Category: Email Marketing

Content

The Best Email Marketing Calendar Template You Need to…

Successful email marketing is all about consistency and delivering the right message, to the right audience, at the right time. How do you keep all your email content scheduled and organized effectively in order to meet these expectations?

The answer? An email marketing calendar. They’re an essential tool for planning, scheduling, and organizing your content and delivery dates to keep your strategy on track.

Here are some things they can help you achieve:

  • Plan the content you’ll share via email ahead of time.
  • Provide team-wide visibility into your email strategy and execution.
  • Track your sends and hit deadlines.

Plus, getting organized is highly correlated with marketing success. That’s nothing to sneeze at.

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Download Your Email Marketing Calendar Template…

Make it easy on yourself and download your email marketing calendar template. This easy-to-use Excel spreadsheet will give you and your email marketing team the bird’s eye view you need to keep every sent email campaign organized.

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… Or Organize and Schedule ALL Your Newsletters With CoSchedule’s Marketing Calendar

With CoSchedule’s Marketing Calendar and key email service provider integrations (with MailChimp, Campaign Monitor, Constant Contact, and ActiveCampaign), you can:

  • Seamlessly integrate with your favorite email marketing platform. You already have a kick-a$$ email platform you know and love, so why give it up? Easily connect your preferred email platform to CoSchedule with just a couple clicks.
  • Write click-worthy email subject lines every time. Use CoSchedule’s exclusive Email Subject Line Tester to optimize and perfect every subject line to drive more opens, clicks, and conversions.
  • Get full visibility into your ENTIRE marketing strategy. Say “buh-bye” to disjointed marketing content and constantly jumping from screen to screen. With email marketing, it’s easy to see how your email campaigns relate to the rest of your marketing strategy, and quickly make adjustments, if necessary.

Join the Marketing Calendar today and benefit from several, helpful marketing tools.

What is an Email Marketing Calendar?

Before we go through the steps involved with creating the best email marketing calendar, let’s address the elephant in the room: what exactly IS an email marketing calendar?

When it comes to email marketing, the key takeaway should always be to plan ahead and do the work in advance for your campaigns. Email marketing calendars are a way for your whole team to see upcoming projects, who’s doing what, and what projects are ready for launch.

If you don’t plan ahead on your email marketing campaigns, sooner or later, you’ll be overwhelmed with approaching deadlines and small project windows.

To help you get a grasp of how your email marketing calendar should perform, we have provided a great template in the download to get you started. When you feel comfortable with a simple spreadsheet template like this one, try using CoSchedule’s email marketing calendar and do more with your campaigns.

Email marketing calendar template

Step 1: Determine Who Owns Each Email Send

The first thing you need to identify in your email marketing calendar is who owns each campaign. This person is the point-man for every aspect of a campaign and ensures it goes off without a hitch. The primary duties of this role will be:

  • Writing email subject lines and body content.
  • Collaborating with designers to create email graphics, if necessary.
  • Determining which list segments will receive the email.

The owners of each project should be recorded in your email marketing calendar.

[Tweet “The owners of each project should be recorded in your email marketing calendar.”]

Where to list email campaign ownerAction Item: Select your email project owner for each campaign. This person may change depending on the campaign that needs to be created by your email marketing team.

Step 2: Determine Email Topics, Themes, and Seasonality

Before you begin planning your campaign, you need to decide what topics your emails will cover. Are you launching a new product or promoting an upcoming webinar, or are you hoping to provide new subscribers with helpful introduction content?

Work with your team to decide the topic each email of your campaign will cover. Some common themes are:

  • New product launch
  • Upcoming webinar
  • Weekly newsletter (topics will change week to week)
  • New content you’ve written
  • New functionality for your existing product
  • Upcoming sale or event

Email topic or purpose

It’s also important to identify which season this campaign topic/theme is associated with.

You could stick to the standard four, or you can also include seasonal events, like holiday shopping season.

Why would you want to determine your seasons so far in advance?

That’s the beauty of using an email marketing calendar; you can plan everything. By planning ahead, you can show your team when they can expect to be working on a larger number of emails and adjust their workload to accommodate them.

For example, for a business-to-consumer retail store, it may make sense for your organization to send a lot more email during the holiday season in November and December than in March.

You could have your team working on those November emails earlier in the year — or during their downtime in March — to ensure they won’t be so stressed by the time your holiday campaigns roll out.

Where to find Buying Season on the Email Marketing CalendarAction Items:

  1. Work with your email marketing team to determine the topics for each of your campaigns.
  2. Record each topic in your email marketing calendar template that complements this article.
  3. Decide what season in which each email campaign is going to be sent.

Step 3: Establish an Email Sending Cadence

You’ll also need to identify the number of emails that need to be created for each campaign.

That number can be hard to figure out.

How many emails are too many? What’s the borderline between spamming your audience and sending them just the right amount of content? Start with these basic email delivery schedules for different types of content you might need to promote.

The best email publishing schedule

What if you’re doing more than just a single piece of content? What if you’re promoting a product launch? Here’s your email publishing schedule for that, too.

Best email publishing schedule for product launch

What about a webinar email promo template?

Best email publishing schedule for a webinar

If you decide to send out a newsletter, try sending one at least once a month or weekly, if you can manage to create enough content. If you’re going for one a week or one a month, send your newsletters on Wednesdays, as that is considered the best day to send emails.

Best email publishing schedule for a newsletter

Record each email you want to send on your calendar.

Establish send dateAction Items:

  1. Pull the number of projected emails for each campaign.
  2. List each email for the campaign in your calendar.

Step 4: Identify the Campaign Email Segment and Consider Your Suppression List

Your email calendar should also contain information about which list you plan to send this campaign.

For example, you could have a campaign that goes to everyone on your list, or you could say this campaign should only go to people who attended your last webinar. However, if you don’t have an email list to send your content to, you won’t get very far.

Plus, you don’t want to blast your emails to every person on your list because not all of your subscribers are in the same phase of your marketing funnel.

[Tweet “You don’t want to blast your emails to every person on your email list.”]

For example, if you have a customer who is just learning about your product, they don’t need to see an email that encourages them to buy right this second.

How can you do all of this? First, you need to build your list. Try a few of the following tactics and see which ones your audience responds to:

  1. Add CTA’s to your website.
  2. Provide them with something of value that they can download in exchange for their email address.
  3. Publish content on other sites and encourage readers to learn more by joining your email list.

Growing your email list is all about getting creative. The more value you can provide to your subscribers, the better.

Once you’ve built your email list, you can segment it out based on actions subscribers have taken on your site.

For example, when a subscriber visits a specific product page, add that person into a specific segment for subscribers who are interested in that product. This type of action is possible with many email automation providers like AutopilotMarketo, and Hubspot.

This segmenting process allows you to get specific and send targeted messages at the right time to the right subscribers. The right message at the right time can help increase your conversions if it’s done correctly.

There are many different ways you can segment your list. In fact, Hubspot has 30 of them listed to help you get started.

Where to find Email List on the Email Marketing Calendar

Once you identify who you are sending your emails to, you may need to determine who you are not sending your emails to.

Maybe there is a group in your email list that needs to see a different message than the one you’ve planned for this campaign.

Remember when you took all that time to segment your email marketing list? Now you can decide who doesn’t need to see specific emails you want to send.

Add excluded segments to your calendar template.

Where to find suppressed email lists on the email marketing calendarAction Items:

  1. Build your email list.
  2. Decide how you want to segment your email list.
  3. Choose your segments based on where your subscribers are at in their buying process.
  4. Identify which of your email lists should be excluded from each campaign.

Step 5: Clarify the Goal of Your Email Campaign

What goal do you want your email campaign to accomplish? Are you trying to sell more of a particular product or are you trying to build awareness for your brand?

Setting goals touches every single part of your marketing including your emails. These goals help define the purpose of you sending your email in the first place.

Each goal you create for your email campaigns should be S.M.A.R.T or:

Email campaign S.M.A.R.T. goals

Creating goals doesn’t have to be complicated. Since you know the topics of each of your campaigns, your goals should come naturally.

For example, if you’re launching a new product, your goal could be to reach X amount of sales within one week. If you’re promoting a webinar, your goal will revolve around increasing your signups.

Where to find Campaign Goals on the email marketing calendar

Step 6: Write Your Email Subject Lines

Subject lines can be a bit of a pain to write.

What makes a good subject line? Should you include emojis in your subject lines? What language should you add in your subject lines to help increase open rates?

CoSchedule just made it easy to write great subject lines with the introduction of the Email Subject Line Tester.

Screenshot of the Email Subject Line Tester

Hit Score My Subject Line, and the tester will show you ways to improve your subject line:

Example from the Email Subject Line Tester

Include at least two subject lines for your A/B test and record them on your calendar.

Where to add subject lines to the email marketing calendarAction Items:

  1. Write potential subject lines.
  2. Run them through the Email Subject Line Tester.
  3. Choose your top two subject lines for your A/B test.

Step 7: Plan Your Email Content… Don’t Forget to Include Links to Graphics and Videos

Next, determine which content you’ll share in each email. For the sake of this template, we will call each content block in your newsletter a “lead story”. Each lead story should be a link, article, product, or other piece of content you’ll place in the email. This doesn’t need to be the exact email copy you’ll write, just the items the email will promote.

Plan Your Email Content on the Email Marketing Calendar

One of the last elements to record in your calendar are links to graphics and videos that have been created for each email in your campaign.

This is important for your entire email marketing team because they need to be able to access which images and videos are associated with which email. If everything is in one folder, you run the risk of the wrong image being sent to the wrong email.

Each image and video should be linked to in your calendar, so it is easily accessible by the campaign owner.

Where to add image links to the email marketing calendarAction Items:

  1. Work with designers to create graphics or videos for your emails.
  2. Upload them to a file storing system like Dropbox or Google Drive.
  3. Link back to the folder in your calendar.

Step 8: Determine the Dates and Times Each Email Will Be Sent

What date and time is each email being sent out on? This is an essential element to establish in your email marketing calendar because it allows your marketing team to determine when they need to start working on an email to make sure that it gets done on time.

First, let’s cover the best time to send your emails. According to ten studies the best times to send your emails are:

The best time to send an email

While the best days to send email are:

Best day to send an email

Now that’s not to say that these are the times and days to send your emails on. You’ll need to experiment and see which days and times your audience prefers or is the most active. Try the following times and dates to start.

Test email time and day for sending

Once you have the days and times determined for each of your email sends, you can work backward to determine when your team needs to start working on the campaign to get it done on time.

For example, let’s say your email publishing workflow looks something like this:

  • Email campaign owner chooses campaign topics and number of sends: One Day
  • Copywriters write emails: Two Days
  • Copywriters edit emails: One Day
  • Campaign owner approves emails: One Day
  • Designers create images and videos: Three Days
  • Designers edit images and videos: One Day
  • Images and videos are approved by campaign owner: One Day
  • Copy and graphics are added to email platform: One Day
  • Email lists are chosen: One Day
  • Email is ready for publish: One Day

In this case, your email marketing team would need to work on a campaign at least 13 days before it begins. You may even add extra buffer days in case the work gets off course.

Equipped with that information, you can select publish dates and times that maximize each email you send. Record your publish date times on your calendar.

Where to find Email Send Date in the Email Marketing CalendarAction Items:

  1. Using the best times to send an email and your audience’s preferences, determine what time you’re going to send your emails.
  2. Repeat the process to decide which days you’re going to send your emails on.
  3. Use those dates to determine when your team needs to start working on each of your campaigns.

Step 9: Keep Up With the Status of Each Campaign

Your email marketing calendar should show the status of each of your email marketing campaigns. That way you, as a manager, can see what’s coming up, what’s staged and ready to send, and what your team is working on next.

[Tweet “Your email marketing calendar should show the status of each of your email marketing campaigns.”]

Break down the status of your campaign into three sections:

  • New: This is a new campaign that has recently been added to your calendar. No one on your email marketing team has touched this campaign.
  • In-progress: Your email team is working on content, graphics, and more for this email. Once they are complete, they will move on to the project owner for final review.
  • Complete: At this point, the email has been designed, subject lines are written, and the project owner is confident that this email is ready to be sent to the identified list.

