Our Pick of the Best Email Marketing Software

Email marketing software reviews and comparisons from an agency perspective

Best Email Marketing Platforms of 2019

As a professional marketing agency, we have many clients that come to us asking what is the best email marketing software or system to use. This is a great question as there are many to choose from all with difference features (and pricing). In this article we will guide you through a number of quality platforms.

These are our pick of the top email marketing software platforms that are perfect for sending successful email campaigns for your business.

  1. Sendinblue – Best Free Software
  2. GetResponse – Best for templates
  3. ActiveCampaign – Best for automation
  4. AWeber

“It can be hard to choose a good piece of software for your email marketing campaigns when there are so many on the market. As a the owner of digital agency, we are always getting asked by our clients what platform we recommend. The tricky thing is, it all depends on what features the client needs, how big their list is, and how regularly they want to send email. There are free programs that work great and perfect for small business, however large companies will need a more full feature system to handle more emails and possibly automation”

Our Top 4 Email Marketing Platforms Reviewed

OUR NUMBER 1 PICK

5/5

1. Sendinblue

Voted #1 – Free Signup, No Credit Card Required

Sendinblue is ideal for cloud-based email marketing as well as marketing automation. The platform gives users the resources they need to build and grow their target audiences. That includes access to email campaigns, SMS messages, customer relationship management (CRM), and retargeting ads.

One of the features that sets Sendinblue apart from the competition is the quality of its free account. Individuals and businesses can enjoy unlimited use without having to download software or commit to certain obligations. There are also paid versions of the software starting at $25 per month per user.

Additionally, Sendinblue merges all the campaign management and email marketing tools people need into a single platform. For example, people can use A/B testing combined with the reporting and analytics to see which emails are the most effective. There are also features for mobile optimization, auto-responders, and contact databases.

The email software also is compliant on several platforms to ensure as few hassles as possible for campaigns. The software comes with Mac and Windows already installed. Users can also operate it with Cloud, SaaS, iOS Native, and Android Native.

While Sendinblue offers a reliable all-around product, its selection of features is relatively common among email marketing platforms. This Achilles heel is, perhaps, most evident with the limitations in the quantity and range of templates. Templates may be generic or uninspiring to seasoned email marketers.

Definitely worth a try, especially as it won’t cost you anything with the free account option (no credit card required)

For more info check out the Sendinblue website

sendinblue

Pros

  • Up to 4 times cheaper than Mailchimp
  • Forever Free Account - 300 emails/day
  • All new features - CRM, SMS & more
  • Compliant with the GDPR
  • Unlimited contacts

Cons

  • Limited templates
4/5

2. GetResponse

GetResponse is known for several things. Perhaps more than anything else, though, customers recognize it for its simple and intuitive features. The email-marketing platform comes with drag-and-drop capabilities for essentials, such as sign-up forms, landing pages, and autoresponders.

Part of this strength can be attributed to the wealth of offerings when it comes to pre-built templates. GetResponse designed highly engaging and marketable templates, which allow businesses to minimize workload while maximizing personal touch. Currently, the company has more than 500 template options available.

GetResponse also has a robust analytics platform that allows micro-targeting within demographics. For instance, the marketing automation software comes with one-click segmentations that will enable people to see who did and did not engage with emails. There are tools for A/B testing, too, to track and produce the most compelling campaigns possible.

Another strength of GetResponse is its webinar capabilities. Web-based seminars are an easy and effective way to build email lists and increase sales. GetResponses makes the process straightforward with intuitive inference, templates, and publishing capabilities.

If you opt for the 30-day free trial, there will be some limitations. Foremost, it is difficult to get an intimate understanding of the entire platform in only a month. Many email marketing platforms come with more attractive and longer trials. Any moderately sized business will also butt up against the limit of 1,000 contacts.

For more info check out the GetResponse website

getresponse

Pros

  • Online webinar solution
  • Unlimited emails a month
  • Easy to use, great automation/workflows

Cons

  • 1000 contacts
  • 1 month trial
4/5

3. AWeber

AWeber is one of the most recognized email marketing services in the industry. The company got its start in 1998 and established a name for itself with its highly rated email deliveries. If nothing else, the experience and insight of AWeber is an invaluable asset.

Of course, AWeber does more than useful delivery emails. It provides businesses the tools they need to control the entire email marketing process with its highly customizable templates and messages. The company is also well-known for having some of the easiest to use autoresponders, which users can create with the drag-and-drop interface.

AWeber also makes it easy to create tags with a single link click. These let businesses create more personalized messaging within their emails and campaigns. AWeber allows people to tag prospective customers based on expressed interests and utilize the tag to send targeted promotions.

A central strength of AWeber from day one has been their reliable and knowledgeable customer support staff. The team is available 12 hours a day from Monday to Friday. Users of their email-marketing platform can rest assured knowing that a friendly representative will have the answers and information to solve any possible problems.

