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.

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.
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?
I wondered, what are your thoughts on solutions like Mailigen, Vertical Response, Mad Mimi, and Campaign Monitor? I know there’s a never ending list of possible email software companies that you could compare, but these ones in particular interested me as they seem to offer many similar services to those that you mentioned. Have you come across them before, and if so would you advise using them over GetResponse?

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.
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.
Here's another great example from Litmus of animation being used to create more interesting email marketing design. Unlike static text, the swipe motion used to provide recipients with a look "under the hood" of their email tool is eye-catching and encourages you to take a deeper dive into the rest of the content. Not to mention the header does an excellent job of explicitly stating what this email is about.
A cloud-based email platform, SendGrid is a tool built to serve developers. It is known as the world’s largest Email Infrastructure as a Service provider. Users can quickly send out emails such as shipping notifications, email newsletters, sign-up confirmations, etc. Businesses can also track email opens unsubscribes, bounces and spam reports without the use of code. This email marketing tool also provides templates, scheduling and A/B testing. Email analytics can be viewed in real-time.
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.
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.
Not only is InVision's newsletter a great mix of content, but I also love the nice balance between images and text, making it really easy to read and mobile-friendly -- which is especially important, because its newsletters are so long. (Below is just an excerpt, but you can read through the full email here.) We like the clever copy on the call-to-action (CTA) buttons, too.

The full-blown version of ActiveCampaign offers an all-in-one solution for a business to house it’s CRM, email marketing, deal flow, sales automation and more. With the offer of one-on-one training and onboarding, without the 4-figure fee that InfusionSoft requires, it’s a great alternative if you want to automate the way you keep in touch with your customers both new and old.

Did you see that? Did you see it move? Pretty cool, right? This small bit of animation helps to separate this email from Tory Burch from all of the immobile emails in their recipient's inboxes. They also leverage exclusivity by framing the promotion as a "private" sale. Often times, this type of positioning makes the recipient feel like they're specially chosen, which encourages them to take advantage of the special opportunity they've been presented with. 


As a growing business, you may also be looking for a CRM solution, and you'll find that the more advanced email marketing services have begun to crossover into CRM. It makes sense: Both types of software deal with managing and communicating with customers. A handful of these services are one-stop shops, either offering both email marketing and CRM out of the box or as add-on services.
Mailchimp is a very well-known email marketing tool that integrates with popular apps and services like Salesforce, Eventbrite, Google, Twitter, Facebook, Shopify, and SurveyMonkey. This inbound marketing tool allows you to easily sync your data from those services, import content from other sources, and learn how your campaigns are affecting your business. Along with reports to show you how well you’re connecting with your audience and how much money you’re bringing in, Mailchimp gives you tips for improvement. Mailchimp Mobile Dashboard enables you to check in from anywhere.

Emails triggered by milestones, like anniversaries and birthdays, are fun to get -- who doesn't like to celebrate a special occasion? The beauty of anniversary emails, in particular, is that they don't require subscribers to input any extra data, and they can work for a variety of senders. Plus, the timeframe can be modified based on the business model.
Discussion lists often require every message to be approved by a moderator before being sent to the rest of the subscribers (moderated lists), although higher-traffic lists typically only moderate messages from new subscribers. Companies sending out promotional newsletters have the option of working with whitelist mail distributors, which agree to standards and high fines from ISPs should any of the opt-in subscribers complain. In exchange for their compliance and agreement to prohibitive fines, the emails sent by whitelisted companies are not blocked by spam filters, which often can reroute these legitimate, non-spam emails.[11]
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 cloud-based email platform, SendGrid is a tool built to serve developers. It is known as the world’s largest Email Infrastructure as a Service provider. Users can quickly send out emails such as shipping notifications, email newsletters, sign-up confirmations, etc. Businesses can also track email opens unsubscribes, bounces and spam reports without the use of code. This email marketing tool also provides templates, scheduling and A/B testing. Email analytics can be viewed in real-time.
Mailchimp is a very well-known email marketing tool that integrates with popular apps and services like Salesforce, Eventbrite, Google, Twitter, Facebook, Shopify, and SurveyMonkey. This inbound marketing tool allows you to easily sync your data from those services, import content from other sources, and learn how your campaigns are affecting your business. Along with reports to show you how well you’re connecting with your audience and how much money you’re bringing in, Mailchimp gives you tips for improvement. Mailchimp Mobile Dashboard enables you to check in from anywhere.

Are you willing to alienate people who disagree with your opinion? Sure, not everyone who disagrees with you will unsubscribe. But if you can’t take the risk of alienating a large portion of them, it’s better to avoid the topic. The only exception are friendly disagreements. For example, it can be a good idea to show your support for a specific sport team, even if you know many in your audience like another team. As long as they don’t take the sport very seriously, it can be just a fun thing to talk about. I could, for example, tell that I’m more of a dog person (we have two dogs) than a cat person. I have nothing against cats, but I like walking with dogs. I doubt almost any cat person will hold that against me.
Using Crystal’s AI email guidance, you can see the most effective writing style, subject line, greeting and call to action to make each message most impactful for the recipient. The best part is you can predict personalities in bulk so you can send hyper-personalized emails en masse, giving your recipients the information they need in the style they want, which will benefit engagement rates, in return. It’s like having a coach for every campaign.
When you create a Mailchimp account, you have the option to select a Free or paid plan. This option allows you to experiment with our user-friendly tools and figure out how to best use our all-in-one Marketing Platform. So if you’re just getting off the ground, you can learn to market smarter so you can grow faster. You can remain on the Free plan as long as you have 2,000 or fewer contacts in your audience.
Keep the subject line and pre-header short: The subject line is crucial. Keep it short so the reader knows exactly what the email topic is about. And the pre-header text (also known as snippet text), don’t let it go to waste by using “To view this email in your browser…”. Instead, summarize the email or include a call to action (i.e., Use “FREESHIP” to get free shipping).
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