top of page

Ultimate Guide to Marketing Automation

This guide offers valuable insights for navigating the marketing automation landscape and finding the right tools to achieve your goals. If you're responsible for driving your company's growth but find yourself overwhelmed by numerous sales representatives promoting various SaaS tools, this guide is for you. It helps you overcome the challenges of limited bandwidth and ineffective attribution of marketing efforts, enabling you to seize marketing automation opportunities from negotiation to implementation.

Llama Lead Gen understands these challenges and has extensively tested the latest marketing automation tools, keeping the growth of different businesses in mind. Discover how we have successfully automated our clients' marketing funnels, optimizing user engagement through channels such as email, retargeting, chatbots, and CRM platforms. Whether you're a co-founder, business executive, or lead gen marketing manager, our comprehensive guides are designed to empower you to make immediate impacts within your company and team. Unlock the potential of automation and propel your business to new heights with our step-by-step chapters and real-life case studies.

Ultimate Guide_Marketing Automation_1-02.png

Boost Your Bottom Line with Marketing Automation

Streamline workflows, gain customer insights, and enhance the customer experience to drive more leads and revenue growth. Schedule a call and start scaling your efforts with consistency and reliability.

Ultimate Guide_Marketing Automation_Hero Illustration-01.png
Chapter 1

What is Marketing Automation?

Ultimate Guide_Marketing Automation_5-02.png
Chapter 5

Retargeting Tools

Ultimate Guide_Marketing Automation_2-01.png
Chapter 2

Types of Marketing Automation Tools

Ultimate Guide_Marketing Automation_6-02.png
Chapter 6

Popup &

Chatbot Tools

Ultimate Guide_Marketing Automation_3-01.png
Chapter 3

Email Marketing

Ultimate Guide_Marketing Automation_7-01.png
Chapter 7


Mapping Tools

Ultimate Guide_Marketing Automation_4-04.png
Chapter 4

CRMs (customer relationship managers)

Chapter 1

What is Marketing Automation?

Marketing automation makes life easy for marketers. It allows you and your company more time to concentrate energy and creativity on other activities that increase revenue. In this marketing automation 101, we will discuss marketing automation platforms and tactics and how you can use them to boost your bottom line.

Ultimate Guide_Marketing Automation_Hero Illustration-01.png
What is Marketing Automation

Marketing Automation started out as a way of freeing marketers from unnecessary tasks. All marketing automation platforms offer unique tools which will simplify your marketing efforts. Artificial intelligence and machine learning (ML) have enabled marketers to automate communication and improve responses.

Marketing automation can differentiate companies in their industry. If deployed correctly your business can achieve automation while still possessing highly personalized email campaigns to increase sales. These products can handle the complex and grueling work necessary to handle most digital marketing campaigns.

How is marketing automation changing the marketing landscape?

The marketing automation software market is predicted to grow from $14 million to $155 million by 2030. Most marketing automation tools offer a completely free plan featuring all the bells and whistles of a fully automated tool, so you'll want to test out which ones best suit your needs before diving into the paid plans.

Nowadays, marketing automation technology has become a necessity for marketers to keep up with the ever-changing landscape of digital marketing. In the past, marketers were only able to rely on manual processes and reporting. With the introduction of advanced analytics and marketing automation platforms, marketers now have a deeper understanding of their customers' behaviors and what is going on in their industries.

These new technologies have been helping marketers do more with less. They can now spend more time analyzing data and producing content that is engaging and relevant to their audience. This way they can increase conversion rates while also improving customer engagement.

The secret to growing a small business quickly is automation

Marketing automation is typically thought of to only be used by large enterprises, but that doesn't have to always be the case! If you're a small business, you know that your marketing and sales teams typically don't have time for many of the tasks required for a successful sales funnel. Beyond time, there can be quite a learning curve! That's where marketing automation and automated workflows can come in and save the day. A good marketing automation tool can help your sales team by taking time-consuming, monotonous, redundant, and repetitive marketing tasks away from their docket.

