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Marketing campaigns get more complex by the day.
Which… is great news for the consumer experience but a nightmare for you as a marketing manager handling thousands of moving parts (and countless employees) on a daily basis.
To put it lightly, there’s a lot going on behind the scenes.
Especially complex technical challenges that most consumers and employees will never see or fully understand.
But thankfully more and more automation tools are popping up to make your life a bit easier.
However, that means choosing the best marketing automation software for your business and team is harder than its ever been.
From enterprise-grade solutions to the most affordable options, my team and I have researched, tested, and used just about every software you can imagine. And I can honestly say… that’s not an exaggeration.
But the good news is that I narrowed it down to my top six recommendations, reviewed them, and developed an all-inclusive list of what to consider when making your final decision.
The top 6 options for marketing automation software
- Freshmarketer – best for small to midsize businesses
- Pardot by Salesforce – best for B2B companies
- ActiveCampaign – best for email marketing automation
- Acoustic – best for enterprise multi-channel marketing automation
- HubSpot – best for sales, customer service, and marketing automation
- Act-On – best for marketing agencies
How to choose the best marketing automation software for you
I stand behind all of my top recommendations. However, choosing the right one for you isn’t always easy because it depends on various factors.
So, before we dive in, let’s talk about how to narrow things down and find the best marketing automation software for your business.
Type of business
B2B businesses have different marketing needs than D2C companies.
Furthermore, marketing agencies present a new set of marketing automation challenges. Because of that, specialized software may be necessary to meet your specific needs at a reasonable price point.
The size of your business matters too. Large companies run complex, massive-scale campaigns and have bigger pockets. So, small business tools aren’t a good match.
However, smaller companies will probably find enterprise-grade features confusing and wildly out of budget, which is why those small business tools exist in the first place.
So, pay attention to who the software is built for when making your final decision.
Number of contacts
Most pricing plans depend on the number of contacts or leads you have. The larger your list, the more you need to pay to maintain it and stay in touch with them.
If you have tens or hundreds of thousands of contacts, enterprise-grade solutions are probably more cost-effective. However, that’s not the case if you have a few hundred or even a few thousand leads on your list.
Just be sure to keep this in mind and remember that specific plans may limit the maximum number of contacts you can have.
And if you hit those limits, you’ll need to upgrade to a higher plan or pay an extra fee.
Your marketing channels
Different marketing automation software supports various marketing channels.
And there’s no one-size-fits-all solution.
From SMS and email marketing to social media and push notifications, it’s crucial to choose a software that handles everything you need.
Smaller businesses with simple campaigns may not utilize a wide range of channels and can get away using a more affordable tool.
However, large businesses with complex campaigns spanning numerous channels need something more robust to manage all the moving parts.
Furthermore, some software includes varying channels in different pricing tiers. So, you may start on one level and need to move up to gain access to more marketing channels. Or you may need to move to (or integrate) a new tool altogether.
It may help to map out your upcoming campaigns and decide which channels you plan to use.
Automation is at the heart of every tool on this list. But some offer more advanced automation features than others.
Do you need to score leads and prospects? Maybe you want to combine SMS, email marketing, and Facebook ads in the same customer journey. Or perhaps you need the ability to send hyper-targeted emails on autopilot.
Regardless of the complexity of your campaigns, don’t forget to consider:
- Split A/B testing
- Automated email campaigns
- Event and website tracking
- Contact management
- Visual customer journey mapping
- Automated segmentation and personalization
- Prospect and lead scoring
- Dynamic content
- Transactional emails
- AI-powered recommendations
- Action and logic-based triggers
- Reporting and analytics
You may not need all of them, and some tools don’t include them. So it’s critical to understand what you need (and don’t need) before making your decision.
It’s not uncommon for marketing automation software to include a handful of features typically found in a CRM tool, like live chat or customer support capabilities.
Before making a final decision, it’s essential to understand which additional features you need to fill the gap between marketing and sales or customer service.
You may already have these systems in place. So, you won’t need these additional features. But if you don’t, you might be able to save money, hassle, and time by choosing a software that includes everything you’re missing under one roof.
Hubspot is an excellent example of this.
It includes customer service, sales, and marketing automation tools in a centralized location to streamline data movement and foster automation across your entire business.
The different types of marketing automation software
Marketing comes in all shapes, sizes, and complexities.
From physical mailers and print campaigns to social media and email marketing, the best marketing automation software helps you build, automate, and optimize all types of marketing campaigns.
Marketing automation software is often confused with customer relationship management (CRM). However, the two aren’t the same or interchangeable.
CRM software focuses on sales activities, while marketing automation software focuses on marketing tasks. Going further, marketing automation software is for generating, nurturing, and qualifying leads.
On the other hand, CRM software is to close the sale and foster communications or relationships after the sale.
In a perfect world, the two systems play well together and create a seamless flow of data from your marketing team to your sales team.
Taking things further, there are numerous subsets of marketing automation software, including:
- Email marketing
- Social media marketing
- Advertising management
- SMS marketing
- Live chat
Each different tool is powerful on its own. But true marketing automation software lets you create and optimize customer journeys across marketing platforms for varying complexity campaigns.
#1 – Freshmarketer Review — The best marketing automation software for small to midsize businesses
Around here, we’re big fans of Freshworks (if you couldn’t tell).
Freshmarketer is their intelligent marketing automation platform built to help small to midsize businesses save time, attract the right people, nurture their audiences, and make more money.
It’s my #1 recommendation for most users—and for a good reason.
From awareness to retention, you get all the automation features you need to gain more leads, turn those leads into customers, and keep those customers around for life. All while doing less work with better results.
Plus, you don’t need any technical skills or a dedicated support team to get started. And it takes about a minute to get up and running.