Update the status of each of your campaigns regularly (at least weekly) in your template.

Where to denote campaign statusAction Items:

  1. Set up weekly syncs with your email marketing team.
  2. Review any new campaigns that have been added to the calendar. Update their status.
  3. Review the in-progress campaigns. Update their status as needed.
  4. Review completed campaigns. Update their status in your email marketing calendar template when done.

Step 10: Record the A/B Test Results of Your Subject Lines

After you have sent your campaign, identify which of the two subject lines you created, won the A/B test. Most email service providers allow you to A/B test your subject lines within the platform. Based on how each subject line performs, your email platform will take the winning subject line and send it out to the rest of your list.

Email A/B Test Results in the Email Marketing CalendarAction Items:

  1. Pull the results of your A/B test.
  2. Record the winning subject line.

How to Use CoSchedule as an Email Marketing Calendar

The spreadsheet-based template included in this post is a great low-cost option to get started, but you might soon find it’s somewhat limited. In that case, it may be time to consider using CoSchedule’s marketing calendar and Content Organizer with email service provider integrations (MailChimp, Campaign Monitor, Active Campaign, and Constant Contact). Here’s how to get set up and apply this process using CoSchedule.

Setting Up Your Account

Follow a few simple steps to get started:

  1. Connect your selected ESP. You can choose your provider under Settings.
  2. Add team members to your account, if you haven’t already. Give your team visibility into your email marketing strategy.
  3. Head over to the Marketing Calendar. This is where you’ll get started creating your email.

CoSchedule marketing calendar

Alternately, if you prefer to manage projects using a Kanban board, you can also use the Kanban Project Dashboard.

CoSchedule kanban calendar view

Add an Email Newsletter to Your Marketing Calendar

Now, if you have your email service provider connected to CoSchedule, you can start planning and scheduling email content. To begin, either click a day on the calendar, or click on the +Create button on the calendar.

Adding an email newsletter project

If you’re using the Kanban Project Dashboard, you can start by clicking the + at the top of a column, or by clicking +Create.

Adding a project to the kanban dashboard

Add a Description

Here’s a quick look at what the interface looks like within a project in CoSchedule. While we’ll go through each area you see below shortly, for now, enter a text description of your email in the Description field.

Adding a text description for your email

Add Tags for Email Type, Buying Season, and Email List

Next, you can use tags to organize email content by some of the other elements mentioned earlier in this post, like the type of email, buying season it’s aimed at, email list segments that should receive it, or anything else that makes sense for your needs. Start by clicking +Tag underneath the Description field, and you’ll see a list of tags you’ve created.

Adding tags for your email newsletter

Now, how do you actually create and set which tags are available in your account? Head over to Settings in the left-hand navigation.

Finding available tags

Then, scroll down a bit to and add custom tags.

Customizing your tags

Set Up a Workflow Using Task Templates + Custom Statuses

When your team works on creating your email content, they’ll need a clear workflow to follow. Planning those workflows into checklists will help keep production on track, ensure that deadlines are met, and remove ambiguity around who is doing what and when they’ll get it done.

You can do this in CoSchedule using Task Templates. In the screenshot below, you’ll see a few things:

  • Where to find your Task Templates. They’re labelled in the upper right of your screen.
  • A list of templates. You can create multiple checklists for all different types of projects — not just email.
  • Controls to create, save, and duplicate task templates. This is easy to do.

Setting up workflow with your task template

Let’s click on the Email Newsletter task template we have created. This will apply a checklist — note that you can customize your own task templates any way you’d like — that looks like this:

Assigning tasks to your team

On the right, you’ll see a few things on the checklist:

  • The name of each task. What needs to get done?
  • When each task is due. You can easily adjust these deadlines.
  • Who is responsible for each task. They can check off each task when it’s complete.

Now, it’s likely someone on your team will need to review work before it can be considered complete. CoSchedule supports this with Task Approvals, and they’re easy to set up as well. Start by clicking into a task, and then adding a team member who will need to approve that task before it can be checked off.

Add approval tasks

As work progresses on your email, you can also use Custom Statuses to indicate its level of progress. You can see the status in the bottom right.

Updating project status

Write an Email Subject Line Using the Built-In Email Subject Line Tester

Once it’s time to start writing your email, begin with the subject line. You can use either the standalone web version of CoSchedule’s Email Subject Line Tester to start, or you can use it, built-in, with CoSchedule.

Use the email subject line tester

Manage Workflow in CoSchedule + Set Up the Email Newsletter in Your Email Service Provider

Next, you’ll need to create your email content in your email service provider, but you can plan the content and organize your copy — provided you’re writing copy using Google Docs or Word — in CoSchedule. Here’s one way to consider approaching this.

If you’re creating content in Google Docs, then attach your Google Doc as an attachment to your project. You can also attach a Word Doc as a file, link content from Google Drive or Dropbox, or write copy directly in CoSchedule with the built-in text editor — use the option that best suits your workflow.

Add necessary attachments to your project

This makes your email copy easily accessible. You can then use Discussion Threads to discuss the email as your team collaborates throughout the process. If you have images that will be designed for the email, you can use Discussion Threads to pass the files along and share feedback for review purposes as well.

Use the discussion thread to communicate with involved team members

Then, once all your assets are created, you can set up the email in your ESP, and be ready for the final step.

Schedule Send Date and Time

Finally, it’s time to actually schedule your email’s delivery time and date. If you’re using MailChimp, you can adjust the day and time within CoSchedule or in your ESP. Other ESPs are one-way sync only, meaning that you’ll need to schedule the day and time within the ESP, but your send day and time will then be reflected on your CoSchedule calendar, too.

Start Using Your Email Marketing Calendar to Get Organized

Now that you have the tools and knowledge to improve your email calendar for everyday marketing, try out your newfound skills on your marketing newsletter. Master newsletter organization with the tips you’ve learned today, and continue learning how to get the rest of your marketing bearings in order.

Soon, you’ll be the master of marketing calendars.

Ready. Set. Organize!

This post was originally published on April 18, 2018 and was updated on Dec. 14, 2020. Ben Sailer and Peyton Muldoon contributed writing to this post.

The post The Best Email Marketing Calendar Template You Need to Organize Your Newsletters appeared first on CoSchedule Blog.

Email Marketing

Best Email Autoresponder

Disclosure: This content is reader-supported, which means if you click on some of our links that we may earn a commission.

You know the revenue is out there and you know an email campaign can help you get it. But how do you keep a strong handle on your campaign as it plays out over weeks and months?

Email autoresponders can save you a ton of time and deliver huge returns on campaign investment. Yet automation can be a double-edged sword.

The sad truth is that many thoughtful email campaigns become inbox wallpaper. It only takes a few mistimed or off-target emails before your audience starts to tune them out.

A good email autoresponder gives you the ability to connect with customers, at scale, without overwhelming them

Or your team, for that matter. These products eliminate many of the tedious and repetitive tasks that are so essential to building relationships at scale.

Delight your customers with content they’re interested in. Get full visibility into your open and click-through rates and watch them climb.

Let’s walk through the best email autoresponders, what they can do for you, and how to select the right one. 

The Top 5 Options for Email Autoresponders

  1. Mailchimp – Best for beginners
  2. MailerLite – Best free email autoresponder
  3. Klaviyo – Best for ecommerce
  4. GetResponse – Best for sales teams
  5. Moosend – Best for simple marketing automation

How to Choose the Best Email Autoresponder for You

Email autoresponders can help your teams get more done in less time, without sacrificing the personal touch that drives clicks. However, not all email autoresponders are created equal. 

Some will work well for a brief series of 3-5 emails that welcome a new contact and warm them to your products—good for a simple customer journey.

Others help you set up complex automated workflows that respond to customer behavior, shopping tendencies, and other triggers you define.

The end goal is setting up something that automatically sends the right message, to the right customer, at the right time. 

Here are the major features of email autoresponders that are helping companies increase their chances of success:

Automation Capabilities

It’s right there in the name—the big boon of autoresponders is automating menial, manual campaign tasks. 

However, the more robust tools tie into your customer databases or CRM, and let you define triggers based on a range of highly-personalized criteria.

Some of the popular automation capabilities you will see include:

  • Welcoming/Onboarding: Greet new users, customers, or employees
  • Web Trigger: Make contact when someone clicks on a link, fills out a form, updates a field, makes a purchase, or joins a group
  • Reminders: Send time-sensitive emails about deals or webinars
  • Celebrations: Send discounts for birthdays and anniversaries
  • VIP: Trigger discounts and promotions for loyal customers 
  • Abandoned cart: Contact a customer with the opportunity to buy items left in their cart
  • Follow up: Reach out after a purchase or interaction
  • A/B testing: Experiment with different versions of the same email to analyze performance and evolve your strategy
  • Branch flows: Create workflows that split customers based on conditional or logical triggers to direct them down the most appropriate path

A really good autoresponder lets you build out workflows within a visual editor, giving you a bird’s eye view of each trigger and step of the process. 

Make sure you pick something with the capabilities you need to design each customer’s entire journey.

Email Editor

Don’t forget about crafting great emails. They have to be appealing from the subject line to the CTA, and every element must be optimized for web and mobile.

Good email autoresponders make these challenges much easier. My favorite products have intuitive visual email builders that help you make content that converts. 

Beyond designing beautiful emails quickly, you can add buttons, embed content, and preview exactly what your email is going to look like from a customer’s point of view.

Find an autoresponder with an email editor that your employees enjoy using that also delivers predictable results. 

With it, you’ll find that your teams will be able to quickly generate on-brand emails, consistently building out the perfect message for each step of a customer’s journey.

Email Segmentation 

The contacts who make up your list are different people. That should go without saying. 

But, even today, many companies rely on email blasting their full list to get the word out.

Effective email campaigns are based on putting things in front of customers that they actually want. 

Email segmentation allows you to leverage customer data in service of better targeting, through which you can differentiate your contact list into groups based on:

  • Age
  • Average spend
  • Cart contents
  • Gender
  • Geolocation
  • Past purchases
  • Weather conditions
  • Website behavior

Companies like Starbucks are sending weather-appropriate discounts on drinks: it’s no accident when their emails entice consumers to warm up on a rainy day or cool off when the temperature spikes.

This is a whole new way to approach customers where they are

Every company defines their important segments differently. The richer your customer data, the easier it will be to use email segmentation to increase your conversion rate.

Email Personalization

Automated, personalized emails go well beyond using a contact’s name in the subject line. 

With Klaviyo, for example, you can automate the inclusion of product recommendations in the body of your email based on a contact’s location, past purchases, current weather, and so on. 

Some autoresponders leverage machine learning to suggest products that other shoppers with similar tastes have ordered. 

The best tools help you nail the easy stuff—like greeting subscribers by name and remembering their birthdays—while helping you convert customer data into revenue.

Tip: the better your email segmentation strategy, the easier it will be to leverage personalization, especially at scale.

Campaign Management

As your contact list grows, it’s going to include more diverse customers at different stages of their buying journey. 

You are going to want an email autoresponder that gives you the ability to manage this growing list and provides visibility into the ongoing performance of your campaign.

We all know about open rates and click-through rates. Those are important, but make sure you find something that lets you drill down into what matters at the end of the day, like sales per email, ROI per email, and total sales per email sent.

Staying effective in the long term means making adjustments. Campaign management tools help you figure out what’s working and what to change.

Email and Subscriber Limitations

Typically, email autoresponder pricing is based on the number of subscribers you have and the number of emails you send each month.

This should be a pretty straightforward consideration. But if your goal is growth, factor in how many more you’re looking to add to your list over the next month, quarter, or year.

If your email marketing strategy takes off and you need to bump up into a higher pricing tier, will that be a problem for your budget and ROI?

The Different Types of Email Autoresponders

Email autoresponders have been around for a long time. These days, virtually all of your best options are going to come as one component of a larger email marketing service.