Father Time has not been kind to AWeber. The company has not been able to stay on the cutting edge as other email marketing solution providers roll out superior technology. The rudimentary offerings, outdated list-based system, and limit of 500 contacts are some of the most glaring weaknesses in the company’s armor.

If you want to find out more about Aweber and their services visit the website.

aweber

Pros

  • Free 30 day trial
  • Unlimited emails a month
  • Good support

Cons

  • 500 contact
  • 1 month trial
4/5

4. ActiveCampaign

ActiveCampaign offers robust email marketing solutions at a highly affordable rate. The company provides software starting at $9 per month with no upfront setup fees. The quantity and quality of features make it a steal of a deal, especially for small businesses that cannot afford to pay thousands of dollars in email marketing costs.

The software also comes with a well-designed interface. Even if you have never used marketing automation software before, it should be relatively easy to conquer the learning curve. The quality of the design is especially useful for small and mid-sized businesses that may have limited resources when it comes to financing and training marketing staff.

 ActiveCampaign also has more than 150 different tools users can utilize via Zapier integrations. While this feature requires a Zapier subscription, it allows for cross-functional systems and processes. That includes handling tasks related to dashboards, Google Sheets, and connecting accounts.

Last, but not least, is the arsenal of email marketing tools that users have at their disposal. That includes autoresponders, image libraries, drip campaigns, and subscriber management. There is also A/B testing to ensure your business is sending customers the most effective emails for your bottom line.

The 14-day trial period and lack of a free plan make it challenging for first-time users to get a grasp on whether or not they want to move forward with the software. There are also a series of small issues that merit an eyebrow raise or two. Those include limited API, moderately effective reporting, and occasional problems with downtime.

If you want to find out more about Active Campaign and their services visit the website.

activecampaign

Pros

  • Low monthly cost
  • Unlimited emails a month
  • Lots of automation options

Cons

  • 500 contacts
  • No free trial
email marketing software

What we look at when reviewing Email Marketing Platforms & Software

Evaluating email-marketing platforms is a series of gives and takes. Few platforms excel on all four of our criteria, so it is essential to keep in mind priorities and goals when shopping. Here are the core features we value the most:

Intuitive Interface

Strong software performance shouldn’t have to sacrifice the quality of the interface. Great platforms do both. Users should be able to navigate the software easily thanks to the practical design and helpful features like drag-and-drop.

Strength of Features

Strong software performance shouldn’t have to sacrifice the quality of the interface. Great platforms do both. Users should be able to navigate the software easily thanks to the practical design and helpful features like drag-and-drop.

Customer Service

If something goes wrong, you should have the peace of mind knowing that the software manufacturer will be there to assist you. The best companies have a support staff that seamlessly combines knowledge and friendliness. Additionally, having online resources and videos for off-hours support is a plus.

Affordability

A company can produce the most exceptional email marketing solution ever, but it will not be worth an investment if the price is astronomical. The bottom line is that the price tag should be viable for you and your team. Again, taking the time to explore a free trial can make all the difference when it comes to making an informed purchase.

Tips to Improve Your Email Marketing Performance

Know Your Target Demographics

Understanding your demographics is the most critical part of any successful email campaign. It informs your purpose as a business and directs what kind of content you will send. You should know the needs, desires, and preferences of your audience from front to back.

Having a comprehension of the larger picture will also set you up to perform micro-targeting. This marketing strategy involves using customer data and demographics to cater to people on an individual level. Micro-targeting relies heavily on research and data collection, so make sure you gather high-quality and reliable input.

Hyper-specialized emails may be extra work for you and your team, but they are worth it. Research shows that emails relevant to users are 18 times more likely to generate revenue than generic counterparts. If you aren’t already collecting data about your audience, you can do so via software, surveys, purchase information, and email activity.

Build Trust Through Short and Consistent Emails

The last thing you want is to come across as a spammer. That requires building trust with users, which does not happen overnight. One way to start is by crafting a short and eye-catching email.

Try to keep the headlines and body text to the point. The simplicity of the message will increase the likelihood that recipients read it in full. It also makes their life easier when it comes to delivering on the call to action.

One vital consideration is the proliferation of mobile technology. Here are two stats to consider. According to Adestra, emails that display incorrectly on mobile will get deleted within three seconds. Secondly, a little more than 40 percent of all Internet traffic is mobile.

The point is that mobile emails are popular and demand proper formatting. Some common flaws include oversized images or text, multiple columns in the layout, and a lack of alt text. Emails with these problems, or a general lack of mobile-first or mobile-aware content, are significantly more likely to be deleted than read.

Furthermore, it is difficult to overstate how essential providing useful information is in your emails. Every email should have an actionable and worthwhile purpose. That could mean connecting your audience with exclusive deals, upcoming events, or future collaborations.

