Last updated on March 10th, 2019 at 06:48 pm
When your business grows, so will your customer base.
So how can you manage your ever-expanding list of customers?
For many business owners, email marketing is the answer.
As imperfect as email marketing can be, it’s one of the easiest ways to get the word out to your already-existing customer base regarding news and promotions. But you have a lot of options. So how do you choose?
Do you want more customizable templates? A lot of automation functionality? Is price a big factor? This list will help you choose the right email marketing service for you.
Our Top Pick for Email Markting Software: iContact
You get all the basics with iContact, and more, including great customer support, easy navigation, and customizable email templates.
The program also offers award-winning Salesforce integration, making it easy to integrate all aspects of your business with their service.
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Our Next Best Pick: Constant Contact
Constant Contact is not the cheapest on our list, nor is it the most full-featured. But the program comes complete with email tracking tools and you get assigned a personal marketing coach to help you every step of the way.
Their no-credit-card-required 60-day free trial is also a pretty good deal.
iContact is one of the highest-rated email marketing managers for small and medium-sized businesses.
Available as a cloud-based software and on mobile devices, iContact allows you to keep tabs on your email marketing even on the go.
iContact’s email marketing service includes the full range of email features a small business requires. You get reliable sending and list management, as well as autoresponders and campaign tracking capabilities.
Like most email marketing software, you get A/B testing and the ability to post promotions on social media. You can also get the Google analytics feature, survey management, and can have your e-newsletters custom designed.
If you’re a nonprofit, you’ll find iContact’s prices especially agreeable. North Carolina-based nonprofits get free accounts, with nonprofits outside of the state getting a 20% discount. You also get a discount if you prepay.
On the customer service side of things, you’ll get live customer support and API support. You can also get more personalized support with your own coach to help set yourself up for success.
iContact gives you a lot of integration options. The program can come fully integrated with Salesforce, and they offer their own pre-integrated plans starting at $99 a month.
You’ll be paying $32 a month for up to 2,500 subscribers on iContact. And you can send up to six times as many emails as your subscriber limit. If you have more than 15,000 subscribers, though, iContact’s pricing will be a little different.
iContact offers a free trial for 30 days. On this trial, you can send up to 400 messages to as many as 100 contacts. While it’s a rather stingy trial compared to some others, you still get to see how iContact works.
Even though iContact offers plenty of features for the small business, some users may find that it’s not enough.
There’s no Gmail import and you have to pay extra for Google Analytics integration. Basic users may also encounter a lot of upselling to get access to some of their best features, such as managed services.
Any small business will find that iContact offers all the features that they would require, and a bit more. If you want great Salesforce integration they can easily be your go-to choice. But larger businesses may prefer a more full-featured service.
Constant Contact first started out as Roving Software in 1995, making the company one of the oldest in the business.
Initially offering only email marketing services before branching out into event marketing.
Constant Contact remains one of the top email marketing platforms, and for good reason.
Constant Contact has a few unique features to its name. Every customer gets a personal marketing coach to assist them with any questions or problems they may have.
Considering that Constant Contact isn’t the easiest email client to set up, it’s nice to provide such a service as part of a subscription.
Among other, more basic features Constant Contact has on offer are event registration tools, feedback forms, and surveys, making themselves a bit of a one-stop shop for marketers.
You can create subscriber lists in pretty much any way you can imagine, from importing an Excel spreadsheet or Gmail address book to pulling from any CRM tool.
With Constant Contact’s email tracking tools, you can tell who’s opening, clicking and sharing your emails in real time.
The company even claims on their website that 98% of Constant Contact emails hit customer’s inboxes, as opposed to 77% of regular email.
Constant Contact can be integrated with hundreds of other apps. All these integrations will allow you to tailor the program to your needs.
Facebook, HootSuite, WordPress, and Outlook are just a few of the integration options you have to choose from with Constant Contact.
Constant Contact comes in at a higher price point than the other software on this list, at $45 a month for up to 2,500 subscribers. But their free trial is one of the most generous out there, with 60 days free before you need to pay a cent for their service.
Because Constant Contact’s interface is not the easiest to use, some users may find their interface difficult to navigate. Even the creation of custom email templates some users find difficult.
Some customers also find issues with managing email lists, experiencing errors with importing or even having to go through lists by each individual email. This can get time-consuming if you have a lot of subscribers to manage.