You also get access to incredible features like:
- Email campaigns and contact management
- Visual drag and drop customer journey builder
- Website, form, and offline event tracking
- Conversion rate optimization tools
- A/B and split testing
- Advanced personalization
- Dynamic heat maps
- Audience segmentation
- Real-time funnel analytics
Furthermore, the software seamlessly integrates with Freshworks’ other tools, so it’s an excellent choice if you currently use or plan to use any of their business software.
You can try Freshmarketer on their limited free forever plan or a 21-day free trial of their paid plans, which are incredibly affordable and accessible for businesses of all sizes. However, they depend on the number of contacts you have, so keep that in mind.
Their plans include:
- Sprout — Free for up to 500 contacts with limited features
- Garden — $49 per month for 1,000 contacts (ideal for growing teams)
- Estate — $99 per month for 1,000 contacts (best for large teams)
Just remember the cost for each plan goes up after you max out your 1,000 contacts.
#2 – Pardot by Salesforce Review — The best marketing automation software for B2B businesses
As a B2B business, you market to other companies, which presents a unique set of marketing challenges. As such, you need a marketing automation tool built for the job.
Pardot exists to help B2B companies build relationships and turn those relationships into revenue. Plus, it’s a fantastic marketing automation software built around the world’s #1 CRM.
So, you know you’re in good hands.
From lead generation to sales alignment, the software offers a wide range of features, including:
- Dynamic content and data-based personalization
- Lead-nurturing email automations
- Prospect and lead scoring
- Visual multi-part automation creator
- Advanced segmentation
- Landing page builder
- Smart forms + drag and drop builder
- Social media scheduling, profiling, and analytics
- Lead activity tracking
- Campaign performance reporting
- Lifecycle and funnel reporting
- Pardot Einstein for lead and behavior scoring
Furthermore, over 2.8+ million worldwide users rely on Pardot for their marketing automation needs, making it one of the most popular platforms on this list.
But it is a bit expensive, so it’s best suited for larger businesses. Their paid plans include:
- Growth — $1,250/month for up to 10,000 contacts and basic features
- Plus — $2,500/month for up to 10,000 contacts with deeper automation + analytics
- Advanced — $4,000/month for up to 10,000 contacts with AI and all features
- Premium — $15,000/month for up to 75,000 contacts with supercharge features
They also offer a few add-ons that come free in the Premium plan. Those add-ons include Salesforce Engage ($50/user per month), Analytics Plus ($3,000/month), and Engagement History ($300/year).
All plans and add-ons are billed on an annual basis.
#3 – ActiveCampaign Review — The best for email marketing automations
Email is one of the most important aspects of digital marketing. All the tools on this list include email marketing in one form or another, but ActiveCampaign specializes in it.
So, it’s an excellent option if you want to hone in and focus on improving your email marketing strategy. It’s also a super affordable tool that includes numerous automation features for leads anywhere in your funnel.
With that said, they also offer omnichannel automation, including instant messaging and SMS, live chat, and Facebook.
So, you’re not limited to just email marketing automation with ActiveCampaign.
Their most popular features cover leads at every point in the funnel, including:
- Engage – Automation maps, site tracking, and subscription forms
- Nurture – List segmenting, dynamic/predictive content, and event tracking
- Convert – Contact and lead scoring, split actions, and win probabilities
- Support – Predictive sending, SMS, A/B split testing, and ecommerce
You can also set up numerous types of emails like autoresponders, targeted or triggered emails, broadcasts, scheduled emails, and automated funnels.
And you can design those emails using their intuitive drag and drop designer, or start from one of their 25+ pre-made mobile-responsive design templates.
Whether you’re just getting started or interested in scaling and optimizing your email marketing strategy, ActiveCampaign is an excellent choice. They offer everything you need to capture, nurture, and close leads at scale.
ActiveCampaign offers four plans, with the price of each starting at:
- Lite — $9 per month with up to three users
- Plus — $49 per month with up to 25 users
- Professional — $129 per month with up to 50 users
- Enterprise — $229 per month with unlimited users
Each tier includes more advanced features, and pricing is based on the size of your list, starting for up to 500 contacts.
So, keep in mind that you will have to pay more than the prices above as your list grows.
#4 – Acoustic Review — The best enterprise-grade multi-channel marketing automation software
Acoustic offers an array of marketing automation products for centralized cross-platform multi-channel marketing. From personalization and email campaigns to web content management and experience management, they offer something for everyone.
Acoustic Campaign is their marketing automation tool, encompassing mobile apps, push notifications, SMS, group chats, social media, ads, email, print campaigns, and more.
You can also combine this with Acoustic Personalization and Acoustic Analytics for a powerful combination of campaign management, data, and using that data to deliver the right message at the right time.
With Acoustic Campaign, you get access to powerful features, including:
- Drag and drop campaign builder
- Action, logic, and AI-recommended triggers
- Seamless mobile and digital channel campaigns
- Lead management and scoring
- Split A/B testing
- Customer journey mapping
- Planning and budgeting
- One-to-one ads and lookalike audiences
- Advanced personalization
- Reporting and analytics
Furthermore, they have a community forum where you can publicly ask questions. They also provide an online academy packed full of educational videos and training so you can get the most of your custom automation package.
Note: Acoustic is built for moderate to large volume campaigns with countless moving parts. So, it’s perfect for businesses managing complicated campaigns across numerous channels.
But it’s overkill for a lot of businesses and anyone running single-channel campaigns.
Pricing isn’t available online, and you have to schedule a consultation to learn more. So, keep in mind that you won’t be able to sign up and get started immediately.
#5 – Hubspot Review — The best sales, customer service, and marketing automation software
If you’re looking for an easy way to automate your sales, customer service, and marketing processes, Hubspot Growth Suite is an excellent and affordable solution.
And the best part? Hubspot goes beyond automating your business processes. It also helps integrate and optimize different departments in one centralized location, thus streamlining your entire business’s workflow.
This means teams don’t have to jump from software to software to get the information they need, and you can automate the data transfer process from one team to the next.
