Despite cries that email is ineffective or dying, a survey by Salesforce.com showed that 73 percent of marketers consider email marketing a core tactic.
But, with so many businesses sending out emails, getting prospects to pay attention can be tough.
Email marketing takes a lot of work. You need to make sure your content and message is clear, your list is constantly updated, and your emails actually make their way to the right people every time.
These 7 tools will help you successfully use email marketing for your small business.
This is the tool that we use to manage all of the email marketing at Main Street ROI.
Infusionsoft is a great option because it eliminates the need to use separate email and CRM programs by combining email marketing, customer relationship management (CRM), e-commerce capabilities, and even referral partner tracking.
Infusionsoft does not skimp on email functionality. Some of the highlights include:
- Scheduling and sending mass emails, such as a weekly email newsletters
- Scheduling and sending autoresponders, such as a targeted sequence of individual follow-up emails
- Using tags to create very specific email list segments from your overall database
One downside to Infusionsoft is the price. Packages start at $199, which can be expensive for small businesses. However, the cost can easily be offset by the increase in sales from your email campaigns and the time saved using the automation features.
Try out Infusionsoft for yourself with this free demo.
MailChimp is an excellent choice for small businesses with a limited budget, because the company offers useful features with a free account.
Free accounts are available for businesses with email lists up to 2,000 subscribers and allow for the sending of 12,000 emails per month. Though some functionality is limited, email design, scheduling, and basic autoresponders are included with free accounts.
MailChimp email creation is quick and easy due to the “drag and drop” nature of the platform. Emails can be created using predesigned templates or custom templates and images can be resized and edited directly in the platform.
The biggest drawback to MailChimp is that they require double opt-in. This means that MailChimp sends a verification email that requires those who have opted in to click a validation link. If they forget to do so, you cannot send them additional emails. This improves email deliverability, but can dramatically cut the size of your list due to real subscribers simply forgetting to click on the validation link.
Note that it is possible to get around this double opt-in using a third party tool like Leadpages.
If you are willing to deal with the double opt-in limitation, or use a third party to change it, MailChimp offers great value for the price. You can get started with a “Forever Free” MailChimp account here.
GetResponse has become a popular email marketing tool for small businesses. They offer a free 30-day trial and low-cost monthly plans starting at $15 per month. They do not have any monthly sending limits and plans are offered on a month-to-month basis; however, if you sign up for an annual plan, you can get a discount.
The interface is user-friendly and emails can be designed using drag and drop features as well as 1,000 free high quality stock images. GetResponse also offers highly responsive forms, landing pages, tracking, and autoresponders. They integrate with a variety of other service providers including Google, SalesForce, and ZenDesk.
Constant Contact offers numerous features, including robust autoresponders and customizable email templates.
Unlike MailChimp, the default setting is single opt-in, which means people are automatically added to your list as soon as the sign up.
The biggest drawback is that system is a bit clunky and not as easy to use as the other tools.
Constant Contact is also a great choice for businesses on a budget. They offer a free 60-day trial, and pricing after that is highly competitive. You can start your 60-day free trial here.
AWeber is a complete and competitive solution. Its biggest strength is the autoresponder system, which allows you to quickly and easily set up a series of emails to automatically go out to new subscribers and other targeted groups.
AWeber offers an extensive lineup of templates and is easy to integrate with your website, blog, and existing CRM system.
The platform also provides detailed customer tracking through an intuitive dashboard. Not only can you track subscriptions, but you can also download charts that show how many clicks each individual link within an email received. This data helps quickly identify problem areas so that you can improve on future campaigns. It is also easy to A/B split-test subject lines to find what is most effective for your list.
AWeber defaults to double opt-in, but you can disable this and switch to single opt-in within the program itself.
AWeber offers a free 30-day trial and competitive pricing, and is a very good choice for beginning email marketers.
You can get started with your 30-day free trial here.
Emma (an “acronym” for email-marketing) offers a wide variety of features and visually stunning email templates. All plans in Emma include their “core features” which include a full template gallery, HTML coding capabilities, realtime analytics, mobile optimized capabilities, list segmentation, lightbox signup forms, and other standard features.
Setting up your subscriber list in Emma is easy — you can important contacts directly from sources including Eventbrite and Excel among many others. They also offer autoresponders and in-depth tracking reports.
Emma has three different plans available: the Pro, Plus, and Enterprise. The Pro plan is $89 per month and includes an automation workflow. The Plus plan jumps to $369 but includes a wider variety of features and supports a contact list of 25,000. The Enterprise plan is $729 and includes everything Emma has to offer. While this program offers some great customization, it may be cost-prohibitive depending on your budget.
iContact offers clean, straightforward navigation, a plethora of features, and more than 670 email templates.
It is particularly suited for first-time email marketers interested in building professional campaigns.
Where it really stands out is in the area of social media integration, with tools that allow easy linking to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn profiles. The platform also has capabilities for scheduling social media posts eliminating the need to use another tool like Hootsuite or Buffer to schedule the same content.
iContact offers a 30-day free trial, followed by highly competitive pricing. If you are ready to try out iContact, you can start your free trial here.
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