Easy to use CMS
- Advance SEO with plugins
- Landing pages with custom post types
- Lead capture forms with plugins
- Social media integration with plugins
- CRM integration with plugins
- Email marketing and lead nurturing integration
- Marketing Automation and lead tracking
- Freedom to customize anything you want
A lot of work that I do is either helping businesses get started with marketing automation, get a better website, or help a HubSpot customer migrate to a new setup that usually includes a WordPress website.
Depending on what the client needs, we figure out the best approach to take. With WordPress, there are a million ways to skin a cat. For my own business, for example, I use WordPress for the website, SEO (SEOpress plugin), and landing pages (Beaver Builder plugin). While marketing automation and CRM are handled by ActiveCampaign. Note, since ActiveCampaign offers landing pages now I do occasionally use them but still try to have most of my landing pages in WordPress. I simply didn’t want to have everything in WordPress. If WordPress goes down, I still have access to my CRM and my emails continue to go out uninterrupted. Plus, if WordPress is hacked I don’t have any personal information there so there’s no need to report breaches under GDPR.
WordPress can be one of the best and most affordable alternatives to HubSpot for small businesses on a tight budget if that’s what you want. Don’t expect to have everything in WordPress that HubSpot offers. Frankly, it’s not necessary. Find tools that complement WordPress. A toolbox is better than a Swiss Army knife. If one tool breaks, you don’t have to replace the whole thing.
Marketing Automation Plugins for WordPress:
Over the years there were several marketing automation plugins for WordPress. At this time, there’s only one that will give you a lot of the features you find in HubSpot inside your WordPress website:
Groundhogg allows you to manage marketing funnels, and send out broadcast emails, has a built-in CRM, and reporting works with all themes and integrates with many popular services and plugins. This all takes place inside your WordPress admin. The pricing starts at $20/mo billed annually. No restrictions on contacts.
If you do plan to have all of this inside WordPress you will need a dedicated SMTP service to send out emails and not end up in spam. You will also need to pay attention to the security of your website since you will store a lot of private information in the CRM. Your website being hacked would be considered a breach under the GDPR and must be reported.
Ideal For: If you’re using WordPress for your website, you should consider if adding marketing automation plugins makes sense. They do add another layer of complexity to managing WordPress (if something breaks), but if you have skills or dedicated support to manage WordPress it can be a viable solution especially if you’re on a budget.
You should also consider a hybrid approach, what I do. Let WordPress power certain parts it’s good at while letting another platform power marketing automation. If you have multiple websites that need to be tracked in one place, you’ll need a third-party platform. You can’t use the plugin I mentioned above since it will only track websites they’re installed on.
Wisdom For The Road
Over the last 14 years, I’ve worked with hundreds of businesses leaving HubSpot. None of them ever regretted switching to WordPress or another, more suitable alternative. The key to their newfound success was a narrow focus on the tools that they really need to get the job done now.
Don’t get an all-in-one solution just because you can or you want to. Get the tools that will meet your immediate needs to increase revenue quickly. Once you begin generating leads and sales, you can always scale. Remember, you don’t need marketing automation software to generate leads.
Any of these 8 alternatives to HubSpot will offer marketing automation. You just need to know exactly what features you need and what you’re trying to accomplish. Don’t forget, it’s not really automatic. The system needs an operator to function correctly, which means at least 10-15 hours per week dedicated to inbound marketing to make it work for your business.
None of these systems is set-and-forget, they all require tweaking to get better and generate more leads. If you’re shopping for a marketing automation platform, read this post to help you with your decision.
Do scan through the comments below, over the last few years many new platforms popped up and left a comment. You’re bound to find something new there.
If you have any questions or need help, tweet me.
Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post are affiliate/partner links.
Aritic PinPoint is a wonderful alternative to HubSpot. Beyond the features you know and enjoy, it has social media marketing, email marketing tools, and a built-in customer relationship management system to help you close more deals.
Hey Viktor, thanks for this article and the shout out to Groundhogg.
Groundhogg just launched 2.5 Version today (August 11, 2021) and we are really proud of these new features. We warmly invite people will hop on by to explore the Groundhogg CRM and Marketing Automation option. We also have options for multi-sites. 5 Star Reviews in the WordPress Repository and the Gold Stevie Award 2021 for Sales & Customer Service in the CRM Small Business Category.
Thanks, Adrian, great to hear about the new version. I will definitely look into it a bit more. I hope you will also consider supporting ClassicPress (fork of v4.9), not just WordPress. 🙂
Wonderful content piece Viktor! Really appreciated! Can you recommend me which tool fits into our needs. We are a small food (Meat delivery) service, we are just starting our marketing exposure to increase to reach further markets. Here is our website https://www.beckandbulow.com! Thank you for the great insights anyway! Looking forward to hearing from yo u soon!
Hey Chris, thanks for asking. Since you’re using WooCommerce, I assume you would want something that integrates with it. Personally, I use ActiveCampaign for marketing automation and sales CRM, and I have clients that use it too. It integrates nicely with WooCommerce using Deep Data integration. You can do various automation campaigns based on order data, you can try recovering abandoned shopping carts, and if your wholesale side has salespeople then you can use built-in CRM to manage your sales process. In my latest WooCommerce project, helping my wife launch an e-commerce business, I’m using ActiveCampaign for marketing automation.
On the other hand, if you’re doing a lot of PPC/retargeting ads, SharpSpring can be a good option. It also offers one of the best marketing analytics with the ability to track campaign analytics. And if you have a larger sales team, this is definitely the right option.
