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Just eight months ago, David Edmond began using a marketing automation tool and says it has made a huge difference in the functioning of his practice.

“It allows me to build credibility and trust, and it familiarizes the prospect with my brand," says Edmond, founder of Atlanta-based Edmond Financial Group, who represents several different insurance companies and uses Santa Barbara, California-based tool Ontraport every day.

He likes its features, such as SMS text messaging, customer relationship management system, color postcards, Facebook integration, and the capability to create membership areas for clients.

“Over time, prospects get to know, like and trust me because of the education and value they receive through [the platform],” Edmond says.

Chandler, Arizona-based Infusionsoft offers another popular software marketing platform offer all-in-one automation tools for small businesses.

Both of these platforms “combine the power of CRM, e-commerce, affiliate tracking, and sophisticated automation into one affordable platform,” says Sarit Neundorf, who is a certified consultant for both systems and has used both in training courses.

Like every marketing automation tool, each platform has pluses and minuses.

For example, Ontraport recently successfully developed and integrated innovations onto its platform, while Infusionsoft lacks several popular features out of the box, which then need to be added on at extra cost, Neundorf says.

Dan Cuprill, a CFP and the creator of Advisor Architect, a business training program for advisors and president of financial advisory firm Matson & Cuprill in Cincinnati, says that he uses Infusionsoft in his training sessions.

“In addition to being a CRM, which stores all pertinent client data, it allows us to conduct multiple marketing and client retention campaigns,” he says. “We can also use it to reduce work for our staff. When someone does book an appointment, [the platform] sends emails that not only confirm and remind the client but also sends the meeting agenda and directions."

“We also use the system to register and confirm attendance to our workshops,” he says.

Experts in the industry advise that before landing on a marketing automation tool, watch a demo before making an investment and make sure your questions about it are answered.

This story is part of a 30-30 series on how technology is changing your practice.

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