For most small businesses, email marketing and social media are key parts of their marketing strategies. However, with the proliferation of small business software options in the marketplace, choosing the software that best aligns with your business strategy can be a tricky proposition.
While certainly not the only two options available, Constant Contact and Marketo are two of the leading email and small business marketing automation systems commonly used by small business owners and startups. Both provide features that allow business owners and entrepreneurs better communicate with their customers and prospects digitally – all while driving more top-line revenue growth and profits. In fact, according to a recent report from Pardot, 84% of small businesses are already using or planning to use some sort of marketing automation software.
Both software packages are good options for many small businesses, but they also have their distinct differences, strengths and weaknesses, depending on your needs. Below are a few observations we have seen among small businesses that have used each solution:
Both are extremely powerful and can deliver a high return on investment to your small business. According to Pardot, businesses using marketing automation options like Constant Contact or Marketo create 20% more sales opportunities on average. Both are relatively low-cost options when compared to the level of customer engagement and top-line revenue that they both create. In addition, both integrate with Salesforce and social media accounts to help small businesses leverage their marketing efforts in other channels. Regardless of which you choose, both are likely to make your marketing processes easier and more effective than they would be without any sort of marketing software.
Constant Contact tends to be more suitable for startup or early stage businesses. Constant Contact is a lower cost and generally easier-to-use option for newer small businesses. While the software covers all the basics – such as scheduled newsletters, social media integration, list management, and other key features – it does not get into the more complex features and marketing processes of Marketo (see below). However, for most newer small businesses, Constant Contact is a good starting point at a relatively low cost. (At the time of this blog, Constant Contact packages start around $30 per month, while Marketo packages start around $800.)
Marketo tends to be more suitable for larger small businesses or those with more complex marketing needs. While the price difference between the two may sound like a lot, the broad functionality of Marketo warrants the price tag. For example, Marketo allows for more precise targeting of leads by providing lead-specific drip or nurture campaigns, lead scoring to help prioritize prospective customers, and unique landing pages for your web-site based on your prospective customers’ geography, industry, or other demographic information. In other words, Marketo is a good solution for small businesses that have outgrown the more basic functionality of Constant Contact.
Every small business is different and has its own unique needs, so choosing between the two is a matter of understanding your specific goals and objectives. Larger or high-growth businesses with more sophisticated marketing, diverse customers, or user engagement needs are more likely to gravitate to Marketo, while those with more basic marketing needs are more likely to embrace Constant Constact. The good news is that both offer free trials and you can always move from one to the other as your needs change over time if need be.