According to recent research from Radicati Group, worldwide email volume will reach 207 billion messages this year—more than half of those for business. The typical business user receives well over 100 emails each day. Email marketers are challenged not only to make their messages stand out in that deluge, but also to provide relevant, actionable information to targeted recipients.

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.


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If you want to code your own emails, you have the freedom to do so. But this is an advanced skill that requires a good bit of technical know-how. Here’s what you need to take the coding leap—whether you’re just getting started, wondering about the basics of HTML emails, or looking for a guide to coding them. We’ve also rounded up a few more resources you might need as you become a certifiable email pro. If you're considering another platform, check out our comparison guide before you make any decisions.
Minimal risk: Some top marketers expect to burn through $10,000 of advertising budget before even knowing if they can make a campaign profitable. (Nope, that’s not an exaggeration. But I’d usually aim for a few hundred dollars—not thousands.) With email marketing, the costs are much, much lower. A simple email marketing software like AWeber is very affordable even if your business isn’t a huge success, yet. And even if you go with something advanced like Infusionsoft, you’re still far away from the kinds of investments many other marketing tactics require. Sure, email marketing and advertising aren’t directly comparable (advertising is mainly used to reach new prospects). But you get the point.
Hello, Steven. Nice article. You have hit the nail on the head. I too believe that both old and new marketing needs to compliment each other to get the desired result. I feel that with data from new marketing solution like social media shall be added to old tools like email marketing and direct mailers to make them more efficient and bring real business value. Thanks for highlighting the points.
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.
Molly K. McLaughlin is a New York-based writer and editor with more than a decade of experience covering technology. She has tested and reviewed all sorts of software, mobile apps, and gadgets. Before launching her freelance business, she was an editor at PC Magazine, covering consumer electronics, followed by a stint at ConsumerSearch.com, a review website. Molly also runs About.com's Android site and contributes to DealNews and other online publications. Follow her on Twitter @bloggingmolly.
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.
Thanks Kelly, Mailchimp have definitely come a long way with their UI over the years, it’s just their service that hasn’t caught up ;) I haven’t had the chance to play around with Pure360 as much as I’d like, but I’ve heard the same things echoed by several friends who use their service. Looking at their client list, I think they’re more aimed at large companies though.
What's the difference between them? One-off communications versus prolonged, email-based interactions. For example, email marketing tools are excellent for one-off communications. You can use these tools for the one time you'd like to send someone an automated email response when they join a subscriber list, on their birthday, or when you promote a new product. But marketing automation tools are better suited for prolonged, email-based interactions. For example, you can use marketing automation tools whenever you want to guide someone from a subscriber list to a product purchase. Or you can send thank-you emails or send new product promotions—all without having to lift a finger after the workflow is designed.
When people talk about email marketing, lots of them forget to mention transactional emails. These are the automated emails you get in your inbox after taking a certain action on a website. This could be anything from filling out a form, to purchasing a product, to updating you on the progress of your order. Often, these are plain text emails that marketers set and forget.
"To tell the truth, it’s not so much a prediction as reporting what I am currently seeing….and in my opinion it’s way overdue. There are multiple reasons as to why it’s taking off now, but one of the main reasons I’ve found is that email is finally being appreciated as a high ROI-delivering channel and people want to ensure they’re not leaving money on the table.
Anthropologists, sociologists and historians have used mailing lists as fieldwork.[6] Topics include TV series fandom,[7] online culture,[8] or scientific practices[9] among many other academic studies. From the historian's point of view, the issue of the preservation of mailing lists heritage (and Internet fora heritage in general) is essential. Not only the text of the corpus of messages has yet to be perennially archived, but also their related metadata, timestamps, headers that define topics, etc. Mailing lists archives are a unique opportunity for historians to explore interactions, debates, even tensions that reveal a lot about communities.[10]
There’s no denying that email is a huge part of our lives. We receive lots of emails every day – whether its for work, from friends or even from that webshop you purchased from three months back. It is and remains a great way of getting a message across to your target audience without being too invasive. Because email marketing is so effective, it’s role has only become stronger in recent years, even with the rise in popularity of social channels such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. As a result, there are several great email marketing tools available to choose from, many of which cater to the creation, design, distribution and analysis of emails used in email marketing campaigns.
"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?’"

