HubSpot is good at what they do, that's why they are one of the most well known marketing automation platforms out there. But, they are not the only tree in the forest. There are many HubSpot alternatives that offer core functionality a business needs to successfully generate leads and automate their marketing. This post has been revised for November 2018, and I update once every quarter to stay ahead of pricing and feature changes.
Let's look at the 8 HubSpot alternatives for marketing automation and see how their basic plans compare.
In addition to actual platforms, you'll also learn a bit more about WordPress marketing automation as an added bonus.
When looking at these alternatives to HubSpot, here's a list of features you should consider to be able to implement an inbound marketing strategy and campaigns for your business:
- Landing Pages and Lead Capture Forms
- Lead Nurturing/Autoresponders
- Email Marketing/Email Blasts
- Social Media Updates/Monitoring
- SEO Tools and Optimization
You will quickly realize that HubSpot is the only all-in-one platform as there are no competitors that would match HubSpot 1-to-1 in features. It's not a bad thing, it's actually good.
All businesses I've worked with that left HubSpot barely use 10% of all the features platform offers. You pay for everything, yet end up using 2-3 top features. That's why you need to find a platform that fits your critical needs. Don't get HubSpot because it has everything. You'll be wasting money.
In many cases, without a dedicated team, you will be overwhelmed with HubSpot's platform. You'll end up procrastinating and not using it. I've seen it way too many times. Let the platform fit your business needs, don't fit your business inside a platform. That's why these HubSpot alternatives are key to help your business grow, without HubSpot.
Marketing Automation That Listens and Learns
ActiveCampaign is a great option for those looking for an affordable, yet powerful alternative to HubSpot. They started out years ago as a simple email marketing platform, but over the years they've added marketing automation and CRM features.
I particularly like their automation campaigns (the heart and soul), that allow you to automate not only marketing activities (emails, SMS, tagging, etc.) but also sales and productivity. In the CRM I have different pipelines where I'm able to cater to different sales processes based on services we offer. To help automate some backend office stuff (and help increase productivity) I've created automation campaigns that are triggered by stuff that either I'm doing or data that changes inside ActiveCampaign. For example, I have campaigns that will move deals to different stages or create tasks for me based on the stage the deal is in.
Another thing I began to appreciate since switching to ActiveCampaign is the ability to share email templates and automation campaigns with others, simply by giving another ActiveCampaign user a unique link to import them into their account. ActiveCampaign doesn't offer a lot of email templates, so it's nice to be able to share templates with others and import templates created by others. With higher end plans, you can add site messages (messages that show up on your website), attribution tracking (see where leads are coming from), and many other.
If you're a GSuite or Gmail user, like I am, you'll find ActiveCampaign's Gmail extension for Chrome invaluable. That little bitty thing is a lifesaver. It tracks open rates of my emails sent in GSuite, plus I can access and manage contact records in the sidebar when I view email conversations. So I always know who I'm talking to, where we left off, and where we are on the deal!
If you're an ecommerce business, you can take advantage of the “deep data” integration ActiveCampaign offers for ecommerce platforms to import orders into your account. Right now it's available for WooCommerce, Shopify, BigCommerce, Square, and API to build your own integration.
- Unlimited emails
- 500 contacts
- Email marketing and newsletters
- Marketing automation
- Up to 3 users
The basic (Lite) plan starts at $15/mo. If you want to add CRM, sales automation, lead scoring, and SMS marketing you'll need to go with “Plus” plan at $70/mo and you get 1000 contacts. The pricing is incredibly generous compared to HubSpot, and keeping in mind how sophisticated ActiveCampaign is. Plus, ActiveCampaign offers free migration.
Ideal For: Small businesses and startups looking to start with marketing automation, but any business (medium and large enterprises) can use ActiveCampaign. It is packed with features, considering how affordable it is. SaaS businesses can leverage ActiveCampaign for user onboarding and customer success, while ecommerce businesses can personalize their email marketing based on purchasing behavior, order data, and recover abandoned shopping carts.
TrustRadius Score: 8.5 out of 10 (read reviews)
Marketing Automation and Sales CRM
SharpSpring is new compared to HubSpot. But it's been around long enough (2014) to be a viable alternative to HubSpot. Frankly, it's the closest alternative to HubSpot on this list. If you compare features 1-to-1.
The first time I used SharpSpring with a client was about two years ago. I wasn't too happy, it was a bit clunky to use and missing some features. It's been two years, and SharpSpring has improved.
