Many of us use email but in our minds, it’s relegated to the back as something that’s just taken for granted that is there for us to use. Yet as every digital marketer will know, email marketing is at the very foundation of what they do.
However, that doesn’t just apply to email marketers but almost any job role which integrates the function of digital marketing. That widens the scope to include many more people such as website or blog owners, sales staff and more.
If by now you’re still unsure as to how this element fits in with you then we’ll simplify things with a single question…
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Whether you do not have direct access to people or are not in direct contact with them at the time or if you’re just unable to reach them directly at any point of time, email marketing is what helps keep you in touch with them.
With the crafting of a single mail tweaking a few settings and a single click, you can reach out and touch someone irrespective of time, scope of information or availability.
Let’s look at some of the more detailed benefits of Email Marketing.
What Email Marketing Can Do for You?
Email marketing has an estimated return on investment (ROI) of 3,800% which means that on average, each dollar invested in email marketing nets a return of $38. Aside from just the financial perspective, there are many other beneficial aspects of email marketing such as;
Website visitors come and go, yet once they’re gone many never return. By collecting email information from your visitors you’ll be able to reach out to them again in the future. With an email list you send the entire list valuable content which they might otherwise miss. You may also gain additional traffic when some opt to follow links back to your site based on information sent out to them.
Increase in Sales
Email conversions have been observed to outperform both social and organic search traffic. In fact, statistics show that social media has an overall engagement rate of only 0.58% as compared to a 3.71% click-through-rate (CTR) for email. The sales will increase for either online or in-store as the result of what the user read in an email, for example, getting a special offer or an exclusive price.
Fine-tune Your Operations
Because email marketing is based on statistics, it is possible to collect this data and analyze it. That information can then be used to further enhance your email campaigns to increase effectiveness. For example, learn about the likes, dislikes and interests of your user base and send them relevant materials.
Best Email Marketing Platforms I Recommend
There is literally a boatload of email marketing systems available these days and you’ll find it hard not to hit one with a stone (if thrown). Just like business hosting platforms – choosing the right email marketing platform can be a chore, so I have tested and picked six best email marketing services.
Many of the Email marketing systems will have similar features, but almost all of them have a free trial. I would highly recommend signing up for and testing them out before you buy-in just to see if the system is a right fit you for.
Constant Contact is one of the most recognized names in the email marketing system business. In the market for over a decade it has evolved over time and today serves more than 650,000 customers. Building on their core competency in email marketing they have done well on the features front.
Aside from having an effective and easy-to-use system they have added on many features which are invaluable such as event management, social campaign capability and even user survey tools. For an all-in-one top-of-the-line solution, these are the go-to guys.
Support is also comprehensive in the form of live chat, email and a forum with a sizeable community. Best of all you can sign up with them for a one-month free trial to test out their services. After the trial period, prices vary depending on the number of email contacts you have.
GetResponse checks all the right boxes for an email marketing system. You can upload a mailing list to their servers then craft your marketing mails to be sent out to the list. Even automation is taken care of and there is a comprehensive analytics suite for your data collection needs.
They currently have about 350,000 subscribers in 183 countries around the world and sells itself as one of the easiest to use in the market. Availability is very high, thanks to localization into 27 languages so almost anyone from anywhere can use it. If you have problems, support is available via live chat, phone and email (of course!).
Their plans are segregated by number of emails in your database but all the core benefits of the GetResponse systems are available to all plans. This includes free templates, responsive emails (so viewing on mobile will be taken care of as well!) and email segmentation for more effective marketing.
Starting Price: Free 30-day Trial followed by $15/mo for 1,000 subscribers
I remember MailChimp very well since it is among the first email marketing tools which I’ve ever used. It is extremely simple to use and has been around since the turn of the century (yes, that long!). Today it has fallen slightly off the radar for most hardcore email marketers but remains extremely popular among website owners and small businesses.
One of the core reasons for this is that MailChimp has a free plan, like the model that some website builders follow. This alone makes it extremely appealing to low-budget businesses which still seek to leverage on the power of email marketing.
Even though there is a free plan, MailChimp doesn’t skimp on features and it has extensive reporting capabilities along with a powerful visual template editor for your emails. There are also countless integration possibilities for MailChimp and it does offer a decent all-in-one solution.
Starting Price: FREE
Best For: Blogs, Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses
Founded by Tom Kulzer in 1998, AWeber can be considered an industry pioneer and today services around 100,000 clients. It works well in its primary functions as an email marketing system and offers good integration with a decent number of other software.
It is still a solid solution, particularly if you have basic needs and don’t want to be overwhelmed by the clutter than a ‘we have everything!’ system has to offer. You can import multiple file-formats into their database and monitor your marketing campaigns as it is ongoing, which is very useful.
