With the daily creation and rise of new communications platforms, email marketing still reigns supreme among the most effective methods of reaching your prospects. In fact, it boasts an average ROI of 3,800 percent. In other words, if you’re not using email marketing for your firm, you’re missing out.
But which email marketing solution is best for your firm? Before you pick a platform, there are a few things you should consider to find the best fit for your firm:
Cost: If you are running a smaller firm, you will really want to pay attention to cost. There are several email marketing solutions that are quite cost effective for smaller businesses, while others want you to pay high prices even if you’re dealing with a significantly smaller subscriber base. When looking at cost, consider how many subscribers you think you will be trying to reach on a monthly basis. Also, try to consider how customizable you want your experience to be. You may soon find that some of these platforms are far more expensive than their competitors, but they also offer more tools and advanced customization options that can make your investment worthwhile.
Also keep in mind how scalable the solution is. Most marketing solutions offer a very low-cost or free introductory level subscription because they know that it can be a pain to switch systems. If they can get you in from the beginning, chances are you won’t leave when you reach a level that requires you to pay more. For that reason, make sure you check out the features of higher levels to help ensure the software you choose will feature what you want down the line.
Usability: What’s the point in paying for an email marketing solution if you can’t figure out how to use it? A lot of the solutions these days offer simple and easy-to-use interfaces, beautiful pre-made email templates, and some even offer a team of people who are available to help when you run into a problem. It’s time for an honest self-assessment of your own tech-savviness. Is simplicity a high priority when making your decision?
Automation: Automated emails are a great tool for reaching potential new clients. One of the benefits of using an email marketing solution is the ability to put these automated emails in place as a part of your marketing strategy. These automated emails can be sent out to people for any number of triggers that you may choose, such as visiting a certain page on your website, joining your mailing list, or a whole list of other options.
Certain email marketing solutions offer more advanced options in choosing this audience, while others offer just basic automation options. If automated emails are something that you wish to apply to your firm’s marketing strategy, then this is definitely something you will want to pay attention to. Keeping all of this in mind, let’s take a look at five of the most popular email marketing solution softwares to decide which one might be best for your firm (and which ones you might want to steer clear of):
Mailchimp is arguably one of the most popular choices among the masses, and it might be because it is one of the most inexpensive options out there (and the whole “Mail Kimp” thing didn’t hurt). Mailchimp does everything listed above. You can send emails to subscribers, create automated emails, and analyze your results. It also offers easy integration into hundreds of other apps that your company might already be using.
It’s also pretty easy to use. They offer a very generous free plan, making it a great choice for smaller firms who anticipate that they won’t be dealing with a huge subscriber base. Under their free plan, you can send up to 12,000 emails a month to a subscriber base up to 2,000 people. Better yet, most of the tools and resources you get with their paid plans are also available with the free plan.
- Pros: Inexpensive, generous free plan, user-friendly template customization, hundreds of integration abilities.
- Cons: Automation options are not very advanced, fairly clunky interface.
- Who is MailChimp for? MailChimp is a great option for smaller firms, as well as for anyone who is new to email marketing solutions.
Email marketing software is just one of the many things HubSpot has to offer your firm. It’s user-friendly, offers expansive opportunities for customization, and has a powerful yet easy-to-use workflow automation system. Their package starts at $50/month, with more advanced packages available for a higher cost. They do offer a free version, however it does not include access to their email marketing tools.
One thing that makes HubSpot stand out from its competitors is that it isn’t just an email marketing solution. HubSpot Marketing is an all-around marketing solution. Their email marketing platform is only one of the many tools that you will have access to when you are a subscriber of their services. On top of email marketing you can use utilize them as your CRM, launch personalized landing pages and much more.
- Pros: Access to many marketing tools all in one place, user-friendly, highly customizable, great workflow automation.
- Cons: Higher-tier packages are expensive (but keep in mind that you’re getting exactly what you’re paying for), opt-out subscriber lists are still included in your cost.
- Who is HubSpot for? If you are running a small firm with fairly basic email marketing needs, this may not be the solution for you. HubSpot is best for the firm that plans to make the most of all that the software has to offer. It’s well worth the cost if you plan to utilize more than just the email marketing tools.
Constant Contact is an old-time friend of the email marketing world. Having been around since 1995 (not long after the internet’s initial takeoff), you could say that Constant Contact perhaps helped pave the road for email marketing today. That being said, their competitors may have a better grasp of what businesses need out of their email marketing software in today’s world.
Their pricing scale is complicated, and may seem overpriced – especially if you are a firm with a small subscriber base. They have two packages, and the more expensive one offers more tools for you to use. Both packages will go up in price depending on the number of subscribers that you have. Features such as email automation and A/B testing are not available in their basic package, which is one thing that sets them back from some of their competitors.
Constant Contact has a few noteworthy components that are still giving them leverage, though. They offer several features that are exclusive to their platform, including an event management tool, the ability to conduct surveys, and social campaigns. They also offer integration to over 400 different apps and programs, which could be useful if your firm is utilizing any of the programs on their list.
- Pros: Exclusive features, vast opportunities for integration.
- Cons: Automation not very advanced (and not available in basic package), expensive.
- Who is Constant Contact for? If use of their exclusive features (event management, surveys, and social campaigns) is something that your firm would benefit from, Constant Contact would be worth looking into. If you are only interested in the basic functions of an email marketing solution, this one may not be the ideal choice for your firm.
Pardot is the priciest option on our list, starting at $1,250/month for their basic package (which they call their “growth” package). Pardot’s claim to fame comes from their connection with Salesforce. Pardot is owned by Salesforce, and the two program’s integrate together quite nicely. When used in conjunction with Salesforce, Pardot can serve as a helpful bridge between your sales team and your marketing team.
- Pros: Smooth integration with Salesforce, simple and straightforward, robust, helpful customer support team.
- Cons: Customization is lacking compared to some competitors, limited integrations, expensive.
- Who is Pardot for? Firms who will get the most out of Pardot are those who already use Salesforce as their primary CRM.
Last, but not least, Campaign Monitor allows you to do everything that an email marketing solution should. You can send mass emails, set up automated emails (with a fairly expansive list of triggers to work with, compared to some of their competitors), and track your results. The program is fairly simple and straightforward for easy use. The cost is fairly standard. There are three different tiers to their subscription packages, with the basic tier starting at $9 for a subscriber base of 500 email addresses.
Something that particularly stood out in the differentiation between these tiers, is the difference in customer support that they advertise for each. The more money you give them, the better type of customer service experience they will offer you. One thing that Campaign Monitor seems to have down better than a lot of their competitors, is their collection of email templates available for use. Some of these templates are – quite frankly – impressive.
- Pros: Beautiful selection of templates, affordable, automation that is easy to set up.
- Cons: Customization is limited, “premier” customer support is not offered with basic package, analytic tools are less impressive than some competitors.
- Who is Campaign Monitor for? Campaign Monitor could make a great choice for a firm with a small subscriber base. It’s also great for those who are less tech-savvy, as it has an all-around fairly straightforward interface. However, if you are someone who has the tech down and wants to have more options for customization, this may not be the solution for your firm. Which one is right for you?
These five are just a few of the many email marketing solutions out there. Take the time to sit with your marketing team and decide what your firm’s needs and priorities are, and keep those things into consideration when deciding which program will be the best fit. Many programs offer free trial periods. Be sure to take advantage of these, so that you can be confident that you are choosing the program that will best fit your firm’s needs.
Carson Partners are supported by a team of marketing experts. Are you looking for marketing assistance to free yourself up to act as the true CEO of your firm? Set up a consultation today to see if we’d be a fit!