Marketing your business online is a process that involves many steps. At some point, usually after you have spent some time developing quality content, you’ll want to integrate email marketing into the mix. Email marketing is highly effective because short of placing a phone call it is about as direct as you can get; and, today email marketing programs allow you to do this on as large a scale as you want to.
|1||iContact is Email Marketing from Vocus. It is affordable, professional, and can help you market more directly, no matter what you need – even if that’s an outreach to over 5 million subscribers!||5||View|
|2||AWeber is email marketing for small business owners, by small business owners. It comes with one of the best drag n’ drop email editors around and over 600 customizable templates.||4.5||View|
|3||Constant Contact was founded to help small businesses do more business. They have a reputation for service excellence and provide support with an award winning staff that’s there to act as your “coach.”||4||View|
|4||Vertical Response sets itself apart by providing email marketing solutions on a budget and unmatched flexibility in pricing. This provider allows small business owners to pay as they go by the email, or to pay a low-cost monthly fee.||3.5||View|
|5||GetResponse places its focus on ease of design and message creation speed. Its design process is not as flexible as other providers, but it is absolutely more efficient.||3||View|
|6||Campaigner is an all-around good choice for any small business that wants to reach a large audience. It works well for newbies, those with a little experience, and even power using pros.||2.5||View|
|7||Mailigen is slightly more expensive than some of the other options listed above, but that’s probably because it comes with a large collection of educational resources that can help you learn to market with email as you go.||2||View|
|8||Mad Mimi is an up and coming email marketing service provider that’s looking to make the process simple, affordable, and for some small business owners maybe even fun!||1.5||View|
Features to look for in Email Marketing platforms
Whatever type of small business yours might be, the ultimate point of marketing it is to generate more revenue. That being said, good email marketing platforms are those that allow you to spread your message on the cheap.
Most providers offer their services in 3-4 different packages, each of which is differentiated by the number of contacts they allow you to reach. Most providers set their initial cut off point at around 500 subscribers – which is more than enough for most small businesses – and most price these packages at around $15-$20.
If you really, really wanted to, you could probably implement an email marketing campaign on your own, without an email marketing program. The reason people buy these programs, however, is because they include contact management features that simplify the campaigning process.
If you’re reaching out to upwards of 500 contacts, you’re going to want a way to categorize them and understand what each one means for your business. Good email marketing programs allow you to divide your contacts as you see fit, so that you can easily reserve some messages for some contacts and other messages for others.
Email Builder & Editor
Email marketing programs are also good for simplifying the email template design process. Email marketing works best when you send colorful, attractive, and properly formatted messages – and without a simplified software solution, all of this will require someone well versed in graphic design.
Because you’re running a business and because you don’t have much time or money to spare, you’re going to want to find an email marketing program that comes loaded with an easy to use and versatile email builder or editor. This will allow you to craft effective messaging, without having to learn the fundamentals of graphic design or pay somebody else to design your emails for you.
Probably the most important thing an email marketing service can do for you is to allow you to implement measurable analytics into your marketing efforts. The best email marketing platforms include features that can help you track who is reading what and come to informed conclusions on why they are reading it.
Features like these can allow small business owners to become virtually scientific about their marketing efforts. They can help you learn more about your readership’s behavior, and ultimately lead to more profit and sales.
An email marketing platform is great when it can not only provide you with detailed analytics but when it can also present those analytics in a highly readable and interpretable way. This is again because small business owners ultimately need solutions that can help them increase revenue AND save time.
Help & Support
When purchasing any software as a service (SaaS), you need to make sure that you’re purchasing a program that comes with effective and timely support. If you’re running a small business, you’re probably the type of person who is used to trying new things, and because of this you probably know just how important a helping hand can be.
Most email marketing programs are not extremely complicated, but, as with all the other important parts of a good program, choosing one that comes with good Help & Support will save you a lot of time in the long run. Great Help & Support comes in multiple formats: live, static, through email, phone, or educational archives, and even through community forums, where you can learn new marketing tips from people who are trying to accomplish the same goals as you.