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.


What's the difference between them? One-off communications versus prolonged, email-based interactions. For example, email marketing tools are excellent for one-off communications. You can use these tools for the one time you'd like to send someone an automated email response when they join a subscriber list, on their birthday, or when you promote a new product. But marketing automation tools are better suited for prolonged, email-based interactions. For example, you can use marketing automation tools whenever you want to guide someone from a subscriber list to a product purchase. Or you can send thank-you emails or send new product promotions—all without having to lift a finger after the workflow is designed.
"Email marketing now offers credible career paths, and as such the modern-day email marketer is looking beyond just learning from their technology but are avidly reading, taking courses and asking questions in forums and sharing knowledge. They have a passion for improvement, which is driving them to look beyond the basic A/B split testing tools that ESP’s offer and question, ‘should I let technology lead my test or should I, the marketer, take charge?’"

From a business perspective, emails are widely used as a cost-effective as well as efficient way of acquiring new customers, boosting sales, building up your brand awareness and fostering a sense of trust among your customers. Email marketing has also shown a better ROI compared to other marketing channels. According to a survey conducted by Direct Marketing Association and Demand Metric, email had an ROI of nearly 122%, whereas other channels such as social media had just 28%.


A very popular email marketing solution, Campaign Monitor provide its users with an easy-to-use drag and drop email builder as well as a drag-and-drop segmenting tool (to create different campaigns with different contacts). Using their email template, users can customise emails to fit their brand. This email marketing tool also offers A/B testing to optimise test subject lines, sender details and email designs.

That isn’t to say that sales-y promotions couldn’t ever create results—as marketing “gurus” have proved. The results just aren’t as good as they could be. Take the biggest gurus’ results—the ones they boast about—and calculate their conversion rates. Often their marketing is comparatively ineffective. They just have massive volume, so the sales numbers are impressive.
Haven’t used email marketing as much as I should. Previously, we tried using ImnicaMail because of their pricing but it was as good as not having an email marketing campaign; all our mail was sent to spam (since they did not manage their customers’ list for spam). Thought email marketing wasn’t effective until I found out our emails were being sent to the spam box. Learnt my lesson there.
In truth, most of the AI that is discussed in the marketing world concerns the automation of processes. Marketing automation is centred around providing the most relevant content at the most suitable time to a specific individual or group, be they existing or potential customers. The intelligent part comes from how AI systems learn from past behaviours to shape future actions.
Make your offers feel relevant. If you offer people something they don’t think is relevant for them, they also think you don’t know them or understand their situation. Segmenting people based on their interests, problems, company sizes, and other things can help with that a lot. But it’s not enough. Your offer might be a perfect fit for them, but how you present it has to be a fit, too. Focus on describing their problems, how they’ll use the product or service, and what they will have in the end. Don’t talk about it from your perspective. No one really cares what you think about your product as much as they care about what they’ll get from it.
Don’t talk down to people. I think this should be obvious. But looking at the email offers I get, clearly it isn’t. Don’t tell people, “Not buying this product would be idiotic!” or “Only a fool doesn’t understand the value in this service.” This whole email marketing strategy relies on you making people understand the value they can get from you. And sometimes that means making people see the downsides of not buying. But you can do that in a friendly, respectful way.
Well, charity: water took an alternate route. Once someone donates to a charity: water project, her money takes a long journey. Most charities don't tell you about that journey at all -- charity: water uses automated emails to show donors how their money is making an impact over time. With the project timeline and accompanying table, you don't even really need to read the email -- you know immediately where you are in the whole process so you can move onto other things in your inbox.
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:
Using Crystal’s AI email guidance, you can see the most effective writing style, subject line, greeting and call to action to make each message most impactful for the recipient. The best part is you can predict personalities in bulk so you can send hyper-personalized emails en masse, giving your recipients the information they need in the style they want, which will benefit engagement rates, in return. It’s like having a coach for every campaign.
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.
We’ve got every audience you need. Target businesses, new movers and homebuyers and residential customers. We have general lists that will give you a wide array of customers. But, if you’re looking for a specific type of customer, target your list by income, age and occupation. You can even narrow your list down to families with children and animal lovers!

