It’s hard to imagine a digital business in 2023 that doesn’t use SaaS. Even if you’re running a traditional brick-and-mortar store that doesn’t rely on online sales, you’re probably using some software to simplify your processes.
Whether you like it or not, SaaS marketing automation is the only way to stay ahead of the pack. It’s the best method for gaining a competitive advantage over late adopters but also eliminating flaws in marketing strategies. While some of these tools might seem expensive to a fledgling company, they make tenfold returns.
In this article, we’ll talk about SaaS marketing automation and why it’s so important for your growth marketing. After that, we’ll analyze different product groups that every modern brand should use.
What Is SaaS Product Marketing Automation?
SaaS marketing automation helps you simplify and improve your marketing activities with the use of Software as a Service product.
These tools focus on various marketing processes. In other words, you probably won’t use them to create a traditional marketing strategy. They’re meant to help you with things such as SEO, PPC, SMM, email outreach, team communication, task delegation, and many other things.
These platforms shine for international brands and companies that rely on outsourcing. Given that your employees can’t be physically present in the same office, SaaS allows you to streamline your processes through the internet. Everyone’s looking at the same screen and making decisions/modifications in real time.
5 Main Benefits of SaaS Marketing Automation Tools
Later on, we’ll share a list of the best SaaS for particular processes. But for now, let’s review the main benefits of these tools:
1. Simplified Processes
Just imagine how much time it would need to send hundreds of emails to potential business partners. But let’s go a bit further into the past. Imagine if you were to write all this mail by hand.
SaaS makes everything easier. As the title implies, it allows you to automate your marketing and sales. Depending on the tool you’re using, it can make a specific process ten or a hundred times faster. We’re not even exaggerating!
2. Easily Accessible Data
Old mom-and-pop stores had to go through tons of paper registers to find specific invoices. If you wanted to contact a partner, you had to find their business card that was lying somewhere on your desk.
The development of computers and the internet simplified things a bit. Now, you can store data in files and folders, so they’re accessible from one access point. However, the real revolution came with SaaS.
These tools allow you to perform various actions with a click of a mouse. All data is stored within various digital dashboards. So, as long as you have access to the internet (which we have all the time), you can check how your business is doing.
3. Competitive Advantage
Many SaaS companies advertise their platforms by saying that these tools will provide a competitive advantage. However, this isn’t entirely true. At least, it’s not true anymore.
The main issue is that every healthy brand uses several SaaS on a daily basis. You simply cannot survive on the internet without some of these platforms. They don’t necessarily help you run faster; they just help you stay in the race.
Of course, you might gain an advantage by using a different, better SaaS than your competition. However, these benefits are usually incremental.
4. Improved Cost-Efficiency
Marketing and sales aren’t an exact science. You try lots of different stuff and see what works. This is why the concept of A/B testing is so important for business planning.
SaaS products eliminate most of your doubts. When a person lands on your website, you can track their behavior during the entire visit. The software shows you where they clicked and how long they stayed on a page.
By using this data, you can increase website traffic and conversion rates. They reduce the overall customer acquisition costs while making it easier to upsell. Most importantly, they make lives easier for your marketing and sales team.
5. Easily Quantifiable
If you think about it, the traditional business has always hinged on numbers and projection. When presenting results to stakeholders, you need to present data in a quantifiable way, so they can understand the dollar value.
This is where SaaS tools shine. Everything you do within their dashboards is shown in numbers making it easier to track historical data. Furthermore, this makes competitive analysis a breeze. You can quickly determine how you stack against other brands and how efficient your processes are.
Furthermore, by relying on software, you can easily eliminate human error. You never have to think twice whether this information is correct. All insights are trustworthy and applicable.
7 SaaS Marketing Automation Product Categories
Online tools are constantly evolving, helping us tackle different aspects of digital marketing. In fact, they’ve become so prevalent that companies often create a comprehensive SaaS marketing strategy to help them with daily operations.
When looking for a specific solution, there are usually several different options at your disposal. In most cases, your choice of platform will come down to pricing or specific feature that you need. However, there is basically an industry leader (i.e., optimal choice) in each one of these categories.
So, if you’re looking for the best SEO or SMM tool, make sure to read this chapter!
