Over the past two weeks, we’ve shown you that email marketing still works, despite the rumours stating otherwise. We’ve covered the basics required to run a successful email campaign, and even shown how to tweak and make a great campaign even better.
While these optimization tips are designed to help you connect with your subscribers and foster better communication, they’re futile if you don’t picking the right marketing platform. Using dedicated email marketing platforms allows you create custom web forms/landing pages, automate email sending, segment your list etc.
An email provider that will help your business grow, must have the following features:
- High Deliverabilty Rates.
- A back-end auto responder to allow instant delivery of freebies, special reports etc.
- Dedicated Customer Support.
The industry has a wide range of options available, but many small businesses make their choice based on price alone, which is a wrong decision. What happens when the ‘cheaper’ option ends up with less than 40% delivery rate? If your emails, with offers, are getting ‘delivered’ to the spam folder, you are losing money. These cheaper options end up becoming expensive, in the long run.
With that said, let’s have a look at the industries top providers, and see if they’ll be a good fit for your business.
Launched in 1998, Aweber is one of the oldest email marketing platforms around today. Some tend to regard it as being dated, but it’s still highly regarded as one of the best all-round providers available today. It has basic features like autoresponder setup, broadcast creation, and segmentation; its pros include:
- One of the best delivery rates in the industry (up to 99%+ deliverability)
- They offer customers detailed guides for creating better campaigns.
- List segmentation is detailed, based on who opens, who clicks etc; while still being easy to implement.
- Easy integration with multiple online services, like Paypal and Salesforce.
- If you don’t ‘scrub’ your list regularly, you will get charged for customers that have unsubscribed.
- At $19/month, the service starts higher than other providers.
MailChimp’s 7 million users praise the easy-to-use interface; which allows quick email newsletter creation and broadcasting. Many are also attracted to the *free* start-up cost.
- Large number of pre-designed email templates with drag-and-drop campaign building.
- Easy social media integration
- One of the best-value starter accounts available, customers with under 2,000 subscribers can send up to 12,000 emails monthly for free.
- Access to detailed analytics reports.
- A slight learning curve is present to fully understand all its features.
- The free option has a bunch of limitations, including a limit on how many emails you can send and no autoresponder.
A top-ranked provider on many comparison sites, GetResponse is well-liked for its easy-to-build landing pages. The platform also supports RSS to Email, allowing you to publish blog posts to your email newsletter.
- Landing pages highly optimized for capturing emails.
- Highly competitive pricing; maintaining a list of up to up to 1000 subscribers a month will cost only $15.
- Sizeable savings to be had, if you pay a year upfront.
- Responsive email templates.
- Integration with third party apps, requires an extra step, the use of a Zapier zap.
These three have been the go-to for small businesses for quite a while, but as your business grows, you may find you need more options. It’s time to consider the heavyweights of the industry, Infusionsoft and Ontraport
We’ll be the first to admit that to get the best ROI, Ontraport should only be considered when you have a list of around 5,000 subscribers. This will allow your business enjoy all the benefits of this all-in-one email / e-commerce platform. With that said, this service has a ton of helpful features; whether you’re laser targeting your email list, automating marketing campaigns or tracking affiliate sales.
- Can handles email marketing, e-commerce, and affiliates from one platform.
- Relatively quick set-up via a free 2-hour implementation session, where customers are walked through the system by a dedicated “Hero”
- A visually appealing central dashboard, which shows all your important business stats e.g sales, sign-ups, etc.
- Great customer service.
- User interface is not very intuitive and can take a while to fully understand.
- Not cheap, starting at $279-579/month
Since it’s launch in 2001, it has become the standard for email providers. Though not beginner-friendly, once you know how to use it, there are immense benefits to be reaped. Infusionsoft, like Ontraport, is a combination tool, but it can be customized to serve as a Customer Relationship Manager (CRM), shopping cart provider or affiliate management software.
- Excellent segmentation of subscribers through links they clicked.
- Email campaigns and sequences can be automated using the tagging and lead scoring feature.
- Campaign Builder for quick deploying of email campaigns.
- Email deliverability can be occasionally poor
- Steep (and expensive) learning curve; Starts at $199-379 per month, with an upfront sign-up fee of $2000 for training
Choosing a provider depends on your budget, your business goals and your business model. Do you send out emails to drive traffic to offers? Do you primarily use email to manage physical inventory? Do you even have your first list? How large is your list?
Knowing the general features can help envision how they can help you, but before you make a decision, why not contact an expert? At Search and More, we can help your business choose the right platform to meet your goals and also help you get set up. Contact us today for more email marketing tips and tactics.