I hope that helps. Do comment if you have any specific questions.
Excellent article viktor.
Can you help me with 2 questions?
1. what do you think about convertfox, on their site they say they have everything from marketing automation through live chat on the website, to email marketing, lead scoring, and so on. this plays well with a website builder?
2. Can you recommend a Wordpress Stack? Thinking about what we are less technical. for example: Wordpress + Thrivearchitech (website builder) + activecampaign + Yoast for SEO.
P. S. If you have a very low cost recommended stack for beginners with a low budget using Wordpress, which would be?
Thanks, love your work, Greetings from Colombia – Latin America, sorry for my english
Interesting article. There are various marketing automation tools that offer different marketing channels and allow small, mid to large businesses and agencies to manage their online activities. The tools mentioned above are also good alternatives for Hubspot as they almost provide the same features. In my opinion, choosing the most appropriate tool depends on the businesses needs and the pricing budget they are all willing to pay.
Vbout is also a marketing automation tool that allows businesses and particularly small agencies, to manage their all-in-one marketing activities using one powerful dashboard. The marketing channels are social media management, email marketing, customer journeys, lead scoring, landing page building and analytics. The monthly pricing plans are affordable and this factor exempts agencies to use more than one tool and pay higher monthly costs.
From what I see, Hatchback increased their solo package to $100/month. I’ve been zeroing in on Zoho’s $20/month package for a client and myself.
You’re right Barry. They changed pricing again on June 1st. I haven’t had the chance to update it. At this point, I’m not sure if the value is there anymore. There are more feature-rich options out there, at a better price. Haven’t seen any improvements to automation in almost 2 years. I’m considering switching to ActiveCampaign, to get a better bang for my (and clients’) buck. We’ll see.
Thanks for the list Viktor, but I would like to add SalesPanda (http://www.salespanda.com); an Inbound marketing software. It is an integrated platform with four modules: 1. Create and manage content. 2. Increase website traffic. 3. Engage and convert visitors. 4. Nurture and close leads.
Nice list! I didn’t know some of the tools you’ve listed. How about GetResponse? Their marketing automation seems great.
I thought it looked good too… But I’m not sure they do Progressive Profiling which for B2B businesses who need to nurture across multiple forms over a period of time can make a real difference, there’s a nice post on the Kissmetrics blog that goes into more detail on this:
Agile CRM is another good alternative to Hubspot. The best thing is they offer an all-in-one CRM with very useful integrations & features & they are also an affordable CRM.
Check it out – https://www.agilecrm.com/
Hi, I used Mailchimp for my company. So here are some points that I have noticed : Customer support team is good, they help me for my setup, every time I call there is someone to pick up the call, Price is too less, I have never found as cheap as Mailchimp, so price wise it’s awesome. There are lots of features which include Customized template, list of bounced back emails, User can upload all contact on cloud, Integration API, HTML Template etc. So overall Mailchimp is come with complete features very less price.
Correct me if I’m wrong but I’m not sure MailChimp offer landing pages or lead lifecycle stage segmentation or even lead scoring? I tend to see MC as an email marketing system with some automation features. Rather than a marketing automation system.
Just as an FYI, Wishpond has cancelled their free option and only offer a 14-day trial subscription now.
Thanks for heads up Cindy. I’ve revised Wishpond entry.
What about ActiveCampaign?
Thank you for this article. It is very helpful and something I am strugggling with now. I have been doing a trial of hubspot and I love how the CRM can pull not only sales activity but also website/user activity into the contact record. But like you said most of the features I need will be CRM, lead nurturing and campaigns. It seems like hatchbuck for CRM and marketing automation and Wordpress for landing pages will work. Do you know if the hatchbuck CRM can pull in all activity for a contact both before they are a user on our site and afterwards.
Thanks for your comment. Right now Hatchbuck tracks users when either user submits a form or they click on a link in an email you sent using Hatchbuck. Both actions place a cookie in the browser that Hatchbuck tracks. I’ve already told/asked them to extend this tracking to the whole session, so any visits and actions taken before form submission can be tracked as well. There’s no ETA on that.
Hope that helps.
Yes thanks Viktor. The reason I ask is that I use segment.com to track events within my application. And within Hubspot it will show those events associated with the contact. I am wondering if I could achieve the same thing with Hatchbuck?
If it helps, Jumplead does this at the moment. 🙂
Nice post, thanks!
Do you have some feedback on https://www.sendinblue.com/ ?
I’m starting to test the Scenario Builder, it looks nice, easy to use with WP and cheap, but I would like other feedbacks.
We have cancelled our Hubspot subscription and I was looking for an alternative. I think I’d like to try the Wordpress option. Do you have any tips and tricks to getting this started. I have looked into the 2 add-ons that you mentioned and I am pleasantly surprised at the cost vs the value that you receive. Any advice would be great.
If you go with any of the WordPress plugins for marketing automation (ORBTR or InboundNow), make sure you or a team member has a good technical knowledge. It does require tech skills to setup and manage. For myself, even though I do have tech skills necessary, I chose to keep it simple and use Hatchbuck for marketing automation so I don’t have to waste too much time with plugins. It’s easier to setup and use, so you get started quickly.
The key to choosing what platform/tool to use is to understand what you need to do for your specific business needs. I have a post about choosing marketing automation platform here.
If you have any specific questions, feel free to post here.
Thanks for this. What do you think of using some of Hubspots free tools like basic CRM and sales and building off them for the rest. I’m also leaving Hubspot due to the increasing cost but do use most of their tools. I can cobble a solution together using unbounce, plugins (Hatchbuck), Hootsuite, etc, but it won’t be fun to re-create it all.
