"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?’"
Marketing emails need to be personalized to the reader and filled with interesting graphics. Few people want to read emails that are addressed "Dear Sir/Madam" -- as opposed to their first or last name -- and even fewer people want to read an email that simply gives them a wall of text. Visuals help your recipients quickly understand what the point of the email is.
In addition to A/B testing, many email marketing packages now offer multivariate testing, which involves using multiple variations of a campaign to test which one performed best. Services that offer this feature include Campaigner and Mailchimp. Another thing to consider when looking for an email marketing platform is how the email campaigns can boost search engine optimization (SEO) for your organization. The right keywords can lead your subscribers from their email platform onto your website. Whether you're looking or a simple email marketing solution or one with full automation, there are several on the market to meet your needs.
A web-based interface is often available to allow people to subscribe, unsubscribe, and change their preferences. However, mailing list servers existed long before the World Wide Web,[1] so most also accept commands over email to a special email address. This allows subscribers (or those who want to be subscribers) to perform such tasks as subscribing and unsubscribing, temporarily halting the sending of messages to them, or changing available preferences - all via email. The common format for sending these commands is to send an email that contains simply the command followed by the name of the electronic mailing list the command pertains to. Examples: subscribe anylist or subscribe anylist John Doe.
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?
When it comes to deciding how to craft that perfect subject line, there appears to be really only one area to avoid: the subject line of 60 to 70 characters. Marketers refer to this as the “dead zone” of subject length. According to research by Adestra, which tracked over 900 million emails for its report, there is no increase in either open rate or clickthroughs at this 60-to-70 character length of subject line.

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.
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 tracking pixel is a snippet of code that allows you to track your subscribers’ activity across various channels like your website, landing pages, and newsletters. Then, you also have the option to send emails triggered by certain behaviors. So for example, if a subscriber goes to your site and checks out your product page, a tracking pixel can send an email with a special offer for the specific product the viewed.
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