The Best Marketing Automation Software Options for Small Businesses

Unlock newfound capabilities and boost your growth with a marketing automation platform. You have tons of options to choose from, and they’re constantly evolving. It’s critical you analyze multiple systems to find what’s best for you now and in the future.

Top Rated


Freshmarketer empowers you to automate email marketing, customize highly personalized journeys, optimize your conversion process, and unlock key analysis to boost the ROI on your marketing spend.

Easiest to Use


SharpSpring empowers users to track leads and deliver personalized marketing campaigns from one seamless platform. It’s a powerful tool that provides marketers with all the capabilities.

Best Value

ActiveCampaign Marketing Automation

ActiveCampaign provides seamless sales and marketing functions at affordable price points. It’s designed to scale as you grow, making it a great fit for all business types.

Best Value


Klaviyo pulls valuable and actionable insights from customer data across your e-commerce platform to deliver optimized experiences that generate sales.

Best for New Users


Hatchbuck offers a price-efficient option for adding or optimizing your sales and marketing automation capabilities.

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Marketing automation tools empower small business marketing teams to punch above their weight and large marketing teams to shoot for the moon.

These tools enable you to launch lasting sales and marketing processes, track performances, and optimize your website marketing over time. Do more with less by strategically automating outreach with triggered emails and behavior-based journey builders.

The marketing automation software space has lots of overlap. For example, some systems offer full customer relationship management (CRM) capabilities, and a couple provide a content management system (CMS) to centralize web page and blog creation with marketing automation. Here we'll dig deep into the nuances of the best SMB options to help you determine which marketing platform is best for your team.

Our top picks for the best Marketing Automation Software:

Top Rated

1. Freshmarketer


2. HubSpot Marketing Automation

Best Value

3. ActiveCampaign Marketing Automation


4. Keap Infusionsoft

Best for New Users

5. Hatchbuck

Best Value

6. Klaviyo

Easiest to Use

7. SharpSpring

Best for Enterprises

8. Pardot by Salesforce


What The Blueprint looks for in a great marketing automation solution

Marketing automation platforms are a natural evolution of CRM and channel marketing tools, matched with increased usability. They provide abundant tools that enable marketers to do more with less by automating personalized outreach.

We look for three critical features when examining marketing automation platforms. Here is a rundown of these three components.

Journey builders

Journey builders, experience builders, and workflows are the foundation of marketing automation tools. These features enable you to design outreach paths with email automations and other triggered communications.

These are essentially vast, well-programmed if/then-based journeys that respond to behaviors such as email opens, link clicks, offers, and other trackable engagements.

Journey builders let you set it and forget it, ensuring your leads are receiving persistent, optimized engagement at opportune times while you focus on other tasks at hand.


Attribution capabilities are table stakes for marketing teams of all shapes and sizes. Marketers scramble to accurately determine ROI, pinpoint successful campaigns and best practices, and showcase value.

Advances in analytics and tracking have enabled marketers to grab their fair share of value from the sales process, rather than having the salesperson who closes the sale get all the credit.

Marketing automation tools provide the capabilities, pre-built reports, and dashboards to easily monitor and pass performance up the ladder.

Predictive machine learning

Advances in machine learning are empowering marketers to take automations even further. Marketing automation platforms are beginning to introduce predictive machine learning tools that introduce valuable optimizations across your marketing team.

One optimization is real-time personalizations in content and design based on known information of an individual lead. Another is the ability to prioritize leads based on predictive scoring that provides the percentage chance that the lead will turn into a deal.

How your business can benefit from using marketing automation software

Marketing automation platforms offer features and benefits that are vast and highly impactful. Most of these tools offer integrations or on-board capabilities that bolster the relationship between sales and marketing teams.

And the increasing ease of use and varying price points have created a solution that fits nearly any business’ skill set and budget.

Optimizations across marketing efforts

One of marketing automation’s key benefits is the optimizations they provide. You can ensure your messaging is personalized and matched to the life cycle stage of the lead.

Other valuable marketing automation optimizations include behavior-based outreach, real-time response in the moments that matter, and more. These all work together to boost conversion rates and improve nurture tactics to turn more leads into sales.

Reporting and analytics

Reporting and analytics are critical for marketing tools. This is especially true with marketing automation tools given their vast nature and array of components.

Marketing automation reporting provides critical attribution capabilities so you can understand the performance and bottom-line impact of any campaign. This enables you to build best practices while identifying and investing in what works best.

Newfound efficiency

Marketing automation empowers marketing teams to do more with less, do it better than before, and prove the impact of their work. Automations can be built and tested then left to run as programmed, with only minimal monitoring.

This ensures your contacts and leads are getting the levels of engagement with the right content they need without you and your team conducting outreach to all contacts. Think of the side projects, stretch goals, and other objectives you can complete with more time on your hands.

Marketing Automation Software Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need any coding/programming experience to operate a marketing automation tool?

No, marketing automation tools make it easy to set up your own automations. Most platforms use a simple drag-and-drop tool for building workflows. The same goes for building content and emails.

Can I keep my existing CRM if I get a marketing automation tool?

Marketing automation tools are incredibly entwined with CRM tools. Whether you can keep using your existing system, or if you even need it, will depend on the CRM integrations and capabilities in the marketing automation platform.

Will a marketing automation platform replace my Wordpress or other CMS?

Some marketing automation tools provide full CMS capabilities so that you can centralize blog creation, publishing, and management from the same platform. Others integrate with WordPress while some just provide tracking codes to embed on your blog.