SMBs need extra discretion when making advertising-focused investments. Trying a free solution before purchasing a paid one will help you judge all of the available software packages. This is also cost-effective for your small business as it will prevent unnecessary expenditure. To help you find a free marketing automation platform, most of the below offer up a free trial period, and some have free options entirely.

CTAs - Resources - Marketing Automation.png
Types of Marketing Tools
Chapter 2

Types of Marketing Automation Tools

Ultimate Guide_Marketing Automation_2-01.png
  • MailChimp

  • Drip

  • GetResponse

  • HubSpot

  • Keap

  • Pipedrive

  • AdRoll

  • Marketo

  • Pardot

  • Criteo

  • Intercom

  • Drift

  • Hotjar

  • Lucky Orange

What is the best marketing automation platform?

The key to successful marketing automation in today's digital landscape is to establish good automation. We at Llama Lead Gen have tested countless marketing automation programs aimed at helping our clients attract new customers. Below we'll break down a variety of marketing automation software including CRMs (customer relationship managers), social media platforms, email marketing providers, retargeting, chatbots, popup builders, heat-mapping tools, and more!


All of these have a specific purpose and can help your marketing efforts in a variety of different ways. It should be noted that most if not all of the marketing automation software we cover also provide secondary and tertiary features beyond what they are most well known for (i.e. HubSpot is known as a CRM first and foremost but they also provide a really nice chatbot and popup feature as well).

Best marketing automation platform

Llama Lead Gen has been a comprehensive partner, handling paid and organic campaigns, landing pages, social posts, client calls, and marketing automation. Their efforts have boosted lead volume and quality, brand awareness, and online traffic. They've also been instrumental in acquiring new business and delivering client success.

justin beegel

President @ Infographic World

Chapter 3

Email Marketing

Ultimate Guide_Marketing Automation_3-01.png
Email Marketing

Email marketing can be very effective for businesses of all sizes. It has the ability to reach a larger audience, provide more personalized communications, and integrate with other marketing initiatives to drive sales. Email marketing is not just about sending out newsletters anymore. Nowadays, email marketing is about building an ongoing relationship with your customers through relevant content and personalized offers delivered directly to their inboxes. Making marketing automation an integral part of your sales process can help with lead generation, customer retention, and improving your overall marketing key performance indicators (KPIs).

Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to get your message out there. It typically has a higher conversion rate than other marketing channels. Sending email messages is also one of the least expensive ways to market because it doesn't require buying advertising space. Email campaigns are also an effective way to create leads for marketers because they give consumers the opportunity to subscribe and receive content from companies they otherwise might not know.

Email marketing software is a tool that can help you design, send, and track emails from your contact list. This can be used as a standalone marketing tool or as a powerful tool for marketing automation. Marketing automation tools use the data from your emails to automate other tasks such as sending follow-up emails, sending reminders to take action, and targeting leads who have shown interest in your products or services.



There is nothing worse than an automated email service provider that does not offer the same power as more premium ones do. MailChimp does not fall into that category. MailChimp is in fact one of the leaders within the space and used by top companies. It has a free marketing automation software plan that packs in tons of valuable features.

Whether you are looking to send a newsletter, an email nurture sequence, or a welcome email, you will likely want to use MailChimp, as it has fantastic automation capabilities. Ease of use, along with an intuitive and simple interface seems to seem to have worked well for them and remains consistent with its brand. Mailchimp is one of the best free marketing automation tools.

MailChimp provides tons of customer insights that will help you increase the chance of closing sales. Whether you are just getting started or a seasoned marketer, MailChimp will likely be a great fit for you.



Drip's goal is to help marketers and publishers identify the right audience, at scale. Drip is most ideal for eCommerce businesses looking to create automated marketing workflows but can support a variety of different industries as well. Notable features include a visual workflow builder that allows you to customize your customer experience using triggers and actions for email marketing automation.