PS: Does your company do any migrations?
PPS: what plugin do you use here for comments? I love it!
Yes, you can always piece together an appropriate solution based on your specific needs. WordPress can easily handle landing pages, so you need to figure out exactly what you need to see what’s right for you. CRM, email marketing, social media. Marketing automation platforms found their own niches, so each comes with its own feature set. Some have CRM, some don’t. Some have social media, some don’t.
I worked with a HubSpot partner not too long ago, who was leaving HubSpot, and their choice was to have landing pages in WordPress, lead forms synced to Mailchimp lists, and they kept using HubSpot CRM since it’s free. That was enough for their specific needs. I helped migrate them over, and get everything setup. Pretty inexpensive, yet effective setup.
And the commenting plugin I use is this:
Hope that helps.
Another great alternative is GetResponse marketing automation. It’s pretty much an all-in-one marketing solution.
Hey!!! Do you know any programmer that you could recommend that knows how to work with this marketing tools in integration with e-learning tool?? Thanks you!!! BTW, What tool have you use to create your blog?
HubSpot now offer Salesforce integration.
I like Datacrush (www.datacrush.la), our company is based in Latam and they have local support and better payment options (and it’s cheaper). Still, they have a very robust platform, you should give it a try.
You should check us out at http://www.whoisvisiting.com/ we are B2B IP Tracking tool and a much cheaper alternative to the above software companies starting at only £29 a month, Many of our customers use us to identify there profile customer and improve their B2B Marketing strategy.
We identify up to 98% of the businesses visiting your website giving you the ability to chase up sales you may have previously lost.
Let me know what you think.
Thanks George. Looks interesting. Will check it out.
What about Wishpond? I know they’re free now.
Hey Kevin, I know Wishpond is free now. It’ll end up in one of my other blog posts in the near future. Here’s one thing to keep in mind, it’s free because you have 200 lead/contacts limit. Frankly, they know you’ll hit that limit with one good campaign and will need to upgrade to get more. Keep in mind, leads are not paying customers. So you can be up to 200 contacts limit quickly and still have no paying customers. I’m not saying you shouldn’t checkout and use Wishpond, you should if price is a major barrier to you. But understand the limitations and how they will affect you.
What about inboardnow for wordpress .
Hi Ollie, I’ve included InboundNow plugins in my follow up post here about marketing automation platforms under $100.
I think Optify (#1) in the article shut up shop a while ago, also it would be worth checking out Jumplead (https://jumplead.com/) which has a WordPress plugin and includes live chat, visitor identification, conversion forms (with progressive profiling), landing pages, email broadcasts and autoresponders, CRM, SEO keywords etc. and comes with a free plan.
There are a lot of good web design helpers out there, including web dot com, Wix, Godaddy Builder, and they all have the functions that qualify them to be called a COS, but there is no shortcut for branding and good content. By using Wordpress as a foundation, you have flexibility and options. I think it’s a waste of time to try to save time on the front end with some magic short cut. If you can’t afford a full time content manager, you better do it yourself until you can. Otherwise your marketing will be as shallow as a parking lot puddle, and the public will pass you up.
We have been a Wordpress shop for 7 years. You are absolutely right, we can do many of the same things Hubspot offers for much less. We do suggest Constant contact for the auto responders instead of Mail chimp and either Formstack or WuFoo for the lead capture.
Shameless plug: I’d recommend you check out the newly released Mautic (https://www.mautic.org) which is a completely free open source marketing automation platform. You can download and set it up on your own server or you can sign up for a free hosted version.
Thanks David. Looks interesting. Will check it out.
Looks wonderful but set-up is complex.
Hello, I currently use hubspot and am not happy with their prices.
I have a wordpress site.
I want to be able to schedule my blog posts and have the go to my social media, schedule social media posts to different sites (facebook, google plus, twitter, pinterest, instgram, linkedin) do email marketing, and track the success of my posts.
How do I do all of that in wordpress?
Thanks for the article.
It’s a bundled approach to do it with WordPress. Buffer app will take care of your scheduling and posting to social media once it’s published to WordPress and your RSS feed, for some lead intelligence go with Leadin plugin, Google Analytics will provide traffic data, and email marketing depends on exactly what you need. You can simply go with Mailchimp for automation and blasts, but if you want lead tracking and more features, go with ORBTR and integrate it with Mailchimp. That’s a very rough, simple outline.
Thanks so much. Very helpful.
Happy New Year
Does any of them offer free certifications as well like Hubspot? If not, it would be great if you can do a piece addressing such a concern 🙂
Hi Syed, are you talking about general inbound marketing certifications or platform specific?
Uh, Victor, “fare” is spelled fair in this usage.
Thanks for heads up. “Victor” is spelled Viktor in this usage 🙂
and “quite” is not “quiet.” It was throwing me. It’s always good to have someone else proofread before you hit publish.
Thanks for heads up Nate. Done is better than perfect. If we wait on perfection we’ll never hit publish.
Love your work Viktor. Have you considered using Ghost as an alternative to WordPress? Thx ~ng
No, Ghost is a blogging platform… what WordPress was back in the early days… WordPress is a full CMS that has plugins built for marketing automation. Can Ghost be used for lead generation? Yes, but only as a blogging platform. Ghost has a different goal, place focus on content. It can be a good option for blogging if your main marketing website is not WordPress.
