6 new (to me) marketing automation tools you’ll love

Tools to make you better, faster, stronger.

6 dangerously awesome marketing automation tools what will help you spend more time on the beach... and less time staring at your laptop.

Want to build a business where you can work from the beach?  

 

Sorry to burst your bubble.

But, I think that whole “work from the beach” thang is kind of a myth.

For starters, there’s no internet at the beach. Secondly, you get sand in your keyboard. And, on those gorgeous sunny days, you can barely see your laptop screen.

The truth is that it’s tough to WORK from the beach, but, if you play your cards right, you can NOT work from the beach.

We’ll talk more about that, but first… I just got back from an amazing week in the Dominican Republic with one of my business besties!

It was a long, looooong overdue vacation and I know now how desperately I needed it.

 


When it comes to the day-to-day grind of running a business, I often tell entrepreneurs, “to push until you bend, but stop before you break.”

 

And, I was about one chipped nail or bad hair day away from my breaking point. So the timing was perfect.

Here are a few snaps from my trip…

Adventures in island hopping 💛

A post shared by Katelyn Bourgoin 👓 (@katebourgoin) on

Current status…

A post shared by Katelyn Bourgoin 👓 (@katebourgoin) on

 

I spent a lot of time on the beach — reading, talking business, drinking an endless stream of mojitos. But, I was also wracking my brain to answer one specific question…

 


How can I build a business that allows me to spend more time on the beach drinking mojitos and less time staring at my laptop?

 

The answer was so obvious that it darn well slapped me in the face: AUTOMATION, BABY!

I decided, then and there, with sand between my toes and salt air in my lungs, that when I got back to Canada I would begin the process of automating my business.

Now, of course, there are aspects of my business that could never be automated.

For instance, there’s no app for those “ahh ha” moments or creative breakthroughs I help my clients get.

And, there’s no automated process for talking to my customers so I can learn how they think, what their pains are, or how to streamline my services to better fit their needs.

Yup. Some stuff just shouldn’t be automated or farmed out.

But, on the other hand, there are plenty of things that I do on a daily basis that I shouldn’t be doing….

I have definitely better things to do with my time than re-size images for social media or remembering to follow up on cold emails.

And… so do you.

Enter automation.

 

I’ve experimented with lots of marketing tools over the years.

 

When it comes to choosing the tools of our trade, we marketers are about as loyal as Justin Bieber at a strip club (sorry, Selena!)

You might even call us trysexuals, because we’ll try any tool once!

And, can you blame us?

There are just so many sexy new apps to play with…

 


The MarTech space has doubled annually for the last 5 years. In 2016, there were over 3,500 marketing apps to choose from.

 

See that image below? Well, this graphic shows all the logos of all the marketing apps that were available in 2016.

 

I know, right? It’s enough to make your head spin.

And, with so much choice, many of today’s growth geeks are snubbing the all-in-one solutions like InfusionSoft or HubSpot in favour of more lightweight apps that do one thing really, really well.

They’re building totally customized marketing stacks by cherry-picking their favourite apps and using tools like Zapier and IFTTT to weave them together like a 10-year-old’s friendship bracelet.

If you’re ready to uplevel your marketing toolset, but you have no idea where to start (and looking at the graphic above makes you want to throw up), I’ve got you covered!

Don’t need an audit? No sweat. Read on…

6 sexy new marketing automation tools I’m trying…

 

1. CoSchedule

 

 

What it is: A marketing calendar and content distribution platform

Cost: $30/month

Alternatives I’ve tried: Buffer, Hootsuite, Edgar, HubSpot

What it does:

  • Plan your content calendar with your team
  • Delegate tasks and manage the approval process all in one place
  • Plan, create and share multiple forms of media (e.g. blog posts, image posts, podcasts, e-courses, etc.)
  • Publish to all your channels in just a few clicks
  • Set-up automated recurring posts on social media — set it and forget it

 

Why I’m excited about it:

I’ve been following Coschedule for about 4 months and I’ve been eagerly anticipating setting up my account.

Why so eager? Their own content marketing is off the hook! If you want to see what next-level content marketing looks like, you need to check out their blog.

 


Coschedule describes themselves as “a content calendar” for bloggers, but they are sooooo much more than that.

 

Coschedule brings all of your marketing efforts into one place — making it insanely easy to strategize, collaborate, produce, and distribute awesome stuff.  

I’m serious about upping my blog game, so I see Coschedule as a necessary investment.

