While we all wish we have some Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants magic when it comes to B2B email marketing automation, it’s not one size fits all. With the surge of email marketing platforms popping up with more features and functionality than ever before, it’s all too easy to feel bogged down and confused by all the options. Or maybe you’re just in a glass case of emotion about it all…
Let’s get you out of the glass case and back into your natural state of powerful prowess! We’ve narrowed down the list of email automation platforms to the five best ones for B2B companies. Whether you're a solopreneur, a startup, or run billion dollar operation, we've got you covered.
What Functions and Features Are There To Consider With B2B Email Marketing Automation?
Email automation software should be user-friendly with an intuitive interface paired with a sophisticated analytics dashboard that helps you to easily see the results of specific email campaigns with graphs and tables. A powerful media library doesn’t hurt either. And drag-and-drop uploading is really, really nice. But we’re just skimming the surface here. Email automation functions and features get a whole lot more complicated, and a whole lot more amazing.
Automated email marketing software offers an impressive range of features and functions that include lead generation, lead nurturing, segmentation, personalizing, A/B testing, analytics and reporting, automated workflows, advanced automation, integrations, and compliance.
We are going to assume you’re a pro and on top of your game 100% of the time. In the chance, you want to forward this post along to someone who may not know these industry definitions, we’ll toss around a few definitions to keep our bases covered. Your bases are all covered. No one is questioning that.
Handy Definitions B2B Email Marketing Automation Functions
Lead generation: Capture lead information through forms and landing pages, and automatically add them to a contact database.
Lead nurturing: Automatically send targeted and personalized communications to leads based on their behavior and engagement helping to increase conversions and build relationships with potential customers.
Segmentation: Segment and group contacts based on criteria such as demographics, behavior, and engagement
Personalization: Personalize content using the recipient's information, such as when an email reads “Hello Susan,” instead of simply “Hello!”
A/B testing: Test variations of email content to determine which performs best to improve results
Analytics and reporting: Monitor, track, and measure the effectiveness of emails by analyzing metrics such as click-through rates, conversions, and open rates.
Automated workflows: Set up automated workflows that trigger specific actions based on a contact's behavior or engagement with your email campaigns.
Advanced Automation: Leverage Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning to automate and optimize campaigns, an example would be automated sending where AI can optimize the sending of emails based on certain factors
Integrations: Integrate with other platforms to share data and automate processes
Compliance: Meet compliance regulations like GDPR, Can-Spam, and CASL to help emails to actually make it to inboxes instead of being flagged as spam.
Which features are most important?
Whoa, whoa. Hold your horses. Which features are the most important? That’s a loaded question, cowboy.
The features that are most important are solely dependent on your business needs, and on how much time you and/or your staff want to dedicate to email marketing. You can have all the features in the world but if you don’t have the time to a) learn how to implement them and b) spend the time actually implementing then they won’t be of much use to you. It’s important to evaluate and prioritize which feature will have the most impact on your business.
Generally, segmentation, personalization and advanced analytics are of great value for B2B companies. Just like any business, you likely have a customer base with diverse needs and interests. Even if you’re a cinnamon roll shop, some customers might be more interested in discounts and some might want to know more about upcoming events at your shop. People are different. People are people! Advanced segmentation and personalization features allow you to create targeted campaigns that speak directly to specific segments of your audience. The result? Higher engagement and conversion rates. Boom!
In terms of analytics, this is a no-brainer. Making sure your email automation platform has some serious analytics and reporting capabilities is a must. We're talking the whole enchilada here, open rates, conversions, click-through rates, bounce rates, engagement levels, sharing rates, unsubscribe rates, etc. We did say the whole enchilada.
It’s vital that you know what's working and what's not, otherwise, you're just shooting in the dark. It’s with robust analytics that you can make data-driven decisions to optimize your campaigns, and boost your ROI.
Top 5 Email Automation Platforms or B2B Companies
Partod is a marketing cloud account engagement platform, now owned by Salesforce. It’s a powerful platform that integrates seamlessly with other marketing solutions via Salesforce itself. It’s always easier when software plays well together! In terms of email marketing automation, Pardo automates: website tracking, SEO, customer behavior, lead generation, social marketing, digital marketing campaigns, landing page marketing, and more! The list of Pardot’s features doesn’t stop there. Some of the most impressive functions include drip campaigns, complex personalization options, sophisticated automation triggering, automated responses and an advanced prospect nurturing system known as the Engagement Studio. Of course, there’s also A/B split testing, advanced analytics, and responsive templates. Being a part of the Salesforce ecosystem, Pardot is a powerful integration but it does come with a high price tag. This is one of the top platforms for large B2B companies.