However, their marketing automation capabilities are powerful on their own, with features like:
- Blog post and SEO planning
- Ad tracking and management
- Social media management
- AI-powered live chat
- Email marketing
- Forms and landing pages
- Revenue attribution reporting
- Visual workflow builder
- Account-based marketing
- A/B split testing
- Predictive lead scoring
Hubspot offers basic features, like emails, landing pages, forms, and live chat capabilities for unlimited users absolutely free. So, you can try it out without spending a penny.
Alternatively, you can sign up for a free demo to see all of their advanced features in action.
The Growth Suite (sales, marketing, CRM, and customer service) starts at $50 per month for two users and up to 1,000 contacts, making it extremely affordable for most businesses.
But they also have advanced plans for larger and more complex campaigns, including:
- Professional — $1,275 per month for advanced features
- Enterprise — $4,200 per month for all features
Each 1,000 contacts after your initial 1,000 cost $16.67 per month. And you can add more users to your sales and service hubs for $8.33 per user/month.
Plus, if you’re a current member or alumni of Hubspot’s approved incubator, accelerator, or Venture Capital partners with a round of Series A funding under your belt, you can get up to 90% off your first year.
#6 – Act-On Review — The best marketing automation software for marketing agencies
As a marketing agency, you handle marketing campaigns for several clients (if not hundreds of them) at any given time. As such, you need marketing automation software with the ability to manage everything, including your own marketing campaigns, in one place.
And Act-On offers the perfect solution.
Their scalable software features unique child and parent campaign capabilities, meaning you can easily manage and handle all of your client accounts from a single Act-On login.
Plus, you can completely brand and customize everything to deliver custom reports to clients in just a few clicks.
With Act-On, you can learn more about your clients’ audiences to personalize and tailor their message to match. Not only does this make their life easier, but it also means your team can work less to produce better results.
When you sign up, you get access to powerful marketing features, including:
- Automated engagement programs
- Website and landing page tracking
- Customer/prospect scoring
- Behavior and demographic segmentation
- Pre-built email, form, and landing page templates
- Interactive reporting dashboards
Plus, you can build custom real-time analytic dashboards for internal and external use, so you and your clients always know what’s going on.
Furthermore, you can use this information to improve customer ROI, build better technology stacks, and optimize entire marketing campaigns on behalf of your clients. From lead gathering and nurturing to transferring contact information to sales, you’re in good hands.
Sign up for a free demo to learn more and get started today!
Wrapping things up
Freshmarketer is my top recommendation for most businesses. It’s built for small to midsize companies interested in automating their marketing processes to grow their businesses and save time.
Plus, it’s affordable, easy to use, and packed full of powerful automation features.
However, it’s not the perfect solution for everyone. So, don’t forget to use the criteria we talked about as you sort through finding the best marketing automation software for you and your team.
What are your favorite marketing automation tools?
As the most-viewed site globally, YouTube is a must-visit destination for marketers and content creators looking to increase audience reach.
While it is possible to optimize YouTube SEO to score top results, without an understanding of the YouTube algorithm, SEO alone won’t manifest videos on a potential viewer’s suggested video list.
YouTube’s product chief underlined the reality of the impact of suggested-to-watch videos in an interview, noting 70% of a user’s time spent on the platform was dictated by the company’s suggested video algorithm.
70%. That number is huge.
To truly execute a successful YouTube marketing strategy, improve organic reach, and take advantage of that massive percentage, you need in-depth familiarity with the unique YouTube algorithm. Here are nine ways to increase your organic reach on YouTube.
The YouTube Algorithm’s Evolution
What began as a venture capital-funded technology startup in 2006 is now our go-to spot for all things video.
Although YouTube itself has undergone significant changes over the past fifteen years, its algorithm has, by far, been its most dynamic feature.
Before 2012, YouTube charted video success by the number of views alone, regardless of the length of viewing. This singular YouTube algorithm led to a profusion of clickbait videos that relied upon misrepresentative headlines and thumbnails to earn views, with most audience members jumping ship immediately.
Later the same year, YouTube began measuring success through view duration, a metric that rewarded longer-viewed videos with increased search promotion.
Today, we still see the roots of the platform’s infancy in the current YouTube algorithm, which draws heavily on view duration as a component of a video’s ranking.
How Does the YouTube Algorithm Work?
While YouTube’s stated mission is to give everyone a voice and a window to explore the world, one of YouTube’s lower-ranking goals is to engage viewers for extended amounts of time, maximizing the number of advertisement interactions.
Why does this secondary goal matter? Because YouTube suggests videos that satisfy this goal of increased exposure to advertiser content.
YouTube uses an algorithm based on three main qualifiers: relevance, engagement, and quality.
To benchmark relevance, YouTube explores the pairing of title, description, tags, and content with an individualized search query.
Engagement aggregates the number of responses from users, including watch time, engagement, and frequency.
Quality rating is determined by a channel’s ability to demonstrate trustable authority.
In addition to these three qualifiers, YouTube’s algorithm also draws on a user’s historical views and a video-specific assigned score, one that weighs both novelty and frequency of channel uploads, among other attributes.
This combination of statistics allows YouTube to recommend videos that speak directly to a viewer’s interests, continuing a narratively static viewing material chain.
These videos will appear in six different locations on the YouTube platform:
- Search results
- Recommended Streams (as shown in the screenshot on the right side in the below screenshot)
- Channel Subscriptions
- Trending Streams
- YouTube Home Page
Much like any search algorithm, YouTube’s ranking system is in constant flux, evolving and adapting in an ongoing attempt to better define and satisfy user engagement.
How do I Improve my Organic Reach on YouTube?
Armed with a concrete understanding of how the YouTube algorithm works, it’s time to break down how you can harness your newfound knowledge to increase your organic reach.
1. Keywords and Metadata
YouTube made it explicitly clear in their algorithm explanation that content-relevant keywords, descriptions, captions, and tags all matter when you’re optimizing videos for search. Make sure you do your keyword researching using a tool like Ubersuggest to make sure you’re mentioning terms users are looking for.