Thanks Viktor. I broadly agree. I’d love to see Ghost/Node.js become more like a full CMS as you point out is the case for WP. I’ve been a WP user for years and feel it is so ripe for change. Some kind of Node.js based CMS with Ghost-style blogging at the base of it is sure to come along…guess I’m just impatient for it to be so. Thanks for the feedback. Insightful as ever.
Tools are 5% of the equation, 95% is the elbow grease.
What plugin do you use for landing pages on Wordpress?
I build my own landing pages without plugins JChris. Simple is always better. I simply use “full width” page template with a page builder and create my own landing pages. Easy setup, easy to use to create additional pages. Thanks for your comment.
Can you please recommend the Email Marketing plugins you use with Word Press? Can this be integrated with mail chimp? Also one feature I really like in Hubspot is the Seo writing tool. Do you know of something like this for Wordpress?
Thanks for your comment. The answer is yes to both questions.
Hope that helps,
Loopfuse has been acquired and is discontinuing April 1 2014 their free subscription. To my knowledge, the best free marketing automation software is now http://www.leadsius.com
SimplyCast needs to be on this list. Their customer flow communication platform has marketing automation tools, as well as inbound marketing and multi-channel options.
I checked out hubspot as well and found your blog after getting a quote from them. I didn’t realize wordpress was so powerful. I wasn’t ready to spend the money that hubspot was quoting but I was looking at hubshout. Can you do a comparison of their services? They aren’t as expensive and their training is included in the $199 signup fee and they credit it back to you when you sign up your first customer. I tried to find some comparisons with this company but didn’t find any.
Machell, you’re confusing those two. Hubspot is a tool, Hubshout offers services.
Anyone used Hatchbuck ? Any feedback will be helpful. Thanks 🙂
I have another solution to ad to your 8 Marketing Control Center from @yieldtech
It adds little extra over the others with an Ad Server that tracts from impressions to redemptions
I have another solution to ad to your 8 Marketing Control Center from @yieldtech
It adds little extra over the others with an Ad Server that tracts from impressions to redemptions
Vicor, small and medium businesses and especially this in B2C need to provide more personality in their selling than just automated email I believe the best solution for this is Deskgod wich is web-sales automation.
Thanks Daniel, you’ve already left a comment with a link to your platform. No need to repeat it.
Nice compliation of tools Viktor. If you do another round for 2014 do check out LeadSquared.
Thanks for the comparisons. A lot of these CRM companies are starting to move upstream to mid to enterprise markets. Infusionsoft has provided a full blown solution for small business. It’s hard to explain Infusionsoft’s benefits but when you buy Infusionsoft, you are not just buying a great piece of software but you are also buying the culture. Infusionsoft is absolutely zealous about helping small businesses succeed with their software. Honestly, I’ve never seen a company offer so many resources to help their clients be successful with the software then Infusionsoft. I also think office auto pilot and SendPepper might be good candidates to consider if you are a small business. Ultimately I believe Infusionsoft has led the charge in the small business marketing automation space. It really is a great product.
You’re right Julian. I find that many sales people talk about their marketing automation platforms in a misleading manner, without selling the required efforts to make these platforms work for the clients and pay for themselves. I just recently did a webinar on marketing automation mistakes, and that was one of them – http://j.mp/18cJmie
Thanks for commenting,
I like you last comment,
“None of these systems are set and forget, they all require tweaking to get better and generate more leads.”
This is so true. The number of prospective clients that come to me and believe that a marketing automation system is set up (for a one time fee) and then requires no ongoing attention is surprising.
Um, no. Let me be clear. That is the software price. I thought that we were comparing software not service costs.
I’d love your input though… I’m trying a new approach to marketing deliverables and selling them in content packages so that small businesses have a foundation on which to build from. Here’s how it goes and it is the reason my site is now on Squarespace 6.
I sell blogs in 52 blog packages at $100 a blog. My Associated Press trained writers create them around a longtail keyword and I upload them with an image two external links, two internal links and bullet points if appropriate. I have a similar press release, social media and email service. It’s an alternative to a traditional retainer model and requires that the customer do much of the heavy lifting. The idea is to remove much of the back and forth that takes place and costs money and hours. The ecommerce platform will allow people to make the purchase and get the results in days or weeks. It is just being launched but I will be happy to share the results. EVEN if I fall on my face!
Good point Jim. Most, if not all, are not aware they can negotiate a discount with the sales rep.
…and when I looked at becoming a reseller, they wanted £9,000 ($14,000) for an ‘education’ programme to learn how to do inbound marketing.
I am like Viktor in that I already know how it works, I was just looking at an alternative to a modular system I can build myself for next to nothing.
Once I explained that, their sales guy explained that Hubspot was more suited to people who didn’t have an understanding of how it works, and needed a simpler platform
Nothing wrong with that, though it costs a massive amount more to implement than the modular solution that Viktor is talking about.
There is room for both, though a modular solution is more powerful and flexible in most cases, at a lower cost.
We also blog about this at http://www.omnisocial.co.uk/blog/
Yikes, $14,000 is not a small amount of money for training. I wonder what actually goes into that program. I know Infusionsoft has a required training program for all clients signing up for their platform that’s somewhere around $2,000.
I think training now costs either $2000 or $7000 depending on the service you select. I did take the $2000 training. It’s not cheap but I needed the assistance and I found it helped me get a jump statr.
Michael, with all the resources available online, do you think $2000 was a worthwhile investment? What made it better than other educational resources available for free? I’m just curious.
