Email Marketing

Email Marketing Vendor Advice

Anonymous

November 6th, 2015

I need to set up very basic email marketing. My list is short and my campaigns are infrequent product updates, at least for now. I know there's lots of low-end solutions and would rather partake of someone's wisdom than do my own research.  Thanks in advance.
-Igor.

Alex Eckelberry CEO at Meros.io

November 6th, 2015

GetResponse is what I use. I've used Constant Contact in the past and don't like them (everything they do looks cheesy). MailChimp is incredible but can do weird dictatorial stuff which shuts you down. I will never use them again after they arbitrarily shut a campaign down with no explanation. Campaign Monitor makes beautiful mailings and has a wonderful UI and support, but mail delivery rates aren't as strong as GetResponse. 

If you're looking long-term to integrate your mailings with an API-driven approach, then SendGrid is your best bet. 

But for general-purpose stuff, GetResponse is very good. And the delivery rates are outstanding.

Jeff ☁ CMO | Demand Generation | Content Marketer | Revenue Marketer | Product Marketer | Chief Marketing Technology Officer

November 7th, 2015

The good thing is you have a lot of options. The bad thing is you have a lot of options. Fortunately, based on your stated utilization, it shouldn't take much effort to make a change should you decide the solution isn't meeting your needs. I've used the following platforms previously and here is how I would rank them for your use:
  1. Autopilot - great deliverability, responsive templates (mobile friendly), rich feature set with automation capabilities, including SMS and only $4 per month for your list size (depending on how short). You might also want to look at using a landing page point solution like Instapage if you're going to execute campaigns.
  2. Mailchimp - good solution, responsive templates, straight forward and easy to use but lacking some features. Likely free for your list. One of the things I like about Mailchimp is their API. If you have a SaaS solution you can use the Mailchimp API and utilize Mandrill which is Mailchimp's transactional email capability.
  3. Aweber - A good solution, feature set (automation) and affordable. One thing about Aweber that bugs me is that even when someone opts-out they still count it as a contact in your list and therefore you get charged for it.
  4. Constant Contact - Okay solution, simple templates, limited functionality and I've had some deliverability issues.
  5. Infusionsoft - Infusionsoft is a step-up in functionality, including CRM capabilities if you need that and you're not using SFDC, Sugar or Zoho. They also have nice integration options. It is a step-up in price too. Likely much more than what you need.
  6. Pardot - Pardot is a setup in price and is a great solution if you're using SFDC. Easy to use marketing automation, list management and nurturing capabilities.
  7. Hubspot - Hubspot has great breadth, including social media marketing, landing pages and marketing automation. Much more expensive and capabilities than what you need at this time.
  8. Marketo - Marketo and Hubspot are pretty close in capabilities and price. 
  9. Silverpop (IBM) - It has been a while since I've used Silvepop (pre-IBM). However, it is one of my least favorite platforms because it lacked the flexibility that I needed and their support wasn't very responsive to my needs.
  10.  Eloqua (Oracle Marketing Cloud) - My personal opinion is that Eloqua is a bit over-engineered.  It is feature-rich and comes with an enterprise-level price tag. I've been through two Eloqua implementations and had some challenges. Also, when executing campaigns for webinars they had limitations on my ability to send multiple emails to the same list - sending another webinar invite to non-responders to the initial invite.
I've used others like Manticore (acquired by Sales Engine) but have lost touch with what they've done with the platform.

