In today’s fast-paced digital world, marketing automation has become a game-changer for businesses of all sizes. It’s no longer a luxury exclusive to large corporations with hefty budgets, but a necessity for small businesses and creative entrepreneurs seeking to grow their ventures without burning out. But, is there a cost-effective solution for a marketing automation strategy? You bet. Let me share the different ways my clients are using affordable software and funnels to grow their prospects and leads list.

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Unleashing Your Potential with Cost-Effective Marketing Automation


“So I don’t have a large marketing budget with thousands to spend every month to market my business online. What options are available to me?”


Absolutely and I’m happy to share what’s been working for my CORE Brand Marketing clients over the last several years – who all are in your same situation. I’ve never worked with anyone who had an endless budget.

You want to make sure the investment you make is going to pay off. Totally get it! Same here.

So I guess my initial questions would be…

  • What is your product? Is it something you ship? Digital product, online course, coaching or service?
  • What marketing tools are you using now? Do you have a website, email marketing software you’re paying for, blog, social media scheduler, etc?
  • What parts of a funnel do you already have built or have started? Newsletter opt in, lead magnet opt in, any automated welcome emails?

All of those mentioned items are going to matter when talking price of setting up your marketing automation.

Understanding Marketing Automation

Before delving into the specifics of what you need the tools available, let’s clarify what marketing automation is. In essence, it involves using software or tools to automate repetitive marketing tasks such as email marketing, social media posting, and ad campaigns. This not only saves you valuable time but also improves efficiency, ensuring your marketing efforts are consistent and timely.

Now, onto the big question: How can businesses, particularly creative entrepreneurs and small business owners, leverage marketing automation without breaking the bank?

7 Goals of Marketing Automation For a Creative Entrepreneur

The goal of using marketing automation, such as my Profit Pipeline™ method, is to streamline and optimize your marketing efforts, allowing you to focus more on your core business activities – in this case, creativity.

Here are some specific objectives:

  1. Efficiency: By automating repetitive tasks like email marketing, social media posting, and lead generation, you save valuable time that can be better spent on content creation or strategic planning.
  2. Consistency: Marketing automation ensures that your marketing activities happen regularly and consistently, even when you’re busy with other aspects of your business. This helps maintain a consistent brand presence and keeps your business top-of-mind for potential customers.
  3. Personalization: Automation tools can segment your audience based on their behavior and preferences, allowing for targeted, personalized communication that resonates more effectively with each group.
  4. Data Collection and Analysis: Automation tools can collect and analyze data on customer behavior, campaign performance, and more. This valuable insight can inform future strategies and help you understand what’s working and what’s not. My fav tool for this is
  5. Lead Nurturing: Automated workflows can nurture leads through the sales funnel without manual intervention, increasing conversion rates and improving customer relationships.
  6. Scalability: As your business grows, so does the amount of marketing work. Automation allows you to handle an increasing workload without extra effort or manpower, making scalability easier.
  7. Cost-effectiveness: By reducing manual labor and increasing efficiency, marketing automation can help reduce costs and increase return on investment (ROI).

In essence, the goal of using a marketing automation strategy is to make marketing more effective and efficient, ultimately leading to increased sales and business growth. It’s about working smarter, not harder to automate your growth as a creative business!

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The Elements Needed for Your Marketing Automation Strategy

So let’s say you are going to use content marketing (Youtube Videos, Blog, and/or Social Media) to attract new prospects and create awareness to your brand.

Then you’ll have a newsletter/email list and a lead magnet (quiz, webinar, checklist, etc) that will convert as many of these prospects into leads as possible.

With these leads now on your email list – you will use welcome sequences and sales sequences to nurture your list and make sure they know your offerings and how you can serve them best.

Breakdown of what you’ll need:

  • Website – (see below for options)
  • Blog – (see below for options)
  • Social Media (Optional scheduling software – I use Later.)
  • Email Marketing Software – (see below for options)
  • Lead Magnet – (Canva, Kapwing, or whatever editing tools needed)

Choosing Marketing Automation Software: 4 Cost-Effective Solutions

When it comes to choosing software for your website, blog, and email marketing – there are a TON of options. But there are just a handful I recommend to my clients after testing dozens over the past ten years.

1. Kajabi

This is an all in one – and can handle website, online courses, digital products, online community, podcast, blog, coaching, email marketing automations, forms, and affiliates.

For the price people assume it’s the most expensive but it’s not when you take into effect their prices include 10,000 email contacts. This is where other platforms will get you quickly as your list grows.

Here’s the Kajabi pricing page to learn more. (affiliate link)

This is the platform I personally use. It’s where I started ten years ago and it’s where I came back to in 2023.

2. Podia

This is also an all in one – and can handle website, online courses, webinars, community, digital products, blog, coaching, email marketing automations, forms, and affiliates.

You will have to sort through their pricing page because their email marketing is an add and many other options are only on highest plans – so while their monthly price seems the lowest if you use them for email you’ll quickly double monthly payments when your list grows.

Here’s the Podia pricing page to learn more. (affiliate link)

3. MailerLite

While this software isn’t all in one – if you have just a few offers that do not need a course platform – this is a great solution that is very user friendly for beginners.

So they offer website, blog, forms, Stripe integration to sell digital offers/products, and email marketing automations.

They even offer a basic free plan that holds up to 1,000 email contacts. But even the advanced plan with under 1,000 contacts is just $30 a month.

Here’s the MailerLite pricing page to learn more. (affiliate link)

4. WordPress

I still believe WordPress is king for bulk blog publishing so that’s why I do have my blog with them on a seperate domain. Which is what this article you. are reading right now it published on.

But you can also host a website and blog with a WordPress option.

I know there are other plugins you can use to add on a course platform to WP – I really don’t suggest it. There are other platforms with email marketing that can better equip you with what you need.

So if you do plan on publishing hundreds of blogs – having them sit on WP with a host such as Bluehost or WPengine for $30/month isn’t a bad idea.

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Setting Up Your Marketing Automation Strategy

So while there are options for software out there that can cost you anywhere from $0-$300 a month it really depends on your offer, what you have in place already, and attraction strategy.

But just don’t skimp and NOT build your entire funnel. Use all the elements and set it up right from the start. You will save so much time and effort doing it right!

Need help setting up your funnel? Lead Drip 365 is for you.

Related Article: Top of Funnel Marketing: The Best Kept Secret to Attracting Customers to Your Creative Business

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