5 Free Marketing Automation Tools for Small Business

By Julie Knudson | Posted January 07, 2016
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    Free Marketing Automation Tools for Small Business

    Staying on top of your company's small business marketing can be challenging. Marketing automation platforms—sets of tools that help you manage and streamline tasks such as posting on social media, tracking leads, and identifying what customers want—are a life saver.

    Fortunately, you don’t have to spend much for online marketing; you can use free marketing automation tools for small business, which really come in handy when you're just starting out. But just because you're budget-minded doesn't mean you have to settle for bare-bones functionality.

    These five marketing automation tools for small business—designed to save you time and improve your results—offer free online marketing tools that let you jump into marketing without spending a fortune. As your marketing needs grow along with your business, each platform offers at least one paid plan with additional marketing features and functions.

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    Free Marketing Automation Tools: Hootsuite

    Hootsuite gives small businesses a way to manage and schedule posts for a range of social media channels. This free marketing automation tool supports up to three social profiles and two RSS feeds. Security—in the form of SSL—also comes standard with Hootsuite Free.

    If you need to monitor a larger number of online channels, or if you want to schedule more posts at a time, you may want to check out Hootsuite Pro. Pricing for a Pro account starts at $9.99 per month), and Pro lets you manage up to 50 social profiles and add another team member to the account.

    You can also schedule up to 350 posts ahead of time, and take advantage of Pro's enhanced analytics. You can purchase a handful of additional options, such as custom URLs and even more social channels, for a higher monthly price.

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    Free Marketing Automation Tools: MailChimp

    MailChimp is an email marketing platform extraordinaire, but don't worry; the powerful marketing automation tool is still easy to use and navigate.

    Small businesses can take advantage of the free marketing automation option, which lets you have up to 2,000 subscribers and send up to 12,000 emails per month. The baseline service also includes professional email templates and built-in sign-up forms.

    If and when your business needs to increase its subscriber base, you can move up to a paid monthly plan (starting at $20 per month with multiple tiers based on the number of subscribers). These higher-level plans include unlimited emails, and they offer host of other options, such as delivery by time zone and automation that features email customization by customer interests, website activity, previous purchases, and more.

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    Free Marketing Automation Tools: Survey Monkey

    When you're researching different types of marketing automation for small business, don’t forget about the power of a good survey. From better understanding your target demographic to finding out what your customers think of your brand, Survey Monkey offers small business owners a way to dive into data collection and analysis without a lot of in-house expertise.

    This automated marketing platform includes templates for nearly every kind of survey, and the site offers a simple tutorial along with tips to make each survey as effective as possible. The Basic (free) plan supports 10 questions, 100 responses, and standard email support.

    Moving up to either the Select plan ($26 per month; billed monthly) or to the Gold plan ($25 per month; billed annually) lets you add custom logos, export survey data, leverage skip logic and more.

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    Free Marketing Automation Tools: IntellaSphere

    Billed as an all-in-one marketing automation platform, IntellaSphere gives small business owners a way to connect with prospects and customers, and to build their companies' reputations while selling across their marketing channels.

    You can publish on social media and blogs, track online interactions with prospects, and understand which content performs the best. IntellaSphere even helps you understand what customers and prospects say about your business.

    Small businesses can get started with IntellaSphere's free marketing automation tool, which includes one user, three social profiles, and up to 50 brand mentions tracked each month.

    If you want to increase users, social media connections, and reporting functionality—or add marketing guidance and other features—you can move up to one of IntellaSphere's higher-tiered plans with pricing that starts at $29 per month.

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    Free Marketing Automation Tools: SalesIQ by Zoho

    Analyzing the traffic that comes through your small businesses website can help you engage potential customers more effectively and give them an experience that keeps them coming back for more.

    SalesIQ lets you know where Web visitors go on your site, how much time they spend there, which pages they select, and whether they're new or returning visitors. The free marketing automation tool also features live chat where visitors can ask questions in real time.

    The free plan includes two users, it tracks up to 5,000 visitors each month on one website, and it stores activity for 30 days. Moving up to a paid plan—which starts at $19 per month—provides unlimited storage and lets you add users, websites, and visitor tracking capabilities.

    Julie Knudson is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in technology magazines including BizTech, Processor, and For The Record. She has covered technology issues for publications in other industries, from foodservice to insurance, and she also writes a recurring column in Integrated Systems Contractor magazine.

    Do you have a comment or question about this article or other small business topics in general? Speak out in the SmallBusinessComputing.com Forums. Join the discussion today!

Looking for free marketing automation tools? These automated marketing platforms offer freemium plans to help you jumpstart your small business marketing mojo.

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