That said, you can still find tools that will help you automate email marketing without requiring you to incorporate new services into your business processes.

The questions you need to answer are: Are you looking for basic email autoresponder features that help you automate specific workflows? Or are you looking to automate complex email workflows that dovetail into your larger marketing strategy?

If you answer yes to the first question, a dedicated email automation tool should be able to help you accomplish your goals. If you answered yes to the second question, you are going to want to skip ahead to the bundled products that will better meet your needs.

Dedicated Email Automation Tools

Exemplary products: MailerLite, Mailchimp (Free & Essentials), GetResponse (Basic), Moosend (Free)

Free email autoresponders and lower-tier plans allow you to build out simple workflows. This might be a welcome series, an automated response to a new customer or purchase, or a follow-up with someone who just reached out to customer service.

These dedicated email automation tools are great because they’re so easy to use. Virtually any member of the team can put together workflows that save time each day. 

Of course, these options don’t come with as many features to segment your list, personalize emails, or manage a campaign.

Another potential problem is that it’s harder to assess your campaign performance and make adjustments without advanced tracking and reporting.

That said, dedicated email automation tools allow individuals to accomplish far more than they could ever do manually. 

If you already have a suite of online marketing tools that are working well and all you need is the email automation, these products can work wonders without a significant outlay.

Automation Bundled with Email Marketing Tools 

Exemplary products: Klaviyo, Mailchimp (Standard & Pro), Moosend (Pro & Custom)

To provide a more complete tool for the job, there are a range of autoresponders that offer automation bundled with email marketing tools.

These products make it easy to track customers, analyze behavior, and revise your campaign strategies accordingly. 

Tools like Klaviyo, for example, integrate directly with your customer data, giving you powerful segmentation and personalization capabilities with hardly any extra work.

They also let you build complex workflows that let you tailor your automation strategy to your specific needs. Often, they will include a visual builder that makes it much easier to design and manage flows.

With email marketing services, it’s important to recognize that lower-tier plans are going to function more like simple automation tools, even if it’s the same product. 

Mailchimp, for instance, lets you create multi-step journeys with their Essentials tier, but you can’t include branching points unless you get their Standard plan. If you want to take advantage of all the segmentation features—which will make your multi-step journey more effective—then you will have to get their Premium plan.

#1 – Mailchimp — Best for Beginners

Mailchimp is a powerful product that hasn’t lost its simple feel, though it has grown considerably since it first hit the market in 2001. 

Today, it functions as an integrated marketing platform, taking on way more responsibility than the email automation it became famous for.

Despite its depth, I like Mailchimp as an email autoresponder for beginners because it’s constantly offering user recommendations based on intelligence from billions of email interactions. 

Subject Line Helper, for instance, offers data-driven insights about how to increase open and click rates. 

There are plenty of other excellent features, including:

  • Drag-and-drop email editor
  • Segmentation capabilities to target messaging and automate product recommendations
  • Send Time Optimization
  • Multi-branch customer journeys
  • Behavior-based automation
  • Lookalike audience finder
  • RSS to email 
  • Transactional Emails with Mailchimp API or SMTP

Mailchimp offers a free forever version that’s limited to 2,000 contacts, but comes with features like a marketing CRM and landing pages that you won’t get with other freemium email autoresponders.

To get the Customer Journey Builder, which lets you construct workflows in a visual editor, you will need one of the paid plans:

  • Essentials: starting at $9.99/month for 500 contacts
  • Standard: starting at $14.99/month for 500 contacts
  • Premium: starting at $299/month for 10,000 contacts

Some of the aforementioned features, like predicted demographics or the lookalike audience finder, are only included with Standard and Premium.

Millions of companies have seen Mailchimp increase their ROI. You can get started with the free version today, knowing that they also have tools to help you grow.

#2 – MailerLite — Best Free Email Autoresponder

MailerLite is used by more than one million companies, startups, and freelancers because it is an intuitive, budget-friendly platform that delivers results. 

Its free version lets you send 12 emails per month to 1,000 subscribers, which might be all some people need to get started.

For an email autoresponder that’s easy to use, MailerLite comes packed with simple, yet powerful features that help you optimize your campaign. 

I like using A/B split testing to send two variations of an email and see which one performs better.

The clean MailerLite interface gives your teams the control they need to communicate effectively with your subscribers. 

Some of its best features include:

  • Automate RSS to email
  • Time-zone based email delivery
  • Auto resend unopened emails with alternative subjects or personal messages
  • Segment subscribers based on a varied criteria
  • Rich email personalization
  • Target specific interest groups by tagging subscribers or inviting them to self-select
  • Track email campaign activity with detailed reports
  • Click maps to analyze subscriber interaction with your emails

MailerLite also comes with features to customize your website experience, like pop-ups and embedded forms, as well as an amazing drag-and-drop editor to craft striking newsletters.

Better still, it’s very affordable beyond the free version.

  • Free: Up to 1,000 subscribers, 12,000 monthly email limit
  • $10/month: Up to 1,000 subscribers, unlimited emails
  • $15/month: Up to 2,500 subscribers, unlimited emails
  • $30/month: Up to 5,000 subscribers, unlimited emails
  • $50/month: Up to 10,000 subscribers, unlimited emails

As a free email autoresponder, MailerLite is hard to beat for any small business. You get a free website with five landing pages, a drag-and-drop visual email editor, and advanced segmentation features.

It’s almost unreasonably generous.

For organizations that need the paid plans, the price is still very competitive and the premium features will pay for themselves many times over.

#3 – Klaviyo — Best for Ecommerce

Klaviyo ties into a CRM or ecommerce platform and makes it easy to deliver ultra-personalized content via email. 

No more unfocused email blasts to the public. Instead, Klaviyo allows users to build out unique customer journeys for long-time fans and first-time window shoppers. 

Because it has native integration with customer data sources, you can get pretty fine-grained with the segmentation. 

And, with the simple user interface, anyone on your team can start maximizing the relevant content every visitor sees.

Klaviyo iworks across many channels, allowing you to expand your subscriber base via Facebook, for example.

Nurture individual leads from a 10,000-foot view by using the features in Klaviyo’s extensive toolkit:

  • Prebuilt autoresponders
  • Email personalization for first-time buyers, regulars, VIPs, and more
  • A/B split testing
  • Drag-and-drop, WYSIWYG email editor
  • Responsive templates optimized for web and mobile
  • Shoppable product recommendations in email
  • Rich selection of behavior-based triggers 
  • Comprehensive segmentation options

The free plan for Klaviyo maxes out at 250 contacts and 500 emails, after which you will be asked to upgrade. Paid plans start at $20/month for up to 500 contacts and unlimited email sends, climbing higher depending on the size of your contact list.

#4 – GetResponse — Best for Sales Teams

GetResponse has provided one of the simplest, most effective email autoresponders for more than 20 years. Over that time, they’ve added features and evolved the UI to keep it one of the most useful products on the market.

Their experience shows. They know what works, why, and how to help you get set up. 

For one, GetResponse offers hundreds of professionally designed templates to communicate with customers at every step of their journey.

The built-in sales features are also really nice, and really set GetResponse apart from the other easy-to-use autoresponders. Even their Basic plan comes with a sales funnel, unlimited lead funnels, and unlimited landing pages.

With other email autoresponders, you’re going to have to integrate your pipeline. With GetResponse, you can keep daily operations under one roof.

Along with a flexible email autoresponder, GetResponse has a number of other useful features to help you connect with customers:

  • Unlimited email sends
  • Transactional and time-sensitive emails
  • Drag-and-drop email editor with mobile and inbox preview
  • Add content blocks, videos, buttons, and social media icons to emails
  • A/B testing
  • List and calendar views for email scheduling
  • RSS-email templates

GetResponse doesn’t have a free forever plan, though they do offer a free trial. Pricing starts at $15/month for 1,000 contacts with their Basic plan, which comes with all the features listed above. 

And much more. Honestly, the Basic plan is far from basic.

At the Plus and Professional pricing tiers, you have more features like webinars, as well as greater degrees of customization. 

Their top tier plan, Max, comes with a dedicated IP address, SSO, and other features designed to secure and streamline enterprise email marketing and sales.

#5 – Moosend — Best for Simple Marketing Automation

Moosend is an affordable email automation tool with an almost nonexistent learning curve. Yet for how easy it is to get started, Moosend users wind up automating their email marketing in really impactful ways.

It’s sad to think, but some companies spend thousands of dollars a month on ultra-powerful marketing automation software that they don’t really need. Plus, that stuff can be really hard to use.

With Moosend, you get a lot of freedom to customize your email marketing automation. There’s a rich set of triggers and actions all managed in a drag-and-drop interface. Workflows can be shared among team members, who can leave notes.

The Moosend interface itself is great at educating users how to automate and fine-tune customer journeys. With templates, preset workflows, and rich tracking capabilities, Moosend makes it simple to find what works for your unique subscriber base.

Leverage the AI to hyper-personalize your emails based on similar consumer preferences and other behavioral analytics.

They’ve recently added “And/Or” expressions to custom fields. This allows for a lot more customization in terms of defining triggers. Custom fields don’t have to be just one thing any more!

Without writing a single line of code, you can gain quick mastery of a deep set of email automation features that include:

  • Rich tracking, reporting, and analytics
  • Click heatmaps
  • Five types of subscription forms
  • Direct SMTP service
  • Cart abandonment 
  • Embed product blocks in newsletters for shoppable emails
  • Mobile responsiveness
  • GDPR compliance
  • Native integrations with WooCommerce, Salesforce, WordPress and dozens more top products

Moosend has a free forever plan, which is capped at 1,000 subscribers, and comes with many of the best features. For additional subscribers, you’ll need a Pro plan, which starts at $8/month.

The exact price will depend on the number of subscribers you need to accommodate. For example, 25,000 subscribers is $100/month. The Pro plan maxes out at 200,000 subscribers ($608/month), with custom plans available to reach an audience of any size.

Compared to other, more expensive options, Moosend tends to be much easier to use even with many of the same essential features.

Summary

Many people begin the search for an email autoresponder only to discover that what they actually need is an email marketing platform. 

The closest option on this list to a dedicated email autoresponder is MailerLite, which still comes with way more than simple email automation capabilities. It’s a really good option (and price) for companies that already have great CRM software and really just need the email autoresponder capabilities.

Mailchimp and Moosend are more feature-rich than MailerLite, but both remain incredibly easy to use for non-specialists.

GetResponse works well for sales teams because you’ve got conversion funnels and the ability to host webinars is baked in. 

Klaviyo is probably the most comprehensive tool on this list, and it works incredibly well at automating the processes necessary to run a successful email ecommerce campaign.

I like all of these email autoresponders because they help you benefit from the unavoidable trial-and-error associated with email marketing. 

No campaign is ever going to be perfect, but the right tools will help you continually evolve your strategy to meet your customers where they are.

The post Best Email Autoresponder appeared first on Neil Patel.

Email Marketing

Best Email Marketing Services

Disclosure: This content is reader-supported, which means if you click on some of our links that we may earn a commission.

What if I told you there was a single marketing channel through which companies are finding a 3,800% ROI? 

That’s earning $38 for every dollar spent.

This magic marketing channel is called email. Yes, just good old email. And that insane average return on investment is one of many email marketing statistics that have held true for years now. 

The biggest surprise to me is how many companies aren’t taking advantage of email marketing.

I hear it’s too much work to design newsletters, manage a growing number of contacts, personalize messages, and keep the campaign moving forward.

There’s this perception that email is a time-sink, but it doesn’t align with the statistics. 

If it were really too labor intensive to run an efficient email marketing campaign, the average ROI wouldn’t even be 1/1000 of what it is, year after year.

The key is finding the right email marketing service. Don’t wait to start building better campaigns in less time.

The Top 5 Options For Email Marketing Services

  1. Constant Contact – Best for ecommerce
  2. Zoho Campaigns – Best for simple campaigns
  3. Sendinblue – Best ease-of-use
  4. Marketo Engage – Best for segmentation and personalization
  5. Pardot – Best for B2B marketing

How to Choose The Best Email Marketing Service For You

Email marketing services are packed features to help you save time at every step of a campaign.

