Which Email Marketing Service Is Right For You?

by 61 02/21/2013

In the first article of my 8-part email marketing series, I showed you why email is not only alive and thriving, but essential to the success of your business.

This week, we’ll review the various email marketing services that are out there and the pros and cons of each.

First, you should know that there are two types of email marketing services. I’m going to categorize them as…

  1. Basic email marketing services – The reason I call these basic is because they do everything a typical email marketing tool should do. Things like send emails, track results and build sign-up forms.
  2. Advanced email marketing services – Advanced email marketing services go a step beyond the typical “build a list and send them emails”. With these you can create behavioral-based emails, implement if-then rules, split-test autoresponders, and other nifty features.

Now that we’ve covered the basic definitions of each, let’s dive right in.

Basic Email Marketing Services

Yes, I realize I’m going to miss a few services. If I were to review every single email marketing tool, this post would be 5,000 words long.

What I’ll do instead of review what I consider to be the industry leaders in each category. Please note, these are in no particular order. Also note that many services have similar features. I’ll try to do my best not to repeat too many of them. As always, do your own research and determine which is best for you.

#1: Mailchimp

mailchimp

Mailchimp is a great beginners email marketing service. It offers great deliverability and a good “bang for your buck”. Use Mailchimp if you’re just getting started and would like to “test the waters” before jumping into a paid service. You can get more information at www.mailchimp.com.

PROS

  • Free starter account (for broadcast only, and a list under 500 people)
  • Great deliverability
  • Free pre-designed templates with drag & drop editor
  • Social media integration
  • Impressive analytics reports including tweet trends, goal tracking, revenue charts and social analytics.

CONS

  • No telephone support
  • Slightly clunky user interface (my personal opinion)

#2: AWeber

aweber

Aweber is one of the oldest, most reliable and most well-known email marketing services in existence. And for good reason. If you’re looking for solid deliverability and consistency with a company that’s been around forever, Aweber is for you. You can get more information at www.Aweber.com.

PROS

  • 99%+ deliverability (likely the best in the industry)
  • Hundreds of signup form templates (plus drag & drop customization of those templates)
  • Easy to use interface
  • Signup form split-testing
  • Easy list segmentation based on who opens, who clicks, and more
  • Great customer service

CONS

  • Slightly higher starting cost ($19/month) than similar email services
  • Can’t switch back to single optin if you use double-optin for any new list

#3: iContact

icontact

iContact is attractively priced, especially if you’re just starting out. It also boasts a very easy to use interface for ease of use. If you’re a fan of ease of use, you’ll love iContact. You can get more information at www.iContact.com.

PROS

  • Ability to create email marketing surveys easily
  • Publishes emails to a dedicated landing page
  • Very easy to use interface
  • Starting prices at just $10/month
  • Various add-on services such as design and advisory options (optional)
  • Integrates with many other services like Analytics, Salesforce and more

CONS

  • Clunky analytics reporting
  • No customer service on weekends

#4: Constant Contact

 

constant-contact

Constant contact is unique in that it offers regular email marketing along with several other services that may help grow your business. This is a fantastic tool for those with offline businesses who are using online marketing. You can get more information at www.ConstantContact.com.

PROS

  • A lot of coaching and support to help get you started
  • Free trial available (no credit card needed)
  • Apps and integrations allow you to sync with your other business tools
  • Social campaigns
  • Ability to create your own “local deals” like Groupon

CONS

  • Website is hard to navigate
  • Deliverability is lower than other services (97%)
  • Diversification in services may limit overall effectiveness

Advanced Email Marketing Services

These advanced email marketing services are better suited for people with a well-established business and want to maximize the effectiveness of their emails while adding even more automation.  The cost is over 10x the price of regular email marketing services, but worth every penny if you use them properly. They also integrate shopping carts and affiliate programs, so come with many more features.

