Getting started with digital marketing?
Then you probably already know that email is one of the biggest channels out there. In fact, email is so prominent that in 2018, research showed that 99% of users checked email daily.
Plus, email has a huge return on investment—some research even suggests that for every $1 you spend on email marketing, you get an incredible $38 in return.
But email marketing is a little more complex than you might think at first.
You’ll need to start with finding the perfect program to manage your subscribers and allow you to send out messages. But there are dozens of Email Service Providers, or ESPs.
Which do you choose?
Today, I’ll explain the top platforms for email marketing. Based on their features and pricing, you can figure out what works best for you.
MailChimp has been dominating the market in email service providers for a while, especially when it comes to beginners just getting started.
Why? Well, they have a great brand voice—a fun, quirky attitude that set them apart from the stodgier “corporate” brands back in the early days.
But what really makes MailChimp notable is its “Forever Free” plan. It’s completely free for up to 2,000 subscribers, which is its main appeal to beginners and marketers on a budget.
The only limits for this plan are MailChimp footers in each email and a pretty limited set of automation and segmentation features.
Unfortunately, as you get more advanced, the segmentation capabilities of MailChimp don’t really compare with some of the other ESPs on this list. But if you’re starting, that’s okay.
Something else to know about MailChimp is that they operate with a “list-based” model, whereas most other companies use a “tag-based” model.
This means a subscriber who gets three types of emails from you (say, newsletter, downloads, and promotions) counts as three subscribers.
This can be complicated and expensive.
In many ways, AWeber is the older platform that was prominent before MailChimp. It was one of the earliest providers on the market.
But this is both a good and bad thing. The good part is that AWeber is very reliable and provides amazing customer service. They’ve worked with major bloggers for years.
But the downside is that much of their platform is out of date. Some of their features, like automations, are limited.
One of the great newer features they’ve added is a visual automation builder which is easy-to-use and intuitive.
AWeber starts at $19 for the first 500 subscribers.
Another player in the email marketing world is Campaign Monitor, which has built a very solid service by catering to designers and their clients.
Rather than try to do everything well, Campaign Monitor has done a fantastic job of honing in on a specific audience in order to serve a specific need.
If you’re looking for beautiful, sleek, professional email design, this is where you’ll probably end up. Unlike other ESPs without a focus on design, Campaign Monitor delivers.
Campaign Monitor starts at $9/month for the first 500 subscribers.
Emma is a unique email experience that begins with custom design, a feature that separates them from the pack for people looking to differentiate themselves from those using standard templates.
It’s also geared towards smaller businesses and nonprofits, which differentiates it from its competitors.
Each Emma package includes custom forms and newsletters, full analytics, and unlike other providers, the ability to send surveys and forms to your audience.
Although Emma is slightly more expensive than their competitors, they make it up in customization and support.
Emma starts at $89/month for up to 10,000 emails.
Constant Contact is well known amongst the small business market, and distinguishes themselves in that market by offering private coaching and consulting.
They started all the way back in 1996, which is a lifetime in Internet years, and they’re one of the most well-known names in the email marketing industry.
Unlike most of the ESPs on this list, Constant Contact is focused more on “newsletter” type emails instead of “sales and marketing” emails.
Depending on your business, this could be a good fit or a poor one.
They also include some social media features, as well as integrations with eCommerce platforms, donations, and survey tools.
Constant Contact starts at $20/month for up to 500 subscribers.
ConvertKit is perhaps the newest ESP on this list, and they’ve been growing really quickly over the past few years.
Lots of major bloggers that used to use AWeber or other services have switched to ConvertKit.
The great part of ConvertKit is that it comes built-in with more advanced features, like segmentation and automation, without being overly complicated.
This makes it perfect for beginners who are looking to scale up beyond some of the limitations of MailChimp.
ConvertKit starts at $29/month for up to 1,000 subscribers.
So there you have it!
These are the top email service providers. They range from large companies to brand-new upstarts, but they all have their own special advantage or benefit.
If you’re just starting out, you might be drawn towards the free beginner plan MailChimp offers.
As you get more advanced, you might move towards platforms with more built-in automations and segmentation.
Whether you’re a multinational firm or local pop-up shop, there’s an option for you.
Which email service provider will you use in your business?
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