Enhanced subscriber retention can be assured by integrating subscriber profiles with email addresses. Lead captures can be created using widgets triggering popups and embedded and hosted forms. It does this by using data collected from billions of user interactions on email, social networks, and web browsers. It then uses these insights to create personalized communication campaigns that are designed for the individuals who are most likely to convert.

With Drip, you can engage with customers in new ways to increase conversions on your website. They also have a chatbot feature where you can have a chatbot reply to customer questions, or have the chatbot send customers an automated email series like welcome series to introduce them to your business and products.



GetResponse is a marketing automation tool designed with simplicity in mind. It provides a variety of email marketing tools and strategies to help you achieve your success online. They have a builder that lets you create great newsletters. It also offers you the ability to create your own design, set the style of your content, and maintain lists of subscribers.

You can use this tool to make sure that your newsletter looks great on any device. It includes impressive automation tools as well that will help you with the most time-consuming processes in building a newsletter, such as keeping up with what's trending or keeping track of when your subscribers are opening your emails.

Beyond newsletters, GetResponse also has great list management features where you can build meaningful connections with potential customers. Once set up, it can collect and nurture leads by sending email sequences to your mailing list automatically.

Chapter 4

CRMs (customer relationship managers)

Ultimate Guide_Marketing Automation_4-04.png

Any successful marketing campaign requires you to be able to analyze your customers and understand what they need. This is where a CRM and marketing automation system comes into the picture. CRM stands for customer relationship management and its primary use is for contact management, but it does much more than that.

CRMs are software systems that allow you to manage, organize, and act on the information you collect about contacts in your organization. It is designed to help people manage customer interaction across multiple channels. CRMs also help with retention by capturing important customer data, analyzing it for patterns or trends, and then using that data to take targeted action.

You might think of CRMs as a tool for marketing departments operating in large organizations where contact information is centralized. But small business owners can also benefit from this technology by managing their customer interactions more strategically across all their touchpoints - both online and offline.

Before choosing a CRM, you'll want to ask yourself a few questions:

  • Who will use your CRM tools? 

  • How does the CRM fit in your sales cycle?

  • Will your CRM tools primarily be used for marketing? By a sales team? Both?

  • How much complexity do you need to get started? 

  • Which marketing channels are you using to talk to your audience? 

  • Will your CRM scale with you as you grow? 


A good CRM will enable you to manage and integrate customer information and marketing activities. Companies use CRMs to track potential leads, track sales, and identify new sales opportunities. This helps them stay in touch with their customers, through email or phone calls, for example.

A marketing automation solution working in conjunction with your CRM of choice can help you automate many aspects of lead nurturing and your overall lead management.



HubSpot is one of the best marketing automation platforms out there. It connects with businesses and customers of over 86,000 organizations throughout the globe. It helps you optimize your sales, service, and marketing activities. This powerful CRM platform offers your small business the following plethora of business growth tools you can freely use to grow your business with ease.

Some of the tools include, but are not limited to creating your own landing pages, email marketing, social media management, designing popups and chatbots, marketing campaigns, and lead scoring and lead nurturing.

HubSpot is a marketing automation platform that is well designed especially for smaller businesses that are actively growing their marketing business. Hubspot marketing unifies marketing strategies and results in more sales and more customers. It provides easy to edit site design with drag-and-drop functionality. It has the ability to create responsive websites whose layout is easy.

HubSpot's marketing software offers a free version but does not have all the bells and whistles. You'll likely need to upgrade to unlock some of its stand-out features. HubSpot's list-building process helps you manage your workflows. The program can shrink (or grow) your lists similarly to narrowing down your products on Amazon or eBay. A separate tag removal feature can extract contacts automatically from campaigns when they perform a certain action.



Keap is an all-in-one customer relationship management (CRM) software. It has everything professionals need to manage their most important relationships. Keap's pipeline and marketing automation keep you on top of what needs to be done - so you can spend less time on administration and more time doing what matters most.