1. All-in-One Platforms
If you’re a medium-sized business owner, you should definitely consider using an all-in-one platform. Although these marketing tools might not provide optimal results for certain marketing processes, they give you a little bit of everything. Most importantly, they allow you to access all data from a single hub.
Unfortunately, these tools can be somewhat overwhelming for digital marketing beginners. If you never saw the inside of a Google Search Console, we suggest that you start with something simpler.
When we argue about the best marketing automation platform, most marketers think of HubSpot.
The company was always known for some of the best saas marketing campaigns. In fact, they’re among the top names in global marketing. You can use it for sales, content, services, and day-to-day marketing operations.
- The most comprehensive marketing platform with a wide range of options
- You can integrate it with various tools to get more and better insights.
- Beginner-friendly with a well-designed dashboard.
- The sheer amount of data can make it overwhelming at times.
- Too expensive for small business owners.
- You need to pay for the whole year in advance.
Marketo is similar to HubSpot in the amount of data it provides. It helps marketers segregate between different channels, which is fantastic if you wish to focus on mobile traffic, for example.
Most importantly, you can use this marketing automation tool to analyze customer behavior and drive them down the sales funnel. Marketo Engage is a real difference maker if you wish to close a potential customer.
- Extremely comprehensive and excellent solution for different marketing channels.
- Allows more than 550 integrations.
- Utilizes AI to provide suggestions and increase engagement.
- Subpar form and landing page builders.
- Doesn’t provide as much data as some other tools.
- Advanced plans are too expensive and don’t provide much more compared to the basic ones.
HighLevel is a SaaS company that excels at lead generation and lead conversion. Although it provides similar insights as HubSpot and Marketo, it’s much better for getting in touch with a potential client. This makes it especially great for CRO companies that are looking to improve their results.
- Probably the best all-in-one SaaS tool for conversion.
- An enormous number of integrations, making it a true all-in-one marketing automation tool.
- Significantly cheaper than some other alternatives on the list.
- Due to a plethora of options, HighLevel has a steep learning curve.
- UI is a mixed bag, where some users love the platform while others criticize its layout.
- You have to shell out extra money for priority support.
2. Search Engine Optimization and Pay-Per-Click
Almost every digital marketing process starts with search engine optimization. In the end, you won’t convert many website visitors if you’re suffering from debilitating technical errors.
The difference between these tools and the previously mentioned platforms is that these ones are much more focused on SEO. They’re especially great for tackling technical issues. They can also help you plan PPC campaigns (Pay-Per-Click), as they showcase the bidding price for each keyword.
When we talk about SEO tools, most people think of AhRefs. This is almost unanimously the best platform of its kind on the market. Aside from the fact you can use it to track traffic fluctuations, it’s also fantastic for keyword research. We also have to mention how much it helps during link-building.
- Best SEO tool on the market for performance marketing
- Best platform for checking backlinks.
- Does an excellent job of competitive analysis.
- Well-put interface.
- Users don’t get phone support.
- It’s really expensive and has confusing pricing plans.
- No mobile app.
SEMRush is the second-most-powerful SaaS for inbound marketing. You can use it to analyze traffic, check links, perform a site-wide audit, and plan your keywords. It excels for digital marketing companies and SEO experts, as it allows you to track from 5 to 40 sites simultaneously.
- The marketing automation software has an enormous keyword database.
- Great for link-building and outreach.
- Much better in terms of pricing than AhRefs.
- The traffic data isn’t as accurate as that of AhRefs marketing tool
- Furthermore, there is no customer data for other search engines.
- The dashboard layout doesn’t look good.
Moz is often considered the third child. It doesn’t perform as well as SEMRush and AhRefs, but it’s still worth a mention. It’s especially good for certain aspects of website audit and tackling crawling issues. Unfortunately, it can be rather clunky when it comes to navigation and using certain features.
- Very nice user interface.
- Excels at detecting crawling issues.
- You get access to a few free tools.
- You have to wait for more than a week to access some reports.
- The data isn’t always accurate (especially pertaining to traffic).
- Geared toward the US market.
- It Can get expensive the more you work with it.