Infusionsoft

Infusionsoft

Infusionsoft has been the leader in advanced email marketing for many years. In fact it was the only solution to be “all-in-one” for quite some time. You can get more information at www.Infusionsoft.com.

PROS

  • All-in-one solution including email, shopping cart, affiliate system and more
  • Prices start at just $200/month
  • Various third party add-ons and integration with third party services such as
  • If-then rule system which allows you to send emails based on users behavior on your website
  • Track website visitors to determine their interests and online behaviors

CONS

  • Hard to use interface
  • Steep learning curve
  • Easy to turn into an “expense” if not used to it’s potential
  • Expensive to customize

Office Autopilot

OfficeAutopilot

Office Autopilot is similar to Infusionsoft, but (in my opinion) offers a much easier to use interface. While it lacks in a few features (such as social media sharing) it makes up for it with ease of use. You can check it out at www.OfficeAutopilot.com.

PROS

  • Very easy to use
  • Clickbank integration
  • Drag n’ drop landing page creator with ability to create PURLS (personalized URL’s)
  • Ability to send automated postcards, text messages and voicemail messages
  • If-then rule system which allows you to send emails based on users behavior on your website
  • Split-testing autoresponder sequences (highly recommended!

CONS

  • Beginning prices start at $300/month (they have a little brother, Sendpepper, if this is too high for you)
  • Very basic shopping cart with limited functionality

Now that we’ve gone over all of the various options you have, I’d love to hear your thoughts. What are you using now? Are you taking full advantage of the features that that company offers? Most people I talk to are not leveraging their email campaigns and are therefore losing out on a lot of money every month.

I highly suggest going through whatever you use now and finding new ways to segment better, add more messages, and automate your marketing. You’ll be glad you did.

But before you do… let me know your thoughts in the comments below. I want to hear your experiences with these various services!

Next up in our series: The importance of email frequency. Along with many pieces of advice you’ve likely never heard before.

About 

Jeremy Reeves is known as the world's #1 most trusted sales funnel authority. He builds advanced marketing funnels for his own side businesses AND his private clients. He has added over over $10 million in revenue to his clients bottom lines in the past few years alone.

To learn more about Jeremy, visit www.JeremyReeves.com or grab his free special report: How To Build A Million Dollar Sales Funnel.

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61 COMMENTS

Scott Pielsticker

Jeremy: Now, that’s what I call a thorough post! It’s also particularly topical given how many companies are gravitating toward email marketing. My take is many of these platforms will start to see a surge in new users as brand start to recogize the benefits of email marketing, and how it can drive social media, content marketing and “soft sales”.

cheers, Scott

February 21, 2013 Reply

    Jeremy Reeves

    Thanks for reading!

    February 23, 2013 Reply

    Ionut

    I agree with you Scott, looking on google trends I also saw that email marketing is growing and I consider that there is still room to grow and either the market is crowded, there was still a need for a cheaper mailchimp alternative, that’s why we have created Sendinblue.com .

    July 29, 2014 Reply

Stephen Vardy

Use mailchimp for little stuff.

Much prefer Campaign Moniter.
There excellent and their pricing works well for large quarterly newsletters.
They are a bootsrap and profitable – which counts for a lot too.

S

February 21, 2013 Reply

    Russ Henneberry

    Thanks for adding this Stephen! I’ve heard very good things about Campaign Monitor too.

    February 21, 2013 Reply

Stacey

I’ve been using Aweber for the last six months and hadn’t really though of it as basic. But,when you see how much functionality is available with the other tools, I guess it is. I really like infusionsoft, but I don’t have the traffic or level of data to track ( as yet) to make an investment in a tool this complex right now. Really insightful article, thanks!

February 22, 2013 Reply

    Russ Henneberry

    I like the way Jeremy phrased it by saying that the basic email services do everything you would expect an email service to do. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment Stacey!

    February 22, 2013 Reply

    Jeremy Reeves

    Stacey you hit it right on the head. Those services definitely aren’t for everyone. Only get them when 1) It makes sense financially and 2) You’ll actually USE all the features, as most people don’t.