Pinpointe’s ‘Email Marketing for Teams’ is the best solution for companies who have multiple people collaborating to design and deliver their email campaigns. Enterprises and marketing agencies can define specific user roles like campaign creation, database management and reporting, for each team member. Agencies can set up as many as 500 separate team accounts for each customer and define or restrict what each team member can have access to.
Bloggers are the most obvious example of focusing on this email marketing strategy almost exclusively. SaaS (Software as a Service) businesses are another group that typically heavily emphasize content emails. Of course, bloggers, SaaS businesses, and everyone else can send content emails while also using the other email marketing strategies. And you should do it, too.
"Simpler email design is about easy to consume, scannable content that can be digested fast. A single focus message combining copy, layout and colour that is skimmable and enables the reader to act easily. This kind of design enables organisations to deliver timely, fresh and punchy content on a frequent basis. Think lots of white space, simpler images (better for small screens) and blocks of colour to draw the eye.”
Effective email marketing campaigns are designed for all devices on which users can read their emails -- desktop, tablet, and smartphone. Email campaigns that are designed for mobile devices are especially important -- a quality known as "responsive design." In fact, 73% of companies today prioritize mobile device optimization when creating email marketing campaigns.
Great flexibility: Email marketing can work for every business. It doesn’t matter whether you sell houses, lingerie, or consulting; you can get lots of sales if you use the right email marketing strategy in the right place. And you can promote practically anything relating to your business—you aren’t limited to sending links to your sales pages. Or rather, if your emails are just links to sales pages, you’re doing it wrong.
Thanks for this article. It is super helpful. I have used quite a few different ESPs (Bronto, MailChimp, Constant Contact, dotmailer, Listrak and now Informz) and have my opinions about all of them. But I have always worked for e-commerce companies. I now work for a non-profit association and we need an ESP that integrates with our database, which is run on Aptify. The only ESP I have found that claims to integrate with Aptify is Informz (Higher Logic) and lets just say, the integration doesn’t actually work and the platform itself leaves a lot to be desired. So I was wondering if you knew of any other platform that might integrate with Aptify or be able to build an integration?
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.

Transactional emails (like an order confirmation) are best sent immediately after the purchase is made. Lifecycle emails—which are sent based on specific behaviors a customer exhibits—require a little more testing to get right. The best time to send an abandoned cart email, for example, can vary based on the reason for abandonment and your strategy for recovering those orders.
Whether you already have a list of subscribers or are starting from scratch, email marketing services can help. All of the services we cover let you add contacts manually using copy and paste or by uploading CSV or Microsoft Excel files. Some integrate with third-party software enabling you to import Gmail and other webmail contacts, Salesforce ($75.00 Per User Per Month and Up at Salesforce.com) and other CRM data, or other software where you might have contacts stored. Depending on the size and location of your list, third-party integration could be key. Verify whether you can export contacts as well (and how easy it is to do so) should you leave the service. Managing users who unsubscribe should also be easy so you're not accidentally contacting anyone who has opted out of your newsletters.
Email marketing solutions run the gamut from basic text-based email editors to fully designed HTML or JavaScript templates. Leveraging email for marketing can take several forms, so some packages will attempt to address all of them while others will seek to specialize. For example, some businesses might decide their most effective marketing tactic is a value-add newsletter delivered to a gated community of subscribers. Others might want to tie their emails directly to their product and sales engines, providing special offers and deals to recipients.

I’m currently looking for an email marketing service for a mailing list of about 80,000 subscribers. I run an information product business in the fitness industry with a large number of customers buying our ebooks and online courses every day. I’m particularly interested in GetResponse, although I’d be keen to hear your thoughts on the flexibility of their service for creating autoresponders, and integrating with a checkout service (we use WooCommerce).
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.
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.
Simply select the type of mailing list you wish to purchase. We offer four types of mailing lists: Business Lists, Consumer Lists, New Movers Lists, and New Homeowners Lists. You will be asked to select your campaign type, geographic selects, and demographic selects. Upon retrieving counts you may add, change, or delete your selects. Once you are satisfied with your list criteria, press 'Get Counts' and wait to review the available quantity of your list and pricing. At this point you may still edit your list criteria by clicking 'Back.' Once you are satisfied with your list counts, purchase the list. Within a few minutes you'll be able to download your mailing list online from within 'My Account.'
I haven’t heard of Feedblitz – just looking at their website now. Appears that they’re a Feedburner replacement specialising in RSS-to-email (sending your blog subscribers an email about latest posts). Their pricing looks a bit steep (considering Feedburner was free) – so I’d probably choose Mailchimp or Aweber over them? That way you can message up to a few thousand people free of charge.
Fantastic article, thank you! I was wondering if I could ask some advice — we are only a small company that doesn’t need automation or a CRM, we just want to be able to send out monthly emails to 6000+ subscribers that can be categorised into industries or groups. We don’t need bells & whistles. Due to our industry, the chunky CRM doesn’t integrate into a.n.y.t.h.i.n.g. so it’s all very labour intensive but lucky for them I do love a spreadsheet. Thanks in advance for the advice.
Every week, the folks at InVision send a roundup of their best blog content, their favorite design links from the week, and a new opportunity to win a free t-shirt. (Seriously. They give away a new design every week.) They also sometimes have fun survey questions where they crowdsource for their blog. This week's, for example, asked subscribers what they would do if the internet didn't exist.

Email marketing is the practice of sending various types of content to a list of subscribers via email. This content can serve to generate website traffic, leads, or even product signups for a business. It's important that an email campaign's recipients have personally opted in to receive this content, and that each newsletter offers something of value to them.
We also love how consistent the design of Uber's emails is with its brand. Like its app, website, social media photos, and other parts of the visual branding, the emails are represented by bright colors and geometric patterns. All of its communications and marketing assets tell the brand's story -- and brand consistency is one tactic Uber's nailed in order to gain brand loyalty.

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.
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