3. Social Media Marketing
Nowadays, brands are trying to be more active on social media to create a bridge of trust with younger generations. Even if you’re focused on SEO or PPC, you’ll probably try to convert these users into paying customers. This is where SMM SaaS products come into play.
This software is fantastic for measuring traffic on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other platforms. You can use them to measure engagement but also analyze trends. Given how excruciating it is to post on several platforms simultaneously and to track engagement afterward, these tools can be fantastic time savers.
One of the longest-standing brands within the niche, Hootsuite is fantastic for improving your results on social media. All data is in real time, which is especially fantastic for tracking responses after posting a controversial tweet. Aside from organic social media traffic, you can also use it to run paid ads.
- Low starting price makes it ideal for small companies and influencers-wannabes.
- You can use Hootsuite to track data on 20 different platforms.
- Lots of different integrations increase the tool’s usefulness.
- If you want to get the most out of the platform, you’ll have to pay for expensive plans.
- The price can quickly go up depending on how you’re using the software.
- Free plan is just for shows.
If you’re looking for something a bit more user-friendly, we suggest that you go with Sprout Social. This incredible multiplatform tool allows you to analyze traffic across the board from a single dashboard. It’s especially fantastic for people who run ads on social media.
- Has a plethora of features that help you optimize social profiles.
- Analytic reports allow you to analyze sale performance and target audience.
- Software has post scheduling feature.
- You can use it for a limited number of social profiles.
- Constantly forces you to update plugins.
- One of the more expensive tools on the list.
Like other tools on the list, Zoho allows you to schedule posts and check social media mentions. It’s especially great for crisis management and unpredictable situations. For example, it allows you to pause scheduled posting during nationwide emergencies. That way, you won’t say something you’ll regret later.
- Extremely cheap compared to what it provides.
- One of the better marketing automation tools to increase engagement and lead generation.
- Probably the best UI out of all social media SaaS on the list.
- Zoho’s massive flaw is that you can’t use it for Facebook and Instagram stories.
- Although cheap for individual users, the price quickly goes up for agencies.
- One of the more expensive tools on the list.
Buffer has one of the best free plans. With it, you get a link shortener, calendar, and hashtag suggestion tool. Even if you decide to purchase a plan, they’re pretty cheap, making Buffer ideal for small entrepreneurs. As you can presume, this comes with a price. The SaaS doesn’t have as many analytical features.
- Simple app that does the job for smaller companies
- One of the cheapest solutions on the market.
- Amazing free plan that introduces you to the basic features.
- Limited analytics and functionality.
- Allows a limited number of posts.
- Not the best solution if you’re looking for integration.
4. Team Communication
Technology opened so many opportunities for business development. Nowadays, a single person can run large global teams with minimal investment. All you need is reliable communication software, and you can easily coordinate marketing efforts from a single hub.
Although these platforms aren’t ideal for managing daily operations, you can still use them to exchange links and files (we’ll talk more about project management SaaS in a bit, so stick with us!). Most of them have a live chat feature, which is fantastic for conference calls.
One of the first questions we get after onboarding a new client is: “Do you have Slack?” This powerful tool has become synonymous with team communication. It can host people from all over the world, and you don’t even need to pay for it. Furthermore, it can also serve as a poor man’s project management tool, although we don’t recommend it for this purpose.
- Excellent user interface.
- You can easily find users and switch between channels.
- Allows you to transfer various files, links, screenshots, etc.
- Free plan works well enough for most users.
- It can sometimes be a bit slow.
- File storage is limited.
- It’s sometimes hard finding old conversations.
During the pandemic, Zoom experienced enormous growth. Suddenly, everyone was trying to get ahold of their friends and family via the platform’s conference call. This software allows you to quickly set up meetings and talk with up to 1,000 participants.
- The best tool on the market for large webinars and events.
- Easy to use and intuitive.
- Screen sharing and numerous other features.
- Free plan is good enough for most users.
- Potential problems with security breaches.
- Too many add-ons.
- Moderator can’t control the comment section.
Loom fills a specific niche in the market. It’s a video recording tool with superior performance. Nowadays, companies use it to share digital messages with other employees. It’s also a great method for creating instructional videos for other people, as Loom allows you to share your screen.