Constant Contact remains a staunchly reliable email marketing service. But at its high price point, more established businesses that have bigger budgets may be better suited for the service.
MailChimp is the most ubiquitous email marketing program out there, and for good reason. Their user interface is pleasingly designed and so easy to use even your grandmother could use it.
Their functionality has also only improved over time.
MailChimp also integrates with different ecommerce software such as Shopify, Magento, and WooCommerce.
MailChimp also has a robust marketing automation feature to better target customers. A single API request with MailChimp will be able to trigger an entire series of emails.
Now you can trigger emails based on almost anything, including ecommerce webhooks, CRM profile updates, as well as open and clicks.
MailChimp has become a household name in the realm of email marketing. As a result, it’s able to integrate with just about every other kind of business software that you can think of.
LeadPages, WordPress, HubSpot, and Facebook are just a small sampling of the vast integration capabilities of MailChimp.
At $35 a month, MailChimp is one of the cheaper email marketing options you have at your disposal. You can also pay as you go and purchase a certain number of email credits – for example, 5,000 email credits costs $100.
Whether the subscription or pay as you go plan is right for you depends on how many emails you send per month.
But MailChimp is free for up to 2,000 subscribers, making it the cheapest option if you have a small circulation. Of course, the free option leaves you with limited functionality.
For instance, you have a low send limit and contact limit, and if you go over that limit, you’ll have to pay up.
To join your MailChimp-powered email list, users will have to double opt-in: first on your website, and then again by confirming their email address. While this reduces the rate of email bounces, it also reduces your subscription rates.
As many as 15% of potential subscribers don’t follow up with the second opt-in, impacting the size of your email list. So your email list may grow a bit more slowly if you use MailChimp.
MailChimp also has limited template customization capabilities. And because so many marketers use MailChimp, your emails might not stand out.
Just because a brand is the best-known doesn’t mean it’s the best option for the job. Such is the case for MailChimp.
Users with small email lists can take advantage of their generous free option, but if your business grows, it may be time to take your business elsewhere.
Campaigner, a subsidiary of j2 Global, serves small businesses all over the globe. Campaigner bills itself as a beginner-friendly email marketing platform, and backs it up with a simple and well-designed user interface.
No matter how small your email list, you’re able to do A/B split testing, create autoresponders and exclusion lists, and recurring campaigns.
You also get email reporting so you can analyze whether your email gets read and how many clicks you get.
Campaigner is easy to use, so no matter your experience level with creating emails, you’ll be able to create a well-designed and engaging message. The program also offers easy click-through tracking and event-triggered email setup.
To create a Campaigner newsletter, you’re able to use two different tools: the Smart Email Builder and the Full Email Editor.
The first offers a lot of templates and layouts to help you get started, and the second accepts HTML code so you can embed hyperlinks and insert photos in your e-newsletter.
The program is so user-friendly that the template even includes instructions on how to embed links in case the user doesn’t already know how to do it.
Campaigner also offers a large range of integrations for social media, developing, reporting, and ecommerce. You can integrate Campaigner with Magento, Salesforce, Adstation, and Twitter, among other integrations.
Campaigner comes in with competitive pricing for any level of customer. Their very cheapest plan for fewer than 1,000 subscribers comes in at only $19.95 per month.
If you want a pro-level plan, you’ll pay $49 per month for 5,000 subscribers. And you can pay for tiered plans that go up to a million or more subscribers.
Campaigner also offers a free trial. For 30 days, you can get full access to its features for 1,000 contacts or fewer. If you’re a super small business, it may be worth it to try before you buy.
Campaigner offers award-winning 24/7 customer support. You also get emails with links to webinars when you sign up to help you get started.
But Campaigner is not perfect by any means. Some find the HTML function of the email editor to be a tad old-school.
What with so many HTML-powered programs these days doing most of the coding for you. This more advanced feature stands in stark contrast to the otherwise beginner-friendly user interface.
There’s also a lack of automation features. While they are included, it makes some tasks a bit more time-consuming than if they were able to be automated.
Campaigner still offers all the features you would want out of email marketing software. Businesses of all sizes might find something worth getting out of Campaigner.
Among the more budget email marketing services, GetResponse stays a cut above the rest. As they’ve been in the business since the ‘90s, the company appears to have staying power.
