Constant Contact is the largest and fastest growing email marketing service in the world. It’s also beginner friendly and has a 60-day free trial (no credit-card required). After that their pricing starts as low as $20/month.
Easy & effective
Email marketing has been around for decades but even as new channels and technology enter the arena, email marketing still remains one of the most relevant and reliable ways to communicate with clients and customers alike. Learn why email marketing remains the king marketing channel in 2021.
With so many services and tools how there, you might be wondering...
Which email marketing service is best for my business?
What are some easy email marketing tools I can use?
What are email marketing campaigns?
Or perhaps you are wondering...
Which email platform is safest and most secure?
How do I get in the right inbox?
How do I do email marketing at all?
Here we will review and compare the best email marketing services for small businesses and figure out which one is best for you.
Today, you’ll also learn how to build and start an effective email marketing campaign and develop a successful strategy.
First, we need to understand the context of email marketing today. Even though it's been around for a while, email has changed. The sheer volume of emails in people’s inbox has skyrocketed. On average, people are getting almost 300 emails a day. That’s a lot of inbox sorting to deal with. As corporations and human beings, we should be conscientious of this and focus on providing real value into our customers inbox.
If you use gmail, you’ve probably noticed the promotions tab which has helped temper this issue by filtering through and sorting out marketing emails with deals and offers. Nice for cleaning up the inbox, but requires you as a business to be extra personable and authentic in how you communicate with your contacts in order to get that prime real estate to tell your story and reach your goals.
Some best practices to help you avoid ending up in the Gmail Promotion Tab:
- Ask your subscribers to add you to their email list but convince them by offering compelling content that makes them want to stay updated about your business.
- Make it personal. Address your clients by name and use friendly sign offs. Also, customize and craft your messages in a way that sounds like your authentic brand voice.
- Avoid using promotional words like “Sale” “Free” % Off” “Deals”
- Don’t use too many images
Learn in depth how to avoid landing in the Gmail Promotions Tab in 2021.
Step 1 In Your Email Strategy is to Build a Contact List.
Without an organized contact list of current and potential customers, your strategy has no foundation. Make sure you take inventory of current contacts and organize them in Google Sheets or Excel. Add as much information as you and in a notes column. For example, age, location, job. This information will be helpful for your understanding of your current customer as well as for what kind of people you'd like to attract in the future.
Check out the 42N Customer Profile Template here to help you understand what important information you should consider when building out your Contact List. Don't worry if you don't have all the information for everyone but perhaps create a tab for Customer Profiles in addition to the full directory.
There are many ways to grow your Contact List. First and foremost, you should have an easy way for people who are searching for your business online to sign up to receive updates and get in contact with you. You can set this up with a programmer on a prominent spot on your website.
For example, we make it easy for you to get in touch to help you out with any of your marketing needs.
Here are some other tips to make sure you maximize the amount of people who sign up and create a secure Contact List Strategy:
Check out some websites of competitors and see how they are enticing folks to subscribe to their website to gain some inspiration.
A great way to grow your email list is through “Getting Leads From LinkedIn” with Wiza in which you simply enter information about your target market and it will generate a list of potential prospects for you which you can export in an excel spreadsheet.
Make sure you are following email marketing laws and regulations. Don’t buy email lists and be clear to customers about what they are opting into when giving you their email address.
Consider Your Goals and Determine How Email Can Help
Now that you have a list of contacts, it's time to develop your plan and organize your Contact List.
It's important to think about your businesses' different goals and how you could use email marketing as a tool.
For example, your goal might be to grow your customer base. You can use email to reach a more mobile audience.
Or perhaps you’re aiming to drive sales. You can use email to lead customers to complete a considered purchase.
Maybe your goal is to enhance brand voice and image. You can use email to welcome new customers or send informative updates about your company.
It's important to consider your goals and use email along with other tactics to reach those goals.
What's your goal and how can email help you achieve it? Think about it. Record it. Track it. You can use free tools like asana to do so.
Figure Out Which Email Marketing Platform Is Right For You
Now that you’re armed with a Contact List and a better grasp of your goals, consider investing in an email marketing platform to help you manage your efforts. Email is a cost effective strategy with an excellent return so it's worth the investment. You’ll be able to easily create beautiful emails, run campaigns and keep up with all the communication while maintaining full control and direct contact with your customers.
With so many options available, it's hard to know what's best. Let's break down the top Email Marketing Services for small businesses.
If you are a small company with 1-15 employees and just starting to build your email strategy try:
Mailchimp’s paid plans start from $10/month for up to 500 subscribers, and the pricing increases in the increment of 500 subscribers.
However if you want unlimited audiences, advanced audience segmentation, multivariate testing, and comparative reporting, then you’d have to move to their $299 per month plan.
If you are just testing the waters with email marketing, Aweber has a limited free plan for up to 500 subscribers. After that, their pricing starts at $19/month.
If you are a growing company looking to expand and automate your email marketing tactics try:
Sendinblue is great if you have a large contact list. All its plans include unlimited contacts with a free option. The paid plans start at $25 per month and increases based on the number of emails you are sending per month. You can also include SMS to your account, but the pricing will vary based on your sending requirements.
*Tip: There are a lot of opportunities with SMS marketing which are worth exploring if it makes sense for your business.
If you are a mid-size ecommerce company, you can consider Drip which offers a free trial and plans starting at $19 per month.
If you are a creative company that produces content like blogs and ideas, Convertkit is for you. The platform offers a 14-day free trial, and their pricing starts from $29/month. They also offer a 30-day refund policy.
You might be thinking, how do I come up with an email campaign idea?
Thankfully, all the platforms we discussed have helpful guides and campaign templates that you can use and customize to your needs.
If you’re still lost on where to start, we’re here for you and we’ll help you set up a strategy that's easy for you to implement. Just send us a quick note and we’ll get in touch.
Some guidelines to help you plan consider are as follows:
- What’s my goal?
- Who is my audience?
- What is the optimal number of emails in a campaign?
- Then start crafting your:
- Subject line
- Also decide an element you want to test among your audience like your CTA or an image in the email body.
Once you have your outline, you can easily input it into your email marketing tool and begin your campaign.
Analyzing Your Email Campaign and Bringing Your Communication to the Next Level
Depending on the email tool you opted for, you’ll have access to various data about your email campaign. Here’s what kind of information you should look for while running your email campaign.
- Delivery Rate (emails delivered / emails sent)
- Aim for 100%
- Clean up your Contact List and remove any address that is not delivered
- Open Rate (emails opened / emails delivered)
- Average: 20-25%
- Consider time of day you send your emails, try A/B testing and implement characteristics of emails with highest open rates
- Click-through Rate (CTR) (click-through / emails delivered). This is relevant if you have a call to action for the recipient to click through to your website
- Average: 2-3%
- Check industry standard click through rates, make your call to actions bold and fresh, try a/b testing
- Bounce Rate (bounced rate)
- Average: .5%
- Learn more about soft vs. hard bounce here
- Unsubscribe Rate (unsubscribe / email delivered)
- Aim for .5 to 1%
- Consider how many emails you are sending and if your content is relevant or personalized enough
- Spam Rate (spam reports / emails delivered)
- Aim for .1% or less
- Make sure your Contact List is full of people who your business is relevant to
- Click-to-Open Rate
- Average: between 20-30 percent
- Compare to general click through rate and aim to improve click rate for those who open the email
Don't forget to think about the emails in your own inbox and take notice of what you like and don't like to help you improve your own strategy.