Saturday, December 28, 2013

The 10 Most Useful Email Marketing Software Products


Email marketing is one of the most powerful tools in any marketer’s arsenal. Think about it. Your email list is invaluable – a database of customers or subscribers is a goldmine. Done right, sending your users valuable and targeted messages will result in higher conversion and engagement rates.
Aside from company newsletters, updates, and special deals, what else can you offer your mailing list? Start by thinking about your touchpoints. When do users interact with your products or services, and how can you capitalize on those interactions? There are opportunities to reach out to users after they sign up to offer a hand with setting up their account; to offer assistance after they abandon a session halfway through; or to offer a compelling reason to return after a period of inactivity by the user.
When it comes to choosing your email marketing software, don’t just take into account your current needs. Consider what other requirements you have in the future as your business grows or pivots. How big is your email list, and how fast is it growing? Will you need to track and follow up on individual emails? Automate certain responses? Integrate your email marketing with a separate customer database?
Most newsletter software offers built-in templates, often with drag-and-drop capability; built-in social sharing straight from an individual email; scheduling; segmentation; and analytics, often in real time. Many also let you remove their branding from mailouts altogether, or even take your RSS feed and automatically convert your blog posts into e-newsletters.
Here are 10 useful email marketing tools to consider.

With 3 million users, MailChimp is one of the kings of newsletter software. It’s also free to use if you have less than 2,000 email subscribers (minus a few premium features like autoresponders and social analytics).
With MailChimp, you can customize your signup form to match your brand for your website and Facebook. The mailout editor has built-in photo editing tools, visual and HTML editing modes, the option to create A/B split campaigns, and automated responses. MailChimp also integrates with Salesforce, Magento, and many more.
Finally, analytics reports tell you who’s opening, clicking, and coming back for more. Google Analytics offers insights into how your email marketing drives website traffic, while Tweet Trends gives you insight into your subscribers’ activity on Twitter.

Like MailChimp, GetResponse allows for personalized signup forms, image editing in-browser, and A/B splits. It also caters for the design-savvy, who can upload email layouts in zip file format or captured via a URL.
Within GetResponse, you can check how your mailout will appear in various popular email clients to ensure it renders perfectly. Contacts may be imported from 16 different services and mail clients, including Gmail, Outlook, and LinkedIn. And it integrates with a host of other platforms, including Zendesk, Salesforce, PayPal, Shopify, Batchbook and Magento.
On top of that, GetResponse offers a separate landing page tool, where you can create and publish promo pages and integrate them with your e-commerce and social media platforms.
VerticalResponse offers two payment options: a monthly plan, starting at $8.50, or a pay-as-you-go method, where you buy credits for the number of emails you need to send.
Feature-wise, it offers everything you’ve come to expect from an email marketing software client. It boasts a whopping 700-odd templates, plus you can automatically post your emails to Facebook and or build custom signup forms for your own website or Facebook.
VerticalResponse also plays in the event marketing space (helping you promote and sell tickets to functions) and social media space (helping you curate relevant content for your social channels).
verticalresponse specializes in targeted behavioral emails and autoresponders. It lets you send newsletters to user segments using data from your site – no lists to manage. You can look up a customer and see all the communications you’ve had with them, including their site activity (in case they need help). The built-in analytics also make it easy to see how people respond to the different types of emails you send.
It’s free for companies with less than 100 customers. Bonus: the blog is also packed with helpful hints to improve your own email marketing practices.

Constant Contact
Constant Contact covers all the basics of email marketing but touts its live help as a big point of difference, from daily live demos to local seminars. It also syncs with the likes of Salesforce, SugarCRM, Outlook, QuickBooks and more.
Event management and promotion is another area Constant Contact offers services in, from invitations and registration forms to tracking RSVPs, processing payments and issuing tickets. In addition, it offers users Facebook campaign building tools, mobile site optimization and digital listings on a range of online directories and mobile apps.
Plans start at $15 a month, and there’s a free trial.

Using iContact’s email marketing tools, you can publish your emails in a public archive on your site, conduct surveys over email, and design automated responses. And when collecting information about new users through a signup form (whether on your own site or Facebook), iContact’s custom form fields allow you to capture all kinds of data as your needs dictate. Integrations include partnerships with Salesforce and Magento.
iContact’s email marketing software is free for companies with under 100 subscribers. Add-on services include iContact’s in-house design team, whose services can be deployed by customers, or help with online marketing strategy from its advisors.

As newsletter software goes, Cakemail is slick, modern and design-minded. Choose from a visual or HTML editor, or upload pre-designed campaigns as .zip files. A/B and automated campaigns are available too.
Reporting options include Google Analytics and, notably, a nifty visual heatmap.
Cakemail’s free to use for those with less than 100 subscribers.

Contactology’s email marketing software includes email survey options along with traditional newsletters and messages. Sync contacts and subscribers from your CRM (Salesforce, SugarCRM, ZohoCRM, etc) and design automatic responses or A/B split mailouts.
Among the mailout editing options are an internal photo editor and a handy URL grabber in case you’d like to send a complete web page to your email subscribers, complete with active clickable links.
It’s well equipped to cater to larger enterprises, including global customers, with support for international characters in languages other than English. And it’s free for users with under 100 customers.

Aweber’s email marketing tools tick all the usual boxes, including autoresponses and the option to personalize your own signup forms, including custom forms to match the online version of your mailout.
It integrates with Shopify, PayPal, Magento, Eventbrite, and Rapportive, to name a few. Plus you can automatically publish your mailouts online for website visitors to browse.
Plans start from $19 a month.

Mailjet’s newsletter software offers a step-by-step, menu-based mailout builder. It’s built a reputation as a cloud-based provider able to manage emails in bulk.
Perhaps more importantly, it claims to monitor your campaigns and IP address dynamically to ensure your messages actually get delivered. Mailjet has come up with its own algorithms to route emails via he most effective IP address.
If you send under 6,000 mailouts a month, it’s free.

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