Marketing automation is not rocket science, but it is not third grade arithmetic either. Many businesses get sold on the idea of marketing automation, yet fail to either implement it or take full advantage of it.
When I was offering my free lead generation and marketing automation consultation to business owners as well as mid-level marketers that were shopping for a marketing automation platform I noticed they all had somewhat similar misconceptions about marketing automation. This is why many small businesses I worked with migrating them from HubSpot to WordPress were leaving HubSpot. Th expectations did not match the reality. That's why I wanted to get a few things straight to make sure you know what you're getting into.
Marketing Automation Is Not Marketing Autopilot
Marketing automation platforms like HubSpot do not get you leads. It is a tool that facilitates lead generation and nurturing, but you must do the work. It is really like a car: it will get you from point A to point B quicker than walking but you must drive it and you must put gas into it. It's a tool!
This means that yes, you do have to blog, create emails, create other content, talk to people in social media, and other marketing activities. There's a reason why 93% of companies using inbound marketing increased their lead generation (source). They did the work that's necessary!
If you were given HubSpot for free, without spending a minimum of 10 - 15 hours every week (or paying someone to do it for you) on producing content, promoting it, analyzing data, engaging in social media, and other marketing related activities - it will be a waste of money and you will not get leads!
This is true regardless if you're using marketing automation platform or not. You must do the hard, necessary work if you want leads.
Many of the clients that I switched from HubSpot to WordPress were primarily using HubSpot as a CMS to have a website. Some were lucky to create a few landing pages, and maybe (huge maybe!) they had a few lead nurturing emails setup. They did not blog, they did not engage in social media, they did not use data HubSpot collected to help generate more leads. It wasn't HubSpot's fault, it's a tool.
Don't think that going with a cheaper alternative like WordPress for marketing automation will solve your lead generation problems. You will get all necessary tools to generate more leads, but you have to do the work!
Marketing and Automation
Here's what I tell everyone I talk to about marketing automation:
Marketing automation does not improve quality of your marketing, it improves efficiency of your marketing.
The "automation" facilitates activities and processes that you should have in place.
For example, everyone struggles with lead nurturing emails because they don't know what emails to write or how to schedule them. They're lost. The reason is, you cannot automate nothing. And when you try to automate nothing, you wonder where's the ROI?
In this example, you need to have a sales process (or sales cycle) in place first. Lead nurturing is designed to warm up leads, to move them from one stage to another - closer to sale. If you don't know what you sales process is you won't know how to effective nurture your leads. Sending out time-based autoresponders is not lead nurturing. You need to understand where the lead is in your sales process, hence cater lead nurturing campaign to help move the lead to the next stage.
The point is this: you have nothing to automate.
Your lead generation problem is not automation, it's marketing. If you can't generate leads without marketing automation, you will not be able to generate leads with marketing automation.
Just because WordPress marketing automation is cheaper than HubSpot or other platforms, doesn't mean it will help you get leads. Elbow grease is not included.