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?
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.

Sample review: Optinmonster “has various forms you can embed on your site to help with email conversion but one of the most interesting ones is the popup. You can set the popup only to appear on ‘exit intent’.  This means that your website visitor can browse all they want and when they are about to exit the website you can have a popup appearing tempting the visitor to leave their email address.” — RazorSocial (World)

Hello, Steven. Nice article. You have hit the nail on the head. I too believe that both old and new marketing needs to compliment each other to get the desired result. I feel that with data from new marketing solution like social media shall be added to old tools like email marketing and direct mailers to make them more efficient and bring real business value. Thanks for highlighting the points.
Will people understand what you’re trying to say? It’s usually better to avoid topics (or opinions) that are complex if many people are extremely passionate about them. For example, sharing almost any opinion about immigration policy is usually a bad move, unless your audience is unusually homogenous. You could agree 99% with someone and still piss them off by using the wrong term just because they have such a strong “either you agree 100% with us, or you’re our enemy” mentality. I once pointed out that I think it’s unacceptable to capture and torture people for years—especially if they aren’t charged with any crime, there’s no evidence they’ve done anything wrong, and they’re children. I got several emails back from people saying, “you have no idea what you’re talking about” or “you should stick to marketing and leave politics to people who understand it.” They took it as commentary on geo-politics. I just said I’m not okay with pointless torture of children. I thought we’d all agree on that.

Whether you already have a list of subscribers or are starting from scratch, email marketing services can help. All of the services we cover let you add contacts manually using copy and paste or by uploading CSV or Microsoft Excel files. Some integrate with third-party software enabling you to import Gmail and other webmail contacts, Salesforce ($75.00 Per User Per Month and Up at Salesforce.com) and other CRM data, or other software where you might have contacts stored. Depending on the size and location of your list, third-party integration could be key. Verify whether you can export contacts as well (and how easy it is to do so) should you leave the service. Managing users who unsubscribe should also be easy so you're not accidentally contacting anyone who has opted out of your newsletters.
The enhanced tracking option links to your website through Salesforce or Google Analytics.  To use “auto-responders”, you must have a paid account – you can automatically trigger specific responses or segment users based on actions they take. After sending out your emails, MailChimp allows you to integrate your social channels to post regular updates on Twitter and Facebook.

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 :)
Thanks Kelly, Mailchimp have definitely come a long way with their UI over the years, it’s just their service that hasn’t caught up ;) I haven’t had the chance to play around with Pure360 as much as I’d like, but I’ve heard the same things echoed by several friends who use their service. Looking at their client list, I think they’re more aimed at large companies though.
Choose analytics software that works for your organization. While many email marketing applications have built-in analytics, you may consider getting a third party system to help you process the data or statistics on your campaigns. Some software can give you a more comprehensive or visual representation of your analytics, while others may track something that your current content management system does not. The size and scope of your e-blast campaign will dictate which kind of software you require.
Email Octopus’ free plan (‘Shrimp’) allows users to send unlimited emails to up to 2500 subscribers. Users can send emails from multiple email addresses and there are still plenty of templates to experiment with, although it does not include any automation functionality (which is reserved for paying subscribers). If you don’t fancy signing up for an account just yet, 11 completely free templates are available to download directly from their website.
Purchased lists are ineffective, and they impact everyone else who uses Mailchimp, too. If you send emails to a list of people whose contact info you bought, many of the emails will get identified as spam. Some spam filters will flag a campaign if anyone with the same IP has sent spam in the past. When you use Mailchimp, your email is delivered through our servers, so if one person sends spam, it could prevent other users’ emails from reaching inboxes. But by forbidding Mailchimp users from using purchased lists, we increase deliverability for everyone.
Double-check your email blast. After you've written your email blast, you should go over it again for grammar and spelling errors. An excellent way to help you edit your email is to send it to colleagues to ensure that there aren't any factual or grammatical mistakes, and to make sure that the messaging stays on brand. Ask people on your team to look over your blast and provide you with feedback.
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.
Sample review: “See what happens to your emails after you press send…you’ll know exactly when they opened your email and whether or not they clicked on your link. BananaTag will even tell you whether they’re on their desktop or mobile device. And best of all, your email appears NO different to your contacts. All of the tracking is done seamlessly without any change in the user experience.” — BuzzBlogger
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