Like any other platform on this list, SharpSpring offers full suite of marketing automation features. You can track visitors on the website, and then act on it with automated campaigns. They do track anonymous visitors, which are then identified when they submit a form. So you won't lose any past history, unlike some other platforms on this list (Hatchbuck, I'm looking at you).
What I like about SharpSpring the most is the analytics it provides. In addition to basic analytics like page, email, and sales metrics, it provides holistic marketing campaign reporting. That's the screenshot I've included. You're able to get an overall picture of your marketing campaign. This is incredibly useful for marketing agencies working with clients. It becomes very easy to show ROI.
Plus, SharpSpring is one of the only platforms that also provides a blogging capability. It's nothing fancy, but you're able to host a blog with SharpSpring. Otherwise, you can integrate it with your existing website.
Last thing I want to mention is SharpSpring's CRM. This CRM was built with sales teams in mind. It includes everything a sales team needs to sell, including detailed reporting. If you have a sales team, this would be the right tool for you.
- Starting at 1,500 contacts
- All plans include all features
- Unlimited users (great for teams)
The basic plan starts at $450/mo, billed monthly. In addition to the monthly fee, SharpSpring does include one-time oboarding fee $1,800. So you're looking at $2,250 the first month. Since this is on a month-to-month basis, this makes SharpSpring more accessible than HubSpot but not as affordable as ActiveCampaign or Hatchbuck. SharpSpring includes all features in all plans, while the pricing is based on how many contacts you have.
Ideal For: SharpSpring is great for marketing agencies looking to use marketing automation with their clients. However, the CRM has the right tools to be very useful to companies with sales teams. With proper tracking, reporting, and collaboration the CRM can rival Salesforce easily. If you have more than one sales rep, this would be the right tool.
TrustRadius Score: 8.0 out of 10 (read reviews)
Small Business CRM and Marketing Automation
Hatchbuck is great for small businesses. It's an affordable tool that's easy to use, has a small learning curve, and it has all necessary tools to automate your marketing and sales. You can start using Hatchbuck almost immediately after sign up. Once you tweak a few settings and integrate it with your website, you're ready to go. Hatchbuck is simple to use, but that's due to a limited set of features you would find in other platforms.
Hatchbuck doesn't have social media management tools, it doesn't have landing pages, and it doesn't have CMS to host a website. Visitor tracking (webpage tracking) will only track contacts after they submit a form or click on a link in an email. It does not record visits prior to form submissions, so you're losing some important data there. Most small businesses don't know what to do with it anyways, so it might not be important to you. Looking for what you don't want can be more helpful than looking for what you want. I already use Hootsuite, for example, to manage my social media, plus WordPress powers my website and landing pages. So my marketing automation platform doesn't need to have those features. I don't want to pay twice for the same thing.
- Send 1250 emails/mo
- 250 contacts
- 1 user
- Lead capture forms
- Lead nurturing campaigns and email blasts
- Automated tag triggers and purchase rules
- CRM and lead segmentation
- Basic reporting
The most basic plan (Starter) is $29/mo billed monthly. It's a great way to start, affordable and you'll be up and running quickly. Plus, you get additional training and onboarding with a Hatchbuck consultant. If you're an agency looking for a platform to use with your small business clients, check out Hatchbuck's partner program to get discounts and other benefits.
Ideal For: Small businesses (local service businesses) looking to get started with marketing automation and a CRM, with simple marketing needs.
TrustRadius Score: 8.3 out of 10 (read reviews)
4. Act-On Marketing Automation and Email Marketing Software
Act-On's platform is most likely the closest alternative to HubSpot. It offers everything you would need for marketing automation – lead management and scoring, lead nurturing, email marketing, landing pages, forms, visitor tracking, social media management and more.
They don't offer website/blog hosting, but they do include comprehensive SEO tools to help you manage it with an existing website. Act-On Anywhere helps connect Act-On with pretty much everything, from WordPress to Hootsuite to Gmail to Salesforce. It brings data into these apps, plus includes tools to help you create and manage content.
What's interesting with Act-On is the user access. Unlike other platforms, Act-On's basic (professional) plan gives you 50 sales users in addition to regular marketing users to manage everything. If you have a team of sales reps, this might be a good option to give them access to lead and contact data.
- 2,500 active contacts
- 3 marketing users
- 50 sales users
- 30,000 API calls/day (for integrations)
- Landing pages and lead capture forms
- Lead nurturing
- Lead management and scoring
- And many other features – you should checkout their page for a full list
Professional plan starts at $900/mo billed annually.
