Online marketing through e-mails has been one of the earliest and most used methods to reach prospective customers as well as retain existing ones. Right from the days when we started using the Internet in the late 90s, this medium of marketing has been in operation. Since then, the process of sending e-mails to prospects and loyal customers have seen many changes. There are quite a few who have mastered this art and have established themselves as pioneers in the field of e-mail marketing. Having learnt the tricks of the trade, they offer these services to businesses to help them gain visibility and retain their customer base. These E-mail marketing platforms offer a user friendly interface, pre-defined templates, easy customization, API integration and advanced analytics. Though there seems to be very little to differ, each platform believes in offering a unique marketing solution. Today, l will review a few e-mail marketing platforms for you to consider using, to reach your target audience. We will look at some of the features that they provide besides the essentials like contact management, Mail creation engine, Mail sending and reporting, and ease of use.
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Top Email Marketing Platforms to use
MailChimp is one of the best email marketing platforms. It has a free version as well as the usual paid version. With the free version you get to send 5 e-mails per month to a maximum of 12000 customers. The Mail chimp has an easy to use interface, desktop and mobile preview manager, innumerable fonts to choose from and a variety of layout options for both the desktop and the mobile. It also offers easy social media connection. Your subscribers will be able to easily connect to a social media platform like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Delicious in order to share your email marketing campaigns. MailChimp email marketing platform also enables you to update your social network as and when an e-mail campaign is sent. Many successful email marketing campaigns are run through this platform. The preview view can show how the e-mail will look like in 10 most popular e-mail clients. It also periodically tests the content of your campaigns to ensure compliance. The contacts can be imported from a file or even manually typed. Like most platforms, the mail is sent with a “Unsubscribe” link which if clicked automatically triggers a deletion of that user from the campaign contact list. The report dashboard shows both statistical and graphical summary of the mails sent, mails bounced, mails opened, the links clicked, mostly clicked links and time at which most subscribers read your mail. Overall, there is nothing to expect more from this wonderful email marketing platform.
Aweber is one of the most cost effective and best email marketing platforms. It would best suit businesses that are trying to keep the costs low. The best feature about the Aweber email marketing platform is that for the paid plans, it does not have any restrictions on the number of emails that can be sent in a month. It has a useful feature called ‘Legacy follow-up messages’ that enables you to send a list of messages to all subscribed customers. The other feature termed “campaigns” gives you several options to send auto-responders like day, time, and subscriber behavior. Adding the contact list has both manual and import options. However, Aweber lacks third-party mail integration for extracting the contacts which is a major let down as almost all the competitors offer this feature. So, to add Gmail contacts you have to first export them from Gmail to a .csv file and then import them to Aweber contact list. The reporting capabilities are at par with the competition, but lack the Google Analytics. Overall, this is pretty decent email marketing platform that would be light on your pocket, even though it does not offer any free plans.
3. Constant contact
Constant contact would come across as an e-mail marketing platform which provides one of the easiest ways to create an e-mail campaign. Constant contact provides lot of templates for you to choose from while retaining your liberty to customize. It allows you to move text blocks wherever you want and adjust other design features with no difficulty. You can also copy and paste external HTML source code to the email code. One drawback would be the e-mail preview feature being unavailable. Apart from that it offers other valuable features like reporting the number of bounces, opt-outs, complaints, click-throughs and forwards. It allows social sharing through a toolbar and individual buttons for Facebook, Linked In and Twitter. The reporting feature also returns stats on the number of shares, likes and tweets. One notable short-coming was the lack of conversion tracking and inaccessibility to Google Analytics reports. Overall, this would sum up as an easy to use e-mail marketing platform even for beginners.Also Read: 27 Top Social Media Platforms to use
Boomerang as an email marketing platform stands out for the number of reports it can give you on the performance of your campaigns. It has tailor made options for clients of different sizes. Much similar to the others in the email marketing spectrum, Boomerang also offers many templates to choose from to design your newsletter. If you are a newbie to the work of e-mail marketing, Boomerang could well be the best option to quickly learn the science of e-mail marketing. It offers the same features as others like template as well as code editor to create campaigns. It also has a very good wizard to ensure that you do not miss any step in creating a complete e-mail campaign and scheduling it. Boomerang also has a spam test – an algorithm to ensure your messages don’t end up in your subscribers’ spam or junk mail folder. The highlight of this tool is the number of reports a user gets access to – it is a whooping count of 60 reports. For a data analyst this would serve as the perfect platform for intelligence so that informed decisions can be made. However, to a relatively less analytical guy, this would seem Greek. If the best reporting is what you are seeking, look no further than the Boomerang!
5. Benchmark Email
As the name indicates the Benchmark Email platform indeed sets the yard stick on what should one be expecting from an email marketing platform. The Benchmark email platform helps you create any kind of mails – newsletters, surveys, coupons and event notifications within a short period of time. This email marketing platform is easy to use for both newbies as well as seasoned professionals. You can either make use of the wizard to create the e-mail or select a customizable template. For the geeks, it also allows you to use the HTML editor. You can easily include your logo, color scheme, images as well as videos to your e-mails. In the Benchmark email one can add contacts to its database with ease. However, to import an email address book into the database, the contacts have to be from the prominent mail service providers like Yahoo, Outlook or Gmail. Another feather in the cap is the feature to segment the contact lists. This is quite handy when you try to send separate e-mail campaigns based on specific criteria like Age, region, or other categories. As most popular email marketing platforms, this also keeps track of the bounced messages, contacts that have unsubscribed from the mailing list etc. The sending and reporting feature is also adequate for most users. You get to see an active campaign summary and reports on contact statistics, click-throughs, email forwarding, survey results and email abuse, but lacks conversion tracking. However, this is overcome by integrating Google Analytics. You can determine the success of your e-mail campaigns. You get to see the report for both e-mails as well as surveys. The dashboard is also very informative as it includes real-time reports, social media campaign performance like display of ‘likes’ and ‘tweets’.
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