Every step.

My favorite products get you minutes back on every task. Professional templates, drag-and-drop email editors, list management tools—they make all the hard parts easy.

On top of that, many of the most time-consuming campaign processes can be automated with an email marketing service.

The minutes you save turn into hours quickly, especially if you’re churning campaigns on a large scale.

More effective campaigns. Less effort. That’s the goal.

Let’s walk through the core features available with email marketing services so that you understand which product is going to deliver you the best results for you.

Ease-of-use

Unless your marketing teams double as developers, it’s essential to find a tool that anyone on your team can use.

As you browse, pay attention to the templates and pre-set workflows offered by each email marketing service. Are you excited to use these or do you intend to create your own custom templates? Some email marketing services lose their reputed ease-of-use once you step outside their pre-defined pathways.

It’s a definite plus if your solution comes with visual design tools to build emails and workflows. A simple-to-learn editor can be used right away by the people who need it. They don’t need training, and aren’t stuck waiting on someone who’s comfortable with the editor.

The best email marketing services also provide support, documentation, and walkthroughs to educate users and ensure that their product is truly self-service. 

If reviews indicate that customer support is sluggish, or that answers are hard to find, that’s a red flag.

Integration and Implementation

An important question to ask: How easily is your email marketing service going to mesh with your existing stack? 

Solutions that integrate with products you use are going to speed deployment and encounter fewer issues moving forward. This is especially true of your existing CRM and any other customer data sources.

Some products, like Sendinblue, come with their own CRM as part of the package, which can be nice for companies that aren’t looking to purchase multiple products in service of their email campaign.

Email Deliverability

The emails you send need to reach your recipient’s inbox. End of story. 

Without a high deliverability rate—I would be worried about anything below 95%—your email campaigns are dead in the water.

All good email marketing services ensure high deliverability in two ways. 

On the backend, they authenticate emails with DKIM, SPF, and SenderID, while also working with internet service providers to make sure that customer IP addresses aren’t blocked. 

Plus, quality platforms will provide ready-made email templates that are both visually appealing and compliant with privacy and anti-spam laws.

On the user side, email marketing services help you craft compelling subject lines and content that encourages customers to actually open your message. They also provide tools for managing subscribers so you can keep a clean list and avoid the spam folder.

Email Automation and Customer Journeys

One of the biggest defining (or limiting) features of an email marketing service is the level of sophistication your workflows can manage.

Entry-level tools can help you automate welcome series of emails for new subscribers, and other similarly straight-forward processes. 

If you want to start adding conditional or logical triggers that branch the customer journey into more personalized paths, you are going to need a more substantial tool.

You are also going to need to know a lot about your audience. Products that have really good list segmentation features will pick up tons of information on your customers, which in turn makes your automation more accurately targeted.

Segmentation really drives your ability to automate personalized emails, for example. You can set workflow triggers that respond to customer engagement, shopping habits, and other tendencies to ensure that customers are only receiving messages they’re likely to care about.

Subscriber Management

Quality email marketing services come with a lot of tools to manage the subscribers on their list. They will help you:

  • Import lists: Seamlessly integrate contact lists from CRMs and other databases.
  • Keep a clean list: Identify and remote inactive subscribers and spam traps that reduce deliverability
  • Generate leads: Create new contacts with pop-ups, landing pages, and other multi-channel tools that start an ongoing conversation.
  • Segment your list: Automatically group subscribers based on many criteria, including everything from what time zone they live in to how they signed up, and everything in between.

Campaign Performance Tracking

Email marketing strategies must be agile. 

Every service reviewed in this article comes with the ability to track traditional KPIs like:

  • Bounce rate
  • Click through rate
  • Conversion rate
  • Deliverability
  • Forward/share rate
  • List growth rate
  • Open rates
  • Unsubscribe rate

By keeping tabs on these metrics, companies can tweak their campaigns accordingly. 

Many email marketing services offer A/B testing, which allows you to test different versions of emails or subject lines to see what performs better. 

Look for that, because it’s super helpful for adjusting campaigns in the right direction over time.

More advanced email marketing services will help you tie traditional metrics to revenue, letting you see ROI per email sent and other business-critical metrics.They’ll also let you see how content is performing with features like click heatmaps, which show where your customers are spending the most time. 

You’ll probably have to spend more for those features, but they can provide crucial information that pays for itself.

Marketing automation software, like Pardot, provides multi-touch attribution models that let you visualize each touchpoint in the entire customer lifecycle. Marketing attribution drives business growth and informs your future campaigns by spotlighting the key elements of each customer relationship.

The Different Types of Email Marketing Services

Most products in this category want to provide email marketing services for companies of all sizes, so they offer a range of plans from a budget-friendly package to enterprise-grade service tiers.

Email Autoresponders

Exemplary products: Zoho Campaigns, Sendinblue (Free & Lite)

On the lightweight side of the spectrum, you’ll find services that augment your email marketing campaigns with easy-to-use tools for automation, email editing, and subscriber management. 

You’ll see these products billed as email autoresponders or email automation.

They don’t change what you do so much as they help you do it better, faster, and at scale.

Because they are so simple, the best email autoresponders are incredibly intuitive, inexpensive, and can start delivering results almost immediately.

Email Marketing Platforms

Exemplary products: Constant Contact, Sendinblue (Premium & Enterprise)

Email marketing platforms are a one-stop shop meant to help you build, track, manage, and optimize campaigns.

They are going to capture, store, and segment your customer data much better than a standalone email autoresponder. And with the richer picture of your audience, you can build much more complex email workflows.

You can get really granular when it comes to personalized customer journeys, for example. In Constant Contact, you can automate emails with shoppable product recommendations based on a person’s buying habits.

Doesn’t that sound great? 

What’s really nice is that these products are very easy to use and deploy. Campaign performance tracking features are built right in and provide a ton of visibility and control instantly. Some will integrate with tools like Google Analytics to get actionable data.

You can see what’s working, what’s not, and make changes on the fly.

Marketing Automation Software

Exemplary products: Salesforce Pardot, Marketo Engage

Marketing automation software includes email marketing services as part of a broader suite that accounts for every channel of communication. 

Organizations can expand their reach across email, SMS, social, SEO, websites, webinars, and paid media. Information from across all these channels is centralized in intuitive dashboards that drive real-time, evidence-based campaign decisions.

With marketing automation software, you can build out multi-branch email campaigns and customer journeys, tracking progress across every stage.

These products tend to be quite a bit more expensive, and understandably so. If you are looking to run simple to moderately complex email campaigns, you’re fine with an email marketing platform.

On the other hand, if you start to run into problems at scale or email workflows can’t handle your needs, it may be time to consolidate your processes with a marketing automation solution.

#1 – Constant Contact — Best for Ecommerce

Constant Contact offers some of the best email marketing services alongside top-notch solutions for ecommerce, event hosting, website building, and multi-channel marketing.

They average a 97% deliverability rate. This is only possible because the mature platform blends powerful behind-the-scenes functionality—like blocklists, proactive monitoring, and multiple forms of authentication—with an intuitive UI that helps teams craft effective messages that don’t bounce.

You can get Constant Contact up and running very quickly, and it will eliminate much of the legwork associated with email marketing. 

Automate product recommendations, for example, by sending shoppable emails based on the items a customer has in their cart, the weather, or tendencies of like-minded shoppers.

Trying to accomplish this task without an email marketing service would be extremely time-consuming. With Constant Contact, the process can be automated by just about anyone.

Some of the other reasons millions of people use constant contact include:

  • Unlimited email sends
  • Custom and branded templates
  • Campaign performance tracking
  • Subject line A/B testing
  • Drag-and-drop email editor
  • Rich ecommerce capabilities
  • Subscriber management, segmentation
  • RSVP, survey, and poll

Constant Contact helps with lead generation, too, via landing pages, customizable pop-up forms, and free hosting for a mobile-responsive website. This includes a blog, where you can leverage your email content as posts for SEO.

There are three pricing tiers for Constant Contact email marketing services and the amount you pay is based on the number of contacts. The plans are:

  • Email: Starting at $20/month
  • Email Plus: Starting at $45/month
  • Pro: Starting at $195/month

Constant Contact Email and Email Plus are two of the most popular email marketing services available today.

Constant Contact Pro uses AI-driven marketing automation to provide personalized product recommendations, smart subject lines, behavioral segmentation capabilities, and more advanced workflows.

I would consider a Pro subscription if you are thinking about marketing automation, but aren’t ready to pull the trigger on a heavyweight product like Pardot or Marketo.

#2 – Zoho Campaigns — Best for Simple Campaigns

Zoho Campaigns is a lightweight, cost-effective email marketing service that comes with all the must-have features.

In Zoho Campaigns, everything has been trimmed (but not watered down), so you can still accomplish 80-90% of what you can do with an email marketing service that costs three to four times as much. 

The ease-of-use is on par with agile project management software like Trello. Not only can non-technical users navigate Zoho Campaigns, they can master their domain.

Intuitively control the following features:

  • Drag-and-drop email editor and template builder
  • Email autoresponders
  • Email automation
  • Merge tags
  • Subscriber management
  • A/B testing
  • Team collaboration
  • Real-time analytics

Keep in mind that Zoho Campaigns also has integrations with popular CRM, ecommerce, and contact management products. 

Tying these data sources in can help you better target and personalize your email campaigns, yet Zoho Campaigns will remain fairly easy to use. 

Integrating Google Analytics, for example, can enrich the amount of customer data you pick up on each interaction, providing data visualizations to help you make sense of relationships over time.

Pricing is straightforward for Zoho Campaigns:

  • Email-based Plan: starting at $2/month
  • Subscriber-based Plan: starting at $4/month
  • Pay-as-you-go Plan: starting at $6/month

The Subscriber-based Plan is my favorite because it includes email automation, which doesn’t come with the Email-based or Pay-as-you-go Plans. At $263/month for 100k contacts with the Subscriber-based Plan, the automation will pay for itself many times over.

You can also try the Zoho Campaigns free forever version. It’s limited to 2,000 subscribers, but you get a lot of the marketing and content management features, as well as the chance to see if you like the interface. 

#3 – Sendinblue — Best Ease-of-Use

Sendinblue is a unified CRM, chat, Facebook, SMS, and email marketing platform. It’s loaded with features that are super easy to learn.

In other words, lots of tools with very little training.

Unlike other options on this list, every Sendinblue subscription (including Free and Lite) comes with a sales CRM, marketing automation, real-time reporting, advanced segmentation features, and more.

How’s that for out-of-the-box function? But wait. There’s more.

With popups, landing pages, and chatbots, you can build out your contact list with minimal effort, turning website visitors and Facebook passerbys your next lead.

And once people are on your list, Sendinblue gives you a ton of great tools to nurture leads, build out customer journeys, and communicate effectively every step of the way. The key features include:

  • Unlimited contacts with any plan
  • Mobile-friendly visual email editor
  • Retargeting ads
  • Campaign performance tracking
  • A/B Testing
  • Customizable signup forms
  • Transactional emails
  • Email API, SMTP relay, and other core API features
  • Advanced email automation

Sendinblue offers a free forever version, and paid plans at several pricing tiers:

  • Lite: Starting at $25/month
  • Premium: Starting at $65/month
  • Enterprise: Contact sales

The amount you pay is based on your tier and the number of emails you send each month. You can store as many contacts as you want without affecting the price, which is not true with most other platforms.

Notably, Sendinblue’s pay-as-you-go plan includes the same great features as whatever tier you choose, except the phone support. This is also something you won’t find in other options, like Zoho Campaigns.

There is no prior knowledge or technical skill necessary to start using Sendinblue, and their free forever plan is one of the best available. 

#4 – Marketo Engage — Best for Segmentation and Personalization

Marketo Engage, from Adobe, is a full-service marketing automation solution ready to support your strategy across any channel. 

Centralize and analyze customer data in an intuitive environment that allows for email campaigns with fine-grained segmentation and dynamic personalization. 

