Essential Marketing Software for Startups to Gain Critical Mass

May 16, 2021

When you’re a startup, just surviving your first few years can be a major accomplishment and reaching critical mass can help you get there. Learn the formula for using the right martech stack for your startup in this article.

Andrew ConradSr Content Writer
Essential Marketing Software for Startups to Gain Critical Mass

Having the right tool for the job is crucial, whether you’re trying to change a flat tire or launch a startup. But when the job is trying to guide your new business through the first several years to reach critical mass, selecting the right tool isn’t as simple as grabbing your jack and lug wrench and getting on with it.

With thousands of business software tools to choose from, picking the right software for your startup can be daunting.

According to our recent GetApp “Marketing Technology Survey” of more than 200 startup leaders (you can find our survey methodology at the end of this article), half (50.4%) are focused on simply gaining their footing and surviving as a business. The same survey revealed that only 58% of those startups said that their martech stack fully meets their business needs, despite the fact that they cited improved customer engagement, more precise audience targeting, and more effective campaigns as common martech benefits.

In other words, more than half of all startups are just trying to stay afloat and reach critical mass, but less than 60% are effectively using the martech that can help get them there. So where is the disconnect between the business value that marketing technology can and should be providing, and those startups that are not having their needs met? It could be because they’re not using the right tools.

In this article we’ll look at the three most effective marketing tools according to startup leaders, along with top products in each category based on real user reviews.

Essential marketing software for startups

According to the startup leaders that we surveyed, the top three most effective martech tools for achieving their marketing goals are:

  • A/B testing

  • Web analytics

  • Customer relationship management software

Below, you’ll learn how each of those tools can help your business and discover the three leading products in each category based on GetApp’s Category Leaders.

Let’s get started.


A/B testing supercharges campaigns for increased engagement

In the context of a martech stack, A/B testing is used for testing two different versions of a landing page, marketing email, or some other type of marketing collateral to see which of the two performs better with a given audience.

For example, an A/B test might reveal whether a CTA button gets more clicks on the top of a page or on the bottom of a page. A/B testing can help your business increase traffic, improve conversion rate, and limit resources wasted on poorly performing content.

A/B testing is commonly included with marketing automation platforms rather than sold as a standalone tool, so the options we’ll look at below are the top three products in GetApp’s Category Leaders for Marketing Automation listed in alphabetical order.


Category Leaders score: 98/100

Reviews: 65+


Designing a web form in EngageBay (Source)

EngageBay is a California-based marketing automation platform that includes lead generation, email marketing, social media engagement, CRM tools and more. It was launched in 2018.

With EngageBay, users can automate the A/B testing process by setting criteria for email campaigns and then watch the results come in.

Pricing: EngageBay is free for up to 1,000 contacts and 1,000 branded emails per month. A/B testing is included in the Growth plan, which starts at $24.99/user/month for up to 20,000 contacts and branded emails per month. EngageBay offers a 20% discount for an annual commitment or a 40% discount for a biennial commitment.

Learn more about EngageBay and read authentic user reviews here.


Category Leaders score: 95/100

Reviews: 440+


A/B testing in Omnisend (Source)

Omnisend is a marketing automation tool designed for eCommerce. It’s built around email marketing and is designed for businesses of all sizes. Launched in 2014, Omnisend has offices in the U.S., U.K., and Lithuania, with more than 50,000 customers worldwide.

A/B testing in Omnisend allows users to send out two different versions of an email to a small percentage of their mailing list. Omnisend will automatically send the email that receives the higher click-through rate to the remaining subscribers.

Pricing: Omnisend is free for up to 15,000 emails per month, but A/B testing is only included in paid plans, which start at $16/month. Omnisend offers discounts for an annual subscription.

Learn more about Omnisend and read authentic user reviews here.


Category Leaders score: 94/100

Reviews: 90+


A/B test results in Remarkety (Source)

Remarkety is an email marketing platform designed for eCommerce and launched in New Jersey in 2012. It uses predictive analytics to help users launch precisely targeted campaigns.

