Amongst all the digital technologies out there that can help businesses engage with and sell to their customer bases, email remains one of the best. Sure Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and tomorrow's next platform are important, but email still matters — a lot. Think about. When someone shares their email address with you, they are signaling that they are, at the very least, willing to hear from you. Plus, email is oh-so measurable. From open and click-through rates to understanding which subject lines perform the best, email marketing can tell you a lot about your prospective and repeat customers.
Since email marketing is such an important space, there are lots of products out there that can help businesses get it done. Here are a few of the best...
Not only is Mailchimp one of the best email marketing products on the market, the service comes with a bunch of other tools that can really make your efforts worthwhile. Yes, you can manage and segment lists, create beautiful campaigns and generate all sorts of reports, but Mailchimp also offers things like landing pages. With a landing page, you can create a simple web page where a visitor from a specific campaign (say, a Facebook ad campaign) can do what you need them do. The idea here is that you don't want a custom ad campaign to send a visitor to just your homepage. There's nothing custom about that. Instead, you want to send them to a landing page where they can only do the thing that your campaign asked them to do (i.e., sign up, purchase, share, etc.).
Mailchimp has a ton of other features for things like ecommerce, automation, CRM connectivity, remarketing, and mobile apps, yet it is still delightfully easy to use — even if you're not an email marketing whiz.
Pricing: Mailchimp starts free, and then increases in cost as your subscriber base does.
If you're in retail or do a lot of ecommerce, think about Emma. Emma puts an emphasis on the customer journey and uses branching logic to help you deliver behavior-driven follow-up emails. (That's a fancy way of saying whether or not someone opens an email or clicks a link becomes the trigger for the next campaign.)
Emma also makes it easy to A/B test. A/B testing works like this: Say you have 500 subscribers. The first 100 get one version of the email, the next 100 get a different version. Whichever one performs better (i.e., gets more opens, gets more clicks or does the best at whatever you're testing) goes to the remaining 300.
Pricing-wise, Emma's not cheap. Expect to start at $89/month.
Constant Contact has been around seemingly forever—and for good reason. The platform has a ton of features built around the needs of small business owners. From easy-to-use templates (no coding required!) to donation, survey and coupon tools, Constant Contact is all about driving customers to your door (or website).
Pricing is friendly too. You get a 60-day free trial and if you have less than 500 subscribers, you pay just $20/month. As your list grows, you'll pay more. But that's a pleasant problem to have, right?
You'll find many of the standard features with iContact, but there are a couple of things that stand out. For starters, they put an emphasis on deliverability, which means that as email apps like Gmail and Outlook continue to tighten their spam requirements, iContact is making sure their software stays in lockstep so your emails get through.
Another plus: iContact has great support via phone, online chat, or email.
Pricing: iContact starts at $14/month.
At the end of the day, go with an email marketing platform that is easy to use, has good support and allows you to effectively communicate your message to your customers.
P.S. - Go easy on your customers' inboxes! Pace your email marketing efforts.