There are several considerations internally to look at when choosing an email marketing platform. Here’s a few of the ways we approach recommending an email marketing platform to our clients, as well as a few platform recommendations for which type of website each one serves best.
Your Marketing, Design, and Copywriting Team
In the past, many email marketing platforms needed a dedicated designer involved in order to create stylized blasts; this is when platforms such as Constant Contact and iContact began. Involving a copywriter as well as an email marketing specialist rapidly expands the team and time needed to create a single email marketing blast.
Consider the needs of your marketing team before settling on an email marketing platform.
If you have a generalist marketing specialist managing your email marketing, choosing a platform that allows templates, drag and drop customization, and built-in automations will be crucial to improving their workflow and productivity.
If you have a marketing team or dedicated roles for design, copywriting, and email marketing management, there are more options available for improved team collaboration and creation.
Talk with your marketing team, find out what is important to you all. You will be able to download free trials of your top options and let them play around with them to get a feel for which one works best.
System and Data Integrations
Your email marketing platform should speak as closely as possible the same language as the rest of your marketing systems, freely sharing data.
About 10-15 years ago, many services and platforms were siloed, requiring regular CSV file uploads in order to maintain lists and statuses. This led to companies retaining multiple lists, some for store visitors, some for website visitors, some for trade shows...now it’s possible to integrate and maintain everything in one place.
Most modern ESPs now have built-in integrations to popular CRMs like Salesforce or are continually adding new ones. In addition, platforms such as Zapier can create custom integrations and automations with very little coding involved.
Be sure that the system you choose integrates well with your other marketing and sales systems.
Your Customer and Marketing Needs
Your marketing and customer needs are a big reason why you are investing in email marketing to begin with.
Start with your customers. Defining who is on your email list and tailoring your messaging to them will dramatically increase open and click rates. For example, 70% of Millennials prefer personalized emails, which means you need to be able to capture and store their name, location, reading habits, and purchasing history.
Sending an email blast about women’s shoes to a middle aged male may not be the most personalized or relevant email to receive, and segmentation and data will allow you to improve.
Have you defined your email marketing strategy, process, or calendar? Knowing what type of content you want to email to your list, and how that list is segmented out, will make the difference between high and low open and click rates.
For many companies, a monthly newsletter of industry updates, changes, and important dates is all that has been done so far. For ecommerce companies, many will send out a monthly, weekly, or even daily product and sales blast with deals and pricing.
Your email marketing platform should assist and support your customer and marketing needs, and not be a hindrance.
Our Email Marketing Platform Recommendations
There are many platforms out there to choose from and we know it can get confusing. To make matters worse, each has its pros and cons and may be more suited to a certain type of business or website. For example, one may provide awesome email marketing for manufacturers but it wouldn’t be the best choice for a blogger or vlogger.
To help you decide what’s right for you, we’re listing our favorite platforms and explaining what type of website each one works best for.
Klaviyo - Email Marketing and Automation Platform for eCommerce Websites
Klaviyo was specifically designed to provide email marketing for eCommerce websites. With that in mind, you can expect that this service offers everything you need to promote your eCommerce store.
Useful features include:
- The ability to target customers based on behaviors like purchase history, browsing history, and spending history
- Smart sending that allows you to prevent sending multiple emails to the same person within a period of time
- Signup forms that allow you to begin personalizing campaigns from the start
- Impressive email marketing automation features that allow you to build rules for a variety of subscriber situations — hands-off marketing at its finest
- Simple A/B testing for your automated emails
- Integration with Facebook to target FB contacts
- The ability to create targeted, personalized social media and SMS campaigns from the same platform
Klaviyo offers a long list of integrations, including Shopify, Amazon Marketplace, Magento, 3Dcart, WooCommerce, and many more. They are also open to building more integrations that aren’t yet available if you need them.
Klaviyo has a free email tier that allows you to send up to 500 emails and have up to 250 contacts. After that, pricing is based on the size of your email list.
