With so many free marketing tools and paid automation software available, simply providing a list of options you could find on Google is not enough. TrustRadius will help you make the best choice for your business. We will help you evaluate your marketing automation tool needs, based on your potential use-case, size, and tech skills.
How to Determine the Right Software for you?
First, it is important to know if you need a full suite of automated marketing software, such as creation tools, landing pages, analytics, and social media marketing support. A bulk of marketing automation software falls into the category of email automation, and the tools surrounding that. This simpler set of capabilities may be enough for many users in many industries. As well as what you need, you’ll need an idea of how much use you will get out of each feature and where you’ll run into limitations.
As a guide, here is a quick cheat sheet on what the most commonly sought-after features in free marketing software are. We’ll focus on email marketing and other features offered to distinguish products that go beyond that medium.
- Contact Number: The number of individuals you can store on the software. For many users, this will be the number of customers they are reaching using the service.
- Emails per Month: Pretty straightforward, the limit to the number of automated emails you may send per day using the software in question.
- Email Features: A quick overview of the most useful features in automated email creation.
- Training Resources: A big one, what resources are available to help you learn to make the most out of the software you are using.
- Analytics: Will you receive data on the success and failures of your email campaigns? Standard analytics include simple marketing data, and more advanced allowing for comparative charts overtime, visual tools, and more.
- Audience Segmentation: How detailed can a user get in breaking up target groups?
- A/B Testing: A form of comparative marketing testing, pitting one type of material against another to examine differences in results.
- Integrations: How many other software does this cooperate and interface well with? Salesforce is especially highlighted because of its extremely common use as a CRM system, a standard marketing automation integration.
- Creative tools: What content creation options does this software include?
- Landing Pages: Does the service offer a clickable link to emails for customers to come back to
- Other Mediums: Beyond email, what other channels of marketing automation does this free option include?
- Award-Winning: Does it have special TrustRadius Recognition as a top product?
- Open-Source: Is the programming community-based and available for anyone to use or modify?
- Paid Version: Is there a version of this software you can upgrade to for a cost?
- Lead Generation and Management: What is available to help generate potential sales leads and organize them, ultimately with the goal of driving more activity and purchases from these prospects?
Here is a direct comparison of each of the free featured options, in these key areas. Below is a detailed breakdown of each of the software, and some of their use cases.
Free Marketing Automation Comparison
|Number of Contacts
|Emails Per Month
|500 Per Day
|Templates, Drag and Drop, Real-Time Analytics,
Content Studio, Attachments <100MB
|Templates, Drag and Drop
No Attachments, Scheduling
|Very Limited Templates, Drag and Drop, Scheduling
|Drag and Drop Built-In Photo Editing
|Templates, Segmentation, Scheduling,
|Full Guides and Tutorials
|Loads of Free Education, Certification, Best Practices
|Knowledge Base and Video Tutorial
|Standard, other Zoho offers more
|Standard with Visualization tools
|Limited, but with dozens of integrations
|Limited, No Bulk Segmentation
|Standard with Integrations
|Salesforce, 200+ Others
|All Zoho, Salesforce, 500+ others
|Hubspot CRM, Salesforce, and 500+ Others
|Salesforce, 100+ Others
|AI Creative Assistant, Content Studio
|None Beyond Edit Templates
|Template and Theme Creation
|Full Website Creation, Site Analytics
|No, In Other Zoho Products
|Yes, Up To 5, Free Website
|Facebook, Insta, Postcards, Pop-Up Forms
|1 Social Media Account, No Facebook Marketing Support
|Paid Version Available
|Lead Generation and Management
|Surveys and Forms, Pop-up, Audience Dash
|Surveys and Forms
|Live Chat, Pop-up, Surveys and Forms
|Surveys and Forms, Campaign reports,
|Can integrate other tools for lead management
So, Which is the best free Marketing Automation Software for you?
Depending on what you plan to use the service for, and what your user’s tech skill level is, that will determine which free product is the right choice for you.
The best headline to describe you is…
I Want To Use Newsletters And Similar, With A Small-to-Medium Audience
Mailerlite: This software is, strictly speaking, an email automation software. If you have a small-to-mid-sized business with a need for sending out regular newsletters, informational columns, member updates or, sales-alerts, this is a good start. Basically, if you have regular material to send to subscribers, Mailerlite is perfect for you.
Mailerlite is especially good if the people who will be using the software have less technology experience or skills. Mailerlite is praised for its intuitive nature, ease of use, and friendly user interface. It features a built-in simple photo editing and drag-n-drop capability, as well as a specialized newsletter tool. This is a great option for you to get the most out of a simple tool, and produce a great series of email marketing campaigns. While reviewers like its simplicity, Mailerlite still has a range of helpful features for managers or project-leaders, with the service including strong analytics and integrations.