Ideal For:: Medium to large enterprises that have marketing and sales teams.
TrustRadius Score: 7.1 of 10 (read reviews)
5. Wishpond Lead Generation Software
Wishpond offers a mix of tools geared at generating leads with social media, although it is not limited to social media. It offers drag-and-drop landing page builder with a lot of built-in templates that you can start using right away. Plus, they offer marketing automation features that allow you to nurture leads with personalized emails.
In addition, Wishpond also includes popups to help you capture leads so you wouldn't need any additional services for popups.
What really separates Wishpond from all other platforms is its contests and promotions feature. It allows you to run your own photo contests, sweepstakes, referral promotions, coupons, and many more. If these are important to your marketing, it's nice to have it integrated with lead nurturing and lead management features for a more holistic approach.
Quick overview (paid plan):
- Unlimited visitors
- 1000 leads/contacts
- Unlimited user accounts
- Landing pages and forms
- Marketing automation
- Website popups
- Contests and promotions
- No API access with basic plan
The basic paid plan starts at $49/mo billed annually and $75/mo billed monthly. Wishpond stopped offering a free plan of 200 contacts, and now asks users to sign up for 14 day trial (ht Cindy). Wishpond does include WordPress plugin, although the name is very misleading “Free Landing Pages Builder by Wishpond” as it does not work without a Wishpond account. Hence, all the one star reviews. If you're looking for a platform that offers landing page builder, Wishpond is a good choice.
Ideal For: B2C businesses can find a lot of value. If you're looking to do more social media marketing, Wishpond is a good option as it offers those features. Plus, if you already have a CRM you can integrate Wishpond with it since they don't offer CRM.
TrustRadius Score: 7.3 out of 10 (read reviews)
6. Ontraport Business Automation
Ontraport (used to be Office Autopilot) is somewhat unique as it brands itself as a business automation, not specifically marketing automation. It's actually a closer alternative to Infusionsoft, but it's marketing automation features make it a perfect candidate for specific businesses as an alternative to HubSpot.
I've noticed that many online businesses use Ontraport, because it offers ecommerce functionality to sell digital products and even offer subscriptions. It offers everything from order forms, one-click upselss, subscriptions, coupons, lead management and CRM to power your online business from a “sales” perspective. In addition, you can manage your own affiliate/partner program as well.
On the other hand, Ontraport includes all the features of a marketing automation platform to help you get leads and sales. It offers email marketing and lead nurturing, landing pages, forms, and reporting capabilities. Plus, it offers SMS, postcards if you need those, and WordPress integration. Ontraport can be great for membership websites.
- 1000 active contacts
- Unlimited emails
- 1 user
- Unlimited landing pages and forms
- Unlimited popups
- Limited if/then rules automation
The basic plan starts at $79/mo billed monthly. If you want to sell using Ontraport, you'll need to move up to a higher end plan to accept online payments.
TrustRadius Score: 8.2 out of 10 (read reviews)
7. Marketo Marketing Automation Software
Marketo has evolved over the years (and is now an Adobe company) and is geared towards higher end of the market. If you're looking for a HubSpot alternative because of a tight budget, Marketo won't be a good option. Marketo has really good email marketing features, including detailed website tracking and landing pages/forms.
Unlike HubSpot, Marketo offers Salesforce integration that's probably one of the best out there. So if you use Salesforce, Marketo might be a good option for you.
One feature that I like in Marketo is its intelligent forms, which recognize existing contacts and instead of asking to fill out a form again can automatically offer content for download.
Quick overview (lead management bundle)
- Lead scoring, segmenting and nurturing
- Landing pages and forms
- Email capabilities
- CRM integration
- A/B testing
- Social media tools
Depending on what exactly you need, you'll have to contact sales to figure out what features/bundles you will need to figure out the cost. Your cost will depend on the features you use and contacts you have.
TrustRadius Score: 8.0 of 10 (read reviews)
8. Infusionsoft Small Business CRM, Sales & Marketing Software
Infusionsoft is an interesting alternative, it focuses on a sligtly different market with its platform. The core of Infusionsoft is its CRM, then there are features that integrate with CRM. With a basic plan you'll be able to build campaigns, setup landing pages and send out emails while tracking all contact data in the CRM. The unique part that Infusionsoft offers is its ecommerce functionality.