Keap is a marketing automation solution that makes creating new sales or marketing strategies easy. You can save time by automating repetitive tasks like follow-ups and billing customer service contacts. Keap offers great project management features that help teams organize their projects, collaborate with other team members, and execute tasks.

Keap allows teams to collaborate on projects with one another and execute tasks without the need for traditional methods like email or document sharing. This makes it easier to keep track of what needs to be done, who is doing it right now, and when specific parts of the project are due. For example, you can quickly add new tasks with just a few clicks while also adding subtasks for each task. Ultimately, it will help save you time and simplify the task of managing your client relationships.



Pipedrive is a sales-focused customer relationship management tool that teams of all sizes love using. Pipedrive has a ton of free marketing tools on its free plan. The product is designed to integrate with just about any email service provider and CRM system and it has a Google-like interface with lots of white space, making it easy to work on even on small screens.

Their support team does a great job and is always quick in resolving any issues that you may have. One of the only downsides of Pipedrive is that it does not have a ton of integrations which makes it a bit difficult to tap into your marketing stack. That being said, we would recommend Pipedrive for smaller teams and SMBs.

Chapter 5


  • AdRoll

  • Marketo

  • Pardot

  • Criteo

Ultimate Guide_Marketing Automation_5-02.png

Retargeting is a marketing strategy that involves displaying ads (usually through social media marketing) for a product or service to people who have visited a website without buying anything. A retargeting campaign is built by setting up an advertising campaign on the advertiser's site, a social media platform, or an email marketing platform, then tracking purchases or other important actions visitors make on other sites that are part of the same network, then selecting which ads will be shown back to those visitors when they are browsing other websites in the network.

Retargeting is all about timing, in order to ensure that your advertisements have the best chance of being seen by a customer they need to be placed in the proper context. Retargeting software is designed with this goal in mind and can help you time when you place your ads so they are most likely to be noticed by potential customers. Retargeting platforms use pixels to serve certain ads based on the pages that people have visited on your site. So if someone visited your homepage, you would serve ads for one product whereas if someone visited an article page, you might serve them ads for something completely different.

Cookie-based retargeting tools track website visitors via pixels, which are added to a company’s website using JavaScript. These pixels collect data on the page that was originally visited and send it to the retargeting company's servers. Retargeting companies use this data to determine when someone has left their site and what they originally came in search of. Retargeted users receive advertisements in the form of banners or text-based ads, through email, in-app notifications, or by having certain products recommended to them on other sites that they visit.

Retargeting is a digital marketing technique that can be used to send targeted ads to people who have previously visited your website. It is an effective way of reaching the maximum number of potential customers with minimal investment. Retargeting software helps companies serve display ads across the internet to users who have previously visited their website. It can even target those people based on demographics, interests, and browsing history. A good retargeting tool can help you focus your advertising budget on people who have already engaged and are already familiar with your brand.



Adroll is a great tool for retargeting via social media marketing to the right audiences. It provides both retargeting pixel installation for publishers' ad platforms as well as campaign management services for advertisers. Adroll offers a wide range of products that are tailored to the different needs of advertisers. From pixel installation to campaign management, these products are designed to make advertising easier, more effective, and more scalable.

AdRoll enables advertisers to reach more customers via re-engagement campaigns on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media channels. Key features include their advanced segmentation, transparent data analytics, and expertly crafted analysis of conversions. AdRoll offers a free plan that has limited features or you could purchase a growth plan that comes at ~ $19 a month. You can make custom experiences that dramatically improve your marketing efficiency with AdRoll.

It also empowers D2C brands to strengthen relationships with existing customers and acquire new ones. The company's mission is to empower marketers across all channels to deliver personalized, relevant messages that result in meaningful interactions. The platform has an excellent user interface, where the data is clear and easily accessible.



Marketo is a tool that makes your customer experience better. They are a cloud-based tool for businesses big and small to build customer relationships. Marketo allows you to create landing pages to convert your prospects. The tool also lets you drive more revenue through lead management, mobile marketing, and more than other marketing tools for maintaining your relationship with customers.

