The takeaway here is that if you are to use personalization as an email strategy, do so in a meaningful way. It takes little knowledge or relationship to place someone’s name in your greeting. It shows far greater care to send personalized email that is specific to a recipient’s needs and history. Again, an example from my inbox, this email from Rdio dispenses with the formalities and simply provides an update on music I actually listen to.
Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways to promote your business, whether your goal is to build your brand or sell more stuff. Our field guide provides everything you need to know to make the most of this platform. Learn how to create an email marketing plan, design effective emails, and test them. Then discover the power of automation and how to measure the success of your emails.
Take the email below from Paperless Post, for example. I love the header of this email: It provides a clear CTA that includes a sense of urgency. Then, the subheader asks a question that forces recipients to think to themselves, "Wait, when is Mother's Day again? Did I buy Mom a card?" Below this copy, the simple grid design is both easy to scan and quite visually appealing. Each card picture is a CTA in and of itself -- click on any one of them, and you'll be taken to a purchase page.

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.
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 :)
Crystal is a communication tool that enhances your emails by telling you anyone’s personality. Using Personality AI, a new technology that employs machine learning and artificial intelligence to predict personality based on someone’s online footprint, Crystal can help you better understand your audience, increase your open and response rates, and see higher conversion.
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
"Simpler email design is about easy to consume, scannable content that can be digested fast. A single focus message combining copy, layout and colour that is skimmable and enables the reader to act easily. This kind of design enables organisations to deliver timely, fresh and punchy content on a frequent basis. Think lots of white space, simpler images (better for small screens) and blocks of colour to draw the eye.”

Combines personalization with automation so you can send personalized emails at scale through your own email client, and manage responses through your OutreachPlus inbox. Provides the ability to personalize both standard (name, company) and custom fields (industry, product interest), with full reporting of opens, clicks, replies, etc. Automatically stops all follow-up emails once a response is received.
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?

If you’d like to keep in touch with our support team through online chat or email, upgrade to our Essentials plan starting at $9.99 a month. Whether you’re hitting a roadblock with an email you’re writing or want more information about how something works, help is available around the clock. And when you’re ready to take your marketing to the next level, we have plans for that, too.
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 :)

Mailjet is an all-in-one email marketing solution used for sending, tracking and delivering marketing and transactional emails. Some highlight features include its intuitive email editor (e.g. drag-and-drop and ready-to-use newsletter templates), personalisation, smart market segmentation, contact management, as well as a free plug-and-play email API.
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.

As a growing business, you may also be looking for a CRM solution, and you'll find that the more advanced email marketing services have begun to crossover into CRM. It makes sense: Both types of software deal with managing and communicating with customers. A handful of these services are one-stop shops, either offering both email marketing and CRM out of the box or as add-on services.
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.
Thanks for the article, it was also interesting and inspiring to see your other ventures in diverse fields. Would like to connect 1:1 in the near future. Meanwhile, even I had done a similar comparison as I myself handle email marketing for my organization. Do check it out as well as for the readers of the blog since it covers 2 additional players.
Social media – the undisputed king in the marketing domain… And then there’s email. Think of it as a grandparent to social media marketing. Don’t be fooled, it’s still reliable if used the right way. Today’s marketers may not be as email savvy, nor do they consider it to be a “cool” way of contacting clients, however, it has stood the test of time and proven itself to be an effective method of communication.
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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