Email marketing software is the glue that makes everything work. It’s how you send emails to the people on your list.
To put it simply, if you’re collecting email addresses for the purpose of marketing, you’ve got to be CAN-SPAM compliant. This means every email needs to have an unsubscribe link. Other things we are going to cover are whether to use single or double opt-in and lots of other components.
Email marketing software is very well priced and it keeps you out of trouble in terms of being legal and compliant.
It also makes sure that when you send an email it actually goes to the subscriber’s email inbox!
Deliverability is another factor. If you were to email your 200 clients out of Outlook or Gmail, chances are that your server will shut you down for a little while. They do that to avoid spam. If you email those same clients from one of the platforms we describe below, your emails are almost guaranteed to get there!
All of the platforms below do broadcast emails, which are writing one email and sending it. They all let you set up a sequential series of emails that go out at a predetermined time. This is called an autoresponder (if you didn’t already know).
So, here’s a roundup of some of the best email marketing platforms out there. The list is in order of ‘business complexity.’ A larger business is going to have different needs compared to someone who is just starting out.
Getresponse vs Aweber
Both Get Response and Aweber offer a similar set of features, the key ones being:
- Ability to capture data and host mailing lists
- Autoresponder functionality which allows you to send automated emails at a pre-defined time to subscribers after they sign up.
- Statistics on the percentage of subscribers that are opening your emails and clicking links in your emails
- Easy to use message builders that allow you to create and edit newsletters without coding.
- Integration with various third-party sites/tools for example, online shopping services such as Paypal, Amazon payments, Google Checkout and CRM etc – this allows you to add customers to mailing lists at the point of sale.
Get Response is more cost effective for those starting out compared to Aweber. Getresponse is only $15 per month for up to 1000 contacts whereas Aweber is $29 per month but they do offer a 30 day free trial.
Get Response offers discounts on 12 month and 24 month plans unlike Aweber.
We started out using Get Response. It’s relatively easy to get the hang of and has good support and deliverability of emails. We haven’t used Aweber in our business but know many that do and are very pleased with them.
Active campaign is my favourite out of the email list management tools because it’s good value, has a nice visual interface, excellent support via email and live chat, has autoresponders and sales automation. You can get started at only $9 per month with up to 500 contacts.
Overall, we would definitely recommend Active campaign. It’s an excellent all rounder. Fantastic for those just starting out and those that have a larger more complex business. It’s the only email marketing platform that has:
- Autoresponders called automations that have a visual layout making it easy to see exactly what email is going out when and you can easily edit
- Marketing Automation – you can set up tags for your contacts and track what action they take with your emails
- CRM (customer relationship management) and email marketing in one app
- Segment lists based on CRM data
- Integrates with Zapier (super powerful automation software that allows you to connect two completely different pieces of software and allow them to talk to each other automatically after one initial setup)
- Live chat support
All this and more at an incredibly cost effective price.
Which Autoresponder Wins on Price?
At the time of writing this post, at the starter end of things, Active Campaign is the most cost-effective solution. If you have a list with 0 to 500 subscribers on it, you’re looking at a $9 per month. For the amount of features you get with Active Campaign it’s an amazing deal.
500 to 1000 subscribers, Active campaign still wins at $17 per month.
Additionally, Get Response offers a sizeable discount – 18% – if you pay upfront for a year.
But pricing should not be your determining factor, it all depends on your business, the size of your list as mentioned earlier, your business needs and what you want to do with your list long term. For example, even if you are only doing affiliate marketing at present, you may sell your own products in the near future, so choosing an email marketing platform that integrates with shopping carts or has its own shopping cart would be a smart move. If the email platform integrates with Zapier (like Active campaign) then you can integrate with PayPal, for example, and not have to use a custom shopping cart built into the email marketing platform.
Now, before we get into other software and tools that are needed to build opt-in pages, what is the first thing that needs to be done? This is answered in the next blog post….
Firstly, let me know in the comments below what email marketing platform you use or intend to use in your business?