ActiveCampaign - Email Marketing and Automation Platform for Content-Rich Manufacturing Websites
ActiveCampaign focuses on helping you send fewer, more impactful emails. Some customers feel that the dashboard is a little busy, but this is simply because it is full of information. Once people get used to it, they often appreciate having easy access to everything.
Useful features include:
- Targeted site messaging to website visitors
- Powerful and easy-to-use email automations
- Informative A/B split testing
- Inbuilt CRM for an integrated sales and marketing platform
- SMS messaging and the ability to manage Facebook advertising
- Mobile app to manage your CRM while on the go
ActiveCampaign does take some getting used to, which may turn off some users. However, for those who take the time to learn it, they will appreciate the advanced features that allow them to fully customize and streamline their customers’ experience. This email marketing platform doesn’t offer a free plan, although they do offer a 14-day trial.
ConvertKit - Email Marketing Platform for Bloggers and Creatives
ConvertKit markets themselves to professional bloggers and related creatives like vloggers, podcasters, Instagram influencers, and YouTubers. The goal is to create a simple, no-hassle way to organize subscribers and manage your email campaigns.
Some users don’t like that simplistic, text-only email templates are the only options. However, if you’re looking for something simple and easy to use, this might be it.
A few useful features include:
- Simple landing page to collect subscribers, even without a website (useful for those with a popular social media channel but not a website)
- Tags allow you to easily organize subscribers for targeted campaigns
- Visual automations tool to easily view your marketing funnels
- Free courses to help you learn to begin and expand your business
ConvertKit offers a free plan for those with up to 500 subscribers. Integrations and a few other features are not available in this tier. Plans start at $29 per month and go up based on the number of subscribers you want to manage.
GetResponse - Multi-featured Email Marketing Platform
GetResponse is not limited to merely email marketing. There are various features that make it a great all-in-one marketing platform.
The platform is excellent for capturing customer leads, which is a solid place to start. After that, the autofunnel tool is excellent for guiding those customers where you want them to go and close your sale.
If you own an eCommerce store, you’ll also appreciate the features that help you drive sales. These include integrations with Magento and Shopify (among others), as well as abandoned shopping cart campaigns, sales tracking, and more.
Excellent features include:
- A smart list that will help organize your list based on customer behaviors
- Autofunnel tool that takes you from traffic generation to getting paid
- Autoresponders that customize the series of emails for a customer based on their actions
- The ability to create custom landing pages and webinars
- Inbuilt CRM on higher-level plans
- Design and spam testing that actually works
All in all, GetResponse is easy to work with and offers some seriously sophisticated automations, which will help save a lot of time.
Hubspot - CRM Integrated Email Marketing Platform
Hubspot is one of the most popular email marketing services out there, holding a large share of the small business automation market. The system can get pricey as you add on premium features but does a whole lot more than just manage your email campaigns.
Here are some of the many features:
- Mobile-friendly emails
- Variety of email templates, as well as the ability to customize your own HTML emails
- Considerable options for personalizing emails
- CRM integration
- Full marketing automation, including social media campaigns
- Control blogging, SEO, and social media from one place
- Marketing, sales, and service hubs all in the same platform
- Free courses to learn and grow your business
- Workable free version to get started
If email marketing is all you require, a simpler system might be a better option for you. However, if you want a centralized software where you can handle multiple tasks (that CRM integration is a big one) then Hubspot is an excellent option.
The pricing system is based on the number of subscribers as well as the features you wish to use.
Choosing the Right Email Marketing Provider
We hope this article has given you a bit of insight into which platform will be right for your business.
As you can see, the options are varied when it comes to email marketing services. Many services offer free trials which can allow you to test drive the system.
August Ash has been developing and marketing websites for manufacturers, distributors, and specialty retail chains for over 20 years, and has helped hundreds of businesses choose and set up the right email marketing platform and strategy to meet business needs.
Have questions? We’re here to help. Contact August Ash today.