How to Choose an Email Marketing Platform

How to Choose an Email Marketing Platform

How are your email marketing campaigns going? Imagine Don Draper saying this, looking right at you with that humorless face. Only, it’s 2021, and mail marketing is done online. And we no longer use typewriters or faxes.

(If you don’t know who Don Draper is, it’s about time you’ve watched Mad Men).

Yes, that’s supposed to be menacing. Why? Because people are still ignoring email marketing and complaining about the fact that they aren’t generating enough leads when, uh, email marketing is a lead generation winner.

Not investing in email marketing is the equivalent of cutting your own throat. You don’t want that.

But your pain is understandable. Trying to choose an email marketing platform is often harder than doing email marketing itself.

You’re presented with countless options. Which is better, which one to choose? You seem to be faced with “all-in-one marketing tools” that apparently do the same thing under different brand names.

Instead of making it harder, we’ll do it this way:

We’ll tell you exactly what you should look for in an email marketing platform (no matter the size of your business). Then, we’ll list platforms that meet that criteria. And you go with the one that suits your fancy (or your wallet, if that’s the case). Deal?

Here we go. Here are the most important features you should look for in any email marketing service.

Handy Support

Email marketing isn’t everybody’s cup of tea. In fact, there are three types of people:

  1. Those who don’t have enough time to learn email marketing, so they need most (if not all) of the work done for them.
  2. Those who have enough time to learn about it, but have difficulty doing it–so they need a hand most of the time
  3. Those who don’t feel like learning and need someone to do the job.

If email marketing is still a concept you can’t grasp, you’ll need a comprehensive support team, available around the clock. A lot of platforms have 24/7 support, but not all of them boast it like these three:

Active campaign

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Active Campaign offers one-on-one video chats with its Customer Success Commitment promise. Legend has it you won’t find these promises anywhere else. From getting you all set up to building advanced automation, each session is hosted by experts from the support team. They even host in-person events worldwide, year-round by skilled members with in-depth instructions. These guys really do care.

By the way, if you’d like, they can teach you how to become an automation expert in no time with their pre-built recipes and automation flows. Great stuff.

MailUp

MailUp’s landing page begins with the following sentence: “At your side, every step of the way”.

That’s powerful because it brings a sigh of relief to the marketer who’s just getting started, as well as the one who needs just a little bit of direction. You’ll have every single tool you need to achieve your email marketing goals, whatever they are.

Wishpond

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Wishpond is for the business owners whose hair is already on fire. They don’t have time for BS. They want someone to grab their hand and even do the work for them whenever possible.

With this platform, you’ll get a dedicated executive to guide you through every step of the campaign process. How fancy is that? Wishpond manages everything, from page setup to getting your campaigns live. All so you can focus on other areas of your business without losing any sleep.

A Clean and Uncluttered User Interface

Any marketing service you subscribe to is supposed to make your life easier. Trouble is, many of them make it harder in essential aspects. In simple words, you can barely use some of them because of their terrible interface.

What makes a bad interface, per se? A bad interface is hard to look at. You can’t find what you need in it. You don’t know the meaning of several things. So you eventually give up on them.

Here’s an example:

Good luck trying to decipher that, whatever that is.

Now that you’ve looked at this cluttered excuse of a page, time to rest your eyes with delightful interfaces from two email platforms that promise smooth sailing. Here they are.

Benchmark

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Benchmark is all about saving you time. It deeply touches on a valuable pain point of frustrated customers, which is spending days to figure out how things work. That’s not why they subscribed to a service that’s supposed to help them, duh.

Benchmark simplifies all tools and breaks the long-held belief that email marketing is hard. It’s made for the growth of business of all sizes and frees you from spending long hours on setup and customization. With this one, you’ll drag and drop your way towards success.

Gist

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If you look at the reviews, you’ll come across what you’re here for. An almost angelic “it’s not a difficult tool, so anyone can use it”. In one single place, your team can keep tabs on notifications, messages, and customer contacts. No more ping-ponging between apps. Great for small businesses who will start a funnel for the first time ever.

One thing that’s funny is that the URL is GetGist.com which sounds like get the gist, and that’s pretty awesome.

Moving on.

Free-Forever Plans

You don’t have that many subscribers yet. Slowly but surely, you’re getting there. Until then, you don’t have to pay a dime to get your message across with free-forever plans. The great thing about it is: you can still use a lot of features.

You’ve probably heard about the following:

MailChimp

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MailChimp is arguably one of the most famous email marketing platforms out there. It’s also been nominated one of the Best Software Companies of 2020 by G2, so it has to be good. Not only for its iconic logo of a smiley chimp with a cap but also because of its starting free plan that covers a lot of cool stuff like:

  • Marketing CRM
  • Creative Assistant New
  • Website Builder New
  • Mailchimp Domain
  • Forms & Landing Pages

If you have up to 2,000 subscribers or 12,000 emails, rejoice. It’s yours for free.