Hello, I am form company that is doing web-sales automation, and the tools is very good for small and medium businesses. I beleive it will be worthy for you to know about it: http://www.deskgod.com
I whole heartedly agree. I’ve certainly recommended to prospects that they seek another solution. HubSpot is not for everyone. Especially if they don’t have the bandwidth to devote to the system or are so committed to traditional advertising that they prefer a pay and spray approach.
I’m able to get the training waved for my customers because they use me as a resource but that just means they pay me instead. HubSpot has found that the retention rates skyrocket with a reseller guiding the end user. Its a model they are devoting more resources to.
Come off it Michael, you are a Hubspot reseller.
I have no problem with that, I investigated it myself, though the world is a bit more transparent than it used to be, you need to be aware of this!
The sales and marketing tactics of the past just don’t work any more.
If you are a reseller and can do 1,000 contact packages with all the setup and management for $3,600 a year, I may have some customers for you…well actually, I can probably convert most of the existing Hubspot customers who are paying $8,400+ to your package as well.
Michael, thanks for the comment but your comment is somewhat misleading and that might not have been your intention, but maybe my misunderstanding. If you can clear up these 2 questions, to increase your transparency:
1. Why are you using SquareSpace for your main website if you think HubSpot has “excellent walled garden CMS”?
2. If you’re paying $3600/yr for 1000 contacts, how are you able to have SquareSpace website with HubSpot analytics integration? You should be paying $8400/yr since external website integration starts at Professional plan, not basic. I know HubSpot sales team gives great discounts, but I would like you to clarify this to the benefit of the reader and prospects considering HubSpot so they know they can get a discount.
Thanks, looking forward to your answers.
Great questions! I’m moving to an e-commerce model for the development of content and HubSpot has no e-commerce as of yet. I looked at Shopify and others but chose squarespace as an easy to use solution for now. The e-commerce area is buying built and should be live in a couple weeks.
The pricing model for HubSpot has changed and integration is now allowed at the Basic level. You don’t have access to workflows and some of the more complex nurtring features but when your just starting out its a good foundation.
Full disclosure, after being on HS and building my contacts, I found I did need those tools and I’m now on the Pro level. The ROI made sense for me to step up.
Lastly, because I’m now a reseller, I did get a discount. You are right, negotiating a discount is possible.
Thanks for clarification Michael. You might want to make sure your squarespace sub-domain is not visible anywhere on your website. On your blog right now, the logo takes you to subdomain instead of your custom domain.
Google already has 28 pages of your subdomain indexed, so your site might get penalized for duplicate content with your main domain. I would recommend claiming sub-domain in webmaster tools and requesting removal for all of them.
Glad I could help.
Yes, their are alternatives to HubSpot but for my money ($3600 per year with up to 1000 contacts) I wouldn’t change from HubSpot the world. My company is less than 2 years old and I needed to attract qualified leads fast. As a start up with very little money and a non-compete I had to be effective and efficient. HubSpot enabled me to go from 128 visitors to 2852 in 1 year. My leads this month… 36 qualified leads.
Here’s the thing. Hubspot is not just a software tool, its a process and they have 600 people in Cambridge MA who will guide you through that process If you reach out to them. I think they now have over 10K pages on the website, Mostly dedicated to helping HubSpot users.
I looked at a variety of the systems (Pardot, Marketo, InfusionSoft) mentioned in the above article but chose HubSpot because I know I needed the support and advice.
I had such success that I now sell the HubSpot service to my clients.
Is Optify a good choice for some SMB’s? Absolutely. But if you want an excellent walled garden CMS, advice and support in moments by phone, dynamic content that is easy to segregate by list, Keywordtool, an exceptional email software and A VERY easy to use interface. HubSpot “All in One” is the way to go.
Lastly – This is best equated to an exercise program. You get back what you put in. If you don’t blog a couple times a week, your social media output is anemic or spammy and your emails sound like car salesmanship, no software is ever going to help. Its just a tool.
Another alternative to Hubspot is Cool Life Systems. Their Enterprise Marketing Management (EMM) solution provides marketers a SaaS solution that is powered by a centralized database. The database was designed to keep queries fast, regardless of the size of the data set.
* Complete CMS with landing pages and lead capture forms
* Webinar & virtual tradeshow management
* eMail Marketing: automated marketing, 1 on 1 eMails, template library
* Social media integration
* Proprietary CRM
* Sales Performance Management with Lead Scoring
* Open APIs
I hope this information is helpful for anybody looking for a high ROI alternative to Hubspot or Salesforce.
Aside from Hubspot you may used Colibri tool it can help you on how to optimize conversions and to get more traffic and customers from search engines and other sources incl. social media and content sites. you can try it here: http://colibritool.com
I’ve started using a tool called Hatchbuck. It’s target is smaller businesses who may not need or be ready for full blown marketing automation and crm tools. It does what I need it to do in one tool which is a huge benefit; light crm, form management, segmentation/tags, triggers and drips. Worth a look if you’re in the market.
Danie from Optify here. Thanks so much for including our software in your post. We’ve noticed it’s still getting great traffic, even a year later.
We wanted to inform you of some changes to our software editions in hopes you might update your post.