Remarkety offers two different types of A/B testing: newsletters and automations. Newsletters allow users to test variations on a one-time email broadcast, while automations allow teams to see how changes affect an email campaign over time.

Pricing: Remarkety starts at $25/month for up to 500 contacts. A/B testing is included in all Remarkety plans.

Learn more about Remarkety and read authentic user reviews here.

Web analytics uncovers visitor behavior and preferences

Web analytics tools help businesses gain insight into how visitors interact with their website, from how long they stay and which pages they visit, to what they click on and when they provide information (such as signing up for an email distribution list). These tools can also provide insight beyond your business' website such as how competitor’s websites are performing, which keywords are driving the most search volume, and more.

Web analytics tools can be especially helpful for startup leaders who are trying to grow their online footprint. A website that looks good, provides useful content, and effectively attracts visitors and potential customers is crucial for getting your business off the ground and building momentum. These web analytics tools can provide invaluable insight into what is working and what needs to be tweaked until you get the formula just right.

Let’s dive into the top three products in GetApp’s Category Leaders for Web Analytics, listed in alphabetical order.


Category Leaders score: 99/100

Reviews: 95+


A custom dashboard in AgencyAnalytics (Source)

Launched in 2009, AgencyAnalytics is a Toronto-based reporting solution designed for marketing agencies. It includes tools for keyword tracking, SEO auditing, backlink monitoring, social analytics, automated reporting, and more.

A key feature in AgencyAnalytics is the customizable dashboard. It allows teams to select which numbers are tracked and the ability to include their own business logo before sharing with clients.

Pricing: AgencyAnalytics starts at $49/month for up to five client campaigns. The Agency plan is $149/month for up to 15 client campaigns and adds additional features like client messaging and task management. AgencyAnalytics offers a 20% discount on annual plans.

Learn more about AgencyAnalytics and read authentic user reviews here.

Lucky Orange

Category Leaders score: 96/100

Reviews: 60+


The main dashboard in Lucky Orange (Source)

Lucky Orange is a conversion optimization suite designed for businesses of all types and sizes. It has been operating out of Kansas City since 2012.

Lucky Orange includes a real-time dashboard that allows your marketing analytics team to see exactly how many visitors are on your site at any given time and where they’re visiting from.

Pricing: Lucky Orange starts at $10/month for two users and up to 25,000 page views on one site. The Small Business plan is $20/month and allows four users, three sites, and 60,000 page views. Lucky Orange has more plans for increased capacity, and offers discounts for annual (10%) and biennial (30%) subscriptions.

Learn more about Lucky Orange and read authentic user reviews here.


Category Leaders score: 95/100

Reviews: 115+


The main dashboard in Smartlook (Source)

Based in the Czech Republic, Smartlook is a qualitative web analytics tool used by more than 200,000 businesses of all types and sizes around the world.

Key features include heat maps, which show you exactly where visitors are clicking and scrolling on your site, and automatic event tracking, which lets you know how often visitors do specific things, like clicking on a CTA button.

Pricing: Smartlook has a limited-feature free version for up to 1,500 sessions per month. The Startup plan adds many features and sessions for $31/month. There is also a Business plan with more features and sessions for $79/month.

Learn more about Smartlook and read authentic user reviews here.

CRM software drives customer engagement and reach

CRM software is essential for any business that works with customers. It helps businesses build a database of current and prospective clients, track interactions with consumers, and more to gain a critical customer base. While almost any business can benefit from CRM software, the startup leaders we surveyed found it especially effective for helping them reach their marketing goals.

Key CRM features that startups can use to grow effectively include lead generation, workflow automation, and pipeline management.

As a startup leader in your first few years of operation, building a strong relationship with your early customers is vital to generating repeat sales and word-of-mouth advertising. Your CRM system will become the foundation of your customer relationships, and you need something that is easy for your salespeople to use and adopt.

