Email marketing is the king of digital marketing.
There are a dizzying amount of email marketing platforms to choose from, and more emerging every day. But with so many potentially good choices, how can you know which platform will work best for your needs? That's where this guide comes in. We'll help you find the perfect email marketing software for your business.
Why You Need Email Marketing Software
Before diving into the specifics, it's important to clearly define what email marketing software is and why you would need it.
Email marketing is a channel in which business owners can communicate with their audience through email. It's not a one-way communication; emails sent through an email marketing platform allow the recipient to reply, unsubscribe, or engage with the content in some way. This engagement is generally part of how any email marketing software collects data about user behavior and preferences. That data collection is instrumental in designing targeted campaigns that will result in high engagement rates by your target audience. Those highly targeted campaigns then help businesses improve their performance across the board.
Email marketing software makes it easier to run email campaigns and grow your audience, increase engagement rates of your existing subscribers, and convert new contacts into collaborators. That's why we call it "The Beginner's Guide."
Four Types of Email Marketing Software
There are four types of email marketing software you can use to get the most out of your marketing efforts: open source (free), hosted (cheap), free or cheap utilities, and paid technology.
Open source email marketing software is free to use, but the developer who created it may or may not be available to maintain and update it over time. That's a problem if the creator goes on to work on another project that requires more time.
Hosted email marketing software means you can get started with a low-cost option that comes with support, but prices typically go up if you want more advanced features than what the basic package offers. Free or cheap utilities are free and so-called "blended" tools that combine an email marketing platform with other, often paid services such as analytics or CRM (customer relationship management) software. Paid technology refers to full-service, enterprise-grade tools that can be very powerful but are also very expensive.
Generally speaking, you can get started with a free or cheap utility if you're just running some low-volume test email marketing campaigns. The downside is that these tools often don't have the sophistication or features needed to run more complex campaigns. If you need something more powerful but aren't ready for a full-scale enterprise tool, we recommend choosing a hosted option with a low monthly cost.
Now that you know what's out there, let's look at the most important things to consider when looking at email marketing software options.
Choose email marketing software that supports the two main methods for obtaining consent:
"implied" and "explicit." Implied consent uses things like the actions a user takes on your site or in an app to imply that they've given you permission to send them marketing emails. This is often done by requiring people who want to make purchases or access information on your site to enter a valid email address. Explicit consent is obtained directly from users by providing them with a link to an opt-out page.
When you're using email marketing software that supports both implied and explicit consent, you can choose whether to ask for "unsubscribe" or "opt-out" permissions. The difference between these two controls is that the former enables a user to opt back in to receiving future messages, while the latter prevents future messages from being sent at all. This difference is important because it will impact your email marketing software's data collection capabilities. For example, if your opt-out rate is too high, it would negatively impact your ability to target users as precisely as you'd like.
How Can Email Marketing Software Help You Reach Your Business Goals?
Email marketing software comes with powerful analytics tools that allow you to track the performance of your email campaigns. That can help you run tests and determine what kinds of subject lines and content will work best for future emails. If you're looking for a free or cheap option, make sure the software package includes at least basic email tracking analytics features so you can tell what's working and what isn't.
Email marketing software can also be used to create email automation campaigns. Automation is a way marketers use email software to increase the frequency or effectiveness of all or some aspects of their campaigns, such as sending personalized emails, re-engaging with customers after they've unsubscribed, and doing other things automatically. Email marketing software vendors can help you create automated emails with features such as automatic sequences for sending personalized messages and triggers for sending a variety of different types of messages in response to customer actions on a web site, app or other site.
The vast majority of business email marketing software packages include both automated and personalization features. While email automation tools are more likely to be cheaper, it's not always clear what the best combination of features is for your business. A good way to figure out what's best for you is to compare the features of each package and determine which ones you'll actually use.
Some email marketing software packages focus on one or two aspects of their software, such as HTML editor or lead generation tools, while others cover all the bases. If you're looking for a lead generation tool, make sure it supports sending landing pages and Amazon web pages that you can host on your own server. Otherwise, the emails will get dropped into an email client's spam folder.
This is also a good time to consider the type of pricing model that's included with the software. If you're looking for a web-based email marketing software package, you shouldn't be surprised if it costs more per month than an on-premise software package. The benefit of using a web-based option is that you can access your information from any device with internet access, including your phone or tablet. That makes it easy to stay ahead of campaigns even if you're traveling or working from home.
Even if you don't have to pay for monthly hosting fees, be prepared to pay for additional services like SSL certificates and other security features.
Figuring out the best email marketing software is a matter of looking at your business and comparing software features in comparison to your needs. If you're a small business owner just getting started with email marketing, a basic email marketing software package is probably fine. If you have more complex requirements or want to try advanced automated features, consider one of our enterprise level picks. You can't go wrong with any one of these packages if you want great value for your money.
On the other hand, if you're looking to give your company a professional look and a professional feel or are looking to grow your business through better marketing, you'll need a good email marketing software package. These are expensive, but they can provide huge returns in both time and money. If you're looking for something more streamlined and easier to use, rent email software from an email provider like MailChimp. As long as you pay attention to the details of what each package offers and don't skimp on the features your business needs, there's no reason why your company can't have great brand-building results from a professional email marketing system.
Top Three Best Email Marketing Software Solutions for Marketers
In this article, we provide the internet marketing community with the best free or cheap email marketing software options available. With a variety of tools to choose from, marketers can get started on a budget without sacrificing their ROI.
This list is broken up into three categories: "best free" solutions, "best cheap" solutions, and more advanced (and expensive) enterprise-level email marketing software. Before you invest in your email software program, make sure it can deliver on your business's goals and that it complies with regulations like GDPR so that your data is protected.
1. Aweber is said to be one of the best email marketing software solutions for small businesses. It allows you to create personalized emails with drag-and-drop editors as well as offers many other features such as email automation and lead capture. Aweber is also an established brand, making it one of the most reliable programs available. Aweber integrates with HubSpot for email marketing software that allows you to create highly-personalized emails that are more likely to be opened and engage your customers. This takes personalization back to its roots as a marketing tactic and not just an automated process intended mostly for growing an email list. Aweber is easy to use and well-supported.
2. Sendlane is a great option for marketers who are looking for a cheaper alternative. It includes some high-end features like SEO optimization tools, customizable signup forms, and automated workflows that can help your business grow exponentially over time. Sendlane also provides marketing agencies with all the tools they need to successfully run their business without any downtime or unexpected changes in features or pricing plans down the line.
3. MailChimp provides marketers with a full suite of tools for building email lists, automating their campaigns, and running other marketing programs. This includes advanced social media integration to help you connect with your audience. It's a bit more expensive than some of the other options on this list, but it can still play a role in your marketing strategy if you need to run low-volume campaigns without incurring large monthly costs.
**Disclaimer: We are a professional review company who receives compensation from companies whose products we review. We test each product thoroughly and give high marks only to the ones that are the very best. We are independently owned, and the opinions expressed here are our own. **