I wondered, what are your thoughts on solutions like Mailigen, Vertical Response, Mad Mimi, and Campaign Monitor? I know there’s a never ending list of possible email software companies that you could compare, but these ones in particular interested me as they seem to offer many similar services to those that you mentioned. Have you come across them before, and if so would you advise using them over GetResponse?
ToutApp is a great email marketing tool specifically for sales teams. It enables users to create emails fast and follow up on email marketing promotions (via a unique email and marketing tracking feature). Users can view opens, clicks on attachments (e.g. PDFs) and website links and when they’ve responded to an email all in one dashboard. ToutApp also functions as a lead nurturing tool as it allows sales teams to send content to the right people at the right time.
I haven’t heard of Feedblitz – just looking at their website now. Appears that they’re a Feedburner replacement specialising in RSS-to-email (sending your blog subscribers an email about latest posts). Their pricing looks a bit steep (considering Feedburner was free) – so I’d probably choose Mailchimp or Aweber over them? That way you can message up to a few thousand people free of charge.

Vertical Response is great email marketing tool for creating professional newsletters as it offers tons (over 700) of designs for email newsletter templates. It also has a lot to offer in terms of editing and integrations (e.g. various CRM software, survey software and more). Additionally, users can create landing pages, conduct A/B testing (e.g. subject line performance), test emails using the Vertical Response test kit and much more.

Bloggers are the most obvious example of focusing on this email marketing strategy almost exclusively. SaaS (Software as a Service) businesses are another group that typically heavily emphasize content emails. Of course, bloggers, SaaS businesses, and everyone else can send content emails while also using the other email marketing strategies. And you should do it, too.
Thanks for this article. It is super helpful. I have used quite a few different ESPs (Bronto, MailChimp, Constant Contact, dotmailer, Listrak and now Informz) and have my opinions about all of them. But I have always worked for e-commerce companies. I now work for a non-profit association and we need an ESP that integrates with our database, which is run on Aptify. The only ESP I have found that claims to integrate with Aptify is Informz (Higher Logic) and lets just say, the integration doesn’t actually work and the platform itself leaves a lot to be desired. So I was wondering if you knew of any other platform that might integrate with Aptify or be able to build an integration?

Minimal risk: Some top marketers expect to burn through $10,000 of advertising budget before even knowing if they can make a campaign profitable. (Nope, that’s not an exaggeration. But I’d usually aim for a few hundred dollars—not thousands.) With email marketing, the costs are much, much lower. A simple email marketing software like AWeber is very affordable even if your business isn’t a huge success, yet. And even if you go with something advanced like Infusionsoft, you’re still far away from the kinds of investments many other marketing tactics require. Sure, email marketing and advertising aren’t directly comparable (advertising is mainly used to reach new prospects). But you get the point.
Email design matters in any successful email marketing campaign. If your emails look terrible, that reflects badly on you, and can make people stop reading. With more people than ever reading emails on mobile devices, it’s important to use a responsive email template so your email resizes automatically whether people are reading it on a phone, tablet, or desktop.
The primary cost of poorly crafted or mis-targeted emails is lost business opportunities, though in extreme cases it can damage a firm’s reputation as well. But the potential payoff for effective email marketing is substantial; email messages are more likely to be seen and acted upon by decision makers than online content, social media, or advertising.
Be clear about what people can get and how to get it. This is the backbone of this email marketing strategy. Tell people about the benefits they can get. Write a separate email about each major benefit, if you want. Make sure those benefits come out clearly. But also keep it conversational. Don’t just list a bunch of benefits and expect people to buy. Also, remember to be clear about what they need to do to get those benefits. Tell them to “click here” or “apply for a consultation.” Don’t force people to think about how to move forward. It’s not that they couldn’t figure it out. It’s just unnecessary (and therefor annoying) when you could make it easy for them.
Like social media, email marketing is a fundamental tool in almost any digital marketing campaign. Email marketing doesn't cost much to get started, and you'll find lots of choices to configure a solution for your company's needs. In addition, you'll achieve impressive engagement numbers when you use an email marketing service properly. Therefore, email remains a marketing favorite.
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.
×