You can customize intricate workflows with behavioral triggers that wouldn’t be possible on other platforms because they can’t capture as much information as Marketo does. 

Every feature is full-bodied. A/B/n testing, for example, lets you pilot multiple versions of the same site or email rather than just binary A/B testing, which is where many other products stop.

There’s also Adobe Sensei, which uses AI and machine learning to personalize content. Sensei analyzes the performance of all your assets, learns which content works best for whom, and updates emails accordingly.

Other great features that come with using Marketo for email marketing include:

  • Drag-and-drop workflow builder
  • Lead and account scoring
  • Deep engagement and performance analytics
  • Attribution and ROI dashboard
  • Customer lifecycle management
  • One-click campaign cloning
  • Champion/Challenger testing
  • A/B/n testing

You’ll have to contact Marketo to get a price. It’s going to have a higher total cost of ownership than a dedicated email marketing service, but if you want superior segmentation and personalization , this can get a lot more done.

#5 – Pardot — Best For B2B Marketing Automation

Pardot is the marketing automation platform from Salesforce that’s built specifically for B2B marketing.

Do you need to hear more, or are you already sold? It’s as good and as deep as you think it is.

Pardot has 2,000+ integrations, a rich feature set, and a surprisingly intuitive UI. To be honest, the platform is a few steps ahead of its competitors in the dedicated email marketing space. 

It’s going to take some time and effort to build out the backend, but once everything is set up, Pardot gives you unrivaled visibility into your campaigns.

If you feel like the sophistication of workflows is lacking with your current setup or your analytics and data visualization tools aren’t giving you the insight into campaigns that you need, Pardot is the ticket. 

Some of the advanced email marketing features include:

  • B2B Marketing Analytics
  • Engagement history dashboards
  • Merge fields
  • Visual lead nurturing designer
  • Social profiling
  • ROI reporting
  • Multi-touch attribution models
  • Developer sandbox

Pardot is not a cheap option, but it is money well spent in service of a high-growth campaign. 

There are four pricing tiers:

  • Growth: starting at $1,250/month
  • Plus: starting at $2,500/month
  • Advanced: starting at $4,000/month
  • Premium: starting at $15,000/month

Other marketing automation solutions, like Marketo, are going to be in this neighborhood price-wise. There are certainly email marketing platforms you can get for a fraction of the cost, but they’re not going to give you anywhere close to the oversight and customization Pardot affords.

Summary

If you are just starting out, I would try out one of the best email autoresponders to get a feel for which email marketing features are going to be most important to you. 

Zoho Campaigns is another really great starting point. These tools are easy to use and many have free forever options.

For companies that need more visibility into their campaigns but don’t want to struggle with a new platform, Sendinblue will be great. It’s also not prohibitively expensive, even at the premium tier.

Constant Contact is another great option in the SMB price range, especially for ecommerce. It comes with some of the functionality you find with marketing automation software, but there’s no loss to it’s ease of use.

If you need the marketing automation and business intelligence functionality of Pardot or Marketo, budget it in. After a certain point, dedicated email marketing services aren’t going to handle the automated journeys you have in mind.

If Pardot and Marketo give you sticker shock, but you still want true marketing automation, check out Freshmarketer, or one of the other best marketing automation software solutions.

The post Best Email Marketing Services appeared first on Neil Patel.

Email Marketing

How to Choose The Right Email Marketing Agency

Nothing converts like email.

Email beats all other marketing channels and can generate $37 for every $1 you invest. 

Even though email marketing can generate a ton of revenue, it’s still not easy.

You need to know which email tools are best, how to use them so you don’t end up in spam folders, and how to create emails that convert.

Even for fully-staffed marketing teams, it can be overwhelming.

Email marketing agencies are perfect for overcoming these challenges.

They know how to use the tools and run fully-scaled email campaigns. They can also distill your brand and offer into great campaigns that generate revenue.

Today, I’ll walk you through how to choose an email marketing agency that’ll help you unlock all the business value email holds. 

Good? 

Well, let’s start from the basics.

Know Your Goals and Desired Outcomes

Before you jump straight to the top email marketing companies and pick one to work with, it’s a good idea to pause first.

Why? 

You’ll get much better results.

Famous email agencies, like the ones I’ll recommend, usually have a track record of overseeing successful email marketing strategies and campaigns.

However, it’s never a one-size-fits-all situation. 

Some agencies only excel when working on specific projects or campaigns. Others drive better results when working with specific kinds of businesses. 

Knowing your goals and desired outcomes with email marketing gives you the right lens to evaluate different agencies and know which one is best for your needs.

Not to mention, it’ll help your agency get started a lot faster. The clearer the goal, the better the outcome.

Let’s take a look at some examples. 

Example #1: Build and grow your email list

Without an email list, you can’t do email marketing. 

And if you have a small list of, say, 33 email addresses, you’ll never get the full benefits of email marketing either. 

The first step is to build your email list.

You’ll achieve this by choosing an agency with experience executing list-building campaigns to get your first 100, 1,000, or 10,000 email subscribers.  

Take yourself, for example. 

You won’t give a company your email address for nothing, right? 

Absolutely not! We all get enough spam as it is.

Similarly, most people would only subscribe to your email list in exchange for something valuable. 

In the digital marketing world, this could be an ebook, a checklist, or other forms of relevant content promoted to the audience whose emails you’re targeting. Consider choosing an email marketing agency with experience creating and promoting amazing content. The better the content, the faster your list will grow.

Example #2: Increase your email open and click-through rates 

Low open and click-through rates will destroy your list. 

If your open and click-through rates are low, you’ll run into a cascading series of problems:

  1. Your audience isn’t seeing your offers. That’s less revenue.
  2. Email service providers like Gmail, Outlook, and Yahoo will notice your low performance. Then they’ll flag you as spam or stop delivering your email altogether.
  3. Now your open and click rates get even worse.
  4. Even if you improve your campaigns later, they won’t deliver nearly the same results.
  5. Improving your email reputation is REALLY hard.

Instead of risking this email cycle of doom, it’s a good idea to partner with an agency that knows what they’re doing.

They can look for early signs that something’s wrong, course-correct early, and keep your email reputation safe.

In this case, look for an email marketing agency that is exceptional at developing strategies and tactics to help increase your open and click-through rates. 

The two examples above were to show that your goals and desired outcome with email marketing go a long way in determining what agency to choose. 

They were also to demonstrate that no agency is a one-size-fits-all for all email marketing problems. 

Set your goals first, then look for an agency that specializes in those goals.

6 Characteristics That Make a Great Email Marketing Agency 

There are hundreds of email agencies out there. Maybe thousands.

And if you visit the websites of these agencies, every single one claims to be the best. 

But what characteristics make an email marketing company great? And how can you vet and choose an agency to work with?

1. Great Content Creation

Think of all the emails you receive from other companies. 

Do you know why you can’t wait to open and engage with some, but would ignore, delete, or unsubscribe from others right off the bat? 

In most cases, it’s because you don’t value the content of those emails. 

Amazing content keeps people opening and reading. Then when you send an offer, they’re willing to consider it.

Great content is the core of any serious email strategy. 

Check to see if they focus on a process for crafting engaging email content. The best ones always do.

2. An Impressive Client Portfolio

Excellent email marketing agencies didn’t achieve that status overnight. 

They worked with dozens or hundreds of brands to execute successful email campaigns. 

Because of this, they should have plenty of top-tier brands in their portfolio. And case studies that show you exactly what was done.

Not all of this can be shared publicly. But when you’re exploring options with agencies, ask for examples during your initial calls. The agency should have plenty of examples to point to. If they struggle to come up with some, look elsewhere. 

It’s a great way to quickly vet agencies of all types.

3. Thought Leadership 

Exceptional email marketing agencies are always on top of email trends. It’s constantly evolving and you don’t want to work with someone that’s using tactics from 5 years ago. 

An easy way to check for this is the agency’s blog, YouTube channel, or their own email list. Within 20-30 minutes of consuming their content, you should learn a ton. And it should all be cutting edge. 

That’s a good sign they’ll be able to apply those same tactics to your email campaigns.

4. Deep Expertise with Email Tools

Great agencies will have used them all.

If you ask them which tools are best, you’ll quickly learn:

  • Which are most popular
  • Strengths and weaknesses of each
  • The handful of tools to avoid

But don’t worry about which tool they recommend. Pay attention to their depth of knowledge when speaking with them. They’ll probably start by recommending a single tool. Then as soon as you ask any follow up questions, they should have plenty of qualifications, nuance, and detail to their answers.

You should get the feeling that the agency knows this stuff cold. If not, find someone that does.

5. Has Specific Rules to Avoid Spam

If you’ve been hit hard by spam flags, you might need an agency that specializes exclusively on reviving domains with negative email reputations.

Most of us don’t need to go that far. 

But you absolutely want to work with an agency that knows how to stay out of the spam box.

Also ask new agencies about how they stay out of spam, their processes to keep things clean, and early warnings that they like to look for.

You should be blown away with the thoroughness of their answers.

If not, keep looking.

6. A Great Company Culture

By choosing an email marketing agency to work with, you’re entering a business relationship with another business entity.

So, before you proceed, check that their company culture fits with yours.

Without a good fit on culture, you’re going to get email campaigns that don’t jive with your brand. You could anger your audience and turn them away. Or play things too safe and leave money on the table.

There’s no right answer on culture, just make sure their culture and yours fit well.

Ask for samples of recent campaigns that they’ve done. They’re likely to do similar work for you.

How to Work With an Email Marketing Agency

Working with an exceptional email marketing agency isn’t like dashing into a grocery store, filling your cart, and dashing out in a few minutes. 

There are steps you’ll need to take that ensure your partnership with one leads to business growth via email marketing. 

1. Align your in-house team

Most email marketing agencies won’t work in isolation but as an extension of your in-house digital marketing team.   

Hence, to ensure a smooth partnership between you and them, you should:

  • Have meetings with stakeholders in your company to align relevant teams on the need to work with an email agency.
  • Communicate how the agency’s work would impact your business and why it is necessary.
  • As needed, appoint employees to work directly with the email marketing agency. 

Doing this ensures team alignment between the agency and your company. Also, it keeps the agency in sync with your values, company culture, and the goals for choosing to work with them. 

2. Discovery session

As you first go out to contact an email marketing agency, they won’t jump straight into sending you a proposal or contract. 

The best email marketing agencies act like doctors who only prescribe after they diagnose. 

And to start diagnosing your challenges and goals with email marketing, expect to fill an inquiry form, followed by a discovery session.

3. Research & strategic recommendations

Before making a specific proposal, any good email marketing agency will do an extensive round of research on your current campaigns. This will include things like:

  • Signing up for your lists and looking at your current campaigns
  • Mapping out your signup flows
  • Checking landing pages and signup offers
  • Looking through social profiles and email funnels from other channels

Once they have a complete picture of where you are today, they’ll be able to put a proposal together.

4. A working contract with project deliverables

A typical work duration with an email marketing agency spans several months. 

To take on that kind of scope,agencies usually prefer to send a formal proposal and contract for you to sign.

Take your time and this stage and go through the proposal in detail. You should feel great about every piece. If you have any concerns, work through them now. It’s really easy to change scope, budget, or goals now.

Once you fee good about it, get the contract signed. 

5. Onboarding

Expect an onboarding process customized for your team after you sign the contract. 

During this step, the agency will usually ask for all your internal document and tool access. Expert to send them invites for your Google Analytics and email tools. Also put together every piece of internal documentation that you have on your email campaigns. The more info they have, the better. 

From here, the agency will get started on the work and should have regular check-in calls along the way.

How to Find The Right Email Marketing Agency For You

To choose an email marketing agency that’s right for your needs, the steps I recommend are: 

  1. Be sure about your business goals and desired outcomes from email marketing.
  2. Consider agencies with the characteristics above. 
  3. Choose an agency with expertise in the area you need help with. And where possible, also prioritize those that have worked with reputable brands.  
  4. Finally, know that email is part of your digital, and by extension, content marketing strategy. Hence, it’s best to choose a company with bandwidth for those. 

