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Email Marketing – Essential Tools for Small Business Owners

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If you’re reading this post, you probably already know by now that email marketing is essential to your business’s success. So it is vital to invest your time and your money into if you want to achieve the kind of income and lifestyle that you truly desire. This blog post is all about helping you keep up with the pace of digital marketing and master the digital skills that you need to help you, your brand, and your business thrive online in the future economy. We’re going to be looking at eight different providers, including both free and paid options, so there is

  • ActiveCampaign,
  • ConstantContact,
  • GetResponse,
  • Aweber,
  • Convertkit,
  • MailChimp,
  • Mailerlite and
  • Sendinblue.
Businessman reading e-mails

So, let’s get started with the five things you have to keep in mind when choosing an email marketing tool or software. Each business is different, and so are its needs. When determining whether or not this software will be the right fit for your business, the first and most apparent thing is price.

  1. Price: Affordability

For the most part, email marketing providers are so-called SAAS companies that charge for their services monthly or yearly, similar to a Netflix subscription. If you stop paying their monthly fee, you will lose access to their software. The amount you have to pay typically depends on how many contacts you have on your email list, so the more significant the email list, the more you have to spend on a monthly or yearly basis. The only exception to this pricing model is Sendinblue. Sendinblue charges subscribers based on how many emails you send out per month rather than how many contacts you have on your email list. With this in mind, Sendinblue may be interesting to you if you already have an extensive email list but send out relatively few emails. Of this list, five companies of these eight providers also offer a completely free plan that you can use up to a certain amount of contacts on your email list. The providers with free plans include:

Covertkit, Mailerlite, Aweber, Mailchimp, and Sendinblue. However, keep in mind that you will have to become a paying customer once the contact limit is exceeded. The free plans also limit the number of accessible features, further enticing you to become a paid subscriber. With that said, there are indeed some skillful and attractive free plans such as Mailerlite’s and MailChimp’s, which are, in my opinion, the most attractive free plans on the market right now. Small business owners can use both of these free options to create signup forms, build landing pages, and send out email broadcasts. In addition, Mailerlite is the only free option that you can use to build entire email automation sequences, while MailChimp has the most attractive free contact limit at 2000 email contacts. Activecampaign, ConstantContact, and GetResponse don’t have a free plan but do offer free trials so that you can test out their software before choosing a paid plan. Constantcontact has the longest free trial period at 60 days, followed by Getresponse 30 days, and ActiveCampaign with a 14-day free trial. However, the 60-day free trial of ConstantContact is only available for people in the United States and Canada. Everybody outside will only get a 30-day trial. 

Comparing the prices side by side and deciding the most attractive one tailored to you depends on what features you actually need. To make it easier for you, we compiled the prices for each of the eight providers with an email list size of up to 2500 contacts on their lowest tier plan with a monthly payment option, with Sendinblue’s different pricing structure, we used a spending limit of 10,000 emails a month for this visualization.

  • ActiveCampaign: $55
  • ConvertKit: $49
  • ConstantContact: $45
  • MailChimp: $31
  • Aweber: $29
  • GetResponse: $25
  • SendinBlue: $25
  • Mailerlite: $15

Again, the features that come with these plans vary between different providers, so be sure to check out the prices for yourself before making a decision. 

  1. What do you need?

The following substantial question that you should ask yourself before choosing your email marketing provider is what marketing tools you will need for your business. Such as will you only send out simple email newsletters, or will you be building complex email automation sequences focused on customer journeys. This is an important question because there’s no point in paying for a potent tool if you’re not using those features. 

Out of all eight options, ActiveCampaign is the most powerful and best provider for email marketing automation. They are known to be the leader when it comes to email automation, allowing you to create anything you can imagine. You can also use it to send text messages, build landing pages, and split-test different campaigns, and they also have an outstanding CRM feature, very in-depth reporting, and tons of integration options. Next to Activecampaign, GetResponse also offers many pro features and customization options but is not quite as sophisticated as ActiveCampaign. However, GetResponse is more and more turning into an all-in-one marketing platform by offering tools like sales funnels, webinars, split testing landing pages, or customer relationship management. Definitely one of the best options if you’re looking for a tool that goes beyond just email marketing. All the other providers don’t really stand out in terms of automation possibilities since they do only the basic features like signup forms, landing pages, basic automation, and email broadcasts. Some offer unique features like survey tools or logo makers, or little other things that are not that important for email marketing but are good to have when you need them. 