The bottom line is that your audience has to want this information. If it is not useful, the email might as well be spam. One of the keys is not sending emails for the sake of it. This method is, quite possibly, the worst reason to initiate an email campaign.

Make sure that each email has an explicit action and purpose. Taking the time to outline these objectives can make all the difference when it comes to click-through and, ultimately, sales. That is because users can more readily identify, connect, and utilize the core principles of your message.

You shouldn’t be afraid to send regular emails. According to research from Magnetic and Retail TouchPoints, a majority of Americans check their email one to nine times a day. Another 2 percent checks it ten times or more.

There are plenty of opportunities to earn credibility and trust with your email list. Regular messages are, therefore, a chance to build on that relationship and lead to a higher volume of sales. Remember, you are not spamming if you are sending information to people with whom you share a relationship.

Take Advantage of the Subject Line

No email is complete with a thought out the subject line. This banner of text is often the first thing people see and informs whether or not they will open an email at all. Not only should the quality of words in the subject line count, but also the quantity too.

Again, this notion of brevity is attributable to mobile devices. Many email providers will cut off the subject lines after they reach 33 or 43 characters. The exact number varies between providers. That is why you need to communicate your message quickly and directly in the opening words.

Generally speaking, experts suggest subject lines that have 60 characters or fewer. These communicate a majority of the message on mobile while offering full context to desktop users. Your goal should be to portray the hook of the email with as much possible emphasis and brevity.

Consider this example. Brian Dean is the founder of the SEO company Backlinko, which is one of the top 100 marketers in the industry. Dean sends emails with an average character rate of 15.1.

While it’s difficult to know precisely why these short subject lines work so well, here are two possible reasons. First, short subject lines are more likely to reach the inbox and have users read them. Second, the brevity goes hand and hand with a sense of mystery or suspense. Conversely, if you are trying to outline your entire email in the subject line, you are not providing any reason for people to open it.

Use A/B Testing

As mentioned above, A/B testing is the easiest and most effective way to convert visitors into buyers. While taking the time to craft multiple versions of the same message can be a more significant time investment, the results pay for themselves. If you are not familiar with A/B testing, here are the steps to start:

1. Pick a Variable

Find a single variable you want to alter between emails. It can be anything from the color scheme to the wording to the size of the call-to-action button. The goal is to test several versions of the same variable to see, which works best. This step also requires the creation of a control.

2. Organize Sample Groups

Once you have the control and alternative samples, you need to test them on an audience. You will want to divide your audience into different groups depending on how many pieces of varied content. For instance, if you have an email with the regular color scheme and one with gray scale, you need two groups.

3. Send the Email and Monitor Results

You should test both variations, in this case, simultaneously. That allows you to control for other factors, such as time of day and work schedules. When it comes to results, you want to make sure to collect a statistically significant sample size. That is because an adequate sample will most accurately portray which content is more successful.

4. Take Action With the Results

Once you have feedback on your A/B testing, implement it in future tests or on a broader scale. If the tests show people are more likely to click-through emails with your traditional color scheme, stick with that style. This methodology should be repeated regularly to ensure the best results.

There are many reasons to implement A/B testing into your regular marketing operation. The process reduces bounce rates, reduces marketing risks, and increases samples. It is also simple to analyze and draw from, so your company does not need a mathematics Ph.D. to decipher the results.

Tip: Repeat Successful Emails

The adage is, “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.” The same logic applies to email marketing. Once you know that certain types of emails work, you shouldn’t hesitate to use them regularly.

For instance, people on your email-marketing list might have a spike response rate to anything involving a coupon or discount. Now, let’s say you currently have deals in 15 percent of emails. Logic dictates that you should increase the rate of coupons and discounts to drive sales. That said, there might be a point of diminishing returns, so take success with a grain of salt.

Additionally, people aren’t going to read every email that winds up in their inbox. It doesn’t hurt to resend something to your subscribers, especially when there is a significant upcoming event or sale. You should stop resending duplicate emails when the click-through rate is lower than that of the original email.

What Can Email Marketing Software Be Used For?

There a wide range of uses for an email marketing platform. Basically any email you would normally send from your PC can be sent out via email software but in a format that allows for custom designs, personalization, tracking and reporting.

Some common uses include:

  • Newsletters
  • Daily or weekly updates
  • Coupons or discounts
  • New offers and products
  • Free downloads
  • Services that only subscribers can access

Free Email Marketing Software

There are a lot of perfectly fine free email marketing platforms available. These are fine if you only have a small list and just want to send simply email campaigns every now and then. However, if you need more features such as automation, better templates, more contacts and ability to send more emails each month, then you will need a paid service.

Pros

  • FREE
  • Basic design templates
  • Social media links
  • Analytics

Cons

  • Limited number of subscribers / contacts
  • Fewer marketing tools
  • Less reporting and analytics

Our #1 Email Marketing Software Pick

sendinblue