Next up is building an email newsletter. The best services offer several ways to do this; you can import your own HTML, start from scratch, or use a predesigned template. Most of these services have drag-and-drop UIs that let you choose exactly the elements you want to include, as well as image libraries in which you can store assets such as your logo or company photos. Tools that let you test your emails for spam are also essential since there are some seemingly innocuous terms that may send up red flags and drop all of your hard work into your subscribers' junk folders or, worse, get your emails banned before they ever reach their recipients.
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.

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.
This tool provides multiple templates for almost every purpose, including; newsletter, greetings, promotion templates, giveaways, etc. With the intuitive visual editor tool, you can add your own HTML and CSS to give more personalized look. With the built in spam filter, you can cross check your template and make sure it doesn’t contain any objectionable material.
Keep the email short. If you write an email that's too long, there's a chance that recipients will skim over it or stop reading it at a certain point.[7] This could mean that they miss your call to action, or what you're trying to get across. Try to edit out pieces of information that aren't critical to the overall message. Make messages as short and concise as possible. Avoid over-elaboration or background that can clutter your blast.
Litmus is an email marketing tool that is primarily focused on testing and tracking your emails. This software offers a web-based drag-and-drop editor so marketers can easily build their own emails. They also have a large selection of customisable templates to choose from. Once emails have been built, previewed (in mobile/desktop) and sent out to your contact list(s), you can make use of their detailed engagement summary reports (including open rate, deletions, how long email was open, geolocation and more).
Not only was this initial email great, but his response to my answers was even better: Within a few days of responding to the questionnaire, I received a long and detailed personal email from Matt thanking me for filling out the questionnaire and offering a ton of helpful advice and links to resources specifically catered to my answers. I was very impressed by his business acumen, communication skills, and obvious dedication to his readers.
Take advantage of the email template designer or upload your own. There are also tools to segments lists and personalize emails with all your contact data. The A/X testing feature allows you to test up to ten different versions of your email before you decide which one stands out as the best. A campaign comparison tool pits your previous campaigns against the current one to give a complete picture.
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.
Choose an email blasting software or website. To send your email blast, you'll need to do research on popular email blast websites and choose one that works for your team. Consider the amount of training that would be required, if it automatically links to your current database or CRM, how much it costs, and how easy it is to use. Write down pros and cons of each provider and determine the blasting software that's right for you.
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.
I’ve always been a mailchimp user myself, and I have to say I really like their UI but I’m always open to new options. I’ve dabbled in a couple of the other email marketing providers like Pure360 – but find them so clunky and annoying to use (despite them looking really pretty and having great templates) that I always end up going back to good old mailchimp. I haven’t used GetResponse yet, I’ll give their free trial a shot :)
The downside of just making offers is that they’re not useful on their own. People on your list won’t receive any value from you unless they buy what you’re promoting, so they have little reason to stay subscribed. That’s why this email marketing strategy doesn’t work alone. And it’s why many e-commerce sites struggle to keep people interested. There are a few exceptions (e.g., Groupon) that rely entirely on making offers—but then the reason people joined the list was specifically to receive those offers.

Creating a plan for your email marketing strategy may seem challenging at first, but by following the steps above you’ll have an effective and easy-to-follow email campaign plan in no time. This means you will be a lot closer to hitting your goals of increasing revenue, attracting new customers, and strengthening relationships with your existing audiences!
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?
Sample review: “After using it (Sortd), you’ll be hard-pressed to imagine this tool isn’t going places. Create custom columns, such as ‘To-do,’ ‘Follow Up,’ or ‘FYI’ — the possibilities are nearly endless. Then, when an email comes in, simply drag it to the appropriate column. You can even set reminders, add notes, or change the title of the email. You can also set individual emails to “snooze” so that they are relegated to the bottom of your list until the snooze is over, at which point it pops back up at the top.” — B2B PR Sense Blog
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