texas IT and business tech

Most organizations have something to sell or a message to spread, and email is one of the most prolific means of communication in use today. For these reasons, email marketing is a must-have for nearly every business, community, or non-profit.

Currently, email marketing offers the best ROI among marketing channels. (Litmus’s Email Marketing ROI report found that email averages a 36:1 ROI in the United States.) This is more than any other type of marketing, including social media, print advertising, PPC, and SEO.

That said, running a successful email marketing strategy isn't a no-brainer. Email marketing requires the right approach, good writing, and lots and lots of sending. It's nearly impossible to run an effective email marketing campaign without some manner of automation tool to help.

In this Small Business Series post, we're going to take a look at email marketing automation and the tools that you can use to help you reach your objectives.

What is Email Marketing Software?

Email marketing tools or email automation solutions are applications that allow you to manage large-scale email-based digital marketing campaigns. Email marketing is a form of direct marketing that can either target users in a certain audience (through cold emails) or users/customers who have signed up to receive emails. Email marketing software helps with executing these campaigns by letting you manage your contacts, create email content, send bulk emails, and monitor campaign performance from one place.

Benefits of Email Marketing Software

Email marketing software can give you a number of advantages, making it one of the most important digital marketing tools in the modern business' tech toolbox.

First and foremost, the advantage of email marketing tools is that they allow for automation on a wide scale. Imagine having to personally write and send thousands of emails one at a time and you'll immediately know why automation is key.

Not only do email marketing tools automate the process of sending bulk emails, but they also help personalize each of those emails through dynamic content. This is simply a matter of replacing certain tags (such as ##recipient_name##) with information from your contact database. Whatever data is in those records can be automatically inserted into your outgoing emails for a more customized message.

Email marketing tools also make it easy to analyze your campaigns and make changes when needed. Detailed reporting lets you see how many recipients opened their emails, read them, and clicked your links. Such reporting is essential when it comes to parsing your marketing efforts and maximizing your ROI.

How to Choose the Best Email Marketing Software

There is no simple answer to this question; the best email marketing software for you will depend on your unique needs and goals. Some solutions are better at targeting, others are better at e-commerce. Some make it easy to create emails in their platform, others are better at managing databases of customers. Then there's always the price factor.

You must first identify what you’re looking to get out of your email marketing software and let that guide you toward the right product. Many solutions will offer free trials or basic accounts that allow you to experience their product firsthand before making a commitment.

A Few Top Email Marketing Platforms

Mailchimp

We're pretty sure everyone has heard of Mailchimp at this point. They carved out a permanent niche in the email marketing space many years ago by offering free and low cost email marketing for small businesses.

Because Mailchimp is meant for solo users and small businesses, it offers many built-in tools for creating emails and landing pages. On the flip side, because it's meant to be simple it lacks many of the advanced features that other tools now offer.

One thing to keep in mind is that Mailchimp's pricing works on a sliding scale based on your usage. While the free account is certainly nice, the monthly price will increase very quickly depending on how many emails you plan to send.

HubSpot

HubSpot was built as a customer relationship management (CRM) before it became a marketing tool. Now it boasts a digital marketing add-on that includes email, live chat, display advertising, blogging, and social media features (depending on the tier). While HubSpot can get rather expensive, the major benefit is that it's one integrated product, allowing you to manage your customer list, track conversions, and execute your marketing strategy from a single location.

Sendinblue

Sendinblue is an extremely easy-to-use email marketing tool with a straightforward and easy to navigate interface. It's a worthwhile contender because Sendinblue doesn’t limit the number of contacts in your database like most other email marketing vendors. Instead, this tool's pricing is based purely on the number of emails sent.

Drip

This is a great choice for SMBs who are selling products online. Drip integrates well with most e-commerce platforms and online stores. Automated workflows include email and SMS texting, so you can use both channels for campaigns like abandoned cart reminders, post-sale follow up, and at-risk customer win-back.