By writing compelling, keyword-rich titles and descriptions, you increase your chances of attracting audience members’ attention and increasing your video’s search visibility.
Check out this post if you need to brush up on SEO basics.
2. Optimized Description
The quote “you never get a second chance to make a first impression” is true of YouTube just as much as life.
Ensure audience engagement by crafting attention-getting copy that not only attracts your potential audience but also harnesses your keywords’ power.
YouTube slants toward the verbose, advocating long descriptions, so don’t be afraid to go the extra wordy mile with them.
Although your prospective viewer will only interact with the first few lines of the description unless they select the “show more” option, those few short lines are valuable real estate when it comes to attracting your audience.
3. Video Transcription
Closed captions not only help those with accessibility needs, but allows users to watch videos in silence.
To make the most of closed captions, upload self-created subtitles. By uploading these yourself, you ensure that, when these captions are indexed for search, they are more accurate than automatically-generated ones, in many cases.
4. Whole-Video Views
Because YouTube ranks videos by engagement, longer watch times mean more opportunities to earn the coveted suggested video inclusion.
If you’re struggling with viewer attrition rates, you’re going to want to tighten focus on your videos’ first few seconds and ensure you:
- match the description with the first few seconds of video content, and
- snag a viewer with an impossible-to-ignore hook.
Don’t forget to study your audience retention graphs and pay attention to what those metrics are telling you.
These quick fixes help you further engage your audience, extending watch time, and earning your video a higher score via the YouTube algorithm.
5. Conversational Conclusions
Rather than simply ending your video, use various tactics to influence your audience’s next view.
By directing viewers to another video on your channel, you increase interaction and likelihood that they’ll return to interact with future content, both of which satisfy the YouTube algorithm’s engagement portion.
To direct your audience, use watermarks, end screens, and cards, all of which can be clicked and linked to your next video, ensuring continued viewing of your channel and content.
When viewers subscribe to your channel, you automatically increase your organic reach. To increase your number of subscribers, consistently create great content, videos viewers are dying to see.
While consistently creating great content may be easier said than done, it’s essential to building your channel. Create a channel trailer, reach out to influencers, and engage with all comments left on your videos.
If you’re looking for additional strategies to increase your subscribers, check out our YouTube Marketing Guide.
7. Serial Viewers
By crafting videos that continue a conversation, viewers are helpless to resist watching the next in the series.
To keep viewers on your channel, you can create playlists of videos with similar content: these are collections that will attract and sustain viewership.
8. Cross-Promote Content
Social channels are free advertising for your YouTube channel. Promote your videos on all your social accounts, website, and in your email marketing—anywhere you have an audience.
You can also publish a blog post with the video and a summary or transcription.
9. Actionable Analytics
These numbers don’t just exist to make you feel good; they tell you what’s working well and when, and to identify who is watching what and when.
Conversely, these numbers also tell you what isn’t working, which is inarguably the more influential insight. By identifying what isn’t working, you can try new strategies and content, attempting to delight your audience and improve your reach through different approaches.
By digging deep into YouTube analytics, you can unearth realities about your videos and your audience, allowing you to tailor your creation process to suit the needs of the audience you’re trying to reach.
With over one billion hours of video watched per day on YouTube, it’s undeniable content creators and marketers need to take advantage of the platform to curate and grow their audiences.
By understanding how YouTube suggests videos, content creators and marketers can make their videos work harder and use its nuances to your benefit.
How you changed how you upload videos to satisfy the YouTube algorithm?
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Listen in on the jokes only Bill’s audience got to hear.
Juan Manuel Correa has released a public statement for the first time since sustaining severe injuries in the crash that killed F2 driver Anthoine Hubert.
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Check Out the Best Credit Cards for Businesses
We checked out a ton of business credit cards, and did the research for you. So here are our preferences. Get the best credit cards for businesses just like yours.
Per the SBA, small business credit card limits are a whopping 10 – 100 times that of personal cards!
This reveals you can get a lot more cash with business credit. And it also shows you can have personal credit cards at retailers. So you would now have an extra card at the same shops for your small business.
You will not need collateral, cash flow, or financial data in order to get company credit.
Business Credit Card Advantages
Perks vary. So, make sure to select the benefit you like from this array of alternatives.
Credit Cards for Businesses with No Annual Fee
Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card by Citi
Consider filling your gas tank with the Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card by Citi.
This credit card earns cash back with every purchase. Earn 4% cash back on the first $7,000 spent on eligible gas purchases annually (1% after that). Earn 3% cash back at restaurants and on eligible travel purchases. Also, get 2% cash back at Costco and Costco.com. And earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Note: the $0 yearly fee is only for Costco members. And an active Costco membership is required. Cardholders will get access to damage and theft purchase protection, extended warranty coverage and travel accident insurance.
Also, there is no sign-up bonus offered with this card.
Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card
Look at the Ink Business Cash ℠ Credit Card. Businesses can get cash back with every purchase. Spend $3,000 in the initial three months from account opening. And you’ll get a $500 bonus cash back.
There is a $0 annual fee with a 0% introductory APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers. Afterwards, the APR is a 15.24 – 21.24% variable.
The card includes travel and purchase coverage benefits. So, this includes an auto rental collision damage waiver and extended warranty protection.
Earn additional cash back on business categories. So, these include office supply stores, telecommunications, gas stations and restaurants.
Note: this card has a balance transfer fee. Pay 5% of the amount transferred or $5, whichever is more. Also, there is a foreign transaction fee of 3%.
Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express
Another choice is the Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express.
This credit card is for those who stay at Starwood Preferred Guest and Marriott hotels often. Get six points per dollar of eligible purchases at participating SPG and Marriott Rewards hotels.
And get four points per dollar at US restaurants, US gas stations, and on American purchases for shipping.
Also, get four points to the dollar on wireless telephone services purchased directly from US service providers. For all other eligible purchases, earn two points per dollar.
