You can be on Entrepreneur’s cover!

5 Tools That Put Content Marketing Analysis on Autopilot These subscription-based marketing-automation programs can track potential customers and see if they follow through.

By Eric Siu

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Every good digital marketer knows content marketing is important, but measuring the effect of content is crucial. Calculating if that blog post led to customer conversions, how many leads it generated or how much it fattented your bottom line is nearly impossible with standard methods, but nearly effortless with marketing automation tools.

Related: Marketing Automation Explained (Infographic)

Hubspot defines marketing automation as "[S]oftware and tactics that allow companies to buy and sell like Amazon -- that is, to nurture prospects with highly personalized, useful content that helps convert prospects to customers and turn customers into delighted customers. This type of marketing automation typically generates significant new revenue for companies, and provides an excellent return on the investment required."

Key features of effective marketing-automation programs are:

  • Measuring prospect and customer movement through tracked email messages, web page browsing, social profile visits and other online activities.
  • Automating such common marketing tasks as sending email and publishing blog posts according to various triggers and events.
  • Lead scoring and prioritizing prospective customers in the sales cycle based on their interaction with your online content.

These five tools are great starts to your marketing-automation search:

1. Hubspot. Hubspot's software emphasizes tracking and measuring "top of the funnel" activities such as blogging and social outreach. Key program features to check out include dynamic calls-to-action, hosted blogging with built-in SEO tools and strong onboarding support and education. Plans start at $200/month.

2. Act-On. Try Act-On if you aren't 100 percent sure you need marketing automation. It offers month-to-month pricing and package tiers based on the contacts you actively market to instead of everyone that's in your database. Because it's geared to beginners, it offers some of the strongest support and training tools available. Key features include a "drag and drop" campaign creation, integration with Salesforce, SugarCRM, Microsoft Dynamics, Saleslogix and NetSuite CRM systems and internal phone support available for all customers. Plans start at $500/month.

3. Marketo. Marketo has been awarded the "Best of Marketing Automation" award by the Salesforce AppExchange community for five years running. The platform offers several tiers of service suitable for small- to medium-sized businesses, making it possible for new users to get up and running with marketing automation quickly. Key features include a library of pre-built campaign templates, multi-touch revenue modeling and "Opportunity Influence Analyzer." Plans start at $895/month.

4. Pardot. Recently acquired by Salesforce, Pardot offers many of the same features as Marketo, but with the added bonus of the potential long-term partnerships that may benefit users of the company's popular CRM system. The program offers simple, "drag and drop" lead-nurturing and marketing-automation rule creation features that help companies get up and running with the system as quickly as possible.

Key program features to check out include a "Lead Deck" real-time lead activity monitoring and Gmail app integration. Plans start at $1,000/month.

5. Oracle Marketing Cloud . Oracle's Marketing Cloud, formerly Eloqua, is one of the most expensive marketing-automation programs and is best suited to mid-to-large size companies and global enterprises.Key program features to check out include extensive targeting and segmentation tools, company-specific, tailored "Success Plan" and active "Topliners" user forum. Plans start at $2,000/month.

I want to hear from you. Have you adopted marketing automation into your company in an effort to improve your content marketing return on investment? If so, which program gets your vote?

Related: 5 Content Pieces You Can Create in 5 Minutes Or Less

Eric Siu

CEO, Single Grain. Founder, Growth Everywhere.

Eric Siu is the CEO of digital marketing agency Single Grain. Single Grain has worked with companies such as Amazon, Uber and Salesforce to help them acquire more customers. He also hosts two podcasts: Marketing School with Neil Patel and Growth Everywhere, an entrepreneurial podcast where he dissects growth levers that help businesses scale. 


Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Side Hustle

This Dad Started a Side Hustle to Save for His Daughter's College Fund — Then It Earned $1 Million and Caught Apple's Attention

In 2015, Greg Kerr, now owner of Alchemy Merch, was working as musician when he noticed a lucrative opportunity.

Business News

I Designed My Dream Home For Free With an AI Architect — Here's How It Works

The AI architect, Vitruvius, created three designs in minutes, complete with floor plans and pictures of the inside and outside of the house.

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.

Business Ideas

7 Link-Building Tactics You Need to Know to Skyrocket Your Website's Rankings

An essential component of SEO, link building is not just a 'Set them and forget them' proposition, but a dance of skills and strategies.

Business News

Here's One Thing Americans Would Take a Pay Cut For — Besides Remote Work

An Empower survey found a high percentage of respondents would take a pay cut for better retirement benefits and remote work options.

Business News

This Fan-Favorite Masters 2024 Item Is Still $1.50 as Tournament Menu Appears Unscathed by Inflation

The pimento cheese sandwich is a tradition almost as big as the tournament itself.