Moosend

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Cute how we have two completely different animals with the same purpose here. Anyway.

Moosend’s cool tagline is “from beginning to pro, destined to grow”. Huge promise here: emails that get opened and clicked every time. Want to see for yourself? For FREE?

If you have up to 1,000 subs, you can. You’ll still get…

  • Unlimited Emails
  • Sign-up & Subscription Forms
  • Reporting & Analytics

…and that’s awesome. Their pro plan is only $8–no wonder it’s the most popular one. It’s well worth it paying this little if your business skyrockets, which it probably will after you’ve subscribed to Moosend.

Powerful Personalization

Some emails sound like they’ve been copied and pasted all over again. That’s insulting to your subscribers, you know? Every sub needs a personalized experience–or at least something that sounds and looks like one.

You can’t possibly do it without platforms that will give your subscribers a feeling that you’re talking to them, and to them only. Drip and Vertical Response will give it to you.

Drip

Drip’s goal is to help you create campaigns that will send your customers straight to their windows, wondering if someone is stalking them. In other words, it’s designed to help you understand what your shopper wants, what they’re clicking on, what they’re buying, and so on. You can then create tailor-made campaigns based on their recent activity.

Engage with them at the most convenient times. Namely, at important customer touchpoints (a heartwarming welcome, when they’ve forgotten something in their cart, or when they’ve purchased something).

And of course, when you make a campaign that looks like it was made for them, they won’t want to buy from anywhere else.

Vertical Response

You start noticing Vertical Response will be a breeze to use just by reading the instructions on their landing page. Even the most beginner of marketers will know how it works in a heartbeat.

Keeping your audience engaged means building relationships with them until, eventually, they decide to buy something and go from warm leads to loyal customers.

That’s why Vertical Response goes beyond welcome emails. It allows you to send your emails at the perfect time when your customers are more likely to see them. It also comes with a follow-up feature to let them know if they’ve missed anything. This way, they’ll know how much they mean to your business.

Keep subscribers re-checking their inboxes thanks to Vertical Response’s segmented and personalized automation tools.

Fast Automation

Good automation should give you the least possible amount of work. Outstanding automation should do the same–but sound human and personal while doing it.

Most automated messages we see sound robotic as if Siri is reciting them. The following platforms, however, take a stand against machine-like communication and save you tons of time.

iContact

iContact used the word “clairvoyant” to describe the automated email campaigns it allows you to create. If that’s not badass, nothing else is.

Customers not only like it speedy–they like it personalized. And iContact gives it to them by launching automated campaigns that fire up once a subscriber interacts with a landing page, buys something, or meets certain standards you’re looking for. This is great to confirm purchases, say a cheery thank you, or guide them through upcoming steps.

Emma

To learn everything you can about your audience, you need to follow them. Not in a creepy way, though. Emma does it by expertly targeting your audience in and outside of the inbox. And by tying every email to essential steps of the customer journey.

Emma makes it personal. Emma won’t bother your subscribers with annoying emails that pop up when they’ve received one just yesterday. This would eventually make them grow tired of your brand). Emma knows what’s up.

For instance, it segments your email in an attractive way, in interesting intervals. It can greet subscribers with a warm welcome, followed by a laser-targeted offer a few days later. And then it can send a catchy, informative email at the right time. Very powerful.

Comprehensive Analytics

To measure your results, you need to first understand your ROI. What’s the point of having a cutting-edge–as marketers love to call it–platform if you understand nada of what’s going on? (Cough, hence the importance of 24/7 support, cough.)

Knowing whether your campaigns are driving results is essential so you can fine-tune your campaigns, and generate more leads, and acquire more customers. You live and you learn it. What you can’t measure, you can’t change.

Here are two platforms that basically draw it for you (no offense).

SendPulse

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Sendpulse uses something called “predictive analytics”, which tells you the right time to reach out to your customers based on their behavior. Another cool feature is, you can measure your form results accurately by seeing which channels bring you new subscribers–and focus on them. Staying on top of those things will let you create even better campaigns down the road.

What’s more, you can use SendPulse on-the-go, anytime. View all email campaign statistics from your phone or tablet in the iOS and Android app.

GetResponse

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GetResponse is easy to manage thanks to a bunch of tracking options. One of them being the knowledge of which emails didn’t reach a certain subscriber, and for what reason.

Additional data includes number of unsubscribers, viewers, and even those who have a few words to say about your business (an euphemism for complainers, if that’s a word). And by the way, if you’re one of those people who absolutely can’t stand data because you’ve had horrible experiences trying to understand it, GetResponse saves the day by giving you pie charts and graphs that are easy to digest. Yes, it’s literally drawn out, and to be honest, we all needed this.

Summing up

To sum it up, nothing is perfect. Not even the best email marketing platforms out there–although the above are pretty close to it. Of course, they all have different costs and benefits, and that’s why we gave you a lot of options to choose from.

What email marketing platform is your favorite? And what’s one you’d never use again? Comment below to save lives (and businesses).