- Probably the best software for creating screen-shared videos.
- All data is saved on the cloud, and you can easily share it with others via a link.
- You can change the playback speed.
- Full-screen videos usually have awful quality.
- Free version limits you to a 5-minute recording.
5. Project Management
Project management software is fantastic for controlling deadliness and assigning tasks. These tools are usually simple and intuitive, so when a new member joins the marketing team (or any other team, in fact), they won’t need too much time getting accustomed.
Trello allows you to create cards for different actions. Once you’re finished with your work, you just copy-paste a file or a link to a card and push it down the line. You can also use it to delegate tasks to different team members. It’s the perfect software for projects that consist of numerous small steps.
Marketers especially love how it performs for content marketing and sales automation. You can also use it for multiple websites.
- Easy, fun, and intuitive.
- You can use Trello for several clients simultaneously.
- Managers can assign group and individual tasks.
- Notifications are sometimes confusing.
- As the team grows and the number of tasks increases, it gets harder to keep track of things.
Monday has lots of similarities to Trello, although it executes things a bit differently. It’s a platform that is better suited for a small number of large tasks. So, it’s not ideal for running multiplatform social media campaigns or content writing projects.
- Excellent interface.
- Shows different data for each project, including requester, assignee, status, and timeline.
- Great for tracking the availability of different team members.
- Its usefulness’ quickly falls off for larger projects.
- Often hard to track goals.
- Bad customer support.
Asana is one of the better project management tools in terms of integrations. You can combine it with more than 100 different tools, thus significantly increasing its usefulness. Although it doesn’t have the same funky UI as Monday, its dashboard still looks great.
- Optimal choice for companies looking for dynamic reporting.
- Lots of customization options.
- More than 100 integrations.
- Users praise the overall customer experience with this SaaS marketing automation tool.
- It takes time to get the hang of things.
- Potential assignment issues.
- It doesn’t track time, so you’ll need additional apps to access this feature.
6. Email Marketing
Some companies make lots of money just through email marketing. Truth be told, this outreach method allows you to connect with numerous entrepreneurs across the world with a simple click of a button.
Unfortunately, sending all these emails can be a Sisyphus job. This is why companies usually rely on email automation to help them out. Although some of these platforms do a lousy job impersonating human beings, they can still save you a lot of time.
If you’re a new company looking to save money on email campaigns, we suggest that you try Sender. Its analytic suite is among the best in the business, so even if you’re a complete newbie, you can easily analyze your performance.
- It’s fantastic for creating pop-ups and newsletters.
- Numerous customization options.
- Incredible analytics suite for an email marketing tool.
- Great value for a free tool.
- Major issues during integrations.
- The segmentation feature needs more work.
- Although you can use it for pop-ups, it doesn’t help with landing pages.
MailChimp is the most recognizable product within this market segment. People often use it for bulk marketing campaigns and other repetitive tasks. Among others, it shines during different parts of the customer journey. You can use the platform to store images and other files, which makes email creation faster.
- Excellent software for creating interactive emails.
- Helps increase conversion during different steps of the customer journey.
- Perhaps the most comprehensive software for email automation.
- Many people complain about the interface.
- There are no premade templates.
- MailChimp’s emails are often flagged, which is why they can easily end up in spam.
As the name implies, this platform can provide results for several different platforms. Except for emails, you can use the tool for Facebook Messenger and SMS. It’s one of the best email marketing automation tools for creating emails, pop-ups, forms, and various other formats.
- Free plan is great and allows you to send 500 messages each month.
- Efficient email automation tool for different channels.
- Omnisend can be used to create various types of messages.
- Doesn’t have as many design options as its competitors.
- You have to input data by hand each time you start a new campaign.
7. CMS and E-Commerce
The success of every digital marketing campaign hinges on your ability to create engaging content. Lousy, uninteresting emails, social media posts, and articles won’t drive traffic to your platforms. This is why it’s the management’s job to help out its writers.
One of the better ways to do so is by using intuitive CMS SaaS such as WordPress. This platform makes posting and editing a breeze, allowing content teams to save valuable time. By adding widgets, you can make sure that almost every blog post is on the spot.