Earn 75,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 in the initial three months of account opening. Benefits include free in-room premium internet access, Sheraton Club lounge access, and purchase protection.
Plus you get car rental loss and damage insurance. And you get baggage insurance. There is also a global assistance hotline. And there is a roadside assistance hotline. And get travel accident insurance and extended warranty coverage.
The biggest issue is the annual fee. There is a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then it’s $95 thereafter. Plus there is no 0% introductory APR. Instead, there is a 17.74 – 26.74% variable APR
Uber Visa Card
Check out the Uber Visa Card. Uber is the first ride-sharing service to offer a credit card, in a partnership with Visa and Barclays.
The card provides 4% back per dollar spent at restaurants, takeout and bars, including UberEATS. Also, earn 3% back on hotel, airfare and vacation home rentals. And get 2% back on online purchases.
So, this includes retailers and subscription services such as Uber and Netflix. And earn 1% back on all other purchases. Each percent/point has a value of 1 cent. Redeem points for cash back, gift cards or Uber credits directly within the app.
By spending a minimum of $500 in the first 90 days, users can earn a $100 sign-up bonus. Cardholders spending at least $5,000 annually are eligible to receive a $50 credit toward online subscription services.
If you pay your cell phone bill with this card, you are insured up to $600 for cellphone damage or theft.
Cardholders are eligible for exclusive access to certain events and offers. Uber anticipates the majority of these offers will be available in major cities like New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and DC. There is no foreign transaction fee.
But there is no introductory rate. The APR is a variable 16.99%, 22.74% or 25.74%, based on your creditworthiness. Cardholders with less than stellar credit will be on the higher end of the range.
Also, there are restrictions on Uber credits. To redeem points as credits in the Uber app, accumulate at least 500 points, or $5. Cardholders can convert a maximum of 50,000 points, or $500, in a given day.
Get it here: https://www.uber.com/c/uber-credit-card/
United MileagePlus Explorer Business Card
Get a good look at the United MileagePlus Explorer Business Card.
Get 2 miles/dollar with United and at restaurants, gas stations and office supply stores. All other purchases earn 1 mile/dollar. Earn a 50,000-mile sign-up bonus after spending $3,000 in the initial three months from account opening.
Benefits include priority boarding, a free first checked bag for you and a companion on the same reservation.
Also, get two United Club passes annually. And get hotel and resort perks including upgrades. On top of that, get early check-in and late checkout. And get an auto rental collision damage waiver.
Plus, get baggage delay insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, trip cancellation and interruption insurance. Finally, get trip delay reimbursement, purchase protection, price protection and concierge service.
After the first year, the card has an annual fee of $95. APR of 17.99% – 24.99%, based on creditworthiness.
Credit Cards for Businesses for Fantastic Travel Points
Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business
Be sure to check out the Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business card. With this card, you can earn 2 miles per dollar on all purchases. When you spend $4,500 within the first 3 months of opening an account, you can earn 50,000 miles. So, that is worth $500 in travel.
Benefits for cardholders include an auto rental collision damage waiver, and purchase security. And they also include extended warranty coverage. And you get travel and emergency assistance services.
Cardholders will pay $0 introductory for the first year. But they will pay $95 after that for the annual fee.
There is no 0% APR for purchases or balance transfers with this card. The APR is 18.74% (variable).
Establish business credit fast with our research-backed guide to 12 business credit cards and lines.
IHG ® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
Have a look at the IHG ® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card. it gets hotel rewards worldwide. For each dollar spent at participating IHG hotels, get 10 points. Earn two points per dollar spent at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants.
Plus all other purchases earn one point. New cardholders can earn an 80,000-point sign-up bonus when they spend $2,000 in the first three months of account opening.
This card provides a free one-night hotel stay annually. Plus there is a range of benefits like travel and purchase coverage and an upgrade to Platinum Elite status with the IHG Rewards Club. The club offers complimentary room upgrades when available and guaranteed room availability.
The most significant issue is that the card does not have a zero percent APR introductory rate. And the standard APR is 17.99 – 24.99% variable. Also, the annual fee is $89.
Get it here: https://creditcards.chase.com/a1/ihg/premiernaep
Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card
This card earns six points/dollar spent at participating Marriott and SPG hotels. And get two points/dollar on all other purchases.
Spend $3,000 in the first three months from account opening and get two free night awards (each worth up to 35,000 points).
Cardholders get access to perks including a free one-night stay every year after account anniversary. Also get travel and purchase protection. So, this includes free standard in-room Wi-Fi and priority late checkout.
Perks include baggage delay reimbursement, and lost luggage reimbursement. There is also trip delay reimbursement. And there is purchase protection. And also there are concierge service and automatic Silver Elite status, which includes a 20% bonus on points.
Spend $35,000 each account year, and be upgraded to Gold Elite status. So, that includes a complimentary room upgrade, free daily breakfast and 4 PM late checkout.
There is an annual fee of $95. The APR is a 17.99– 24.99% variable.
Get it here: https://creditcards.chase.com/marriott/apply
Credit Cards for Businesses with 0% APR – Pay Absolutely Nothing!
Bank of America® Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard® Credit Card
The Bank of America® Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard® credit card has no annual fee and comes with a 0% introductory APR on purchases for the first nine months. Thereafter, the card has a 13.24 – 23.24% variable APR
Earn 3 points/dollar spent when you book travel through the Bank of America Travel Center and 1.5 points/dollar on all other purchases. You can get unlimited points and points will never expire.
There is a 25,000-point sign-up bonus when you spend $1,000 within the initial 60 days of opening up the account. Cardholders get travel accident insurance, and lost luggage reimbursement.
They likewise get trip cancellation coverage, trip delay reimbursement and other advantages.
There is no introductory rate for balance transfers. Also, bonus categories are limited.