The challenge your team likely faces are that everyone today expects a personalized experience whenever they interact with a company. Marketo allows you to make sure that your customers always get the personalized experience they deserve. The best feature in our experience is that it tracks customer preferences and shows the right content based on those preferences.



Pardot's functionality is designed to improve workflow creation when created. You can test an automatic program's reaction to an e-mail request. It provides an online marketing solution that aims to increase sales through a combination of analytics and mobile technologies. It integrates CRMs, email marketing, contact development, lead scoring and survey scoring.. and rating.

Pardot can help you develop customized email lists, lead nurture, and score software applications for marketing teams and CRM. This complete package includes CRM, eCommerce, Marketing Automation, and Sales Automation.



Criteo is likely the most advanced retargeting platform, but also the most expensive. They are innovative in the space and provide lots of quick and reliable support. Criteo's dynamic retargeting evaluates each shopper's journey across thousands of publishers and devices in order to access purchase intent. It then predicts the optimal personalized offer to display on Facebook for maximum sales conversions – all in real-time.

Criteo continuously optimizes with machine learning. It can help shoppers find products they haven't seen yet. With Criteo, you can also grow your customer base and connect with shoppers across screens. One of the best features they have is the ability to tailor messages to personalize every element of your ads and craft experiences that convert more shoppers into buyers.

Chapter 6

Popups and chatbots

Ultimate Guide_Marketing Automation_6-02.png

A popup is a website overlay, a secondary window that temporarily overtakes the parent window and encourages the page visitor to take an action. Popups can be used to display information or messages that are not related to the main content on the page. They can be considered as a type of interstitial advertisement, which is used to promote products and services.

Popups have been around for over 20 years and have been used by companies big and small. They were created with a few purposes in mind: offer visitors information or experiences related to their queries, remind them of special offers or promotions, prevent abandonments before shopping carts are finalized, provide visitors with more options for contacting them online - among others.

Chatbots are marketing automation processes that use AI designed to simulate a conversation with humans. They allow people to get customer service without having to wait on hold. But they offer much more than that. Chatbots are becoming more and more popular in the consumer-facing world, but they can also be quite valuable in lead generation for your business (if used properly). They can assist in reducing obstacles standing in the way of a visitor becoming a qualified lead. Chatbot marketing automation workflows can offer a variety of solutions for your website visitors including, but not limited to:

  • Navigating your business’ website

  • Getting clear answers to simple questions

  • Alternatively, getting detailed answers or explanations

  • Resolving a complaint or a problem

  • 24-hour service

  • Getting an instant response

  • When someone lands on your pricing and/or product pages

  • When someone quickly bounces between several pages during a single visit

  • Offering gated lead magnet content (website lead generation)

  • Registering for a webinar or event (event lead generation)

  • Leading prospects to a sales demo call with you


Most of the time, when you hear the term “chatbot” it’s in reference to customer service - like when you call up an airline and get routed through their automated phone system before finally reaching a human operator. Chatbots are increasingly being used for marketing purposes - like when Sephora sent personalized messages to its Facebook fans about new products they might like.


HubSpot 2.png

We covered HubSpot earlier. It's a platform packed with oodles of fantastic features. In HubSpot, you can also create a "chat flow" with a bot to connect with your website visitors. It will emerge as a chat widget on your website where a visitor can start a chat. The chatbot can help with generating leads, booking meetings, or generating support tickets by sending a sequence of questions and automated replies. You can utilize your chatbot to collect initial information about the visitor before a member of your team takes over the conversation at their own pace.



Intercom’s customizable bots can automatically ask a small set of qualifying questions so that the visitor is ushered in the correct direction. Intercom provides you with the ability to see your entire teams' workflow and collaborate behind the scenes to create a better experience for both the user and your team. You can use live chat to engage new visitors straight away.

A welcome message on your homepage will actively encourage visitors to engage, so you can start more conversations. And when they do send a message, your support and sales teams can route them to the correct department. With Intercom, customers can see the names and profile pictures of the people they’re talking to, and the team can express themselves with playful gifs and emojis, allowing them to build long-lasting customer relationships.