My first impression:

Obsessed. If Coschedule was a cute boy, I’d have posters of him on my bedroom wall and I’d doodle his name in my notebook. To put it another way, if Coschedule was JT, I’d be Ivanka. #hungry

 

 

 

 

2. Active Campaign

 

 

What it is: A powerful marketing automation platform for small businesses

Cost: Starts at $17/month (my list is larger so I’m using the $70/month version which allows for up to 10,000 contacts)

Alternatives I’ve tried: ConvertKit, Campaign Monitor, MailChimp, HubSpot, ClickFunnels, Ontraport

What it does:

  • Collect leads on your website and social platforms
  • Easily segment your audience to create relevant campaigns
  • Build complex automated email marketing funnels
  • Set goals to measure and optimize your marketing efforts
  • CRM with lead scoring
  • Create automated multi-channel funnels across email, SMS and site messaging

Why I’m excited about it:

I’m a big believer in what I like to call “conversation marketing.” Conversation marketing is about making your customers feel like they’re part of a personalized dialogue versus just being broadcasted to by some faceless company.

 


Your business might serve multiple audiences, but it’s too noisy out there to use the same one message to reach all your customers.

 

More and more customers are demanding personalized marketing experiences that speak specifically to their needs.

ActiveCampaign will give me the opportunity to start collecting leads for my consulting business and building out specialized nurture sequences based on the client’s interests.

Getting this started is a BIG undertaking. But, I’m excited to invest the time now so that I can build out smart automated funnels that convert.

The desired outcome? I’ll spend less time pumping out one-time-use content and more time working with my fabulous clients.

My first impression:

I’m cautiously optimistic. ActiveCampaign isn’t as easy-to-use as ConvertKit or as feature-rich as Hubspot (which is 20X more expensive than ActiveCampaign), but I think it’s a happy medium between the two.

It may actually have more functionality than I might need out of the gate, but I can grow with it over time.

 

 

3. MailShake

 

What it is: A simple cold outreach tool with templates

Cost: $9/month

Alternatives I’ve tried: Gmail Canned Email, Boomerang

What it does:

  • Use Gmail to automate your cold email outreach and follow-up process
  • Create customized email templates that feel personalized
  • Delegate replies to your support team

Why I’m excited about it:

Is there anything worse than getting a generic, canned email from someone who wants your precious time?

We all know that generic sales emails suck. But, writing custom emails and follow-ups from scratch every time sucks up a TON of time.

I’m excited to use Mailshake to craft reusable cold email templates to help with media pitches for my clients and collaboration opportunities.

I can create an email template and follow-up sequence once, and then just drop new leads into the sequence with a few clicks. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

My first impression:

This tool is dangerously awesome! I know it’s going to save me a ton of time!

 

 

4. Quuu

 

What it is: Curated content suggestions for social media

Cost: Freemium (I’m using the free version for now)

Alternatives I’ve tried: Feedly, Google Alerts

What it does:

  • Curates relevant articles based on your interests
  • Connects with Buffer to automatically fill your queue with links to articles
  • Washes and folds your laundry (KIDDING! That was a test to see if you were paying attention. If your eye just bulged out of your head and you gasped in disbelief, congratulations. You passed the test.)

Why I’m excited about it:

I’m always hunting for the best marketing and productivity articles. I read about 5-10 new blog posts a day on average and I share the stuff with my community.

But, like most busy entrepreneurs, I don’t always have time to go digging around the internet to scour up those hidden gems.

Quuu makes the discovery process easier and pre-populates 2 relevant articles in my Buffer daily (you can get more articles if you upgrade). If the article is good, I just need to click a button to share it everywhere.

My first impressions:

Quuu only took about 10 mins to set up and the articles so far are decent. So far, so good.

 

5. Canva

 

What it is: Free cloud-based graphic design program

Cost: Freemium (I’m using the $13/month version)

Alternatives I’ve tried: Photoshop, Sketch

What it does:

  • Design graphics for the print or the web from beautiful templates
  • Access a whole library of free images, patterns, and icons
  • Resizes your graphics for use across multiple platforms

Why I’m excited about it:

If you’re already familiar with Canva, you might be thinking…

“WTF, Katelyn! How the hell is Canva a marketing automation tool? Are you high?”

Well, firstly, I don’t appreciate your language and, no, I’m not high at this exact moment. Secondly, let me ask you a question…

Have you ever created a graphic for use on one platform — like a Facebook ad image for instance  — and then had to resize that image 14 gazillion times for it to work on other platforms like Pinterest, Twitter or Instagram?

