The life of an inbound marketer can be a tedious one. With all the technology available today there’s no reason why you can’t take advantage of the many inbound marketing tools available to help you automate as much of your day as possible.
If you’re stuck wondering which are worth the money and can save you the most time never fear.
In this guide, we’ll cover 9 different inbound marketing tools across all areas of the buyer’s funnel that you can use to automate your workday.
Let’s get started!
Top Inbound Marketing Tools in 2020
Social Media Management Tools
If we’re looking at the very top of the funnel, we’re looking at driving users to our site to become aware of what we have to offer. There’s no better way to do this than to use your social media channels to meet your target audience where they are.
For the first chapter of inbound marketing tools, we’ll cover some easy to use social media management tools that you can use to automate your post schedule and reporting.
Hootsuite has been in the social media marketing game for a long time by internet standards. Founded in 2008, it quickly rose to the top of the inbound marketing tool stack due to it’s easy to use nature and a wide directory of integrations.
In addition to their ability to schedule posts across a variety of social channels (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram) they feature the ability to manage comments and messages in one place. They also support limited post boosting across Facebook and LinkedIn – perfect for those who want to dip their toe into the advertising waters.
Out of all of the competitors listed in this category, we recommend Hootsuite for small to mid-sized businesses.
For those of you who are looking to get a decent array of features (like unlimited scheduling, reporting, and comment/message management) and only have a few pages to manage, Hootsuite will make your life easier with a pricepoint that is hard to beat.
As your business starts to scale (or, if you’re an agency tackling a large number of pages) the next competitor will be right up your alley. Founded in 2011, Agorapulse is one of (if not the) top competitor for Hootsuite – and if you look at them side by side it’s not hard to see why.
Agorapulse offers some add-ons that Hootsuite doesn’t support or that only come in Enterprise-level solutions -like management of inbox automation rules, the ability to repeat post scheduling across multiple days, and a quick support turnaround at 16 minutes.
In addition, Agorapulse offers more seats (at a better price) than Hootsuite. If you’re looking for a midrange to Enterprise level solution, chances are Agorapulse will suit your needs at a better price than Hootsuite.
If Hootsuite sits at the low-mid range tier, and Adorapulse sits on the higher end, it’s fair to put Sprout in the middle of the two.
While Sprout doesn’t sport all the same features in posting as Hootsuite (lacking in YouTube, Pinterest, and WordPress) and doesn’t have the same message capabilities as it’s competitor Agorapulse, it makes up for this in the reporting category.
As you can see, the sheer volume of reporting available in Sprout is enough to make any social media manager squeal in delight – without the huge price tag normally associated. If your social channels are limited but reporting needs are high, Sprout can be a viable alternative to both Hootsuite and Agorapulse.
Email Marketing and CRM Tools
For our next set of inbound marketing tools, we look towards the conversion stage. There’s no better marketing tactic than email marketing – and as many marketers say “the money is in the list”.
Here you’ll find our top choices for email marketing and CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tools.
If you haven’t heard of HubSpot yet, now is the time to learn. Having originally coined the term inbound marketing in 2005, HubSpot is a powerhouse of everything you need to know at any stage in the marketing cycle.
So, if you’re in the market for email marketing tools, why not take a hint from the people who know the most about it? The problem, as always, comes with price.
While HubSpot can do almost anything under the sun (including acting as a CRM for sales, hosting landing pages, scheduling social media posts, ads, and email marketing automation) beginners may find this array of features overwhelming and too much for their needs.
While their entry plan starts at $50, it’s limited to 1,000 contacts. Each $1,000 contacts will run you another $50 – meaning costs start to add up soon.
All in all, if you’re looking for a one-stop-shop powerhouse of inbound marketing and you have a huge budget – go in for Hubspot.
Although ActiveCampaign is on the newer side of the email marketing realm, they’re one of my favorite recommendations for a few reasons.
- It’s easy to use
- Their plans are on the lower end of the price scale and perfect for beginners
- The marketing automation side of their software is powerful without being downright confusing
If you’re just getting started setting up your list and need a tool to collect email addresses, automate lead nurture programs, and send newsletters you can get it all for $15/mth for up to 500 contacts.
Your price for ActiveCampaign depends on just how many contacts you have, so ensure to regularly clean your email database and remove fake/bounced emails to keep your costs down.
Keap (formerly Infusionsoft) is another big-time player in the email marketing space. Dubbed ‘Confusionsoft’ by some of those who use it, it’s no secret that the UX can be scary, to say the least.
On the other side, it has an incredible range of features when compared to HubSpot. It can also schedule appointments, take payments and send invoices, and help you create engaging email templates with a drag and drop builder.
If you’re looking for something on the lower end to start out and eventually grow into a larger program, Keap is the one for you.
Landing Page Tools
If you want an easy and effective way to convert needs, you need to be using landing pages. A recent study saw that businesses with over 40 landing pages generated a whopping 12 times more leads than those with 1-5 landing pages.
Mo’ landing pages = mo’ leads, plain and simple.
If you don’t have your own website yet or are not sure how to create one, these tools will help you do so in no time flat. Read on to view our top landing page creators in our inbound marketing tools list.
If you think of landing page software, Leadpages is usually one of the top that comes to mind, and for good reason.
Instapage features 160+ pre-made design templates for any sort of landing page you can think of – webinar registrations, eBooks, thank you pages, the works!
Starting out at $37, their cheapest plan gives you an unlimited number of collected leads, landing pages, and popup bars. However, for as many templates and features as you get, the problem with Leadpages is customization.
While the templates themselves are changeable (you can customize images, buttons, and do a fair amount of shuffling) you cannot simply change every template and it’s positioning to suit your needs. The bare outline of the landing page is stuck in the format displayed, even though the other parts can be easily changed.
For beginners with no heavy design needs and who need to get something polished ready to go, Leadpages is a great choice.
Unbounce was the Hubspot of landing page software – and the very first company in the game. But have they help their reputation up through the years?
Short answer: yes they have.
While Unbounce can be decidedly more expensive than Leadpages (starting at $72/mth for 500 conversions) it is more customizable and offers some bonus features Leadpages doesn't:
- Parallax and dynamic content
- Phone, email, and live support for all plans
- Flexible templates not limited to outline design
For businesses that need more flexibility in their design and are willing to spend a little more to get it, we recommend Unbounce.
In all fairness, it’s hard to separate Unbounce from Instapage – you'll find that the platforms and features are very similar to each other. The real deciding factor here is price.
While it is on the pricier side at $149/mth, Instapage features no conversion or landing page limits – meaning it’s entirely possible to scale your business as you grow and keep your finance team happy.
In addition, features like heat maps, ad click analytics, and the Thor Render Engine (which supports fast load time) make it a viable alternative to Unbounce for those who are experienced in the area and looking to scale.
If you can afford the extra cost per month, Instapage would suit the growth of all ranges of business – beginners and veterans alike.
In this article, we’ve covered 12 different inbound marketing tools you can use to automate every part of your workday at every stage of the buyer's funnel. Is there a category you’d like us to explore? let us know in the comments below!
P.S If you want to learn more about how to create high-converting lead magnets, read our article on the topic here.