JetBlue Plus Card
Take a look at the JetBlue Plus Card for an additional offer of a 0% introductory APR
Earn six points/dollar on JetBlue purchases, two points/dollar at eateries and grocery stores. And get one point/dollar on all other purchases.
Spend $1,000 in the first 90 days and pay the yearly fee, and earn 40,000 bonus points. New cardholders receive a 12 month, 0% initial APR on balance transfers made in 45 days of account opening.
After that, the variable APR on purchases and balance transfers is 17.99%, 21.99% or 26.99%, based upon creditworthiness. Benefits include a free first checked bag and 50% savings on in-flight purchases.
There is a $99 yearly fee for this card.
Get it here: https://cards.barclaycardus.com/cards/jetblue-card/
Credit Cards for Businesses with Average Credit
Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business
For average credit, we like the Capital One Spark Classic for Business. It has no annual fee. There are cash-back rewards. The card gets an unlimited 1% cash back on all purchases. There is an annual fee of $0.
With this card, you will get benefits including an auto rental collision damage waiver, and purchase security. And you also get extended warranty coverage. And you get travel and emergency assistance services.
But REMEMBER: the ongoing APR is 24.74% variable APR. And the penalty APR is even higher, 31.15%. Also, there is no sign-up bonus.
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Credit Cards for Businesses for Low APR/Balance Transfers
Discover it® Cash Back
Have a look at the Discover it® Cash Back card. There is a 10.99% introductory APR for six months from date of first transfer. So, this is for transfers under this offer which post to your account by January 10, 2019.
After the introductory APR expires, your APR will be 14.99% to 23.99%. So, this is based on your creditworthiness. Your APR will vary with the market, which is based on the Prime Rate.
You can get 5% cash back at different places every quarter. So, these are establishments like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs. But this is up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. In addition, automatically earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
You will earn an unlimited dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you have gotten at the end of your first year, automatically.
Credit Cards for Businesses for Cash Back
SimplyCash Plus Business Credit Card from American Express
Look at the SimplyCash Plus Business Credit Card from American Express. There is a $0 annual fee. And there is a 0% APR on purchases So this is for the initial 15 months an account is open.
But when the introductory period runs out, the APR for purchases is 14.24 to 21.24%. So, this is variable and based on creditworthiness.
This credit card has numerous benefits. These include purchase protection, car rental loss and damage insurance. And they also include a baggage insurance plan, extended warranty coverage and a global assist hotline.
Also, earn 5% cash back at US office supply stores and on wireless phone services. So, these must be purchased from US providers. But this pertains to the initial $50,000 of yearly spending. Then, you earn 1% cash back.
You also get 3% cash back on spending category of your choice. So, this is from eight distinct categories. They include airfare, gas, advertising and computer purchases. But it applies to the first $50,000 of yearly spending. Then, you earn 1% cash back.
Cash-back bonuses are automatically credited to the customer’s billing statement.
Note: you cannot use this credit card for balance transfers. There is a foreign transaction fee of 2.7%. The credit card charges up to $38 in late fees. And the returned check fee is also $38. The penalty APR is 29.99%.
And, it kicks in if you have two or more late payments within 12 months. It can also apply if you fail to make the minimum payment on time or have a returned payment.
Capital One® Quicksilver® Card
Take a look at the Capital One® Quicksilver® Card. It offers flat-rate rewards of 1.5% on all purchases. There are no limits to the amount of cash back rewards which cardholders can earn. Also, the card has a $0 annual fee.
New cardholders have a 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months after opening the account. Then afterwards they have a 14.74 – 24.74% (variable) APR after that.
A cash bonus of $150 is on offer for those who make at least $500 in purchases in 3 months of account opening.
Also, cash back rewards do not expire for the life of the account. And there is no limit to how much you can earn.
This credit card also offers travel accident insurance. And you get an auto rental collision damage waiver. There are no foreign transaction fees. And there is extended warranty coverage.
Downsides are the flat reward rate, not allowing for any more than that. And the higher APR after the first 15 months.
Get it here: https://www.capitalone.com/credit-cards/quicksilver/
Ironclad Secured Credit Cards for Businesses
Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card
Check out the Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card. It charges a $25 annual fee per credit card (up to 10 employee cards). It also requires a minimum security deposit of $500 (up to $25,000) and it is designed to help cardholders establish or rebuild their credit.
Select this card if you want to get 1.5% per dollar in purchases with no limits or earn one point for every dollar in purchases. You also get 1,000 bonus points for every month your company makes $1,000 in purchases on the card.
Also, you get free FICO scores every month. There are no foreign transaction fees. It is possible to upgrade to unsecured credit. Your account is regularly reviewed. And you may become eligible for an upgrade to an unsecured card with responsible use over time. Approval is not guaranteed and depends on factors including how you manage this and your other accounts.
APR is the current prime rate plus 11.90%. There is no introductory APR period and no sign-up bonus. This is not a card for balance transfers.
Credit Cards for Businesses for Jackpot Rewards
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Take a look at the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card for travel points.
You can earn two points per dollar spent on travel and dining at restaurants. And you can earn one point per dollar on all other purchases. Points can be redeemed for cash back, gift cards, or travel.
The card’s benefits include trip cancellation insurance, travel and emergency assistance services. They also include an auto rental collision damage waiver, purchase protection and extended warranty protection.
When you spend $4,000 in the initial 3 months from account opening, you will get 50,000 bonus points. These points are worth $625 if you redeem them for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
You can get an unlimited two points per dollar for travel and dining at restaurants. And after that earn one point per dollar for all other purchases. Points will transfer equally to 13 leading frequent travel programs with partners. So these include British Airways, Southwest Airlines, United, and Marriott.
There is no 0% introductory APR on purchases or balance transfers. The card’s standard APR is 17.74 – 24.74% variable. Also, the card has an annual fee of $0 introductory for the first year. And then it skyrockets to $95.
Ink Business Preferred ℠ Credit Card
Get a look at the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card from Chase. Cardholders earn 3 points for every dollar spent on travel, shipping, internet, cable, phone and qualifying advertising with the card. So, this is up to $150,000 each year. And all other purchases earn an unlimited one point per dollar spent.