The most popular platform in the world, WordPress is an ideal solution for any blog or commercial site. Even if you never used something similar, you should quickly get adjusted to this program. The software allows various integrations, so you have everything in one place.
- Fantastic UI.
- Lots of integrations.
- It’s open-source software.
- Fantastic for creating different types of websites.
- Constant updates can be a nuisance.
- Potential issues with site speed.
- Vulnerable to outside attacks.
If WordPress is the best solution for regular blogs, Shopify is the optimal choice for e-commerce. Most importantly, this platform is accessible in more than 100 countries, so you can even use it if you decide to live abroad.
- Various payment processing companies to choose from.
- Simple, intuitive interface makes it a fantastic choice for different types of customers.
- Numerous themes to choose from.
- Suitable for just about any online business.
- Shopify sometimes causes issues when posting.
- It’s very hard switching to another platform.
- More expensive than the competition.
Tips and Tricks for Implementing SaaS Marketing Automation
Based on everything said so far, it’s obvious that using marketing automation software is the way to go. However, finding the right combination of tools for a new business can be tricky. Here are a few suggestions if you want to get their feet wet:
- Don’t Go With the Most Expensive Tool
If you’re an enthusiastic young entrepreneur, it might seem wise to start strong and invest lots of money in SaaS marketing automation. Unfortunately, simply throwing money at the screen might not provide optimal results.
While expensive SaaS are expensive for a reason, that doesn’t mean they’re the right solution for your particular problem. This is especially true if you’re thinking of using a lofty agency platform. Instead, be patient and give yourself some time to test the options.
We also suggest that you take time to analyze every SaaS business. For example, you can read customer success stories and reviews to find the SaaS marketing automation solution that fits your brand. You can also learn a lot about brands based on their customer service.
- Take Advantage of Free Trials
To piggyback on the previous entry, you should go with free trials before making any commitment. Complex tools usually have numerous features, and it takes time to determine what each one of these has to offer.
But you need to take free trials with a grain of salt. Some of them are purposefully restrictive and give you just a glimpse of their potential. Other SaaS companies like to give their users much more in an attempt to entice them to their tool.
- Talk With Experts
When it comes to specific marketing processes, experts usually have one preferred option. As previously mentioned, AhRefs is the favorite SEO tool for most digital marketing professionals. So, instead of trying all these tools yourself, it’s much better to ask an expert which one you should go with.
A SaaS marketer can also provide you with some additional insights regarding the functions and why it makes sense to take that particular platform. And while online reviews are also a good starting point, SaaS companies often pay reviewers to say all the best about their tool.
If you stumble upon a wrong article, you might gain the impression that SaaS marketing automation software is much better than it actually is.
- Assess Needs and Define Budget
Each one of the tools on our list serves a particular purpose. In theory, a medium to a large company can benefit from all of them.
So, if you’re new to digital marketing, it might seem that each one of them is a necessity. But this isn’t actually true. For example, companies that focus on Facebook or Instagram as their main channel will definitely need SMM SaaS. However, they might do just fine with Google Analytics and Google Search Console for SEO.
As it’s easy to go overboard with software, we suggest that you create a clear budget and stick with it as much as possible. Still, that doesn’t mean you should quit a tool if its price goes up.
- Revise Software Every Few Years
People tend to become static after deciding on particular software. As they get used to its features, they’re less likely to change the platform.
But like everything else in life, SaaS changes over time. Some of them get better with years, completely eclipsing previously optimal solutions. If you wish to stay on top of your game, we suggest that you revise tools every few years.
Given the importance of SaaS automation for marketing, a revisionist stance would allow you to stay ahead of the curve. In fact, we suggest that you even revamp your entire marketing automation strategy every few years.
What is the best software for marketing automation?
If you’re looking for a single tool to help you with different marketing processes, you can’t go wrong with HubSpot. This comprehensive platform can help you manage almost every aspect of your digital marketing business.
What is cloud-based marketing automation?
Cloud-based marketing automation relies on the cloud for storing and sharing data. The tools that use this technology don’t need physical hardware and hard drives. Instead, they allow you to transfer all your operations online.
What is an example of marketing automation?
One of the numerous examples of marketing automation is sending bulk emails to potential leads.