Our Express edition for B2B marketers is now $350/month. Here’s a list of what’s included:
– 10,000 pageviews per month
– Unlimited contacts
– 2,500 emails per month
– Lead nurturing, autoresponders, Smart Lists, email marketing all included
– SEO tools (50 keywords, 5 competitors)
– Social media integration including lead and visitor tracking across all social media networks
– Award-winning Optify Connect, which tracks all visitor history, including anonymous visitor history, and connects multi-device and multi-browser users
Also, you note that we don’t offer website hosting, and you’re correct. We do this for a few reasons. Mainly, we want to avoid the ‘lock-in’ strategy. Why would we want to force all our customers and partners out there who already support an open-source CMS (like WordPress or Drupal) to convert to something else? If your vendor is talking to you about their ‘built-in’ CMS – think about if you ever want to stop using their proprietary system. You really can’t without a complete migration off their platform. That’s a lock-in strategy to keep your content and you hostage! Not our strategy.
Our WordPress and Drupal plugins offer easy, one-click setup with our software, so you can get started right away without having to involve your IT department.
We also have a unique focus on digital marketing agencies to empower them to grow their business and client roster by using our software.
Thanks again for including us in your post! Hope my comment is helpful for marketers looking for the perfect digital marketing software.
Hi Viktor, found your post through google search and thought to make a comment.
I myself have built a simplified inbound marketing software as I wanted to scratch my own itch. Most of the products available in the market were having way too many features or were out of my financial reach so I thought why not build a simplified software for people like me, individuals and small businesses ? I am the only guy who do all the work, dev, design, sales, marketing and support so I understand the needs and can keep the software very reasonably priced.
The softwares which you have listed are all nice and the people behind them are amazing people but I am trying to give a different angle and want webmasters and small business (with 1-3 employees) to use inBoundio
Thanks for commenting Pushkar. Your app looks like a pretty good start, with some work it can be a very good competitor to many apps on this list. Good luck.
Thanks, I will keep you updated on it too, I am certainly making it more polished on daily basis
Tried the free trial, got instant support. Digging it! Thank you, will switch most probably.
Your landing page is giving a 404 error.
I know you will know this, but making sure the customer journey is complete is really important.
Other than that, Wordpress and lots of plugins FTW!
Thanks Jim. I’ve been having intermittent issue with 404 error, that’s hard to catch and troubleshoot.
Great list, we run our own platform for our clients which provides tracking of all seo/sem/social/email campaigns.
Michael Stelzner and his team at Social Media Examiner have released the 2013 Social Media Marketing Industry Report. But, the 60-Second Marketer gives a great overview in a graphical format here- http://bat.ly/mU6vX
It’s interesting that 87% of the marketing professionals surveyed still put email marketing at the top of their list.
At the end of the day, structuring a marketing strategy really is very dependent on your business and your goals.
Thanks for sharing that article. Understanding your target market is key to knowing how to reach it – email, social media, direct mail, ppc, etc. All can be effective.
Excellent blog. I actually always wondered how SMB’s afford $200-300/mo basic to spend on online marketing, especially with bulk of the work needing to be done by the business personnel. There was a SCRUM training I attended which said that 45% of the features in a product are never used, and about 80% of the features are used sparingly.
I’d imagine that well before inbound marketing became hip, many businesses had their own websites and marketing channels established. Why throw away all of that and move website to Hubspot or similar company when you are perfectly happy with the cheap shared hosting or cloud deal from the past?
I do have a question though. Of the following channels identified above, which one in your mind has the greatest impact in terms of attracting online customers today?
Blog/Content Management System
Landing Pages with Lead Capture Forms
Email Marketing/Email Blasts
Social Media Updates/Monitoring
SEO Tools and Optimization
For example. we do events marketing and find that direct email and social media are most important in attracting buyers, especially since events are “short-lived” products and would not depend on SEO or blog content so much (no one is reading those to access events).
I’m using Hubspot from 2011, it’s really good and Their support always outstanding! But Their charges really high than others.
Thanks for your comment Sharanyan. Since you began using Hubspot in 2011, are you able to generate leads and sales that pay for Hubspot? (make Hubspot pay for itself).
This is a great article. I have been struggling to find a WordPress plugin that would do the following:
-Capture a lead through a contact form.
-Supply the lead with a PDF (white paper, report, etc).
I know that Hubspot provides this service, but I wanted to see if there are any WordPress plugins that enable this capability. Please let me know if you are aware of a solution.
Thanks for your comment Chas. Check out Contact Form 7 plugin if you’re looking for a free plugin, it offers 2 instant emails that can be sent out once someone submits the forms. I use one to receive lead information and second to send a download link to the lead. You can also setup confirmation page with a download link, when someone submits the form. Let me know if that’s what you wanted. Thanks.
Thanks Viktor! Sometimes you get so wrapped up in the thought of the way a process should work that you lose sight of the purpose. We have been using Contact Form 7 so this was an easy transition. It has been tested and ready to go live. Thanks again for all of your help!
You can set that up with any email provider too (like Mailchimp or Aweber). Mailchimp is free for the first 500 leads too.
Just put one of their (many, many) forms on your site (or a combination of them, so you could have sidebar form, a shortcode form, a contact form, a popup etc – anything you want) and then as part of the welcome email Mailchimp sends out, you can send them the link to the PDF.
There are dozens of free ways to achieve what you’re looking for.
Thanks Chris for your comment, you’re right email marketing platforms can also be another way to do it. I’m using Mailchimp integrated with Contact Form 7 plugin, so I have more control over how I can embed the forms. Works great.
Also, Mailchimp increased their free plan to 2,000 contacts and 12,000 emails/mo – but, they removed autoresponders from their free plan.
I would like to invite you to compare Punto for retail on http://www.ayna.com. Our company provides marketing automation tools on top of managed service focused on small to medium businesses.
We focus on an integrated service (presence, social media marketing and automation, SMS, email and merchandising)
We do offer a free consultation to see what aspects are of most value to business and how we can help.