Intercom has an easy-to-use interface, you can assign custom fields/tags and create user segments, has built-in AI & NLP, put your chatbot on your website and on your iOS/Android App, built-in live chat, has over 100 direct integrations, provides many marketing possibilities, eCommerce integrations, and really advanced analytics.

There are only three drawbacks of Intercom. Intercom can be a bit overwhelming, so don’t be surprised if it takes you some time to fully understand Intercom. Intercom provides many features and many marketing possibilities, which make it totally worth it to buy this chatbot builder. But, it could be the case that Intercom is too expensive, for example, when you don’t have enough users on your website or current customers.



Drift puts the customer at the heart of everything businesses do, using personalization and real-time conversations to make business buying frictionless, more enjoyable, and more human. They've coined the term 'conversational marketing'.

Drift tells you how buyers are engaging with your business so sellers can connect with target buyers in real-time, on the buyers’ terms. When real-time isn’t an option, sellers use this information to know where to focus their time and how to engage the buyer in a personalized way to win their business.

Drift will allow you to increase the number of meetings booked and gather some really strong insights. It is very easy to connect with customers and there is a strong adoption within the company that can serve as a great hub of information. Their playbook assistant is a great tool for updating underperforming playbooks and the conversation flow tab provides really interesting information as to where drop-off occurs. Visitor analytics continue to improve as well.

Chapter 7

Heat Mapping

Ultimate Guide_Marketing Automation_7-01.png

Heatmaps, also known as click maps and mouse movement heatmaps, are a visualization of user clicks on a webpage. Heatmaps are used to provide insight into how web visitors interact with content on the site, which is usually done by seeing where they click on your website. This tool reports on how web visitors behave when interacting within a singular web page on a website and it also provides insights into how they navigate throughout the website.

A heatmap can help you understand what users are trying to do, what they’re looking at, and where they’re hovering for periods of time. They can also be useful for understanding how ads are working out on your site or if there’s anything else you want to change about your design. These tools use colors to represent the density of clicks in that area.

Heatmaps can be used to identify problem areas on a webpage and make adjustments for increased conversion rates. Marketers use heatmaps to visualize where visitors click, hover, and scroll on a web page. The color represents the density of clicks in that area. Heatmaps can be used to identify problem areas on a webpage and make adjustments for increased conversion rates.



Hotjar provides product experience insights that show how users behave and what they feel strongly about, so product, sales, and marketing teams alike can deliver real value to them.

Hotjar is super-easy to understand, even for “non-techy users. It lets you see how users interact with your website and helps you to improve your conversion rate. Hotjar helps you investigate how users experience problems or issues on your website and is the perfect complement to Google Analytics.

Lucky Orange

Lucky Orange.png

Do you know why your visitors don't convert? Lucky Orange will help you answer the question of why 99% of visitors that visit your site never turn into customers.

It's one of those tools that will have you wondering how you ever lived without it. It provides you with visitor recordings, live chat, heat maps, form analytics, polls, and more.

Retargeting Tools
Popup & Chatbot Tools
Heat Mapping Tools

In Conclusion

Most businesses use marketing automation in some form or another. Companies that use some form of marketing automation usually report increased online interaction and engagement with clients, not to mention they are more efficient as well.

Benefits to getting your marketing automation started: increased revenue, helps you retain your customers, and creates a more personal relationship with them, provides information on marketing progress, and improves your marketing campaigns.

If you are in need of consultation on which marketing automation software to use, don't hesitate to reach out to Llama Lead Gen. We have 'been there and done that' and tested all of these software solutions and more, and can help to assist you in determining which products would be best for your business and marketing objectives.

Schedule a Call

Ready to take your digital

marketing efforts to the next level? 

Struggling to effectively and efficiently budget for your advertising campaigns? Save time, money, and resources by hiring Llama Lead Gen as your digital marketing expert.

bottom of page