Choosing the best inbound marketing platform

inbound marketing platformsWhile HubSpot is generally regarded as the undisputed leader for inbound marketing platforms, in recent years there have been a number of competing platforms — including Marketo, Pardot, SharpSpring, and InfusionSoft — to give them a run for the inbound marketing dollar. Once you put an automated marketing tool in place, it’s hard to switch, so you want to make your first choice the right choice.

Some questions to consider before choosing are: What is your budget? Do you need a CRM? How large is your contact list? Will I be implementing myself or hiring an agency? Will you need a new website built and optimized for inbound?

And then you must consider your goals. How many sales qualified leads do you want delivered per month? What percent of growth in visits to your website makes sense to deliver those leads?

When considering an inbound platform, there are five core features that you should look for:

  1.     E-mail marketing
  2.     Marketing automation (including smart list creation and workflows)
  3.     Lead scoring
  4.     Analytics
  5.     Form builder

From there you may also need a blogging platform, CTAs, SEO tools, social media tools, or CRM. You will need to dig into your marketing strategy and decide what you want from a platform and what you can afford.

For example, let’s say you have more of a B2B focus, and you need customizable ROI reporting tools; perhaps Marketo is right for you. Or you’re a small business that has aspirations of growth, you need a CRM, you need to be trained on inbound, you need all the analytics and tools available, and it needs to be affordable; in this case, HubSpot is the likely choice for you. Or, if you have a small budget but have 5,000 contacts and you need a robust platform at a good price, you may want to look at InfusionSoft.

There are no easy answers, and there are many choices. The best thing to do is to research all platforms and decide which one fits your goals best.

For additional information on how to learn the basics of inbound, download our free e book An Introduction to Inbound Marketing.

introduction to inbound marketing e-book