The most effective and profitable way to reach out and connect to prospective and current customers is through email marketing. Like touched on previously if you aren’t building your list … well then you are just plain silly! When a well executed email strategy is combined with other marketing services such as social media the results could simultaneously boost profitability and authority.
What to Look for when Selecting an Email Marketing Service
A reliable email marketing service should have the ability to deliver the following to its customers:
- Ability to create custom surveys
- Production of newsletters and event emails
- Design templates that can be used to build a customized newsletter, email, and opt-in form
Formation of an Email Campaign
The creation of an email campaign should be “newbie” friendly and hassle-free. The service should also include tutorials and guides so that anyone can easily get started creating campaigns, letters, and surveys.
With reports, you will have the ability to identify how many emails were opened as well as how many didn’t make it to their destination. Most email managing services will automatically and immediately take down email addresses that bounce back.
If something goes wrong or is simply broken, there should always be an efficient and reliable customer support team to call on.
It can be a terrifying task to choose an email marketing manager as there are hundreds available to choose from. Let’s take a look at a few of them:
iContact is a well-designed email marketing software with a great selection of campaign management and design tools. The company is proud of maintaining an impressively higher deliverability rate when compared alongside to it’s competitors. The pricing for the five packages they offer are quite reasonable however, email marketers that create image-heavy campaigns should be prepared to pay extra.
Social Media Marketing: iContact’s excellent social media marketing tools are integrated right into the campaign design process. This allows you to automatically post your content to all the relevant social networks, allowing your customers to easily share the campaigns with their friends. With the social media tracking tool, you will be able to track just how many people are interacting with your campaigns.
Simple navigation: Whether you are a email marketing newbie or someone that has been in the trenches, you are sure to appreciate iContact’s clean and easy to use account dashboard.
Access to an advisor: Premier account customers afford you access to a great assistance program that pairs you with an email marketing expert! It’s their job to help you take full advantage of all your marketing opportunities. This is a great service for those that are short on time or simply feel overwhelmed by all the possibilities.
Tools and resources for large senders: High-volume mailers have different needs and goals than smaller list owners. iContact provides the necessary tools to make sure large list owners effectively market to their thousands of recipients. You get a designated strategic advisor and access to advanced email marketing tools. Tools such as contact segmentation and A/B split testing. You will also be awarded with campaigns that are delivered with iContact’s super-dependable delivery infrastructure to ensure your emails are sent out on time, every time!
Limited library image hosting: All images associated with your email campaigns must be hosted on iContact’s system. The company only provides 5 MB worth of free space. This really isn’t enough to meet the needs of users who send out regular email campaigns or newsletters. Although, you can upgrade your account to get more storage, it is going to cost you. For example to add 5MB to your image library (giving you 10MB total) you will be charged an additional 10% on top of your regular monthly fee.
GetResponse provides an exceptional feature set and a powerful yet simple account interface. Although GetResponse doesn’t have specific specialized tools for event marketers.
Tons of email templates: GetResponse offers a library of over 350 templates to choose from. If none of the available designs should suit your fancy, you can import/build your own using the simple drag-and-drop design tool to quickly created the look you desire without using complicated HTML code. Of course if you prefer to build a template using HTML, that option is always available as well.
Clean design: GetResponse provides their customers with a clean, clear account dashboard with well designed tools that are a pleasure to work with. By using larger font sizes and plenty of whitespace, this helps reduce eye strain and enables you to work more comfortably for longer amounts of time. Also, the navigation is super simple to familiarize yourself with, since every important tool is accessible with a single mouse click no matter where you are in the system.
Landing page creator: GetResponse provides a great set of tools to hlep you create high-quality landing pages in minutes. Simply use the drag-and-drop editor to create the page that you desire. You can even add your landing page to your Facebook account to harness the power of social media.
Higher entry-level pricing: Most of the email marketing services offer plans starting at less than $10 per month. GetResponse’s cheapest option is $15 per month. Although they do offer one of the best feature sets in the industry, and even entry-level customers receive full access to all of the company’s software.
Lower deliverability rate: GetResponse advertises that their deliverability rate is 99.5% but the word around town is that it’s falling more in the 95% to 96% range. Reliable deliverability is crucial in any email marketing campaign.
Constant Contact is a powerful and user-friendly software with a diverse selection of email templates. The company is an especially good choice for email marketing newbies, who will have access to some of the best support resources in the industry.
Multiple methods for importing contacts: Constant Contact makes a great option for email marketers and businesses that already have a substantial email contact list. The company provides all the tools you need to gather all your subscribers into a single list with minimal headaches. They give you several easy options to import your various lists, such as a spreadsheet, text file, an Outlook file, and even Gmail. They also give you the tools needed to grab those contacts from Salesforce, Sage Act!, and even QuickBooks.
Numerous templates to choose from: Constant Contact provides a whopping 400 quality templates to choose from. They even make it painstakingly simple to sort through all the templates by refining your search according to different genres, such as general business, informational messages, holiday greetings, as well as industry specific themes. Once you’ve found the right template for your purposes, you can insert your own images and text using a simple email editor. If you prefer to take full control of the email design process, Constant Contact also delivers the advanced editing functions you need to create your campaign from the ground up.
Comprehensive support and learning materials: Constant Contact offers live and on-demand webinars, tutorials, user guides, and a ton of hints and tips to help you master every aspect of email marketing. They also go one step further by offering Boot Camp style classes, which are day long beginner’s courses held in various locations across North America. Although, these classes aren’t free, they offer a stellar introduction into the email marketing realm.
Spot-on event management tools: Constant Contact’s EventSpot service is an awesome feature for those interested in using email marketing to drive attendance or traffic to a special event. Many email marketers use this for events such as education seminars, charity events, launch contests, and webinars. EventSpot provides all the tools you need to swiftly and easily create an email invitation along with a corresponding event home page and registration form.
Mobile app limited to ios (iPhone): If you have an Android phone or device, you will be bummed to learn that you can’t use Constant Contact’s campaign management app, Quickview. The Quickview app allows you to manage your contacts, monitor campaigns reports, even compose and schedule email campaigns right from your mobile device. The drawback here is that it’s only offered via the Apple Store, not Google Play.
Missing campaign management features: Constant Contact does fall a bit short when it comes to providing advanced campaign capabilities, such as an RSS to email function. Without an RSS to email function you are unable to easily automate parts of the campaign process in order to send more timely, targeted emails to your subscribers. Constant Contact seems to be also being falling short on an A/B split testing function. A/B split testing lets you send out two versions of an email which is distributed randomly to your contact list in order to see which one performs better. If you are looking to drive sales and harness new and existing customers, these features will certainly be missed.