To help, we reviewed hundreds of agencies and found these to be the best.

The 5 Top Email Marketing Agencies 

#1 Neil Patel Digital – Best For Email Content

Every time you send an email, people unsubscribe.

That hurts the long-term prospects of your email list. 

Since every email has a real cost and makes your list smaller, it’s best to make them count.

The best way to do this is with great content. Your unsubscribes will be lower, your list will be more engaged, and you’ll generate more revenue in the long-run.

Content, including email content, is one of the core areas of expertise at my agency, Neil Patel Digital. 

#2. InboxArmy – Best for Full-service Email Management

InboxArmy comes highly recommended, as a full-service email marketing and management company. 

This agency’s services include email strategy development, template design, email automation, and other. 

InboxArmyserves companies such as Airbnb, LandCentral, and Jockey. If you’re looking for serious email pros for your B2C company, I’d reach out to them. 

#3 Fix My Churn – Best for SaaS Onboarding Emails and churn

Fix My Churn works with SaaS companies.

User onboarding emails are a very unique skill set. The content, CTAs, sending logic and tools are completely different. If you want to improve your SaaS emails, you really need experts in this area.

Fix My Churn applies top-level SaaS copywriting skills to create email onboarding and churn-eliminating sequences to turn free and trial users into happy, long-term customers. 

Led by its Founder and SaaS email expert, Val Geisler, Fix My Churn has earned a reputation as an email marketing agency for SaaS companies like Buffer, Aweber, Podia, InVision, and others. 

I’d also consider them if your have any type of subscription offer.

#4 Action Rocket – Best for Enterprise Email

Action Rocket needs no introduction as an email marketing agency for enterprise companies. 

This agency even works with leading email software companies like Campaign Monitor, MailChimp, Litmus, and others to shape the email marketing space.

Using its vast years of experience, Action Rocket strategizes and develops custom email and CRM programs for enterprise companies, including Marks & Spencer, the BBC, and others.

If you want serious muscle behind your email strategy, reach out to them.

#5 SmartMail – Best for Ecommerce Email

SmarMail is our recommended email marketing agency for ecommerce businesses. 

Every business model has its own unique challenges with email and ecommerce is no exception.

You need cart abandonment emails, promotional emails, lifescycle emails for repurchases, and receipts with guaranteed email deliverability.

This agency excels at helping online stores acquire, convert, and retain customers by strategizing and launching email marketing campaigns based on automated triggers across buyers’ lifetime cycle: 

SmartMail has an excellent track record, helping ecommerce companies generate about $187 million in revenues. Their clients include French Connection, Skechers, and others. 

Get Email Right to Drive Growth

Email marketing isn’t going anytime soon. It is here to stay.

And it generates a ton of cash. Choosing the right agency will get you that growth a lot sooner.

Set your goals, then start looking for the right agency for you.

Even if you plan on doing email inhouse, the right agency can get everything set up correctly from the beginning. That will save your team a ton of time and prevent disastrous mistakes like getting all your emails stuck in the spam folder.

The post How to Choose The Right Email Marketing Agency appeared first on Neil Patel.

Email Marketing

How to Write Emails That Actually Drive Results

Every client that I work with has his or her own unique problems, but they all have one thing in common.

Can you guess what it is?

Regardless of industry, size, or even the person’s position within the company, everyone uses email and wants to know how to write email that customers open.

Despite the rise of social media, forums, and mobile chat apps, email remains one of the most popular forms of communication in the world.

According to a study from Radicati, there are over 3.7 billion email users worldwide, and that number is steadily rising.

Worldwide Email Usage Stats

If you think that statistic is high, you’ll want to sit down before I tell you the volume of emails being sent.

We’re sending and receiving 269 billion emails every day. It seems impossible to stick out in this crowd.

Yet email remains one of the most effective channels of marketing, with a median ROI that’s nearly 5x that of other channels like social media, direct mail, and paid search.

How to Write Emails That Actually Drive Results

Adobe even found that half of all consumers prefer being contacted by brands via email over social media and direct mail.

Email newsletters specifically have the highest reported positive experience by consumers in a recent survey.

How to Write Emails That Actually Drive Results

Of course, knowing email is effective and writing an effective email doesn’t necessarily go hand-in-hand.

If you send the wrong emails, you’ll end up losing customers. In fact, 66% of people unsubscribe from emails because they’re not aligned with their interests.

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You need great emails to keep your customers happy.

That’s the problem I’m going to alleviate for you today.

You know all the reasons why you should be using email, but we’re going to dive into the nitty-gritty details of how to actually write these emails.

The first step is to segment our email lists so we can target our emails to the right audiences.

How to Write Emails With Proper Audience Segmentation

We know email is effective, but we don’t have time to personally email each and every customer on our lists. Each email needs to feel personal, though.

When your customers are properly segmented, it’s easier to send emails that feel more personalized.

Messages will be based on your target customers’ interactions with your company and website. As a result, they won’t feel generic, sporadic, or irrelevant.

A recent survey by Ascend2 found that 51% of marketers consider email list segmentation to be the most effective personalization tactic.

list segmentation

Did a customer recently make a purchase from you?

A thank-you email explaining the benefits of the purchase can help you keep your brand front-and-center in that customer’s mind.

Perhaps a prospective customer abandoned his or her shopping cart before taking the next step and purchasing a product. Consider sending a discount code to entice that person back.

MailChimp recently measured 11,000 segmented campaigns against non-segmented campaigns from the same customers. It found that the segmented campaigns outperformed their non-segmented counterparts across every metric.

Statistics about list segementation email marketing

So what are some ways to segment your customer lists?

Basic demographics like age, sex, and location are a great place to start. They’re not always enough, but they’ll help you get started.

You’re likely going to speak differently to a retired veteran than you would to a teenager or recent college grad. Also, men and women may respond differently to the language you use in email marketing.

Of course, this type of personal information may not be available. It’s also not the most effective way to segment audiences.

Marketing automation platform MailChimp offers a variety of popular audience segmentation options based on engagement, behavior, and other criteria that you might find useful.

prebuilt segments 285211ed

These behavioral triggers are actually much more likely to predict a customer’s response anyway. Recommended purchases, for example, work regardless of age, sex, or location.

Behaviors like buying, canceling, subscribing, and cart abandonment can be easily addressed with personalized emails.

Ideally, you’ll send the right message to the right consumer at the right time. It sounds impossible, but modern marketing technology makes it not only accessible, but also automated.

5 targeting options | How to write emails

Behavior triggers stand out as one of the most effective innovation opportunities for markers. Marketers can analyze behavior triggers among their audiences to find strategies that really work.

If you can set up an email marketing strategy that actually makes consumers eager to open your emails, you stand to enjoy much greater conversion rates.

email innovation future of email | how to write emails

As mentioned above, behavior segmentation also makes it easier to automate emails.

Marketing automation is an important part of the sales cycle, and you’re essentially leaving money on the table by not employing it.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity!

Charity: Water, for example, has a great email automation campaign that tracks the progress of your donation to the organization.

charity water email example 1.pngnoresizet1500337379701width669namecharity water email example 1

When we donate money, we rarely get to see how the money is being spent. In fact, it’s one of the key barriers that nonprofits face when attempting to raise funds.

Automated emails that provide useful data provide personalized transparency to the process. Consumers feel like they understand their role in the equation.

Now we have our customer lists segmented into the right groups, and it’s time to craft the right emails for each group.

To do that, we need to decide what our goal for each segment is and work backward from there.

How to Write Email by Building Backward From the Goal

It’s important to have a goal for your email campaign. Otherwise, you’re just firing off emails and hoping to resonate with your audience.

Not a good strategy.

There are only four basic types of emails you can write:

  • Narrative: Tell a compelling story.
  • Descriptive: Illustrate your product or service with words.
  • Expository: Teach your audience how to do something.
  • Persuasive: Convince readers to take action.

Each type will have a different tone and goal.

Let’s say your goal is to persuade customers to complete a post-purchase survey about their experience.

There needs to be a clear CTA, preferably graphic, that entices users to click. That should be the focus of a short email that concisely explains the benefit of taking the survey.

Here’s an example of a persuasive email from Wayfair.

How to write email for customers wayfair

On the other hand, an expository email provides all the facts necessary for a customer to understand a topic.

These are typically newsletters, but not always.

In the case of this GrubHub email, the goal is an order confirmation displaying all the relevant information about your order.

How to write email for customers grubhub

Descriptive emails are typically announcements for new products. They allow you to generate buzz (and hopefully a few sales). Here’s a descriptive menu from Cook Smarts.

Plus, descriptive emails give you a chance to show your passion for your products. Here’s a descriptive menu from Cook Smarts.

cooksmart email example | How to write email for customers

And finally, we have the narrative email, which allows you to tell your brand story. Here, Poncho turns an ordinary weather report into a narrative infographic.

poncho email example | How to write email for customers

Right now we’re going to try an exercise. Think of all the different types of emails you may send to your customers based on their behaviors and other events.

New product releases, leadership changes, sales and promotions, thank-you emails for customers’ order, emails that tell customers you’re sorry to see them go, responses to abandoned carts, and holiday celebrations immediately come to mind.

The next step is to decide the goal for each of these behaviors. What do you want the customer to do?

You typically want a click-through to your website. You can also use a CTA to ask for a purchase or to deliver relevant content.

Creating these templates in advance keeps customers feeling personally connected to your business while you save time and resources.

5 Steps to Write the Perfect Email

Now you know why you should be emailing your customers. You’re also familiar with the different types of emails you might send.

What we need to do is nail down a replicable process for writing them.

Of course, you must start with a list of subscribers. Collect email addresses from your fans and followers so you’re communicating with as many people as possible.

Once you have a list, you can write emails that respond to the behavioral triggers I talked about above.

Here’s where to start.

1. How to Write Email Subject Lines

You only get one chance to make a first impression, and the subject line is that chance for emails.

The subject line determines whether or not your email is ever read. A recent survey found that 33% of email recipients open an email based on the subject line alone.

You have to nail that first impression if you want your copy to get read.

The email marketing specialists at Constant Contact have seen thousands of effective emails. The company offers a few tips for subject lines (along with great examples of winning formulas).

Bisque Imports example | How to write email for customers

It’s important to keep the subject short and snappy. Many email programs cut off long subject lines, which means your subscribers won’t see the whole thing. Above, there’s an example with just a simple acronym from Bisque Imports.

Everyone knows what TGIF means, so it works. However, you can also use other types of language to get your emails read.

A teaser or announcement can provide a great way to entice people to click through and read. People love a mystery or an opportunity, so they’re more likely to check out the email’s body if the subject line arouses their interest.

Check out this example from FluentCity announcing the winners of a recent contest.

Fluent City email 600x350 | How to write email for customers

Whatever you do, avoid spammy language like “Buy Now.”

You don’t need to be overly promotional. Focus on being informative and entertaining.

In fact, entertaining and/or funny subject lines are a great way to increase the chances of an email being opened.

Check out this gem of a subject line from The Basketry.

The Basketry email | How to write email for customers

Nice pun, right?

Once you have the right subject, it’s time to move on to the content of the email body.

2. Keep Emails For Customers Short and Friendly.

The worst mistake you can make with an email is trying to cram too much information into an email. The document ends up being too long.

Sure, people need to know relevant information, but you can spread out the information over several emails.

Alternatively, you can link to pages on your website so the reader can seek out more details if he or she wants.

Whatever the case, don’t waste your subscribers’ time. That’s the fastest way to the “unsubscribe” button.

A simple teaser with a link to your website is all that’s needed.

Check out this simple example from Postmates, which invites customers to click through for a limited-time offer of lattes on demand.

free lattes concise email language example | How to write email for customers

The company doesn’t waste any time getting to the point. There’s a brief, three-word greeting, and then the company immediately jumps into the point of the offer.

After we get a description of the offer, we’re immediately given a CTA button to click through and take advantage of the offer.

This short, sweet, and to-the-point approach is how every email should be treated. We only spend 15-20 seconds reading an email, so it shouldn’t resemble a novel.