One strong point about AWeber is its extensive email template selection, which is kind of great if you are new to the game. It also has very comprehensive customer support capabilities which has been an award winner for the past three years in the US National Customer Association’s Stevie Awards.
Starting Price: 30-day Free trial then $19/mo
Best For: Blogs, Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs
When I first tried to access SendinBlue I did wonder a little that I had to overcome a reCaptcha just to access the site. The only reason I could think of for that was that I’m using an ultrawide monitor, which might have gotten flagged for non-traditional display sizes.
Like MailChimp, SendinBlue also offers a free subscription package but that is kind of limited in what you can send. The free deal is only for up to 300 emails per day, which to me is more like an extended trial than any real free service. Once you get past that to their subscription plans, the number of sends goes up a lot (as do their prices).
It checks most of the traditional email marketing system options but also has a transactional messaging feature. This gives you extra capabilities such as sending order confirmations, receipts and other similar emails with your branding. This is something to note as not all email marketing systems support it.
The company launched as a startup aimed at delivering bulk email blasts and soon got well-deserved popularity among marketers. At present, the company has turned into a marketing automation platform that has a lot to offer in terms of online promotion.
The SendPulse team works hard to stay on top of digital marketing trends and has released a Facebook messenger chatbot. The chatbot can be designed to serve as the first line of customer support as well as request contact information for further lead nurturing.
When it comes to email marketing services, among many other features, SendPulse offers an email template editor, custom subscription forms, transactional emails and statistics data on your email marketing campaigns.
Ideal Features Best Email Marketing Systems Should Have
1. Design Capability
Because marketing emails are meant to capture the attention of recipients, the visual aspect is rather important. This means that attractive copy which is concise and useful would have to appeal to them.
Look out for an email marketing service which allows you to have good control over the visual aspects of your email marketing campaigns. This includes a good spread of templates, a strong component suite and powerful plugins for extended functionality.
2. CRM Integration
Sales and marketing are symbiotic so your CRM platform should work well with whichever email marketing system you choose. This will save a lot of sweat and tears on the part of both teams and helps to create much better analytics potential.
For example, integrated well, your email marketing data can help spawn automatic sales campaigns and vice versa. Even better, since they are integrated and computerized, these functions can be processed in real-time which gives business the added edge in agility.
3. Data Analytics
Having just mentioned the analytics advantages just above, it is important that any email marketing system is equipped with analytics tools. This is invaluable to any marketer as it helps you to understand the information that is being received based on your marketing campaigns.
Unpopular emails may drive away potential customers so it is crucial that you have your finger on the pulse of your customers. The way to do that is by analyzing data and optimizing your campaigns based on that information.
Your marketing data can tell you;
What is or isn’t working
What content you send is more engaging
What devices your customers tend to use
What demographics have what interests
… and more.
Thanks to regulations like the GDPR and Data Protection Act, many email marketers have ended up having their content being flagged as spam. This is obviously counterproductive, so you’ll want an email marketing system which is able to analyze your content. This is to help verify that it complies to regulations and that your links (important!) are fine as well.
Businesses tend to work in advance and email marketing systems which have automation features can be very helpful. For example, say you are running an online retail business, but your staff is off during the holidays.
Pre-plan and automate campaigns to take advantage of peak sales seasons even when your people aren’t around. Other automation features can include reporting, coupon distribution, email responses and the like.
6. Scalability and cost
Today you’re sending out 1,000 emails but what about when your business grows and is sending out 50,000? How scalable is the email marketing system you’re looking at and how much will it cost you to scale up with them?
Preferably, choose a solution which can scale with your business as you expand and take into advantage that your needs may change over time. Does the system you are looking to provide the flexibility to handle that kind of change? It doesn’t have to offer these extra capabilities directly, but can it work well with other third-party systems, perhaps?
7. Customer Service
As a business owner, you know that at the heart of every business is your customer service. When buying into a service, that is true as well. Find out what level of support you will get from the company offering the email marketing system and if there is a large enough community to support it as well.
Final Thoughts: The Best Email Marketing Service
Again – almost all email marketing systems in the market have a free trial. I would highly recommend signing up for and testing them out before you buy-in.
However, since these are my recommendations, I would suggest that if you’re a large business then it would be a good idea to look more closely towards Constant Contact and GetResponse. If you’re running a blog, small site or anything else, then feel free to check out any of the top six email marketing systems I recommended.
About Jerry Low
Founder of WebHostingSecretRevealed.net (WHSR) - a hosting review trusted and used by 100,000's users. More than 15 years experience in web hosting, affiliate marketing, and SEO. Contributor to ProBlogger.net, Business.com, SocialMediaToday.com, and more.