    February 23, 2013 Reply

Matt Fox

I’ve been with OfficeAutoPilot/SendPepper for many years now. It’s nice to see them in your review Jeremy. Hopefully they’ll start to make more of an impact. They deserve a lot more recognition because of their functionality and ease of use compared to their major competitors.

February 22, 2013 Reply

    Russ Henneberry

    Thanks for adding this Matt!

    February 22, 2013 Reply

    Jeremy Reeves

    Thanks for reading buddy :)

    Yea I use OAP as well – I’ve worked with Infusion in client accounts and typically need a bottle of scotch next to me to keep me sane! OAP is very easy to figure out… though their shopping cart is absolutely horrendous and the forms are sometimes buggy in WordPress.

    February 23, 2013 Reply

      Mark Reinert

      Thanks for the article and notes about OAP/SendPepper being buggy in WordPress (worrisome) and having a “less than” shopping cart.

      Do you know any shopping carts that are integrated with SendPepper/OAP? So many integrate with Aweber and a few with Mailchimp. I’d like to switch to Send Pepper for the ease of use of Autoresponder sequences and segmenting, but am at a loss since no shopping cart seems to have an integration with them. (currently using DPD)

      So am at a loss for how to get buyers onto a product follow up AR sequence without manually adding people one purchase at a time (burdensome and hard to do timely).. I could just give them an opt in form upon purchae but don’t want to lose 1/3 or more of the people that way. Are there better options? Any suggestions?

      July 24, 2014 Reply

        Joe

        Good point. I have this problem, too.

        July 24, 2014 Reply

Sylvain Gauchet

A point that could make the difference for beginners: Mailchimp subscriber limit for free accounts is 2,000 (it is for us, at least)

February 22, 2013 Reply

    Jeremy Reeves

    Good point Sylvain! I actually have a free account for one of my smaller side businesses and it’s 500… but free, nonetheless. Though you can’t use autoresponders with the free account.

    February 23, 2013 Reply

Mark Graham McKnight

Just came across your blog and have been reading through it for the last ten minutes. It’s good stuff. I’ve tried Aweber a few times but I’ve never really been able to build a list and actually make use of it. I find it really hard to use email marketing. I’m going to go through your 8 part course and see if I can make email marketing work for me this time.

February 25, 2013 Reply

    Jeremy Reeves

    Mark, you may be simply over-thinking it.

    Email’s best use is a relationship-building tool. Just talk to your subscribers and be “you”. Don’t worry too much about getting it perfect – you can learn that along the way.

    List building is a whole different ballgame, though, and requires much more explanation. For that though, just find something valuable to give away, and then get in front of people who would be interested in it, and tell them about it.

    February 26, 2013 Reply

    Trish

    Building a list is hard. They say organic lists work best. What my company did was supplement our current list with a rented list. We first purchased from hoovers.com and then frescodata.com. We didn’t have to use Mailchimp or any of that because the company we rented the list from sent it out for us. Problem solved :)

    March 19, 2014 Reply

Chiranjeev

Nice list of Email marketing service providers. As i think, Aweber is best for email Marketing. I am using it from long ago.
Thanks,

February 26, 2013 Reply

Matt

Very well written post but I have to admit, I think you’re pretty far off on your advanced services. You made no mention of any of the companies listed in Forrester Research’s wave report.
ExactTarget
Responsys
Experian
Yesmail
Epsilon
Strongmail

I realize you might be writing to the more cost concious crowd, but I think it’s important to note the big names in the game.

February 27, 2013 Reply

James Hipkin

Another vote for Campaign Monitor. We use Mail Chimp for some things, usually when customers ask for it, but use CM for our own marketing. Easy to use, grreat customer support.

March 5, 2013 Reply

business email software

this article veryhelp-ful for all user and thank for share this information.

