Promotional emails are one of the most economical ways for any business to connect with customers. Research shows a message is five times more likely to be seen through email than on social media like Facebook or Twitter. That’s why musicians use email marketing software to share their performance schedule with their fans, non-profits use it to get donations and photographers use it to promote their portrait services. It just works.
A safe email testing tool for staging and development, Mailtrap enables you to inspect and debug your email samples before delivering them to your customers. It helps you keep your email messages clear of spam filters and test HTML elements for compatibility with popular email clients. The Mailtrap blog also offers helpful information such as reviews of email deliverability testing tools.
Be sure to look at the tech support offered by each of these companies, as many weren't as available as we would have liked. You'll find that some offer 24/7 phone support, live chat, and email help, while others leave you to rely on online documentation and limited live support hours. The best services offer a combination of self-serve help resources—where you can search FAQs and articles to find your own answers—as well as live support via chat or phone when you can't solve an issue yourself. We cover all of these concerns in our reviews, plus you can get an overview in the feature chart above.
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.
Email marketing has evolved rapidly alongside the technological growth of the 21st century. Prior to this growth, when emails were novelties to the majority of customers, email marketing was not as effective. In 1978, Gary Thuerk of Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) sent out the first mass email to approximately 400 potential clients via the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET). He claims that this resulted in $13 million worth of sales in DEC products, and highlighted the potential of marketing through mass emails.
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.
And that leads us right into understanding service pricing and packaging. The email marketing services we reviewed range from about $3 per month to send out 500 emails per month in Zoho Campaigns to as much as $1,250 per month for up to 10,000 contacts in Pardot. Many email marketing plans include unlimited email sends each month and bill you based on the number of subscribers. If you have a small list, then look for a company that offers a free plan, a low-cost plan for several hundred subscribers, or even a pay-as-you-go plan. On the flip side, many of these services also offer high-volume plans with up to 100,000 or more contacts. Sometimes this requires a custom plan that has to be arranged directly with a sales rep. If you're willing to commit, then look for the companies that offer discounts if you pay yearly rather than monthly. A few also offer money-back guarantees.
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.
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.
We suggest sending an email at least once a month to keep your subscribers engaged, but don’t feel you need to commit to this immediately. And be sure to look ahead and plan accordingly if you think your sending frequency will change for special events and holidays—you don’t want to surprise customers if you typically send once a month but suddenly start sending a stream of emails leading up to a Black Friday sales event.
Understand the statistics. Click-through rate or CTR is how often customers click on links contained in your email. There is also a conversion rate, which tracks how many people took action after clicking your link, as well as a rate for how many people opened and read your email. Many email blast software will have these metrics built in. Do not make things in the email blast confusing or complicated as it can prevent people from taking action or even reading the blast.
Pricing is computed in real-time and depends on your selects. Geographic selects are included in the base price. All additional demographic selects are priced per record. When ordering a mailing list, you must select how you wish to retrieve the file. We offer three methods for mailing list retrieval: 1. Download, 2. CD, 3. Labels. You may always download your file from within 'My Account.'
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.
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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.
As of mid-2016 email deliverability is still an issue for legitimate marketers. According to the report, legitimate email servers averaged a delivery rate of 73% in the U.S.; six percent were filtered as spam, and 22% were missing. This lags behind other countries: Australia delivers at 90%, Canada at 89%, Britain at 88%, France at 84%, Germany at 80% and Brazil at 79%.
A mailing list is simply a list of e-mail addresses of people that are interested in the same subject, are members of the same work group, or who are taking class together. When a member of the list sends a note to the group's special address, the e-mail is broadcast to all of the members of the list. The key advantage of a mailing list over a things such as web-based discussion is that as new message becomes available they are immediately delivered to the participants' mailboxes. A mailing list sometime can also include information such as phone number, postal address, fax number and more.
No matter what the focus of your newsletter is, you can pull down content from blog posts or search the web to pull content from a variety of sources – Flashissue automatically summarizes this content for you. After populating the editor with a certain number of story summaries, you can change the headline and article descriptions in order to better personalize it for your readers. This allows a more tailored emailer, rather than just generic news.
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.