The company also boasts several awards, including gold and bronze Stevie awards.
GetResponse is a very user-friendly email interface, with over 500 beautifully designed email templates to choose from.
No matter your experience with internet technology, you can easily create professional-looking emails and newsletters with these templates.
GetReponse offers a plethora of unique features that you’d be hard-pressed to find through other services.
TimeTravel integration, single opt-ins, and mobile inbox preview are just a few of these features that you get with just about any GetResponse subscription.
If you’re a more advanced user, you’ll be pleased with GetResponse’s A/B testing. If you want to split test the body content, subject line, sender name, or even the time of day, GetReponse makes it simple.
Custom integrations are made easy with their API. They also offer a lot of off-the-shelf integrations like WordPress, Salesforce, and Zendesk, so all aspects of your business are under control.
With a price point of $25 a month for up to 2,500 subscribers, GetResponse is one of the cheapest email marketing options you can get.
Nor do they drastically change in price as your subscriber list grows, with the basic plan increasing by $20 when your list doubles in size. So with GetResponse, your budget remains as manageable as your email list.
On top of that, they offer a 30-day free trial. So you can get a whole month free, no matter how many subscribers you have.
Their form builder feature is sadly not very intuitive. Deleting lists are also not so easy on GetResponse. You might even have to Google it to find out how.
GetResponse’s automation tool, while it works just fine, has limited capability. If you end up having a large email list to manage, you may require more functionality than just the ability to automatically move and remove contacts across lists.
At its price point, GetResponse is a great tool for those who need to send out simple newsletters, autoresponses, and segmented emails.
You may even find that you get more subscribers using GetResponse. However, it does not have the full functionality that larger businesses may prefer from their email marketing software.
AWeber is not the flashiest email software around. This may be due to the fact that the company has been around since 1998.
While the design may show its age, it remains a tried and true email marketing tool.
AWeber’s reporting capability is one of its most standout features. It’s comprehensible enough for even the most clueless novice, so you can easily determine what is and is not working with your email campaign.
You can also split test your email lists almost easily as you can send them. AWeber’s functionality is among the most generous you’ll find in this department, with the ability to create five email variants for split testing.
AWeber also offers auto responders, RSS feeds, and a slew of integrations. With their WordPress integration, subscribers can sign up for your list with a single click.
You can also integrate with PayPal, LeadPages, and Salesforce, among many others. AWeber makes it easy if you’re a beginner.
They have plenty of video tutorials covering the gamut of software-related topics on their website. But if you want/need live support any time of day, AWeber unfortunately does not offer this service.
But you also get some more advanced features with AWeber. You can create your own e-newsletter template from a set of over 700. These templates all follow a responsive design, which makes them easily viewable on any device.
You’re also able to check email follow-up stats with their mobile Atom App. And you can now import subscribers without an opt-in.
AWeber’s service comes rather cheap, at $29 a month for 2,500 subscribers. For only 500 subscribers, you pay $19 a month.
But you don’t have to lock yourself into any long-term contracts, so you can cancel at any time with no penalties. And you can sign up for a 30-day free trial.
But AWeber does have its limitations. You can’t import contacts from Gmail or other third-party address books, and Google Analytics integration isn’t available.
Some customers also complain that their design looks a bit outdated, which certainly affects impressions in the ever-evolving technology realm.
AWeber may be the perfect platform to use if you have a small contact list to manage, but are also looking to grow. If you’re not much of a Google user, it will also be easy to import your contacts and use data analytics.
Our Final Take on Email Marketing Software Companies
Email marketing is more than just getting subscribers, autoresponders, and formatting and sending out e-newsletters or promotions.
All this software is meant to help make your life and business dealings easier. But before you buy, or even try, you have to ask yourself what the scope of your business currently is, and what you want it to be.
Most of our picks for this list will help your business grow from a few hundred to a few thousand.
But only a few are equipped to handle thousands upon thousands of subscribers. AWeber or Constant Contact may be a better bet for a customer base that size.
Smaller businesses just starting out may prefer to go with MailChimp or iContact, which are both easy to use and leave a bit of room to grow.
Campaigner and GetResponse have a bit more something for everyone, even if their list of features is incomplete. But whatever your size or budget, there’s something out there for you.
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