HubSpot is a big player in the inbound marketing game. It also goes above and beyond email automation with a swath of other marketing, sales, and service tools. It’s popular among B2B companies of all shapes and sizes. The email marketing tool is called the HubSpot Marketing Hub and the tools include drip campaigns, advanced automation triggering, a visual editor to envision workflows and multi-stage campaign journeys, advanced segmentation logic, and more. For a little bit more about the magic of workflows, you can use workflows to utilize webhooks, scoring and lead rotation to manage leads more efficiently, and to notify your team about important actions taken by contacts. Given all the capabilities, HubSpot does fall more on the pricey side of things and is best-suited for medium to large B2B businesses.
ActiveCampaign focuses on small and medium-sized businesses. It’s not as robust as some of the other platforms on this list, but it stays focused on email marketing automation while still doubling as your sales CRM. With a more affordable price tag and plenty of incredibly intuitive features, ActiveCampaign holds up! You can expect to find features like: dynamic content, sales engagement automation, automated customer service, automation triggering, SMS marketing cadences, and audience segmentation. As of 2023, the most expensive option comes in at $149 per month, with the least expensive at a mere $9 per month. All the plans come with unlimited emails which means that scalability isn’t an issue whatsoever. Much more affordable than some of the other options! Perfect for solopreneurs or startups!
Another option for solopreneurs, startups and small businesses is GetReponse is utilized by big and small brands and has a lot of inbound marketing solutions. They offer email marketing, a website builder, live chats, webinars, conversion funnels, marketing automation, e-commerce marketing, and more. GetResponse has a user-friendly interface that is easy to navigate, even for those who are perhaps less familiar with technology. In terms of features and functions, you’ll get advanced analytics, e-commerce integration, AI email deliverability, and automation workflow. And the drag-and-drop email builder is a beauty! The price tag won’t break any budgets with the basic email plan starting at $15 per month and the “Pro” plan clocking in at $49 per month.
Marketo is more than just an email automation platform, it’s a marketing automation and lead management platform that is owned by Adobe. It can be purchased by itself or used as part of the Adobe Experience Cloud. Email automation is just one of the many features of Marketo, others include mobile, social, digital ads, web, marketing automation, and account insights and profiling. In terms of email automation, Marketo does have gorgeous email templates, list segmentation, A/B testing, segmentation and conditional content however it is missing out on a few key features. Currently, Marketo isn’t offering SMS automation, predictive content and sending, and is lacking integrations with popular tools.
Once you figure out which automated email marketing platform you’re going to go with, you can check that bad boy off of your list!
After your checklist has officially been attended to, it’s time to focus on putting quality content out on the email automation itself. *SIGH* We know, we know. Your tech stack is important, but what matters, even more, is putting amazing content out there to nurture and convert leads, and actually serve your customers. No one likes a boring email.
If you are still feeling the big *SIGH* vibes, or feeling uncertain, frustrated or overwhelmed — then it’s time to SOAR.
The SOAR™ System is the ultimate solution for leaders looking for a sustainable and effective lead generation system. The SOAR™ System has three unique stages: Understand, Unlock, and Unleash. In the “Understand” phase, we’ll outline your specific target audience and the desired outcomes, all while making sure to utilize your current resources to drive success. In the “Unlock” phase, we’ll create your unique flight plan and map out a strategy of the marketing action plan that will be needed to execute the strategy. In the “Unleash” phase, which can occur with either your team or with ours, it’s time to shift the focus to execution and integration.
What is the SOAR™? It’s a Strategic, Organized, Accountable, and Repeatable content marketing plan. You can hire us to do it for you or you can crib the knowledge and DIY the steps!
No fluff — just straight-up results.
So how is your marketing strategy looking these days? Whether you are ready to fist-pump and high-five about it, or dig a hole in the sand to stick your head in, we’re here to help. 5-7 minutes is all you need. Take the Marketing Assessment Quiz to get the pulse on your marketing strategy STAT.
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