This is a Visa card.
Cardholders get benefits like purchase protection, trip cancellation or interruption insurance. They also get cellphone protection. And they get extended warranty coverage. And they get an auto rental collision damage waiver.
Earn 80,000 bonus points when you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months from account opening. There is an annual fee of $95. You can add employee credit cards at no additional cost.
This credit card only offers 3 points per dollar to a limit of $150,000 a year. So, this is for travel, shipping, internet, cable, phone and qualifying advertising. All other purchases earn an unlimited flat rate of one point per dollar. And there is no introductory APR
Establish business credit fast with our research-backed guide to 12 business credit cards and lines.
Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card
Have a look at the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card, which earns hotel rewards points. Get up to 12 points per dollar of eligible purchases at participating Hilton hotels or resorts.
Automatically get Hilton Honors Gold status. And this includes room upgrades when available, a 5th night free when you book a rewards stay of 5 nights or more.
And get free internet access and late checkout. It also includes a 25% bonus on base points earned with Hilton Honors.
This card has a variable purchase APR of 17.74 – 26.74%. There is an annual fee of $95.
Cardholders can earn a 125,000-point welcome offer after making $2,000 in eligible purchases in 3 months from account opening. Get a free weekend night award after making $15,000 in eligible purchases on your card in a calendar year.
Benefits include purchase protection. And there is extended warranty coverage. They also include car rental loss and damage insurance and travel accident insurance.
If you spend $40,000 on eligible purchases with the card in a calendar year, you can earn Hilton Honors Diamond status through the end of the next calendar year. This status includes all of the benefits of Gold status.
It also includes a 50% bonus on base points earned with Hilton Honors and exclusive floor lounge access at select properties. But that is extremely high spending required for elite status. Only you can decide if that’s worth it.
The Best Credit Cards for Businesses for You
Your absolute best credit cards for businesses for hinge on your credit history and scores.
Only you can pick which features you want and need. So make sure to do your homework. What is outstanding for you could be catastrophic for other people.
And, as always, be sure to establish credit in the recommended order for the best, fastest benefits.
The post Long-Haul Truckers! Get the Best Credit Cards for Businesses appeared first on Credit Suite.
And Other Options for When Business Loans for Women with Bad Credit Aren’t Enough
Bad credit can feel like a death sentence for your business. It can make it seem as though you have reached a dead end before you ever get started. This is especially true of women owned businesses as it is already more difficult for females to get business funding. The truth is, there are ways to move past a bad credit hump. It takes getting creative with funding and a lot of hard work, but it is possible. Not only are there options like crowdfunding and grants that are not dependent on credit at all, but there are even business loans for women with bad credit.
Most lending institutions are not going to be looking to extend a business loan to those without a good credit score. This is because they genuinely have no clue if your company will be able to repay the loan.
Some non-traditional lenders, however, will take a look at other factors to help them determine risk, meaning even if you don’t have the best credit, you can still get a business loan. These factors may include length of time in business, annual revenue, or any number of things.
Others simply work on a different model than traditional lenders. Following are our top examples of each.
Top Outstanding Business Loans for Women with Bad Credit
Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list, but it is a list of the 5 best loans for women with bad credit that we have found.
Business Loans for Women with Bad Credit: Lending Club
LendingClub functions as a peer-to-peer lender that offers mostly fixed-term small business loans. Borrowers that get loans from LendingClub generally use loans funds to buy equipment, finance growth or expansion projects, consolidate other debt, hire new employees.
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One benefit LendingClub offers with their small business loans than many others do not is access to a client advisor. This is someone to help you figure out how to best use your business loan funds, as well as how to budget loan payments.
The minimum loan amount at LendingClub is $5,000 and the maximum is $300,000. You must have been in business for 12 months or more and have at least $50,000 in annual sales to qualify. There can be no tax liens or bankruptcies, and you must have at least 20% ownership. They will work with a credit score that is fair or higher. A fair credit score ranges from 620 to 659.
Business Loans for Women with Bad Credit: Lendio
Lendio offers a loan-connection service that dramatically cuts the time it takes for small business owners to find the perfect loan. They do the legwork by vetting a network of competing small business lenders. Funding is fast, sometimes in as little as 24 hours.
Potential borrowers submit one application and then see offers from lenders in the network. The minimum loan amount is $500 while the maximum is $5,000,000. The business must be U.S. or Canada based and must have a business bank account. The minimum personal credit score applicable is 560.
Business Loans for Women with Bad Credit: Blue Vine
BlueVine offers two options for small business financing. They include lines of credit and invoice factoring. They also offer the ability to talk with a financing advisor, and their application process takes place exclusively online. Their minimum loan amount is $5,000 and their maximum is $100,000. To be eligible you must be in business for at least 6 months, have revenue of $120,000 per year or more, and have a credit score of at least 600.
Business Loans for Women with Bad Credit: Kiva
Kiva has a unique lending model. They offer loans to businesses, but their platform is far different from than that of traditional or even other non-traditional lenders. It is sort of a cross between crowdfunding and lending. They offer loans with a 0% interest rate, so even though you have to pay it back, it is actually free money. In addition, they do not run a credit check at all. The only requirement is that you have to get at least 5 family members or friends to donate money for your business, and you have to give at least a $25 loan to another business on the platform yourself.
Business Loans for Women with Bad Credit: Grameen
Microloans are a great option when it comes to business loans for women with bad credit. Grameen is one of the few lenders that offers microloans specifically for women. The loan amounts range from $2,000 to $15,000, and they also offer financial training and support.
As a bonus, they report payments to Equifax and Experian. Consequently, these loans help borrowers build credit.
Sometimes, even if you can find business loans for women with bad credit, it just isn’t enough. There are other options that can help you bridge the gap between what you are able to borrower and the amount of funds your business actually needs to survive.