I’m Part Of A Fast-Growing Company With Changing Needs And Many Contacts
HubSpot: A TrustRadius Top Rated award winner for marketing automation, HubSpot Marketing Hub offers a full suite of email marketing, service, sales, and customer relationship management (CRM) services, neatly divided into 4 categories. Anyone with dedicated sales teams, marketing teams, and other such structuring will appreciate the integration here.
This means you can have landing pages with live chat, powered by AI, as well as other great functions. Despite HubSpot’s range, users do not have to worry about being overwhelmed, with an easy-to-use build and a huge array of educational tools. HubSpot offers videos, articles, and free certification programs in its software and marketing best practices in general. It also offers a whopping 1,000,000 contacts, blowing most others out of the water in this regard. If you have a large and/or fast-growing contact base, this is likely the option for you.
This may not be for you if you want a lot of template choices, as there are not many to choose from. The free version offers no support for mediums beyond email, and the lack of A/B testing may be frustrating to some. Still, the suite of sales, CRM, and service options available for free makes HubSpot a strong choice if you are fluid in your needs, and looking for other software solutions beyond just marketing automation. With these conveniences in mind, and the, again 1,000,000 (!!!) contacts and 500 emails per day, it’s clear why HubSpot is such a strong contender.
I Want Easy To Use Social Media Marketing And Creative Tools For My Small-to-Mid Sized Business
Mailchimp: A popular choice for a reason, Mailchimp is a TrustRadius Top Rated winner with special distinction for Best Usability among all-in-one marketing tools. This software features a one-of-a-kind, AI-powered creative assistant that learns and automatically resizes and formats your company materials to drive customer engagement with other mediums. In simple terms, Mailchimp can take a marketing piece from email, and convert it, with your logos, for use on social media like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Add to this their content studio, full website support, and template creation, and it is easy to see why they are a leader for those who need content-creation across channels.
The Mailchimp website feature includes options like letting landing page visitors add items to carts and other sales elements. In the email category, they offer the ability to host and include attachments up to 100 MB, a rarity. There are some limitations, as Mailchimp does not have the email use capacity of some of its competitors. The lack of A/B testing, somewhat basic audience segmentation and analytics, and fewer integrations are other aspects to consider. Depending on your use case, this may or may not be an issue. But for an unmatched creative side, while maintaining great ease of use for the wealth of features offered, Mailchimp is a great choice.
I Want To Take Advantage Of Zoho’s Integrations To Manage Functions Across My Business, And Want Strong Email Marketing And Analytics
Zoho Campaigns: If you already use Zoho software for CRM, Analytics, Invoicing, or other options, it is a good idea to consider Zoho for your marketing automation needs as well. Offering full integration with all Zoho software is a serious plus.
Zoho offers A/B testing support in the free version, something not very common, as well as strong data analytics and decent segmentation. If you are more interested in the data feedback and testing different email approaches, and do not need the creative tools of Mailchimp (or are using Zoho tools for this), then this will be a good choice for you.
I Value Open-Sourced Software, Integrations, Have Tech Knowledge, And A Potentially Large Contact Base
Mautic: If you want the sheer volume of both contact numbers, email capacity, and integration potential, then this is the option for you. As open-source software, Mautic does not have some of the polish of other options on this list, and some users report that the vast array of integrations takes some tech skill to make work perfectly. If you have the knowledge base, though, the unlimited contacts and unlimited emails-per-month is unheard of in free software, even from a giant like HubSpot.
With A/B testing and strong, community-driven templates, Mautic is an email marketing tool for the large scale. The open-source nature means it will be constantly evolving, and the community has a great collection of educational resources available to help you through designing and using email automation workflows.
When a Free Plan is Not Enough
If you have explored the free option and find something lacking, there is still a wide array of options. One of the main reasons to consider upgrading is for more advanced lead generation and lead management, which can go far beyond what is in these free options. Consider browsing the TrustRadius Marketing Automation Category, including our award winners, for some of the best options.
Keep in mind, products vary in pricing by substantial figures Pricing can range from Hubspot, which allows you to pick categories of Marketing and sales tools for 50/mo per category, to Sharpspring, which has a monthly fee of at least $550, with an onboarding fee of $2,399. Remember to keep in mind what you will use it for. If you are looking for more CRM tools, then Hubspot paid is a wonderful option. For more analytics, consider integrating software like Salesforce. As a general guide, if you are still looking for increased sales online, more complicated analytics tools and customer relations, or significant lead generation options, then a paid version might be a good choice. Some good options for more advanced marketing automation platforms include Adobe Campaigns, Sharpspring, Oracle, Marketo, Act-on, and the paid version of Hubspot.
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