You can sell physical or virtual products easily using Infusionsoft while tracking all that data inside CRM. Infusionsoft is popular among online marketers selling digital products like courses, ebooks, memberships websites, etc. Infusionsoft is a comprehensive platform, but it requires a lot of training and setup. It's a steep learning curve. Many customers I've seen are in digital/infoproduct space – marketers, consultants, coaches, etc. Once you master Infusionsoft, you can run your whole digital business on top of their platform.
- Unlimited emails
- 500 contacts
- 1 users
- Landings pages and lead capture forms
- Email autoresponders & lead nurturing campaigns
- Analytics for the above features
The pricing starts at $99/mo. This includes contact management and marketing automation. If you want ecommerce, that's extra $59/mo. If you want Sales pipeline, that's another $59/mo. All plans allow you to send 5 emails to each contact per month. You can buy addons to increase that limit. Lastly, they include a required onboarding for $299.
Ideal For: If you're selling digital products: courses, ebooks, packages, memberships, etc.; then Infusionsoft will be great for you. Other businesses can find value in Infusionsoft, but you have to learn to use it to it's full advantage. Otherwise you'll be lost, and will end up regretting it.
TrustRadius Score: 7.7 out of 10 (read reviews)
Bonus: WordPress Lead Generating Machine
You might not consider WordPress to be marketing automation software and lead generating machine, but I beg to differ. Out of the box, WordPress is an excellent CMS, and with excellent plugins it can be extended to pretty much anything you heart desires. This includes marketing automation.
- Easy to use CMS
- Advance SEO with plugins
- Landing pages with custom post types
- Lead capture forms with plugins
- Social media integration with plugins
- CRM integration with plugins
- Email marketing and lead nurturing integration
- Marketing Automation and lead tracking
- Freedom to customize anything you want
A lot of work that I do, is either helping a business get started with marketing automation and a better website, or help a HubSpot customer migrate to a new setup that usually includes WordPress. Depending on what client needs, we figure out the best approach to take. With WordPress there's a million ways to skin a cat. For my own business, for example, I use WordPress for the website, SEO, and landing pages. While marketing automation and CRM are handled by ActiveCampaign. I simply didn't want to have everything in WordPress. If WordPress goes down, I still have access to my CRM and my emails continue to go out uninterrupted.
WordPress can be one of the best and most affordable alternatives to HubSpot for small businesses on a tight budget. Don't expect to have everything in WordPress that HubSpot offers. Frankly, it's not necessary. Find tools that complement WordPress. A toolbox is better than a Swiss Army knife. If one tool breaks, you don't have to replace the whole thing.
Marketing Automation Plugins in WordPress:
There are 2 good plugins that you can check out that will give you a lot of the features you find in HubSpot in your WordPress.
Check them out. InboundNow and Inbound Brew offer free plugins you can get started with. ORBTR is a more polished, well supported, but can be pricey solution.
Ideal For: If you're using WordPress for your website, you should consider if adding marketing automation plugins makes sense. They do add another layer of complexity to managing WordPress (if something breaks), but if you have skills or dedicated support to manage WordPress it can be a viable solution. You should also consider a hybrid approach, what I do. Let WordPress power certain parts its good at while letting another platform power marketing automation. If you have multiple websites that need to be tracked in one place, you'll need a third-party platform. You can't use plugins I mentioned above, since they will only track websites they're installed on.
TrustRadius Score: 8.2 of 10 (read reviews)
Over the last few years I've worked with dozens of businesses leaving HubSpot. None of them ever regretted switching to WordPress or another, more suitable alternative. The key to their new-found success was a narrow focus on the tools that they really need to get the job done. Don't get an all-in-one solution just because you can or you want to. Get the tools that will meet your immediate needs to increase revenue quickly. Once you begin generating leads and sales, you can always scale. Remember, you don't need marketing automation software to generate leads.
Any of these 8 alternatives will offer marketing automation. You just need to know exactly what features you need and what you’re trying to accomplish. Don’t forget, it’s not really automatic. The system needs an operator to function correctly, that means at least 10-15 hours per week dedicated to inbound marketing to make it work for your business. None of these systems are set and forget, they all require tweaking to get better and generate more leads. If you're shopping for a marketing automation platform, read this post to help you with your decision.
Since this guide was written originally in 2012, we said farewell to several marketing automation platforms:
It's a competitive space, with a few platforms gone but a ton of new platforms showing up every year. And do scan through comments below, over the last few years many new platforms popped up and left a comment. You're bound to find something new there.
Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post are affiliate/partner links.