Depending on your specific usage, here are some important things to consider when executing your emails:
1. Subject lines - the singular objective is to get your audience to open the email. Make sure they're provocative and relevant.
2. Design for the preview pane - most email clients don't automatically download images. Therefore if you place a large image at the top of your email your audience will likely see a small red x and a lot of white space in the preview pane. Make sure you've got compelling text that is visible in the preview pane.
3. Deliverability is critical - email marketing can be tricky because email clients often deconstruct the message in order to protect the recipients and the platforms from malware. Google in particular is one of the most arduous email clients. Make sure you setup a gmail account and test your emails  as well as a host of other email clients.
4. Mobile is critical - Although a template might state that it is responsive. It is easy to add content that breaks the responsive rendering. Therefore, you'll want to test all of your emails on one or two mobile devices prior to sending.
5. CTAs - make sure that you have the primary call-to-action above the fold (where your audience doesn't have to scroll). I have found that 3 CTAs merchandised in the email is optimal for maximizing response rates.
6. Long copy can sell - Most marketers believe that the shorter the email the better. I don't automatically subscribe to this line of thought. It is important to test the length of copy and dial-in on what works for your audience.
7. A/B testing can make a big difference - Most A/B tests with email marketing platforms focus on the subject lines and open rates. You can gain a lot of insight into what works and achieve incremental gains with each subsequent campaign.
8. Maintain a clean list - it is absolutely critical that your list has opted-in to receive emails from you. Too high an opt-out rate and bounce rate and  you'll be out of the email marketing business. The landscape has changed significantly over the years with anti-spam laws and ISP blacklists cracking down on spam. The best way to overcome this issue is to create great content on your website, promote it on social media and drive the traffic to your site where you can convert it with a host of natural CTAs that leverage the cognitive inertia of the audience consuming the content.

Good luck!

Jeff ☁ CMO | Demand Generation | Content Marketer | Revenue Marketer | Product Marketer | Chief Marketing Technology Officer

November 6th, 2015

Autopilot www.autopilothq.com is a really slick emerging player in that space. Affordable and great feature set. Best, Jeff

John Philpin People | Passion | Platforms

November 6th, 2015

a lot of what Alex said .... PLUS - it isn't just about t sending email - it is above making sure the recipient gets it - not a slam dunk !! benefits of operations like mailchimp is that they are free for low usage - so how BIG is your list - where did it come from - etc etc are l things you need to know before you start the journey - and then how finished do you want whatever you are using to be - versus spending time integrating it into the product you are building ...

Cheryl Tom CEO, Founder at Vain Pursuits

November 6th, 2015

If you want a list-based service: mailchimp.

If you want a segment based service: customer.io

Both have free tiers. 

Kevin Carney Content Marketing works, but needs better tools.

November 6th, 2015

Mailchimp is easy and for small mailing lists is free. Kevin

Terri Soutor CEO at FastBridge Learning

November 11th, 2015

I would recommend MailChimp as a good starting point. As you grow and your marketing needs get more sophisticated, you can easily transition. MailChimp is incredibly easy to use, inexpensive, and will integrate with Facebook, Salesforce.com, EventBrite, and a host of other platforms for integrated campaign management. Nice reporting and list management features as well. I would also recommend looking at LeadPages for simple landing page management to coordinate with your campaigns.

Stas Khirman SVOD Conference CoChair

November 6th, 2015

If you list is small ( about 200-300 destination) consider using Streak (https://www.streak.com/) CRM mail merge functionality - it is very nicely integrated with Gmail + gives you a lot of basic CRM and mailing option for free.

If you are looking for larger list distribution - certainly MailChimp is a way to go. Beside convenience and nice templates, MailChimp made a substantial efforts to keep your email delivered ( some other solutions may have your emails market as a spam).

Scott Arpajian CEO, Softonic

November 7th, 2015

I'll echo the recommendations of MailChimp for your scenario. Above all, it's straightforward and simple to use, which is key to your stated needs at the moment. There's also a lot of power under the hood if you need to expand your mailing frequency or needs.

It's also free for up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 sends per month.

James Forte International Technology Innovator - Magna.net

November 7th, 2015

I personally dislike constan contact and agree that mail chimp is dictatorial. It's my list and I'll send it to who I want. 
No one has chimed in on Aweber?

Wordpress also has plugins to handle email. 

I usually roll my own for clients but that is for large scale 100,000 plus lists. 

Mailgun from Rackspace has a great metrics system as outbound monitoring. 

Use litmus to test the usability of the mail piece.