For businesses looking to take their digital marketing to the next level, our marketing automation challenge is a series of reviews putting all the major platforms head-to-head and comparing them on metrics such as price, integration and features.
Today we will review Act-On, a mid-sized player competing for small- and mid-sized businesses.
As we said in our post on Marketing Automation For Dummies, a business needs to identify key goals before implementing any marketing automation strategy. This takes the form of both hard and soft metrics. Once you’ve defined these metrics, this information will inform your decision and help you determine which marketing automation system is right for your firm.
With around 5,000 users, Act-On is a mid-sized marketing automation outfit. When it comes user experience and platform capabilities, it typically scores in the middle of the range. However, it receives high praise from B2B and B2C businesses who are totally new to the process of automating their marketing efforts.
Act-On offers a good, comprehensive package of email marketing features, from automation to personalization. Act-On even offers some web design tools, letting B2B or B2C sellers manage email marketing campaigns with ease.
Users tend to highlight Act-On’s email marketing system as a high-point for the software.
Act-On makes lead management a priority, and it shows. The system gets good marks for lead scoring and lead segmentation. When it comes to segmentation, Act-On provides some powerful tools for generating dynamic segmentation lists based on prospect criteria such as job title, lead score, engagement, etc
CRM integration is one area where Act-On has some weaknesses compared to the competition. Unlike solutions such as SharpSpring and HubSpot, it provides no built-in CRM. Instead integration is required to an external CRM such as Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics. This is sold as an add-on for the Professional tier, while it comes standard with the Enterprise tier.
Act-On boasts solid email analytics, which come standard on its basic Professional plan. Act-On offers good basic analytic and social-listening software, as well as advanced add-ons like Data Studio.
Unfortunately, Act-On is one of the marketing automation platforms that does not offer predictive analytics, so a company that wants this will have to look elsewhere. Act-On also has limited customization options for its reporting dashboard.
Like other marketing automation tools, Act-On also enables you to automated elements of your social media programme. Whilst not as comprehensive as dedicated social tools such as HootSuite, Act-On provides you with a reasonable set of tools to help monitor your social presence. It's Social Listening allows you to manage multiple social streams from common channels such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.
It is also possible to include social posts as part of your campaigns, as Act-On enables you to created and queue posts ready for publication at times that are likely to get your audiences fullest attention.
Act-On typically earns high praise for its ease of use, with many companies describing it as a great beginning platform for marketing automation. Act-On offers standard onboarding support for users, so those with minimal training speak highly about this aspect of Act-On’s service.
On-boarding is an additional cost and begins at $500 for a basic self-paced on-boarding programme, or £3,000 for a more complete on-boarding package that includes strategy development and setup of common elements such as landing page and email templates.
Act-On is one of the less expensive marketing automation platforms on the market at the moment. Act-On is available in two pricing tiers: the Professional tier and the more expensive Enterprise tier (both tiers are billed annually, so plan your budget accordingly).
Act-On’s Professional plan starts at US$900 per month. This tier gives you access to 2,500 active contacts, 3 marketing users, 50 sales users and 30,000 API calls per day.
The Enterprise plan begins at $2,000 per month, but it doubles the number of available users: 6 marketing users, 100 sales users, as well as 2,500 active contacts and 30,000 API calls per day.
It is worth noting that Act-On has changed their pricing model in recent months and now requires payment annually.
Act-On has a lot to offer and is typically ranked in the top 5 or 10 marketing automation platforms. The platform has good fundamentals as far as its services, particularly for companies starting a marketing automation program. Many users describe it as a good beginning option that they replace with another more advanced systems once their marketing function has developed to a sufficient level of maturity.
Act-On has a lot of good, basic features for marketing automation and provides a solid foundation for any small- to mid-sized company. If you were anticipating steep barriers to entry into the world of marketing automation, Act-On may be the right choice to help you overcome your fears.
However, lack of built-in CRM may be an issue for companies that don't yet have an incumbent provider and aren't yet ready to invest in more comprehensive solutions such as Salesforce.
If you need advice about which marketing automation platform is best for your business, just send us a message. Demodia can help you craft a marketing automation strategy that will nurture your leads the smart way. Contact us today!