In response to your post, it will be very helpful and perhaps game changing to know that MakesBridge offers complete Marketing Automation for $150/month.
MakesBridge is fully integrated with Salesforce, has a 4.9 star rating. We even offer Immediate Marketing Routines to jump-start your Marketing Automation.
What makes it unique is you don’t need to do any time consuming administrative tasks in order to setup marketing automation because everything is done for you including email templates with landing pages, forms, conversion tracking, lead scoring, custom charts and more…
One final unique bit is MakeBridge is the only platform to support blended automation – direct mail, email, sms, social media even telesales.
Thank you soooooooooooo much. As a start up we did not where to start at marketing. I suppose I still dont but I will be making contact. Thanks again
Please add Spokal (http://www.getspokal.com) to that list too! We’re Wordpress based, designed specifically for small business (less than 5 employees), and start at $39/month.
14 day free trial if you want to check it out.
Hi Chris, Can this be whitelabels for clients or it a per site thing?
It’s a per site thing. We do offer an affiliate commission for our agency partners, and we’re considering white labelling, as we have had a number of requests. With regards to your other post (country-specific rankings) – we’re implementing that into Spokal as we speak, it will be available by mid July. We’re also implementing keyword research in multiple languages if you have clients on the continent.
Sounds good.. please inform me when you are rolling that out!
An update: Multi language keyword research and rank tracking across multiple countries now rolled into Spokal. Also, we now work with any and all WordPress websites!
Regarding training: The thousands is not really worth it except for the fact that once you spend that money you feel obligated to get you rmoney back out and implement. Infusionsoft and marketo have some great free training and they basically give away there models for content marketing and automation. In addition to other free web resources I have found the following books helpful from amazon.com Epic Content Marketing, You should test that, Ultimate Guide to Facebook Advertising and Ultimate Guide to Google Adwords.
I currently am using a service called ChamberZoom.com which is almost free yet packs some incredible automation. It is a white label of another automation company that is very good called Green Rope.
Thanks Lydia for adding Venntive to the list.
Risking backlash for redundancy and/or self-promotion, I invite you to compare Venntive to any and all alternatives cited in this thread. We are competitive with Marketo, Pardot, and Eloqua, yet a fraction of the cost. That’s just the markting automation.
We include a great CMS in lieu of Hubspot as well as enterprise-level email marketing, mobile marketing, CRM, surveys, social media marketing, event marketing, project management, and on and on…without compromise. We believe in delivering an affordable, sophisticated platform that will grow with your business.
There are hidden, but real costs to compromising and using an entry-level app to “start out” and that you’ll outgrow. Seriously, why compromise when you don’t have to?
It’s free to set up a 30-day trial. Try us! You might very well find you’ll love us! (http://www.venntive.com)
I’m a small business owner and very new to web marketing. I love the all-in-one package that Hubspot offers but cannot afford it at this stage, especially given that the South African Rand is so weak against the Dollar.
Which of these solutions would you recommend for someone with no budget or digital know-how?
Which WP plug-ins would you recommend for turning my WP site into an integrated marketing platform? Are they free?
Yes, for small business owners it’s hard to be able to afford marketing automation platform – especially if they are located outside US. Not sure if you’ve seen my guide about using WordPress as a possible alternative to Hubspot, but if that’s something that you can’t do. You can try either LoopFuse free plan to get started, or you can try Leadsius.com (not on this list, something new I learned about recently) – they offer a free plan as well. Whatever you decide to use, do let me know.
Thanks for commenting.
Hi Victor, the main problem i see with platforms like Hubshout is that they dont offer local ranking results. Its all google.com or nothing which is useless for tracking local SEO campaigns. Please tell me your platform can specify which country to show the rankings for?
Thanks for your comment Greta. Looks like an interesting platform. I signed up to get invitation to test drive it and see how good it is for small businesses.
this is a great blog Viktor. As you say, there are now more alternatives but in my experience the main point is this: All of these products work pretty well. The question is: Will you use them sufficiently often and with sufficient strategic thinking to achieve your objectives? I have had several conversations with folk who have spent a great deal of time and energy considering their platform but have not reaped the enormous potential benefits of inbound Marketing because they don’t allocate the resources to make use of the tool that they have. You need a LOT of content. That either means taking people off their day job, employing an internal specialist or working with an external agency. Your 5-10 hours/week estimate is on the cautious side I’d say. By the time you add in the production of good quality original content it is going to be quite a lot more, even if you have pretty low expectations of immediate results. The real or opportunity cost will be a lot higher than the cost of the software but if you take it seriously, Inbound Marketing will increase your leads and reduce your marketing costs in the long run.
When you join a gym and pay for it, do you automatically lose weight and gain muscle or do you actually have to work out and invest time and energy to get the results? just wondering.
Hi Viktor – never encountered LoopFuse before. Will have to check it out. Very in-depth comparison; hope to see part two. Novel idea to use WordPress as CRM platform (I clicked over to your how-to). That’s a lot of steps and finaggling to get it to work like one would want. Interested to know if you have any feedback on whether people are taking you up on that?
Hi Vernessa, I have some great updated content in the works for sure but those leads that are interested in WordPress marketing automation keep me extremely busy 🙂 The key is the consultation I provide, most businesses like the idea of marketing automation but most don’t neeed (and can’t handle) entire suite of marketing automation tools. So I help them figure out what exactly they need right now to get leads, no leads no sales. Thanks for commenting.
