Published on July 27th, 2016
If you’ve spent some time on IMPACT’s blog, you know that we’re big fans of the HubSpot platform.
Not only is it a comprehensive and feature rich marketing platform, it’s tools are founded in a methodology believe in (and that we know works). More on that here.
Recently, we’ve been talking more and more about how HubSpot (or its competitors) can help you take your organization’s marketing from a jog to a sprint, but this morning I noticed something. In all of the excitement, we forgot to help the organizations that may not be ready for the commitment that’s needed to get the most out of a marketing automation investment.
So, if that sounds like you, this article is for you.
Rather watch? This video covers the same information you'll find below.
Below you’ll find three free alternatives to the more robust marketing automation platforms.
Keep in mind, there are a ton of players sitting on the marketing automation bench. Instead of blindly recommend platforms (because there are a handful of free ones), I’m going to share the few that I personally have experience with. Capisce?
If you’re looking for something that looks, smells, and works like HubSpot, look no further.
You can think of LeadIn of HubSpot’s younger sibling: it’s not quite as mature or talented as HubSpot, but it knows the important stuff.
LeadIn has the ability to capture lead information, manage your website contacts, and provide analytics.
Let’s run through a quick scenario:
A new visitor arrives on your site, reads a bit of information, then tries to leave.
Lost opportunity, right?
Not necessarily; LeadIn can fire an exit-intent popup that gives them a compelling reason to share their contact information with you (i.e. to subscribe, receive reminders, get an eBook, enter a contest, etc.).
If they do, you’ll then have visibility into what pages they viewed and when. Instead of losing that contact, you now have the information you need to arm your sales team with everything they need to engage that prospect.
That’s only the tip of the iceberg with LeadIn. We talk a bit more in depth about LeadIn here; Check it out!
Now, before you get too excited, there is a catch.
LeadIn doesn’t really have all the features you can expect from the next two offerings.
I’d really only recommend it to someone who’s just looking to get their feet wet with marketing automation; not someone who’s looking to build a full marketing automation program in which they can grow with.
If you’re a nerd like me, then the words “open source” will be music to your ears. That’s right, there is an open source marketing platform. Meet Mautic.
Mautic is unique in the fact that it’s not only free, but it’s actively being developed by a team of volunteers (whom you could join).
What does it this mean for you? Arguably, Mautic may be the most flexible marketing automation software out there because you have the ability to build any feature you need.
This may not be the ideal solution for most, but if the words Array, RegEx, or Fizz Buzz mean anything to you, give Mautic’s repository a look.
Mautic isn’t only for the development savvy. It’s pretty easy to use and most people find its user interface to be best in class. When I first used it, I had my first campaign up and running in under 30 minutes.
The downside here: it’s not quite as powerful as what you can expect from HubSpot or Marketo.
It will get the job done, but you can’t expect it to deliver you or your prospects the same experience you would get from investing in full marketing automation software.
Simply put, if you’re marketing needs expects nothing but the best, you may want to look elsewhere.
FrankenWhat? That’s right, I said FrankenSpot.
If HubSpot is a platform where you have all of the marketing tools you need under one roof, you can think of FrankenSpot as a borrowing everything from your neighbors.
The idea behind FrankenSpot is to mirror all the functionality of HubSpot, but with different tools.
From Wordpress to MailChimp to KissMetrics to Google Analytics, by combining a few tools, you can essentially get similar functionality to having HubSpot.
So full disclosure, FrankenSpot isn’t free.
Most of the tools mentioned on the FrankenSpot page have free versions, but in order to get the full experience you can expect to pull out your checkbook.
Where this approach really excels though is the ability to mix and match what products you really need. Instead of paying for everything and using 80% of it, you only pay for what you use.
Trust me, however, when I say that this route can be seriously flawed.
What we’ve seen at IMPACT is that companies that start with this approach quickly outgrow it. These different tools and plug-ins aren’t built to work together which can make data handling, integration, and consequently scaling, a nightmare.
I can also speak from personal experience that the learning curve with this approach is extremely high. Each platform has it’s own user interface, terminology, and quirks which make getting this up and running no small task.
The Alternative to the Alternatives
Have you heard the old adage, “Price, Quality, Service - Pick two?”
While there’s some serious wisdom in those words, I’d challenge them by saying that often instead of picking two, you’re often choosing a balance of the three.
For example, FrankenSpot is a probably the most neutral of the three: You’re only paying for what you need, the products’ quality are high, but the service lacks when it comes to interfacing them together.
On the other hand, LeadIn and Mautic are clear front-runners on price, but with that, you sacrifice quality and service. They just don’t perform to the level for HubSpot, Marketo, or even FrakenSpot for that matter.
What I’m getting at here is simple: there are so many options for marketing automation, you need to pick the one that best fits you own needs when it comes to balancing price, quality, and service.
IMPACT and our customers expect nothing but the best from their marketing automation software, which makes HubSpot’s exceptional quality and service a clear winner in our book.
What’s your clear winner?