Check out the top three products in GetApp’s Category Leaders for CRM listed in alphabetical order below.

Less Annoying CRM

Category Leaders score: 99/100

Reviews: 400+


The main dashboard, called Workspace, in Less Annoying CRM (Source)

As the name indicates, Less Annoying CRM set out to be an easy to use CRM. It launched in San Francisco in 2009 before relocating to St. Louis five years later, and has always kept its focus on maintaining a simple, easy-to-use CRM for small businesses.

Key features include a centralized calendar that integrates with Google, permission-based collaboration, and customizable fields.

Pricing: Less Annoying CRM has a simplified pricing plan of $15/user/month. That includes all features and free phone and email support.

Learn more about Less Annoying CRM and read authentic user reviews here.


Category Leaders score: 93/100

Reviews: 115+


The Accounts overview in Salesflare (Source)

Salesflare is a Belgian CRM launched in 2014 with the mission to do away with manual data input. In line with this mission, Salesflare bills itself as a “zero-input sales pipeline tool” that fills out your address book for you, pulls data from social media, websites, and contact lists, and presents it to the user in automated customer timelines.

Key features include an email sidebar view that allows users to work with Salesflare without leaving their email inbox, and personalized, automated email sequences.

Pricing: Salesflare starts at $35/user/month. For $55/user/month, the Pro plan adds user permissions and more. Salesflare offers discounts on annual subscriptions.

Learn more about Salesflare and read authentic user reviews here.


Category Leaders score: 92/100

Reviews: 75+


Today’s Tasks view in VipeCloud (Source)

VipeCloud is an all-in-one sales and marketing CRM designed for businesses of all sizes. It is based in Silicon Valley (Palo Alto) and celebrated its 10-year anniversary in 2021.

Key features in VipeCloud include engagement-based segmentation, ROI tracking, and lead scoring.

Pricing: VipeCloud starts at $25/month for up to 2,000 contacts and 10,000 monthly emails for one user. For $50/user/month, the Pro plan allows up to 10,000 contacts and 30,0000 monthly emails per user for up to 10 users. The Pro plan also adds automation, custom fields, phone support, and more. There are additional plans for teams that need more capacity, and there are discounts for annual subscriptions.

Learn more about VipeCloud and read authentic user reviews here.

Looking to add more to your martech stack?

The three marketing software tools we outlined above are the most effective in helping startup leaders reach critical mass, but they are far from the only ones. Here are the next three marketing tools that startup leaders also found to be quite effective according to our survey:

  • Multi-touch attribution (or conversion tracking) to determine which parts of your marketing campaigns are most effective at acquiring customers.

  • Social media marketing to help your business market more effectively across your social media channels.

  • Content marketing software to help your business publish and manage all of your content marketing collateral.


GetApp’s 2021 Marketing Technology Survey was conducted February 18-25, 2021 among 238 respondents to learn more about the use of marketing technology tools by startups. Respondents were screened for leadership positions at startups in healthcare, IT services, marketing/CRM, retail/eCommerce, software/web development, or AI/ML.

GetApp’s marketing technology stack effectiveness question included all of the following choices (listed here in order of effectiveness according to weighted scores): A/B or multivariate testing, web analytics, customer relationship management (CRM), multi-touch attribution, social media marketing, content marketing platform, mobile marketing platform, website builder tools, customer data platform (CDP), search marketing (SEO/SEM), personalization platform, consent and preference management, marketing automation software, survey/customer experience platform, content management system (CMS). multichannel marketing platform, email marketing platform, online video advertising, employee advocacy tools.

About the author

Andrew Conrad

Sr Content Writer
Andrew Conrad is a senior content writer at GetApp, covering business intelligence, retail, and construction, among other markets.

As a seven-time award winner in the Maryland, Delaware, D.C. and Suburban Newspapers of America editorial contests, Andrew’s work has been featured in the Baltimore Sun and PSFK. He lives in Austin with his wife, son, and their rescue dog, Piper.
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