Happy New Year 2013 and thank you for this – we are interested in your alternative to hubspot based on Wordpress – I still guess the current pricing of the SaaS marketing automation solutions is not flexible enough – as always the market finds a solution, like infrastructure as a service vs. SaaS or SMTP services vs. list management providers. Great to know you have an update as well – will check back in a few days, once the January blues goes away :-p
Thanks for the comment Victor. Yes, I’m working on more things to help make WordPress a really good competitor to most, if not all, marketing automation platforms. January is a busy month, thats for sure.
In my opinion ONLY Optify, Spectate, Marketo, and Eloqua can hold a candle next to HubSpot. When, price is considered, OPTIFY is the only alternative.
In my opinion, Hubspot offers no unique services. Everything Hubspot offers is readily available in many other platforms. The only differentiator I see is their user interface and how these services connect inside one platform. The only innovative tool Hubspot did create is marketing grader, available for free. There are many other platforms not on this list that offer great alternatives to Hubspot.
I agree. We paid for hubspot for a time and found that a combination of other platforms actually worked better. It’s hard to justify the cost of Hubspot now.
How was your switch from Hubspot to other platforms?
Great article, and it looks as though this space is hotting up!
For our part, we run Jumplead http://www.jumplead.com
We started life as a visitor identification tool, and progressed by adding in lead management, live chat, lead scoring, conversion forms, event triggers and email nurture campaigns.
Everything we needed to run inbound marketing for ourselves!
If you get a chance to take a look at what we’re doing i’d love to get your opinion. 🙂
Thanks again for the article, it’s a great resource.
Thanks for commenting Matt. Will make sure to include you in my next post. Since this post, I’ve learned about more alternatives, enough for another post. Thanks again!
Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I wanted to keep the list short, so I focused on companies that I was able to quickly find or already knew about. There are couple new ones, including Spectate, that I’ve learned about since I wrote this post (thanks to this post). So I do plan on having another post with more marketing automation platforms. Once I find some free time between the projects 🙂
Always so nice to come across these good, candid posts on the various options in the Inbound Marketing Software space (Thanks Viktor!), and it becomes so sad to discover we have not been included! 🙁
I work with Spectate, an inbound solution that compares with all these guys on price ($250/mo), features (site and visitor tracking/analytics, content creation tools, SEO & keyword analysis, social media tracking, forms, landing pages and more!) and usability, but without a lot of the caps on numbers that seem to penalize you when you are doing well. We really like that part.
Next time you decide to update your post, Viktor, give us a look! We’d be happy to show you (or anyone!) a look around and/or a demo!
Thanks for stopping by my blog. Glad you were able to find it at 3AM. That’s usually when I get creative and able to write.
Yes, if you want to use WordPress to manage your contacts there are several good plugins. For example, one that comes to mind is WP-CRM. It offers contact management as well as forms to capture data.
Feel free to reach out to me with any questions. I’m always here to help.
Viktor, I’m so glad I woke up in the middle of the night upset because I realize I can’t afford infusionsoft and Hubspot… nor can I afford to run my financial design business by cold calling when my competition are cleaning my clock through inbound marketing!
Your blog touches on it but one of my biggest dilemmas is continuing to provide high quality service and cross selling to existing customers, while prospecting and nurturing leads. I discovered Wordpress/apache already utilize SQL databases and my contact information is already in my blog. It’s just a matter of using the information intelligently.
From what I’ve read since I discovered you at 3 this morning, you’re doing that and more and I’m looking forward to working with/speaking with you.
I’ve been working on HubSpot recently and really like it, but realize that it may not be affordable for all companies. Thanks for the list so I can recommend some of these solutions for our clients. Marketing analysis, content marketing and inbound lead generation is where companies have to be focusing efforts these days.
Thanks for commenting John. Glad you found something you can use to recommend different options to your clients. If you have any questions about Hubspot, feel free to drop me a note. Will be more than happy to help.
Great article. I appreciate your unvarnished, no frills evaluations of these various applications. We are in the process of doing a comprehensive comparison spreadsheet of Venntive versus our closest competitors.
I invite you and anyone else who’s interested to set up a 30-day trial of Venntive. It includes email marketing, marketing automation, CRM, SMS marketing, surveys, event management, CMS, brand monitor, social deck, etc. We think we kick the asses of all those other guys! In features and price!
I’d love to learn what you think! I’d love to have a conversation! Just include a note in the “How can we help you?” text box.
Really good post and comments are useful.
Glad you found this post useful Bhavesh.
Thanks for your comment Atri, I appreciate additional information and reading the post.
Victor, thanks for the mention on your blog and we appreciate the constructive criticism of the website.
Act-On Software provides marketing automation to the Fortune 5 million. Our goal is to enable small marketing teams whether they be a group in a large company or an SMB whose entire marketing team is small and therefore does not have dedicated specialists focused only on marketing automation. We’ve grown rapidly in the last two years and have over 800 customers today. In fact we were identified by David Raab, as the fastest growing vendor in this space. See his blog post on the subject.
There are two important things to know about Act-On’s pricing:
1) Pricing tiers are based on the number of active contacts you are marketing to, NOT the number of contacts in your database. For example, you can have a database of 100K contacts but are only interacting with 10K active contacts in a given month. And marketing activities to those 10K contacts through the Act-On system is unlimited. The systems meters your active contacts in real time.
2) Act-on does not tie in customers to long-term contracts. It’s month-to-month. Unlike most other companies that lock people in through contract, we rather have people lock themselves in because they like our system.
For those interested here are videos of Act-On in action.