There’s a lot of information to fit in such a small space, though, so how do we decide what to cut and what to keep?

Let’s explore that.

3. Write Better Emails by Adding Relevant Information and Calls to Action.

Journalists are required to find out the who, what, when, where, why, and how of a story before publishing. That’s a standard we’re going to set for our emails.

Each email we send needs to answer these vital questions.

Say we have a weekend sale coming up.

The sale is the what, our store location is the where, our business is the who, the holiday is when, special pricing is why, and showing up is how it’s done.

Without this information, your recipients will be lost.

It’s also vital to have a CTA or buy it now buttons. Otherwise, how can your customers take action?

These buttons offer great ways to entice clicks, but before using these advanced techniques, make sure your customers can view them on mobile devices.

Nearly half of emails are checked on mobile devices.

It’s a shame to spend time crafting a brief, compelling email only to experience limited engagement because of mobile incompatibility.

Don’t become that marketer.

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Now we need to make sure each customer feels individually connected to your business.

4. Personalize each email and use the second-person point of view.

Nobody wants to feel like they’re just another faceless number.

It’s important to greet each individual using personal language, which becomes an easy feat to accomplish with email template programs.

You also need to write emails in the second person. Focusing on “you” opens a conversation in which the recipient feels important.

Check out this email from The Skimm, which does a great job of using the second person in a personalized email

the skimm email example | How to write email for customers

This email makes it clear that the recipient is the center of attention. We all like to feel special, and this is how it’s done.

Now that we have the email together, there’s just one last thing to do.

5. Proofread and check your grammar multiple times.

There’s no worse feeling than spending hours designing the perfect email template, sending it out to your contact list, and finding a glaring typographical error.

Typos are the worst, and with emails, they can constitute a sign of spam. It looks unprofessional and may even get your email blocked by spam filters.

Take the time to perform at least two rounds of edits to check for these typos and to make sure everything is polished before you send an email out to your customers.

Now that everything’s grammatically correct, we can finally send our email out and reap the benefits.

Conclusion

Email is one of the most widely-used forms of communication in the modern world. More people use email than social media, chat programs, and forums.

In other words, it’s the perfect chance to connect with your audience. But only if you follow best practices and get creative.

Sending email newsletters and emails based on triggered actions can increase conversions, build trust, and lead to a healthy ROI.

By creating targeted email templates based on behaviors may be the most important change you make to your digital marketing efforts.

Have you found success using email?

The post How to Write Emails That Actually Drive Results appeared first on Neil Patel.

Email Marketing

The 5 Best Email Marketing Companies of 2020

Almost everyone uses email. 

But here’s the sweet part.

The people you’re trying to reach or retain already have active email addresses. Heck, most of them used or would use one to sign-up for your service or product.

If you can get into (and stay) in people’s inbox, you can make a ton of money. Data shows companies can generate $38 for every $1 email investment. 

Unfortunately, getting into an inbox is not a stroll in the park. 

Now that’s where the best email marketing companies come in. 

These companies will help you to strategize, collect relevant email addresses, create, and manage email marketing campaigns that drive business growth. 

How do I know this?

Our team at Neil Patel Digital vetted hundreds of email marketing companies based on their brand reputation, client portfolio, ratings, and their areas of expertise. 

The result? 

The very top email agencies you can trust. Not only would they get you into the inbox of your ideal customers, but these companies can keep you in there till you turn prospects into brand advocates. 

The 5 Top Email Marketing Companies in The World

  1. Neil Patel Digital – Best for email content
  2. Inbox Army – Best for full-service email management
  3. Fix My Churn – Best for SaaS onboarding email and churn
  4. Action Rocket – Best for custom HTML & CSS enterprise email
  5. SmartMail – Best for ecommerce email marketing

I’m confident the best email marketing companies listed above and reviewed below are reliable because of their proven track records. 

Hire any of them, according to your needs, and they’ll help you to turn email marketing into a growth channel for your business.

Without further ado, let’s explore each of these companies and see for yourself why we consider them the very best. 

#1 Neil Patel Digital – Best For Email Content

Email marketing is effective, no doubt. But it has its downside too. 

According to two different studies, between 0.19% and 0.52% of your email subscribers would unsubscribe per email you send.

Now, guess what was one of the top three reasons found Jilt, an email marketing software, responsible for why people unsubscribe from emails?

Bad content!

In other words, irrespective of how excellent your email marketing strategy is, writing killer emails that resonate with your prospects and keeps you in their inbox requires excellent content. 

And that’s where we, Neil Patel Digital, come in. It is also why clients, from startups to enterprise brands, love working with us.

Email is also an excellent channel for content distribution. 

However, he quality of content has to be amazing. If not, your unsubscribes will tank the ROI of your email campaigns. 

Again, this is one area we stand out from the crowd. 

At Neil Patel Digital, our email content service starts by producing engaging content your customers and prospects will love. 

Then, we use email marketing as one of the channels to promote it:  

You can check out Neil Patel Digital’s content services here. 

#2 InboxArmy – best for full-service email management

For in-house teams looking for rapid email marketing turn around, InboxArmy comes highly recommended. 

As a full-service email management company, InboxArmy offers a spectrum of services, including email templates’ design, custom coding, and 360-degree email marketing management:

This agency offers volume-based pricing for companies and white label services for fellow digital marketing agencies, which goes to prove their experience. 

And they serve clients from government agencies like Texas Health Resources, to companies such as LandCentral, Airbnb, Jockey, and several others. 

#3 Fix My Churn – best for SaaS onboarding email and churn

When it comes to email marketing, Software as a Service (SaaS) brands have special needs. 

First, when new trial users sign-up, they need excellent email onboarding sequences to convert them into happy, paying customers. 

And if an existing customer stops using your product or wants to churn, you can retain them with relevant churn email. 

Fix My Churn specializes in these two areas: 

Fix My Churn collaborates with tech companies with a monthly subscription business model. 

The company applies top-notch SaaS copywriting skills to craft relationship-based email sequences to keep customers happy.

#4 Action Rocket – best for custom HTML & CSS enterprise email

Action Rocket needs no introduction in the enterprise email marketing sector. 

This company even partners with the top email marketing software brands like MailChimp, Litmus, and Campaign Monitor to drive innovation in the email space. 

Action Rocket has years of experience strategizing and executing custom HTML and CSS email and CRM development programs for enterprise companies: 

Founded in 2011, the company works with a knit-team of experienced developers who are excellent at strategy, design, and coding of complex and customized email programs. 

And their clientele speaks for themselves,  including the BBC, Marks & Spencer, Global Radio, and many others.

#5 SmartMail – Best for eCommerce email marketing

SmartMail is the Done For You (DFY) email marketing company that comes highly recommended by ecommerce businesses. 

This company handles everything ecommerce email marketing for online stores. And excel most at launching campaigns based on automated triggers. 

Across the customer lifetime cycle, SmartMail is exceptional at strategizing and executing optimized email marketing campaigns for ecommerce businesses.

And they have a track record and excellent results to show. 

SmartMail has generated over $187 million in revenues for ecommerce brands via email, sent billions of emails, and serve over 87 businesses, including Skechers, French Connection, Cotton:On, and others.

5 Characteristics That Make a Great Email Marketing Company

What characteristics make an email marketing company great? 

They are as follows. 

1. Well-versed in content creation

Most companies get buried in strategizing and outlining plans for email marketing. 

What they wrongly relegate to the backseat? 

Content creation!

The quality of your email’s content goes a long way in determining how effective your email marketing campaigns would be. 

A fundamental characteristic of the top email marketing company is to focus on creating engaging content to power your email campaigns.

And a world-class email company will help you blent top-tier content with amazing promotions to also get the conversions that you need. Great companies blend the two seamlessly.

2. An Impressive Portfolio

An email marketing company that claims to be among the best must have something to back that claim up. 

One of such things is their client portfolio. 

Who have they implemented a series of email marketing campaigns for? Were those campaigns successful? 

Anyway, you don’t even need to ask a top email marketing company those questions, as you’ll find the answers in their clients’ portfolio. 

And looking out for this portfolio-displaying characteristic in top email marketing also does you good. 

It helps you to see who they have helped and to decide if they’ll be a good fit for your company.  

At Neil Patel Digital, we have a clients you may recognize.

3. Thought Leadership 

In its 40 years of existence, email marketing has evolved tremendously. 

What worked yesterday may not work today. And even if it does work, it may require a different approach.  

Due to the always-evolving nature of trends and modern strategies applicable to email marketing, top companies must keep pace with these changes to deliver the best work.

Thought-leadership is how the top email marketing brands keep such needed pace with the industry. 

And they do this by sharing new learnings, experiments, emerging strategies, and tactics publicly to retain brand reputation among other professionals. 

So, you should do some research and look out for this characteristic, as it is an excellent way to spot a top email marketing company.

4. Real Life Testimonials

Anyone can claim to be the best, but it is what others say about them shows their competence most.

In the business setting, you’ll find how past and existing clients feel and say of a company’s work in the testimonials they leave behind. 

The truth is executing a successful email campaign that drives growth for a company is hard. 

A notable characteristic of the top email marketing company is the real-life testimonials they receive from clients for their work publicly.

5. A Diversified Team of Experts

A lot of thought goes into a successful email marketing campaign. 

From strategy to the acquisition of email addresses, selection of email marketing software, email copywriting, and campaign management, they all require some different kind of expertise.

Established email marketing brands are never a one-person show. It is usually a team of experts, collaborating to drive results. 

And that’s one characteristic of top email marketing companies: Displaying the entire team that works to plan, execute, manage, and optimize email campaigns: 

What to Expect from a Great Email Marketing Company 

Ultimately, an exceptional email marketing company to help you turn email into a real business growth channel that: 

  • Nurture prospects into customers
  • Facilitates customer relationship management 
  • Turns email marketing into a reliable content medium. 

But to get to these benefits, there are steps to expect before you start working with one. Some of the most notable ones are what follows.  

1. A discovery session

As you saw in the review and categorization of the best email marketing companies based on their areas of expertise above, not all can serve all clients across all industries. 

To determine if they can solve your specific problems, excellent email marketing companies start by getting to fill an inquiry form. 

Filling this inquiry form allows you to share your challenges and business goals related to email marketing.

After filling this form, expect a discovery session where an expert would talk one-on-one with you to understand your needs better.

2. Research & strategy recommendations

A discovery call allows the company to gain more clarity and context about your business needs relevant to email. But, don’t expect them to propose a solution right off the bat. 

Top email marketing brands would typically use what you shared with them to delve into research. 

From there, they can make sense of how to tackle your challenges and identify the best possible strategies they can deploy to work with you.  

Expect to receive a summary of their research and recommendations via email or another call, which usually ends with deciding if you’re fit to work together.  

3. A contract with project deliverables

If everything goes well up to this point, and you like their recommendations, expect a contract that outlines what a top email marketing company would do, and what it’ll cost to work with you. 

This contract also outlines project timelines and deliverables, legal requirements to work together, and your expected investment.

4. Client onboarding

If the contract, project scope, deliverables, pricing, and others look good, exceptional email marketing companies would have a custom onboarding process to initiate the process of working with your company. 

This onboarding process will help you and the company to establish an understanding of how to manage your product, and any other thing necessary for a smooth working relationship.  

Start Email Marketing from Day One

Don’t make the mistake of starting email marketing later on.

Most businesses recognize the need for social media, SEO, content marketing, and others early on, but they leave emails to the backseat because it is not trending. 

Well, you shouldn’t. 

A few reasons to take start email marketing from day one are: 

Marketers who used email marketing to segment their audience said they saw a 760% increase in revenue. 

That’s unreal.

Whether you do email yourself and get help from one of the top email companies, get started today.

The post The 5 Best Email Marketing Companies of 2020 appeared first on Neil Patel.

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Cold Email Marketing: Everything You Need to Know to…

There are generally two ways people acquire leads these days:

  • Investing money in advertisements to create awareness about a product/service.
  • Using inbound/content marketing to build and nurture an audience that will, ultimately, turn to customers.