Another big difference you see between email marketing providers is how many design templates and customization options they offer to create beautiful signup forms, landing pages, and emails. They all do a decent job in templates and personalization possibilities except for perhaps ConvertKit, as they have some excellent landing page design templates. Still, when it comes to emails, they are constrained on what you can do, but if creating simple text emails and maybe adding a couple of images is enough for you, then it’s no big deal.

  1. Usability

The next thing you might want to look at when deciding on what email marketing provider to go for is how easy it is to use their software. Mailerlite was by far the most accessible tool to use. They have a charming and clean-looking interface that is very intuitive to use. As a result, this makes the process of creating email campaigns straightforward and efficient. We recommend this provider to people looking for a low-maintenance and beginner-friendly tool that gets the job done. Although Mailerlite doesn’t come with as many possibilities or top-of-the-line features like Getresponse or ActiveCampaign, if you don’t need them and want basic marketing options, go for tool Mailerlite because of how much quicker you’ll be able to learn and use it. The other options on the list are not quite as intuitive as Mailerlite. 

  1. Deliverability

Deliverability is something many people forget. Often small business owners don’t think about deliverability, but it’s crucial to email marketing. When your email marketing provider has bad deliverability, then your emails will end up in the spam folder and not in a consumer’s or subscriber’s actual inbox, which means that your email subscribers will not find your emails, and that’s something you want to avoid by all means because you can have the best converting emails, but it won’t matter if a potential client fails to find them. 

The average deliverability rate over the last three years for each of these eight providers:

  • ConstantContact: 90%
  • ActiveCampaign: 89%
  • Mailerlite: 87%
  • MailChimp: 86%
  • Convertkit: 85%
  • Sendinblue: 83%
  • Getresponse: 82%
  • AWeber: 81%

The results of these deliverability tests fluctuate with each test, so definitely take these numbers with a grain of salt. The data for this test was collected from emailtooltester.com, so definitely check out their website if you want to see the most recent deliverability tests. 

  1. Customer Support

Last but not least I want to talk about customer support. Setting up your email marketing system is not always easy. Often, you won’t be able to Google the answer to your problems because each email marketing system is unique to their business, so you want to have a good support team available when you get stuck so you can contact them. They will be able to help you quickly. We all hate it when there is a long process to connect to customer support, which involves opening support tickets that take days until someone gets back to you with a possible solution. Sometimes it won’t even solve the issue right away. We also prefer not to talk to some robot that only suggests some online support article. 

Ideally, we all want to have 24/7 live chat support that is accessible at the click of a button, but unfortunately, not every provider offers this kind of support.

We’ve included a quality rating based on ratings we’ve found online.

  • ActiveCampaign Rating: 9.5
  • GetResponse Rating: 10
  • Mailerlite Rating: 9.5
  • ConvertKit Rating: 9
  • SendinBlue Rating: 8
  • AWeber Rating: 8
  • ConstantContact Rating: 7
  • Mailchimp Rating: 7 

GetResponse had the best support out of all options and is available 24/7, so you can chat with them with a click of a button, and their staff is very knowledgeable. They will actually be able to help you solve any problem quickly. Coming in at close seconds are ActiveCampaign and Mailerlite, which also have excellent support. 

In conclusion, here are our top recommendations. If you’re looking for an affordable and easy-to-use platform to send out simple email broadcasts and maybe build some simple email automation sequences, our choice is Mailerlite. It’s not only the easiest tool to use but also the most affordable one. Their free plan already has everything you need to get started, and once you pass 1000 email contact, it’s still the cheapest option. 

If you’re really serious about email marketing and want the best money can buy, then look no further than ActiveCampagin. The platform provides tools to help you build customized email automation sequences. With ActiveCampaign, you will most likely never have to operate and switch to another provider because there’s isn’t another tool out right now that can compare with ActiveCampaign. They outperform most other providers in terms of deliverability. They also have excellent support. If ActiveCampaign is a bit out of your budget right now, but you don’t want to settle for a more basic tool like Mailerlite, then Getresponse is a fantastic alternative. We hope you enjoyed this article and our personal list of recommendations. 

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