Any and all types of business, big or small, online or brick-and-mortar, food or tech-related, needs to grow. And one of the tried and tested methods of accomplishing this is through effective email marketing. Today, a number of options are available to everyone looking to get started with email marketing, and contrary to what some people might think, email marketing is not as complicated, as daunting and as expensive as it was maybe 10 years ago.
First, you should figure out the types of messages you wish to send to your customers. This will allow you to select the best email marketing service that fits your current and future needs, since scalability and future-proofing should always be a consideration. Email marketing services from the onset might look very similar to each other, but dig deeper and you might be surprised at how different they really are, especially in terms of support, contact management features, email builders and prices. Each platform out there offers a slightly different way of discovering, engaging and converting your subscribers, and the trick will always be finding the right one with the proper focus, pricing and support that’s the best fit for you.
What exactly to look for? Well before you start with anything, you first need to figure out how many contacts you have right now, and how much (and how fast) you anticipate it to grow in the foreseeable future. Most services are good about growing with you and moving you up and down the tiers as necessary, while some may be not.
More so, some services might offer free plans, with some with only free limited trials. You should put this into proper consideration as well. Generally, pricing is computed based on the number of subscribers and (sometimes) on how many messages you plan to send monthly. Read the fine print, so that you know what you are really getting yourself into. Is there a lock-in period? Is there a usage limit somewhere? Is there a penalty clause buried underneath the service contract? Think and compute how much you expect to grow your contacts list, and how soon you think it will happen.
Equally important is to understand what features are really important to you, and which ones are not. Do you rely mostly on event-based autoresponders? Do you want to send contacts birthday messages or coupons to thank them? You should remember them when choosing the right one as well.
Also very important in making your choice is get the best support for your needs. If you need 247 phone support, be aware that such option is not widely available on most services out there today. If you opt for chat-based support, then make sure that they are available to you especially during your operating hours. Forums, knowledge bases, and help tickets are all well and good, but sometimes you just need that human on the other end of the support call.
Okay… so much on the above tips. So say you’re ready for a new email marketing service. You know what you want. You know what to look for. You know how much you’re willing to pay. Then what? To help you get started on choosing the one for you, here we offer you the best alternatives (for us, at least) out there today.
AWeber is one of those tools with no free plan or trial available. Thankfully, it costs only $1 to get started for the first month. It is also one of the few services that offer refunds. You create emails from scratch using the drag-and-drop tool and have access to deep contact management features.
With a free tier to start you up, MailChimp is a constant favorite amongst email marketers with seasoned veterans and novices alike. The tools are easy to use, although the workflow can be simplified a bit. This is the platform to use if you are looking for a service that holds your hand through the process.
Our personal and long-time favorite, GetResponse is not expensive to start with, and it also offers a lot of discounts to make it cheaper to get started. With features like custom landing pages and A/B testing, you know you are looking at a tool with lots of advanced features. GetResponse also integrates very well with payment providers, e-commerce solutions, and most blogging platforms.
Although you would not get wrong with either of the three options, if I were to recommend I’d say that from personal experience, GetResponse is a solid and dependable option, and I’d definitely be confident to promote it to you. I have been using the service for a while now, and I have never had any huge reasons to opt out. Their service is great, with support always very responsive and helpful.