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.
In our email marketing software review roundup, we test the top email marketing tools available based on how easy it is to create emails, build subscriber lists, set autoresponders, and pull in other communication-based tools, such as social media management, and web analytics software. To that end, we selected Campaigner and Mailchimp as the best pure-play email marketing services. If you need a more complex tool that can build comprehensive workflows designed to automate the email marketing process, then we recommend HubSpot and Salesforce Pardot, which are better served as marketing automation tools.
Crystal is a communication tool that enhances your emails by telling you anyone’s personality. Using Personality AI, a new technology that employs machine learning and artificial intelligence to predict personality based on someone’s online footprint, Crystal can help you better understand your audience, increase your open and response rates, and see higher conversion.

However, as email marketing developed as an effective means of direct communication, in the 1990s, users increasingly began referring to it as "spam", and began blocking out content from emails with filters and blocking programs. In order to effectively communicate a message through email, marketers had to develop a way of pushing content through to the end user, without being cut out by automatic filters and spam removing software.
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.
HubSpot offers a reliable and feature-packed email marketing tool that’s suited for growing businesses — for free. You can create professional marketing emails that engage and grow your audience with the easy drag-and-drop email builder. With the drag-and-drop email builder, you don’t need to wait on IT or designers for help. On top of the free email tool, you can use the HubSpot CRM for free to create tailored touch-points for your customers. HubSpot Email is automatically connected with the HubSpot CRM, so you can tailor relevant emails based on any details you have — such as form submissions and website activity. Using the CRM, you can include personalized content in your emails, like first name and company name, to ensure your contacts feel like they are being personally addressed, all while tracking
Your campaign can be completed once you select your recipients and other campaign-specific details. In the Content section, you’ll find an incredibly useful WYSIWYG editor used for HTML content. Add images, drag and drop items, format text and copy/paste any text you want in your email. Want this layout and format to be used by default for every campaign? Save to Library and you’re covered.
Among the obstacles a small business or online seller has to face is finding a cost-efficient way to market their brand to a wider audience. That’s where email marketing comes in. Whether it’s your grand opening or your company is already well-established, an effective email marketing plan is key to promoting and growing your business, increasing revenue, and selling more stuff.
On a more basic level, AI improves email marketing mechanics such as A/B testing and smarter audience segmentation. This can have immediate benefits in terms of optimizing your marketing strategies for different customers and sending the right content to the right people. On a more advanced note, AI can actually optimize email content for specific audiences and product campaigns. Additionally, it can help with personalizing email content right down to the individual customer level, depending on how much information you can feed it from your CRM and sales systems. AI delivers strong capabilities, which means determining exactly how a potential email marketing service has implemented AI should be key criteria for most marketers before purchasing.
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.
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.
Your campaign can be completed once you select your recipients and other campaign-specific details. In the Content section, you’ll find an incredibly useful WYSIWYG editor used for HTML content. Add images, drag and drop items, format text and copy/paste any text you want in your email. Want this layout and format to be used by default for every campaign? Save to Library and you’re covered.
Groups are an easy way to organize your list into categories so that you only need to maintain a single list in your account. Let’s say you have an e-commerce store and use your Mailchimp account to communicate with sales representatives, retail locations that sell some of your products, and customers. The logical step might seem to be creating separate lists to track these three audiences, but adding them to groups on one list is a similar concept that can save you money. You can then build segments for these groups and send campaigns that are relevant to them.
First of all, BuzzFeed has awesome subject lines and preview text. They are always short and punchy -- which fits in perfectly with the rest of BuzzFeed's content. I especially love how the preview text will accompany the subject line. For example, if the subject line is a question, the preview text is the answer. Or if the subject line is a command (like the one below), the preview text seems like the next logical thought right after it:
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