Best Online Marketing Platform for Small to Medium Businesses

Recent research confirms that 71% of small and medium sized businesses who have a website, are using email as a marketing strategy, and report email marketing to be their primary source of online marketing after word-of-mouth referrals.

Other research suggests that the highest performing small businesses are quicker to adopt technology into their tasks. When small businesses avoid using technology to improve, its due to:

  1. Cost
  2. Needing to learn how to use software
  3. Not being sure of whether specific technology will work for their business

So this post will directly address these three aspects with regards to finding the best online marketing platform for your small to medium sized business, and the software we’ll analyze is GetResponse, HubSpot and Marketo.

GetResponse vs. HubSpot vs. Marketo

Because all three offer different packages with different pricing and features, to be fair, we’ll take a look at all three entry-level options:

  • For GetResponse, it’s the Pro package.
  • For HubSpot, it’s their Basic package.
  • For Marketo, it’s the Spark package.

What can an online marketing platform do for you?

To answer this question effectively, we have to understand the elements of online marketing, and the best way to do that is with a picture. 360 Digital illustrates online marketing like this:

Digital strategy

Image Credit: 360Digital

The five main areas of your digital marketing strategy should include:

  1. Social media
  2. Content marketing
  3. SEO optimization
  4. Email marketing
  5. Branding

Now, there are online tools that can be used for all of these five areas, but using different tools to do different things can get costly, and won’t provide a complete view. To boot, you will probably struggle to keep track of everything manually and may need to put in serious effort to stay on top of things.

Online and marketing automation platforms like GetResponse, HubSpot and Marketo combine all the functions you need to work from one dashboard, on all your online activities.

But. These tools are not all equal in terms of functionality, so before taking the proverbial plunge, you need to do your homework – which is what you’re doing by reading this post, right?

Let’s get cracking on what each one can offer you:

Factor #1: Cost

GetResponse is the most affordable option, followed by HubSpot and lastly, Marketo.

For the entry level options for all three online marketing platforms, it will cost you:

  • $49 per month for GetResponse Pro
  • $200 per month for HubSpot Basic, plus an on-boarding fee of $600
  • $895 per month for Marketo’s Spark

I would recommend that cost not be the deciding factor, but that your marketing strategy would determine your choice, because your business may be in the infant stages of online marketing, whereas another may already be quite advanced in their activities, and it’s your strategy which determines success, not the tool.

If you’re a complete online marketing newbie, first get ideas to create a marketing strategy, before you even consider using an online marketing platform.

Because the tool only allows you to carry out your strategy by costing less and giving your business better results while reducing the time you spend on digital marketing activities. It does not think for you from a strategic point of view.

Comparison of functionality




Visual workflows editor






Segmentation and Tagging




WWW traffic tracking



Cart Abandonment


Customer journey analysis


Funnel Analysis



Content Personalisation






Main differences

Workflow automation

GetResponse offers visual workflow automation and the other two don’t, although both HubSpot and Marketo provide workflow automation that is a little more difficult to use.

Cart abandonment

GetResponse is the only tool to offer cart abandonment process creation.

Customer journey analysis

HubSpot and GetResponse offer customer journey analysis, whereas Marketo does not.

Website traffic tracking

GetResponse and HubSpot offer website tracking, but Marketo does not.

Funnel analysis

Provided by HubSpot and Marketo but not by GetResponse.

Content personalization

Offered by all excluding GetResponse.


Webinar software only provided by GetResponse and Marketo.

Factor #2: Simplicity of use

GetResponse wins this one first hand, because the dashboard is very visual, and even an extreme online marketing newbie would be able to make sense of what to do, fast. Don’t take my word for it; here’s a screenshot of the dashboard:

GetResponse dashboard screenshot

The same style is duplicated throughout all the features. For instance, this is how you’d create your visual workflows:

GetResponse visual workflow screenshot

In comparison, although HubSpot is a lot more dull-looking, it’s easier to use than Marketo’s, which is also a lot more boring looking than GetResponse.

Looks aside, GetResponse is the simplest software to use, followed by HubSpot. According to some of their customers, Marketo could do with some adjustments.

Factor #3: Will it work for you?

Worry over whether technology will work for your business is the third barrier to small businesses taking the plunge.

From this post, you should now have a good idea whether one of these online marketing tools will work for you.

The last piece of advice I can give to you, is this: any of these tools act as a way to implement your marketing strategy. If your strategy is crap, the tool won’t help you, but if your strategy is good, the tool will make it work, and make it work well.


Research shows that high performing small companies use technology to grow, but most small and medium sized businesses shy away from technology due to:

  • Affordability
  • Lack of time to learn how to use software
  • Not knowing if it will make things better or not

This post directly addressed those aspects, to provide a clear understanding of whether you should take the plunge or not. For SMB’s, it does appear like GetResponse is the more suitable options, whereas big enterprise can probably opt for the others.