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8 free marketing automation tools for SMBs

Marketing automation can help any business engage more customers, but SMBs might need it most. These free tools can help small marketing teams get started with automation.

Businesses of all sizes can reap benefits from marketing automation tools. However, SMBs frequently face significant budget constraints, even though they often need this strategy most.

With CRM data to improve email marketing, social media, segmentation, lead generation and e-commerce workflows, marketing automation helps SMBs focus on more strategic work instead of repetitive marketing tasks. While there's no shortage of software available, SMBs might want to consider free marketing automation tools to get started.

Most free marketing automation products include functionality that can streamline existing marketing functions, like lead generation and email marketing, as well as introduce new customer segmentation, CRM and e-commerce capabilities. The right tool can help SMBs save time and money, reach more potential customers and improve existing customer relationships.

Explore the top free marketing automation tools available.

This list was compiled based on a combination of market reports and vendor rankings from Gartner Peer Insights, Capterra and G2, plus additional research by TechTarget editors.

1. Brevo

Formerly known as SendinBlue, Brevo bills itself as a CRM platform with marketing and sales functionality. It includes features such as email marketing, chatbots, lead generation and pipelines, Facebook ads, landing pages and an email API. Its automation functions enable customer segmentation by behavior, interests and other factors. It also lets marketers create automated emails for situations like abandoned carts and newsletter welcome messages, among other workflow automations.

Brevo is cloud-based and offers free versions of its Marketing Platform, Sales Platform and Conversations modules, all limited to one user.

Its Marketing Platform then starts at $25 per month and includes email support, no daily sending limit and basic reporting and analytics. Support options consist of a free knowledge base and a community forum for free users. Paid users gain access to email support at the lowest tier.

2. Buffer

For SMBs that want to automate their social media marketing, Buffer offers post scheduling, automated posting and approval workflows. Its notable features include customized landing pages, an AI assistant that helps users generate ideas for posts and how to repurpose existing content, and analytics to determine the best time to post and how well posts perform. Buffer can publish to Facebook, Google Business Profiles, Instagram, Pinterest, X -- formerly Twitter, TikTok, YouTube and other channels.

Buffer's free version lets users connect up to three social media channels, build landing pages and use the AI assistant. Paid plans begin at $6 per month per channel and include analytic reports. Support options for all tiers consist of email and social media support and a self-service knowledge base.

3. ConvertKit

Geared toward content creators, SMBs can also find a host of useful features in ConvertKit's free marketing automation tools. ConvertKit is a marketing automation hub that includes email marketing, automations like email sequences and customer journey mapping, and the ability to sell digital products. Some of its more notable functionalities include the Creator Network to refer subscribers to other ConvertKit newsletters, visual automations to help users build email sequences based on subscribers' experiences and integrations with platforms such as Shopify and Teachable.

ConvertKit is cloud-based and offers a free version for users with up to 1,000 subscribers. Users can build unlimited forms, landing pages and broadcasts and segment customers. Paid versions begin at $9 per month. Support options range from free community support to live chat and support for paid users.

4. HubSpot

SMBs looking for automation software with marketing, sales, content management and customer service functionality should consider HubSpot. It offers five different products: Marketing, Sales, Customer Service, CMS and Operations Hubs, all with free editions.

In particular, Marketing Hub offers forms, email marketing, landing pages and ad management. The Sales/CRM Hub module offers contact management, a deal pipeline, quotes and scheduling capabilities. Customer Service Hub includes ticketing, basic live chatbots and a shared inbox.

HubSpot is completely cloud-based. The free version includes basic features, such as a 100-product library, basic search engine optimization recommendations and up to three reporting dashboards.

The starter package begins at $20 per month and expands on basic features. Support includes an extensive resource library, including free certifications.

5. MailChimp

Intuit MailChimp is primarily an email marketing software tool with SMS functionality. It includes generative AI tools for content creation, segmentation features, and analytics and reporting to evaluate campaign performance. Metrics include open rates, industry benchmarking and click rates.

The free version of MailChimp's email software includes 1,000 email sends per month, limited prebuilt templates, a marketing calendar, integrations with over 250 apps, survey capabilities and email support for 30 days. Users can upload up to 500 contacts, which can suit SMBs just getting started with marketing automation.

MailChimp is a cloud-based product licensed in tiers. The next tier up from Free is Essentials, which is free for one month, then starts at $13 per month. Support options range from email support to a resource library broken down by topic, like social media, email marketing and websites.

6. Sumo

Sumo is an email capture tool that can automate lead generation through forms, popups and scroll bars for website visitors to enter their email addresses. Then, marketers can send personalized emails to subscribers and set up triggers for events like abandoned carts.

Some of Sumo's notable features include WordPress and Shopify plug-ins to make e-commerce setup faster, social media sharing, email integrations and e-commerce capabilities like discount codes and connecting to online stores.

Sumo's free version offers customizable forms, visitor targeting and unlimited subscribers. Its paid version starts at $39 per month and includes A/B testing, e-commerce design templates and advanced email integrations. Support options include a searchable knowledge base.

7. Twilio Sendgrid

As part of Twilio's suite of products, Sendgrid is an email marketing platform that offers automation functionality for SMBs. Its notable features include the ability to segment customers, conduct A/B testing and create time-based or trigger-based email automations. It also offers signup forms and email testing credits, so users can test emails against spam filters and validate links within their workflows.

Sendgrid is cloud-based and includes a free version for users with up to 2,000 contacts. The free version allows for 6,000 emails per month and includes HTML and drag-and-drop email editors, A/B testing, three email testing credits and one signup form.

The paid version starts at $15 per month. Support options for the free version include a knowledge base, web tickets and product guides. Paid users receive guaranteed response times on tickets and chat support.

8. Zoho Campaigns

As an email marketing platform, Zoho Campaigns helps SMBs send personalized email campaigns that use automated workflows. Its main features include the ability to import and manage contacts, signup forms, email templates with drag-and-drop elements, SMS campaigns, personalization features like merge tags and optimized send times, automations based on trigger events like newsletters signups, and analytics and reporting.

Zoho Campaigns is cloud-based and offers a "Forever Free" plan that lets users upload up to 2,000 contacts, send up to 6,000 emails per month and use signup forms and basic email templates. Its paid versions start at $3 per month and offer basic segmentation and drag-and-drop workflows. Support options include online training from Zoho experts, webinars, a user community, articles, guides and email.

Christine Campbell is a freelance writer specializing in business and B2B technology.

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