Presentation is everything, or so they say. With this old adage in mind, we’ve compiled our best tips for anyone who wants to send emails that subscribers click into a handy email design guide. We cover each facet of design: content, templates, identity, color, images, layout, fonts, and calls to action. Design is as much science as it is art, and we take the guesswork out of what can seem like the most challenging part of sending good emails.


Getting started shouldn't be daunting. Generally, you'll know right away whether you like a user interface (UI) or not, and most of the contenders we reviewed offer free trials so you can poke around before dropping any cash. Luckily, most of these services have modern-looking graphics and uncluttered layouts. These are not the complex business software UIs of yesterday. Be careful, though, as some free trials require a credit card. This means you need to be sure to cancel your trial before you're billed if you're not happy with the service.
ActiveCampaign is an all-in-one software solution which includes email marketing tools combined with CRM and Sales. This software offers an easy-to-use email template editor so you can get campaigns up and running in no time – this includes templates for mobile. It also allows user to segment their contact list based on a variety of different factors including actions, behaviour, location and more. What’s also great about ActiveCampaign is that it integrates nicely with WordPress.

A mailing list archive is a collection of past messages from one or more electronic mailing lists. Such archives often include searching and indexing functionality. Many archives are directly associated with the mailing list, but some organizations, such as Gmane, collect archives from multiple mailing lists hosted at different organizations; thus, one message sent to one popular mailing list may end up in many different archives. Gmane had over 9,000 mailing list archives as of 16 January 2007. Some popular free software programs for collecting mailing list archives are Hypermail, MHonArc, and FUDforum.
Reach Mail is great for business just starting out with email marketing. It offers a free package that enables users to create, schedule and send emails, as a well as a paid version that provides users with more customisation options. The free version is quite unique in the email marketing world as normally these types of tools are only free for a certain period. Reach Mail also includes a nice testing feature which enables users to test their email campaigns on a percentage of their subscriber list.
While email is the most mature (that sounds better than “old,” right?) form of digital marketing, there’s no shortage of marketing technology innovation in this area. Both startups and established vendors continue to develop new capabilities for formatting, targeting, sending, and monitoring the impact of email messages, as well as functions like list building, inbox management, video email, deliverability, branding, custom email signatures and more.
Do people who share your view see you as more relatable or trustworthy because of your opinion? Not all opinions or even values make much of a (positive) difference. For example, I could point out that I think people should be treated as equals regardless of their gender or sexuality. Most people who agree with that don’t think much about it. It’s such an obvious thing to them. So, telling that doesn’t make much of a difference to people who agree with me. However, many people who disagree with that might think I’m crazy.
Purchased lists are ineffective, and they impact everyone else who uses Mailchimp, too. If you send emails to a list of people whose contact info you bought, many of the emails will get identified as spam. Some spam filters will flag a campaign if anyone with the same IP has sent spam in the past. When you use Mailchimp, your email is delivered through our servers, so if one person sends spam, it could prevent other users’ emails from reaching inboxes. But by forbidding Mailchimp users from using purchased lists, we increase deliverability for everyone.

We’ve got every audience you need. Target businesses, new movers and homebuyers and residential customers. We have general lists that will give you a wide array of customers. But, if you’re looking for a specific type of customer, target your list by income, age and occupation. You can even narrow your list down to families with children and animal lovers!


Thanks for the article, it was also interesting and inspiring to see your other ventures in diverse fields. Would like to connect 1:1 in the near future. Meanwhile, even I had done a similar comparison as I myself handle email marketing for my organization. Do check it out as well as for the readers of the blog since it covers 2 additional players.
Please forgive me if I missed this in some of the comments and replies, but I saw nothing on Infusionsoft or Marketo. I was expecting to see both in your analysis, but nothing was mentioned, save for the remark early on that Active Campaign has rocketed past Infusionsoft in the marketplace. Is it because you consider them outside the “Email Marketing” space which was the subject of your analysis?

A very popular email marketing solution, Campaign Monitor provide its users with an easy-to-use drag and drop email builder as well as a drag-and-drop segmenting tool (to create different campaigns with different contacts). Using their email template, users can customise emails to fit their brand. This email marketing tool also offers A/B testing to optimise test subject lines, sender details and email designs.


Each of those tactics requires different tools when it comes to creation of the source email, dissemination to specific recipients, and integration with other back-end systems, notably the accounting system, the customer relationship management (CRM) system, and possibly even the inventory management system. You can manage your contacts by simply keeping a list of names and email addresses, or you can create a complex database full of subscribers segmented by demographic slices and engagement levels. Which method you choose really just depends on how much of your budget you're willing to allocate toward the email marketing software that can give your company the features it needs.