While both of the above methods are a great success for businesses of all sizes, there’s a challenge with them. The first requires you to have enough money to get tangible results. The second requires you to invest quality time, effort, and patience for months/years to reap the rewards.

What if there’s a faster way to get leads and clients, and what if you can start using it immediately?

There is, and it is called cold email marketing.

As a freelance writer, I’ve been using cold email marketing for years now, and it’s currently the second most effective way I’ve gotten most of my clients (second only to content marketing).

In this post, I’ll be breaking down my approach to cold email marketing and writing what I believe to be the ultimate guide to cold emailing.

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Download the Best Cold Email Marketing Templates

Rule number one for cold email marketing: don’t go in blind. Before you move on, don’t forget to grab a few of the best templates for keeping up with your cold email marketing plans and actions. Your outreach efforts shouldn’t go to waste just because you didn’t put in the effort to plan accordingly.

Don’t hesitate; download your templates right here, right now.

  • Email Marketing Calendar Template
  • Email Outreach Pitch Template
  • Influencer Outreach Tracking Template

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What is Cold Email Marketing?

Cold email marketing is when you send an email to a contact in which you have no prior connection or relationship. You don’t have prior permission from them to be in contact, either. The purpose here is getting them to do business with you.

Definition of cold email marketing

Contrary to the usual way email marketing is done, in which people give you their email address and permission to send them an email, a cold email is being sent to a complete stranger.

Why Would You Send a Cold Email?

Now that we’ve looked at the definition of cold email marketing, a question you might want to ask is, “Why would anyone send a cold email?”

Here are some key reasons why you might want to send a cold email:

  • It’s effective: Based on an analysis of 20 million cold emails, the average cold email has an open rate of 53%. Getting 53% of a potentially unlimited number of people to see your message about anything is impressive.
  • It yields results, fast: I’ve gotten a client from cold pitching within two days of starting a cold email marketing campaign. I generally get results within a week of starting the majority of my cold email marketing campaigns. You can get results from cold emailing a lot faster compared to inbound marketing, where it usually takes an average of 6–9 months to get results. Cold emailing usually gets responses within days or weeks.
  • It’s scalable: You can contact an unlimited number of people. On my best days, I’ve had an average of about 150 people joining my email list in a day — a number that is conditioned on my traffic. With cold email marketing, I can reach out to 1,500, 15,000, or more in a day. The possibilities are endless.
  • Cold emailing is generally free: Once you have access to an email account, you don’t have to pay to send cold emails; it’s free. That said, you might need to invest in a few tools, such as an email address finder, an email open tracker, etc. These will cost you but using them isn’t a must. You’ll find free tools that allow you to do the same things with some manual effort. The downside is that this will be time-consuming.

Is Cold Email Marketing Legal?

Of course, you’ve probably gotten thousands of those spam emails promising to make you rich. For some reason, they might be synonymous with cold emails, in your mind. Wouldn’t this mean that cold email marketing is illegal?

Not necessarily.

While there are a lot of outrightly spammy — and even illegal — cold emails being sent, sending cold emails is perfectly legal in most parts of the world.

CAN-SPAM Act rules

There is a law guiding cold email marketing, known as the CAN-SPAM Act. Basically, this law says cold emails should not use false headers or deceptive subject lines. You should also give people an option to opt out from your cold emails and promptly honor these requests when you get them. This act applies not just to cold emails, but also emails sent with email marketing services.

Cold email marketing is perfectly legal, as long as you comply with the CAN-SPAM Act.

Start By Coming Up With a Prospect List

While this article will give you my step-by-step process for coming up with effective cold pitches, it is important to realize two key facts:

  1. The cold email marketing process starts with prospecting; you should ideally put more time into prospecting than sending the actual cold email.
  2. Your cold email marketing will only be successful if you get prospecting right.

That said, what is prospecting? Prospecting is basically the process of coming up with a list of targets and potential contacts in which you will be sending your cold email.

I’ll be doing a run-down of my prospecting process and sharing some tools with you below, but if you can, I suggest watching this video for an overview of my approach to prospecting:

The above video was recorded for my audience of freelance writers, but the methods listed can work for anybody using cold emailing.

Here’s a great, 5-step process for prospecting!

5-step process to prospecting

1. Determine Your Target Audience

This means you have to come up with a niche first. There’s nothing called “general cold email marketing” — it doesn’t work, or it will yield very poor results, at best.

The most successful cold email marketers start by coming up with a target audience; this can be a set of people in a particular niche, a particular quality, or people at a certain level (educational, financial, etc).

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Spending quality time determining the specific audience your cold emails will be targeting is important. Cold email marketing is a lot more successful when your cold emails are personalized, and it’s very difficult to personalize emails to a general audience.

2. Keywords Defining Target Audience

Once you’ve determined your target audience, you should come up with a list of keywords people will generally search for when trying to find them.

For example, assuming I’m trying to target marketing agencies, my keyword could be something like:

  • Digital marketing agency
  • Content marketing agency
  • Inbound marketing agency
  • Performance-based marketing agency

You can get more creative with these keywords. It all depends on your knowledge of your target audience and information you get based on your initial research.

The idea is to use these keywords to find a list of as many businesses and organizations as you can using a search engine, like Google.

3. Screen and Filter Prospects

To ensure you don’t end up wasting time, you want to make sure you carefully screen and filter prospects in which you’ll be getting in touch.

It’s generally a good idea to analyze prospects based on their website, business model, and their finance information. This could include things like funding and/or revenue figures.

4. Identify Decision Makers

Once you’ve come up with a list of businesses/companies, you need to identify decision makers at these companies. Depending on why you’re cold emailing, this could be the CEO, CMO, CTO, or other executive-level decision makers at the organization.

In a lot of cases, you’ll find information about these decision makers on the “Team,” “Leadership,” or “About” page of the organization. You will also find this information on their LinkedIn page.

For those who prefer a more step-by-step walkthrough, I share exactly how I use LinkedIn to find these decision makers in this video.

5. Decision Maker Email Addresses

Before you start the actual cold emailing, you need to come up with a list of email addresses of the decision makers in which you will be sending your cold emails.

You can do this using an email finder app or a manual approach.

I have used — and had great experience with — the following email finder apps. I list them in order of effectiveness and accuracy based on emails they have generated for me:

  • Norbert
  • Hunter
  • Snovio

With all the above apps, you simply have to input the full name of a prospect and the company URL of the prospect, and the apps will try to find the right email address for you.

All of these tools have a free trial, and they generally let you generate about 50 email addresses for free, but you have to pay for them if you want to use them extensively.

For those who cannot afford these tools or are unwilling to invest in them, you can use a manual approach instead. With the manual approach, you come up with different variations of an email address. From here, try to verify whether it’s accurate by searching for that variation in Google.

Email variations for cold emailing

Of course, getting more creative will help you find more email addresses, so feel free to come up with more variations.

For those who want a step-by-step walkthrough, you can watch this video where I record myself finding email addresses with some of the above-listed email finder apps and the manual method:

Once you’ve completed the above steps and have a list of prospects, the next step is to compose the actual cold email. I’ll show you how to do that in a moment, but first let’s take a look at one of my most successful cold emails.

Analysis of a Cold Email That Resulted in $10,000+ in Freelance Writing Income

Before sharing how I write my cold emails with you, I’d like to first show a step-by-step analysis of one of my successful cold pitches:

Cold email example

I sent the following cold email to a number of businesses a few years ago and netted a client within two hours of the cold emailing process on day two of the campaign.

The client I recruited using the above cold email awarded me work worth $625 the same day he responded, and he would later end up giving me work worth five figures during the period I worked with him.

I’ve had great success with this cold email format, so I’ll do a quick breakdown of this particular cold email for you and show you why it works:

  1. It is personalized: A careful look at the above cold pitch will show two elements of personalization. The first is that I addressed the contact by name, and the second is that I referenced the name of his company in my email body.
  2. It is specific: I opened by explaining my reason for reaching out. This is clear, to the point, and makes it easy for the prospect to decide whether or not he wants to continue reading my email.
  3. I introduce myself and tell him why he should care: I introduced myself by saying, “I’m Bamidele Onibalusi,” but I didn’t stop there. I showed him that he should care by highlighting relevant social proof, and I mention the fact that I’ve been featured in Forbes, The Huffington Post, and Digital Journal. It’s also important that I mentioned my blog that has been read by millions of people. Since I’m pitching writing services, this tells him that he should pay attention to me.
  4. I specify how I can help: I was very specific about the services I offer, thereby giving him options to choose from.

Every cold email should, at the very least, do the above four things. Some could do more, but you want to at least do the above for maximum impact.

Below, I share my exact process for writing successful cold emails.

A 5-Step Process for Writing a Successful Cold Email

Here’s a 5-step process I’ve found to be very effective for writing successful cold emails:

1. Personalizing Cold Emails

Personalizing your cold emails can make a significant difference in the responses. I generally don’t recommend sending a cold email that is not personalized.

According to Woodpecker, personalizing your emails can boost response rates by a whopping 242%.

Data for personalizing cold emails

Woodpecker found that cold emails without personalization averaged a response rate of 7%. Cold emails with advanced personalization — which goes beyond just referencing the name of the recipient and the company involved — had an impressive response rate of 17%.

I generally personalize my cold emails by the name of the person and organization I am pitching. Then, I rely on volume to get results. You can take things a step further by including more personalized information. This could include highlighting a recent achievement of theirs or mentioning a problem they have reported on their social media/website.

Regardless of how advanced your personalization is, you want to make sure your cold emails are personalized to each recipient.

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2. Use Clear, Specific Subject Lines

Besides the fact that it’s against the CAN-SPAM Act — which is illegal — to use deceptive and misleading subject lines when sending your cold emails, doing so can result in your cold email being ignored and marked as spam. This will negatively impact your sender reputation.

Although it helps if your subject line has an element of curiosity, it is important to avoid sending cold emails with misleading subject lines.

For example, a cold email that says, “Do you need a writer at [company]?” is a lot better than a cold email that says, “Quick question”. This is especially true for somebody who is cold emailing with the purpose of attracting freelance writing clients.

3. Use Social Proof to Establish Credibility

Don’t forget that this is a cold email to a total stranger who has probably never heard of you. You’re suddenly in their inbox and now they have to pay attention to you.

Why should they give a damn?

You can significantly increase the chances of a recipient paying attention to you by using social proof. Usually, this social proof should come immediately after you introduce yourself.

For example, “I am John Doe. I’m a nationally-syndicated finance writer who was recently featured in Forbes, and I’m founder of the popular [company].”

Of course, you don’t necessarily have to have been featured in top publications before you can use social proof in your cold emails.

Talk about your advanced degrees/certifications, unique achievements, or significant recognitions in your industry. The key is to highlight social proof that differentiates you from the average person pitching your target prospect every day.

4. The Purpose of Your Cold Email

Of course, you’re not emailing them to be their friend. Rambling on and on before you get to the purpose of your email could cost you the opportunity.

Instead, go straight to the point and be specific about why you are emailing them.

If you want them to hire you, use your product or introduce yourself to someone. Make your pursuit clear from the very beginning. Don’t waste their time telling them stories that do not matter.

For example, “I’d like to see if you need help with blog posts, press releases, or landing page copy.”

5. Keep It Simple

The longer your cold email, the less likely you are to get a response. If they see your cold email is just a few sentences long, they are likely to read it right away and get back to you. If they see that it is an epistle — even if it looks important — they are likely to ignore it or put it in a category of stuff they’ll get back to later.

Let’s be clear, “later” usually never comes.

If you can keep your cold email between 3–4 short sentences, while still managing to effectively communicate its purpose, you’d do just fine.

In Conclusion

I’ve sent over a thousand cold emails in the past few years, with an average response rate of between 9–12%. I’ve gotten a significant number of clients via cold pitching in the last few years. I’m confident you’d do great if you use the above ideas for your cold emailing efforts.

The post Cold Email Marketing: Everything You Need to Know to Succeed (+Templates) appeared first on CoSchedule Blog.

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