Merchant Cash Advance
If you own an existing business that takes credit card payments, a merchant cash advance can be a legitimate option. It works like this. The lender takes a look at your daily credit card sales and extends a cash advance based on that average. While they may check your credit, it rarely makes a lot of difference because the security for the loan is payments from future credit card sales.
The main difference that a low credit score might make is related to terms and interest rate. For example, a low score could result in a higher interest rate, or in payment drafts from credit card sales bi-monthly rather than monthly. Sometimes with a merchant cash advance, payments drafts are weekly or even daily.
There are a number of grant opportunities available for women business owners as well. While they are all competitive programs, they are definitely worth applying for to help support and grow your business.
SBA Women’s Business Centers
In addition to helping with loans, the SBA Women’s Business Centers also help women entrepreneurs get access to funding. Some lend money or award grants directly, while others help connect women entrepreneurs with financial institutions.
Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant
The clothing brand Eileen Fisher hands out $100,000 per year to 10 women-owned businesses. To qualify, a woman must have at least 51% ownership, and the business must be in operation for at least three years. Also, it must bring in less than $1 million per year in revenue and have a focus on environmental or social change.
The Amber Grant awards $500 to $1,000 per month to a woman-owned business. One of the recipients also receives an additional $10,000 grant at the end of the year. Applicants only need to tell their story and turn it in with a $15 application fee.
#GIRLBOSS Foundation Grant
Specifically for woman-owned businesses in fashion, music, and art, the #GIRLBOSS small business grant awards $15,000. They also offer exposure via the Girlboss website and social media platforms. Judges rate those applying on creativity, business acumen, planning, innovation in the field, financial need, and where they plan to work.
Cartier Women’s Initiative Award
The Cartier Women’s Initiative Award is $100,000 for first place and $30,000 for second place. They award the grant to 18 women entrepreneurs from around the world each year. Women business owners who are just getting started may qualify. Go here for the complete application information for this small business grant.
All of the finalists get to attend the INSEAD Social Entrepreneurship 6-Day Executive Program (ISEP). They will also have the opportunity to participate in workshops on entrepreneurship, business coaching seminars, and be exposed to networking opportunities.
How to Keep Bad Credit from Being a Problem in the Future
If you are looking for business loans for women with bad credit, it is unlikely that you have a strong credit score. While this option will work for the present, it is important to ensure that going forward, bad credit is not an issue. There is no reason to stay stuck in a bad credit hole. There are ways to dig yourself out.
Monitor your credit reports. Request a free personal credit report each year from Experian, Equifax, and Transunion. Look at what is being reported, and deal with any mistakes as soon as you can. You also need to keep an eye on your business credit. We can help you monitor that at Experian and Dun & Bradstreet, the two most common reporting agencies, for only $24/month. See: www.creditsuite.com/monitoring.
You can monitor your business credit at the reporting agencies directly, but it is more expensive to do so. For example, Experian and Equifax cost about $19.99 each, and D&B ranges from $49.99 to $99.99.
What’s are you looking for? You are looking for mistakes on your report. Errors on your personal credit report(s) can be corrected, but you have to dispute in a certain way. Generally, this means you mail a paper letter with copies of any proof of payment. These are documents like receipts and cancelled checks. Never send the originals. Always mail copies.
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Itemize any charges you challenge, and make your letter as clear as possible. Be specific about the concerns with your report, and use certified mail so that you will have proof that you mailed in your dispute.
Business credit disputes can be handled as follows.
Dispute your or your business’s Equifax report by following the directions here: www.equifax.com/small-business-faqs/#Dispute-FAQs
You can dispute inaccuracies on your or your company’s Experian report by following the directions here: www.experian.com/small-business/business-credit-information.jsp.
D&B’s PAYDEX Customer Service telephone number is here: www.dandb.com/glossary/paydex.
Fund Your Business Without Using Your Personal Credit Score
This is also an option for those seeking business loans for women with bad credit. You do not actually have to use your personal credit score at all. Your business can have a credit score all on its own. If you are not sure you have a business credit score, then you likely don’t. You kind of have to be intentional with how you set up your business for that to happen.
For example, you need and EIN, a D-U-N-S number, and a few other things before you can have business credit. Your business has to appear as a separate entity from yourself.
What Does Your Business Need to Be a Separate Entity?
- A professional-looking website and email address. The website address needs to be bought from a supplier such as GoDaddy. In addition, the email address needs to have the same URL. It shouldn’t be a from a free email platform like Yahoo or Gmail.
- A company telephone and fax numbers that is different from your personal numbers, and they need to have a listing on ListYourself.net.
- Additionally, the company phone number should be toll-free (800 exchange or comparable).
- A business bank account devoted strictly to the company is always a must.
- To be a formal corporation. This means organizing as an LLC, S-corp, or corporation. You cannot operate as a sole proprietorship or partnership and build business credit properly. Base the option you choose the level of protection and the tax benefits that you need. For company credit report purposes, they all work the same.
Once you have these things in play, any payments you make on accounts in your business name using your EIN will be reported to the business credit reporting agencies in your business name. This is how business credit starts to grow, and you can eventually leave your personal credit out of the mix.
You Have Options: Business Loans for Women with Bad Credit Really Do Exist
Business loans for women with bad credit are out there. We gave five outstanding places to get started. However, there is more to the business funding process than just finding a loan despite bad credit. You have to have a plan to overcome the bad credit in the long term.
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The best way to do that is to ensure you pay all accounts on time, consistently. In addition, work on building your business credit so that you do not have to depend on your personal credit for business funding.
Do not underestimate the importance of this. By using your business credit to fund your business, you keep large business expenses, or business issues, from affecting your personal credit score. This means despite what is going on business-wise, you can still maintain the credit you need to buy a home, a car, do home improvement, etc.
Consequently, if you run in to personal credit issues, your business credit can remain unaffected. This means your business can continue to run successfully despite a poor personal credit score.
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