April 17, 2013 Reply

Eileen Lonergan

Thank you for this post, simple, straightforward and helpful! I use Mail Chimp a lot and have been really happy with the ease of use and price. I wrote a few blog posts on how to customize forms for sign up on your WordPress site (pop ups, ect), http://www.eileenlonergan.com/launch-of-a-new-blog which ypu may helpful.

May 9, 2013 Reply

Ivan

Thanks for the post! Really helpful!
I would recommend also http://www.ethercamp.com
I used Mail Chimp in the past. I gave a try to Ether Camp and I liked a lot it’s simple user interface with nearly the same features. Ether Camp provides also SMS campaigns in conjunction with Email campaigns.

May 9, 2013 Reply

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May 16, 2013 Reply

Aryan Rajput

Very good post. Email marketing is now in trend and help to increase the online business. You can also click on this link for Online maketing company

June 5, 2013 Reply

Amir

thanks for helping me.
i`ve benn looking for that.
thanks

September 2, 2013 Reply

Paul

A good blog on the different benefits of each provider. Although classed as basic they cover the bases for most SME.

September 6, 2013 Reply

internet marketing in japan

Splendid job! The topic is on the front burner and it was really interesting to read it. Write more!

October 1, 2013 Reply

devendra

hi nice post

Email Marketing is a highly cost effective, fastest and efficient way to reach huge numbers of potential / targeted customers. An advertiser can connect directly with their targeted customers. They can communicate for various offers, new products, changes and announcements etc to their audience almost instantly. It is an unavoidable tool for online marketing.

Devendra

October 2, 2013 Reply

Beverly

I appreciate this review you did of a few email marketing companies. I started out with iContact back in 2008 and found it to be very easy to use and highly effective. However, for whatever reason I was not able to use it anymore and I don’t know why. Everytime I tried to create a campaign their software would not accept my work. That was very frustrating, so in early 2012 I switched to Mail Chimp. I did a few campaigns through Mail Chimp and I completed a campaign earlier this week. Today I found their report tracking to be very inaccurate because I know some people have received and read my campaign, due to them contacting me. Based on two response to your review I just tried Campaign Monitor. Thus far I love it and how easy it was to use. I shall see how the tracking and response to my 1st campaign with Campaign Monitor goes. Thanks again for this review on the subject.

October 10, 2013 Reply

Dan

Personally I have found issues with every email provider I have ever used (most of them). The one I currently use is called MarketMailer. There are four main reasons I use them:

1. I can phone them direct and always seem to get someone who can help straight away
2. The PAYG pricing is the best I’ve seen
3. Ironically they don’t bombard my email with promotions and tips
4. They’re British – What can I say? I’m proud of my country

They do all the fancy stuff you would expect from a modern email marketing software, but these things make it stand out for me. Other ones I’d suggest are MadMimi and I guess MailChimp, their system is robust, however they weren’t my cup of tea. There’s also one I found called ‘JayMail’ which is a fully managed service that is pretty good.

November 6, 2013 Reply

Tim Bekker

I have been using aweber for years, also tried iContact and Mailchimp. Right now I am using INinbox.com. Its a simple to use platform, with a nice interface and good delivery rates.

cheers

Tim

December 27, 2013 Reply

Tim C

Very informative. Thanks Jeremy! My two cents – I used an email marketing service, constantcontact.com, and switched over to self hosted software which I found to be a great alternative especially from a cost standpoint. I use software called Mail Machine Pro. Their website is mailmachinepro.com. They offer much more functionality and the program is installed on my web server for complete control. On top of that, sending email blasts is much cheaper! I was paying $195/month for sending to a list of around 40,000 subscribers. I use Mail Machine Pro with sendgrid(an email relay service) and pay a fraction of that, only $10/month. As you can see, a HUGE savings! Email deliverability is excellent!

January 11, 2014 Reply

    Suman

    Are email open rates almost same or different when you tried all these different providers?