If you have, you know that it is a soul-crushing activity that takes way too freakin’ long.

Well, aside from a whole host of other awesome features, Canva will automatically resize your graphics so you can use them across different platforms. One click and then… PRESTO! Resized like magic.

If you’re paying a graphic designer by the hour to make images for social media, you’ll make your money back on Canva in about 15 minutes. Definitely worth the investment.

My first impressions:

Sooooo, I’m kind of a nut for efficiency AND design (here’s proof). How do I feel about having one product that scratches both itches, you ask??

 

6. Pipefy

 

What it is: A platform to document and execute repeatable processes

Cost: Freemium (I’m using the free version which allows me to build 5 “pipes”)

Alternatives I’ve tried: Favro, Pivotal Tracker, Sweet Process, Wrike

What it does:

  • Create reusable processes for step-by-step execution
  • Collaborate and delegate with your team at each phase of the process
  • Use done-for-you process templates
  • Use integrations to automated actions like emails or notifications
  • Create and document tests or experiments

Why I’m excited about it:

Did you know that there are over 60 steps that you should follow just to post and promote one single blog post? (I’m going to write a blog post about writing blog posts soon #metaaaaaa).

And blogging is just ONE example. There are lots of recurring business processes that are easy to do, but require a ton of time.

 


If you’re a solopreneur like me or have a small team, you have better ways to spend your time than populating blog posts, processing payroll, or pruning your inbox. You need to be out serving customers and making paper.

 

I use Pipefy to document the most complex recurring processes in my business so that I can delegate them to my trustworthy VA.

I know that different people will come and go from my business over the years to come, but Pipefy allows me create a process once so anyone can do it exactly how I like it.

(Yup. You caught me. I’m a control freak.)

Pipefy won’t replace Asana — my day-to-day project management tool — but I can use Zapier to connect Asana and Pipefy so when I assign something in Asana, it automatically notifies my VA to start a new pipe in Pipefy.

First impressions:

Building a custom pipe for the first time is a bit of a process. But, when it’s done right, I know it will majorly pay off in the future as my team grows.

 

As the old saying goes…

With that in mind, do you want help navigating the murky waters of marketing automation software?

Or, maybe you don’t need any help.

Maybe you’d rather dive head first into exploring every one of these 3,500 marketing tools all on your lonesome.

If you’re going solo, call me in a decade when you’re all caught up. I’ll be on the ass down on beach with a mojitos in my hand while my business runs on autopilot!

He he.

Now I want to hear from you…

 

 

What are your favourite tools?

Do you have marketing tools that you just couldn’t live without? Post a comment below so other folks can up their game!

7 Comments
  • Josh Gallant
    Posted at 05:34h, 12 May Reply

    Huuuuuge fan of CoSchedule. Makes life incredibly simple. Something that used to take hours can now take 5 minutes. Always love hearing about new software I can pick up and use.

    • Katelyn
      Posted at 07:14h, 12 May Reply

      I know, right!? It’s a total game-changer. See you on the beach? 😉

  • Sarah
    Posted at 14:37h, 12 May Reply

    Love this! Trying Quuu out fo sho. Thank you!!!

    • Katelyn
      Posted at 17:53h, 16 May Reply

      I hope you love it, Sarah! I’m digging it 🙂

  • Matt Fenn
    Posted at 02:16h, 14 May Reply

    Hi Katelyn,

    With over 3,500 marketing tools out there it must be tough getting down to 6!

    If you get a chance I’d love for you to take a look at Jumplead https://jumplead.com/ which is our very own marketing automation system. (Yes, we’re one of the 3,500!)

    We’ve rolled in live chat / messaging which works kind of like Drift which I see you’re using. 🙂

    So that gives you landing pages and conversion forms (with progressive profiling), email broadcasts and autoresponders, a basic marketing CRM, automations (of course), we also do IP profiling to identify the companies visiting your website, and marketing analytics with the ability to track your keyword SERP positions.

    We’ve got a free plan so it’s easy to try out, and we’re launching a brand new app UI in the next few weeks!

    I’d love for you to try us out and let me know what you think! 🙂

    Matt

    • Katelyn
      Posted at 17:55h, 16 May Reply

      Matt, I just totally said “giggidy” aloud after reading your comment. I’m definitely going to check it out. Thanks!!

  • Cath
    Posted at 06:03h, 12 June Reply

    Good luck with finding the right marketing automation tool, right? There’re so many out there… I’ve settled for GetResponse. Canva is a great help it saved me more than once!

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