Understanding how to choose the best email marketing tool

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Your business may be in need of reaching out to an existing client list or catching the attention of new ones. Whichever the case may be, marketing has come a long way and today one of the most effective ways to be seen is by implementing an email marketing in your strategy. Although some may say that social media is capturing all of the attention and is taking over in terms of marketing strategy, it could be argued that email is still more effective and has its own importance. Think about it. If a person wants to open a profile in a social network, or has forgotten a password they need to have access to their email account. So, even though many people today check their Facebook inbox more than their email sometimes, it doesn’t mean that we don’t reserve our email for important things like getting our bills from utility providers.

There are a few things to consider when understanding what and how to implement an email marketing strategy at your company. So let’s begin with the basic question of who you’re writing to. Do you know have a data base already created, or do you need to begin making one from scratch? Do all of them need to get the same information or is it targeted? Depending on how you answer all of these questions is the key to understanding what tools you need.

But this is just the first step. What would you like your clients to receive, do you need to personalize your emails based on your client’s location, or musical tastes or movie preferences? Do you need there to be static content or to establish a relationship with our customer? Batch-and-blast, lifecycle, transactional and non-transactional emails are just some of the ones to consider. When and how often do you want to send your emails? When looking for the perfect Email Service Provider (EPS) consider that the pricing models are based on CPM (in cost per thousand emails sent), which means that you must calculate revenue per thousand emails (RPM) at the moment you are going to begin using the service as well as how you plan to scale it up once you get new customers. Finally, you must analyze how much support and extra features you need to make sure you get all of your email marketing done. So, understand your business, your clients and your communication and marketing needs to effectively choose the right Email Service Provider (ESP).

Nowadays, there are many email marketing software programs that can offer all of the different features you need, so let’s analyze what some of the most popular ones out there have to offer. Keep in mind that some tools are free, but you will need to purchase a full-featured version in some cases.

Benchmark Email

With a life-time free plan that lets you send up to 10,000 emails per month and has many features like surveys, templates and tracking statistics. The only setback is that it doesn’t let you build your client list from a sign up sheet, but instead you must have a ready-made list of contacts. If you need to be able to subscribe users

Image courtesy of José David Leiva at Flickr.com

MailChimp

MailChimp has quite a few options, such as the Forever Free plan and it’s just the one for you if you have less than 2,000 contacts and can send up to 12,000 emails per month at no cost. Most features are available with the exception of a few like autoresponders and on the free version you’ll be sporting a MailChimp badge at the footer, unless you upgrade. It’s quite easy to upgrade and you can do so at any time.

VerticalResponse

With this email marketing tool, you will be able to send up to 4,000 emails per month and you can store up to 1,000 contacts. Depending on the number of contacts you have and the number of emails you plan on sending monthly this may be the option for you, even though it doesn’t match the offers of MailChimp and Benchmark Email. There are things that stand out like the autoresponder feature which is available in the free version, as well as an unlimited amount of signup forms. Another cool feature to keep in mind is that you can link with social media like your Facebook and one Twitter account. You can upgrade whenever you want and can use their monthly or pay-as-you-go plans.

Litmus

Although Litmus is most known for their paid-plan features, it also provides free email tools that will help you to accomplish amazing results with your marketing emails. It has features like Scope, which can even let you peak behind the code and see how they managed to pull off their email magic, and a subject line checker, that can help you realize if your subject is just right or needs some work.

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