Instead of showing the same form asking for their name and email address, Hubspot allows you to identify this lead and show a different offer, or ask a different set of questions to learn more about them over time. This is called Progressive profiling – and it allows you to send more personalized email campaigns as you gather more information on your leads.
Marketing automation makes it easy for you to follow up with customers and send the right email at the right time to subscribers based on how they are interacting with your website. Some email marketing platforms have basic marketing automation features built-in like the option to send birthday email messages automatically, etc. It’s worth taking some time to figure out the depths of marketing automation you need and your bandwidth for maintaining automation initiatives. These activities can take a big chunk of time to manage.
When it comes to Zapier integrations, not all of them are created equal. Every ‘zap’ (integration) has two parts: A trigger and an action. For example, let’s say you want to build an integration so that every time someone subscribes to your mailing list (the trigger), they’re automatically added to a Google Spreadsheet (the action), this can be built in minutes using Zapier.
The first is a welcome email with 3 key tasks you can accomplish in the software. Three days later, there’s another email asking what you need to get done and encouraging you to start using the product. Two days later, there’s an email talking about the Asana dashboard. The series ends with an email two days later, which highlights the calendar view.
Confession: We have a serious email marketing crush on JetBlue. And they continue to deliver their lovable marketing in this cheeky email campaign that aims to humorously reengage customers. Every element from the header, to the three witty points, to the actionable, contrasting CTA work together to create a lovable campaign that's promotional without being pushy. 
What I’d like to know is whether any email marketing software provider allows you send emails that look identical to if they were sent from Gmail. I find that the best newsletters are those that look like it came from a friend. If only Mailchimp or Aweber didn’t force their logos and HTML style in every campaign I imagine they’d get way better open and click through rates. Do you know of any services that do this?
Take the email below from Paperless Post, for example. I love the header of this email: It provides a clear CTA that includes a sense of urgency. Then, the subheader asks a question that forces recipients to think to themselves, "Wait, when is Mother's Day again? Did I buy Mom a card?" Below this copy, the simple grid design is both easy to scan and quite visually appealing. Each card picture is a CTA in and of itself -- click on any one of them, and you'll be taken to a purchase page.
"Email marketing now offers credible career paths, and as such the modern-day email marketer is looking beyond just learning from their technology but are avidly reading, taking courses and asking questions in forums and sharing knowledge. They have a passion for improvement, which is driving them to look beyond the basic A/B split testing tools that ESP’s offer and question, ‘should I let technology lead my test or should I, the marketer, take charge?’"
Another type of electronic mailing list is a discussion list, in which any subscriber may post. On a discussion list, a subscriber uses the mailing list to send messages to all the other subscribers, who may answer in similar fashion. Thus, actual discussion and information exchanges can happen. Mailing lists of this type are usually topic-oriented (for example, politics, scientific discussion, health problems, joke contests), and the topic may range from extremely narrow to "whatever you think could interest us". In this they are similar to Usenet newsgroups, another form of discussion group that may have an aversion to off-topic messages.
ActiveCampaign is an all-in-one software solution which includes email marketing tools combined with CRM and Sales. This software offers an easy-to-use email template editor so you can get campaigns up and running in no time – this includes templates for mobile. It also allows user to segment their contact list based on a variety of different factors including actions, behaviour, location and more. What’s also great about ActiveCampaign is that it integrates nicely with WordPress.
Active Trail is an automated communications platform that focuses on SMS and email marketing campaigns. It has a user-friendly newsletter and email editor with a drag-and-drop interface as well as an advanced image editor. Additionally, Active Trail includes predictive delivery which helps users predict the optimal time to send emails to their recipients. It also includes ready-to-use sign up and lead forms, A/B testing and Personalisation tools.
Don’t talk down to people. I think this should be obvious. But looking at the email offers I get, clearly it isn’t. Don’t tell people, “Not buying this product would be idiotic!” or “Only a fool doesn’t understand the value in this service.” This whole email marketing strategy relies on you making people understand the value they can get from you. And sometimes that means making people see the downsides of not buying. But you can do that in a friendly, respectful way.
Starting at $49/month for 2,000 contacts, Autopilot is far from the cheapest option, particularly considering that Autopilot does not offer an in-built CRM. However, Autopilot is extremely intuitive and great for teams that need to collaborate on powerful email automation sequences. If we had to move from ActiveCampaign, this is likely where we’d go. 
High reach: When people join your email list (subscribe or “opt in”), you can reach them. If they just like your Facebook page, for example, it’s unlikely that they’d see many of your updates. Sure, not everyone opens your emails, but the numbers are heavily in favor of email marketing compared to other similar marketing tactics. I’d rather get 1,000 new email subscribers than 10,000 Twitter followers.
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