For anyone new to creating an email marketing strategy from the ground up, creating and optimizing all of these potential emails can feel overwhelming. And it’s true that within each category, there are many variations to the emails you can send—even a cursory glance at the campaigns run by established businesses reveals just what variety is possible.
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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.

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.


Calls to action explicitly suggest the next step you want the reader to take after reading your email, along with the means to take it (usually a link or button). The CTA represents the driving goal of each campaign. It’s what your emails are driving subscribers to do, whether that’s purchasing a particular item, reviewing a recent purchase, or something else entirely. Here are our tips for email CTAs:
Did you see that? Did you see it move? Pretty cool, right? This small bit of animation helps to separate this email from Tory Burch from all of the immobile emails in their recipient's inboxes. They also leverage exclusivity by framing the promotion as a "private" sale. Often times, this type of positioning makes the recipient feel like they're specially chosen, which encourages them to take advantage of the special opportunity they've been presented with. 
If you want to code your own emails, you have the freedom to do so. But this is an advanced skill that requires a good bit of technical know-how. Here’s what you need to take the coding leap—whether you’re just getting started, wondering about the basics of HTML emails, or looking for a guide to coding them. We’ve also rounded up a few more resources you might need as you become a certifiable email pro. If you're considering another platform, check out our comparison guide before you make any decisions.
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When people talk about email marketing, lots of them forget to mention transactional emails. These are the automated emails you get in your inbox after taking a certain action on a website. This could be anything from filling out a form, to purchasing a product, to updating you on the progress of your order. Often, these are plain text emails that marketers set and forget.
Mailchimp is a very well-known email marketing tool that integrates with popular apps and services like Salesforce, Eventbrite, Google, Twitter, Facebook, Shopify, and SurveyMonkey. This inbound marketing tool allows you to easily sync your data from those services, import content from other sources, and learn how your campaigns are affecting your business. Along with reports to show you how well you’re connecting with your audience and how much money you’re bringing in, Mailchimp gives you tips for improvement. Mailchimp Mobile Dashboard enables you to check in from anywhere.
Wow such a detailed review! I have tried MailChimp before and I found it too expensive. After that i’ve signed up to Mailerlite and got hooked. It’s either free or cheapish depending on your subscribers’ lists. With other email software providers, you’d need to make an investment even if you’re running a small shop or a blog. And let’s be honest, not everyone of us can afford it :)
Found your article very informative especially as I am a novice in all this. We are about to launch a research centre in the UK and wondered which email marketing tool you would recommend. Having read quite a bit now online, I see a lot of the literature seems to concentrate on business users rather than non-profits. Any suggestions would be most welcome.

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.
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Keep the subject line and pre-header short: The subject line is crucial. Keep it short so the reader knows exactly what the email topic is about. And the pre-header text (also known as snippet text), don’t let it go to waste by using “To view this email in your browser…”. Instead, summarize the email or include a call to action (i.e., Use “FREESHIP” to get free shipping).
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