    October 9, 2014 Reply

Shannon

No one has said anything about ReachMail.
For the price it’s a good service with Design and HTML options, detailed and concise tracking reports, statiscal analysis, and target group emailing. Anytime that I have come across a problem I have been able to connect with the same Support person via email making it a very personalized experience. Not only that but I receive a response a few hours (sometimes even immediately) after sending the email. If I come across a problem that I’m having and bring it to their attention he helps me work around it and often times the company has found a way to eliminate this difficulty a few days later. This pattern tells me that they listen to their customers’ feedback. Is this service able to do everything I’d like? No, but being set up like a cloud system so that I can send emails from any location, being able to specify the reply-to and sent-from address for each email and the rest of the nice features they offer outweighs any cons. They also offer a Free For Life plan for smaller accounts.

January 21, 2014 Reply

Niki Armstrong

WOW. You went with great points in your article.

January 23, 2014 Reply

Chris

We have a slightly different situation that I didn’t see mentioned. We send out a newsletter that is specific to each individual. The format is the same but based on their interests, we send them different information. Will these tools work?
The corrolary is that we want to try different formats and see which get better user response (A/B testing). Will these tools work with the individualized content and A/B testing?

January 23, 2014 Reply

Afzol

I am using GVO email service, it allowed up to $50,000 subscriber list. I like GVO because GVO allowed me how to do video email service as we as many things cna do with one tools. Hope it will help for anybody business. Wish your best susscess.

February 6, 2014 Reply

Ionut

I am using sendinblue.com , is a quite new company on the english market, but is the cheapest one. I can send 40k emails for $6.59

February 7, 2014 Reply

Kathy

This was a great summary for me as I am looking at e-mail marketing for a small retail startup. I am finding that Constant Constact has great sales support to get me to sign up with them but I need to look at others before making my decision.

March 21, 2014 Reply

MartinRobert

Wow such a great tips about Email marketing. I am very much interested in the topic.

March 24, 2014 Reply

Maruj Carr

How about SedinBlue? Has anyone heard about this company?

My need is not that sophisticated. I just need an email system that I could send 500 per month. Without being yelled at as a spammer. It is a legitimate email with a follow up phone call.

Thank you.

March 28, 2014 Reply

DexterDavis

Great lesson to for Best Email markeitng.

April 9, 2014 Reply

LeesaRay

Wish I had this info starting out – I jumped in with the advice to go with Aweber. But not knowing exactly what I was doing, it did become an “expense”. Fiddled around with it, trying different things, but still too new at it to get a decent list… Got so frustrated – your article would have saved me time, trouble and MONEY.

June 8, 2014 Reply

    Jeremy Reeves

    So glad you got so much value out of the article! Aweber is a great email platform. Keep focusing on building the list so you can turn it from an expense to a great investment ;)

    June 8, 2014 Reply

    Neil Patel

    Leesa, glad we could all connect. Next time feel free to ask if you have any questions regarding anything at all :)

    June 8, 2014 Reply

Uttam

This post very useful for me. I read this very interested. Thanks

June 12, 2014 Reply

jacbizer

For me aweber is doing great service.

June 27, 2014 Reply

    Neil Patel

    Jacbizer, glad to hear :). Thanks for the feedback!

    June 27, 2014 Reply

Saltman

Great to see the different kinds of email marketing! Thanks for your valuable guidance about choosing the best suitable email marketing for the business.

July 15, 2014 Reply

Milad Kiani

I use http://www.emailblastcampaign.com and happy with their services, it’s a good alternative to this list.

August 21, 2014 Reply

Pressman

I am new in market so which one is better for me basic or advance? Because I read your article its really informative but till this question is in my mind which one is better for new comers.

October 22, 2014 Reply

    Kathryn Aragon

    If you’re a beginner, I recommend MailChimp and AWeber. Personally, I’ve found MailChimp to be the easiest to use, but both of these are a great place to start.

    October 22, 2014 Reply


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