The 2019 Small Business Owner’s Guide to Affordable Email Marketing Software

email marketing software,

In 1978, Gary Thuerk sent out the first ever sales promotion to an email marketing list. Several hundred Arpanet (an early internet prototype) users opened an ad for computer manufacturer DEC.

This first incarnation of “junk mail” brought in a whopping $13 million in sales. Keep in mind that’s close to $50 million when adjusting for inflation.

Email marketing has come a long way since Theurk’s first sales promo. But sometimes email marketing software doesn’t live up to expectations.

There’s no reason email marketing shouldn’t be as easy as web hosting.

Tired of Services That Don’t Make the Cut?

Are you fed up with complicated email marketing software that makes promises it can’t keep?

So are we.

Email marketing is a double-edged sword for entrepreneurs. As much as we need it, many providers have glitches in their software and atrocious customer service.

The best email marketing for bloggers should be simple. If your email marketing service is adding more stress than it’s taking away, something needs to change.

This article will show you where to find affordable email marketing software that works when you need it.

What to Look for in Email Marketing Software

You’re tired of switching services every time you have trouble with your email campaign. Don’t make the same mistake again by blindly jumping on board with another marketing service.

Like shopping for a new car, you need to put together a checklist of what you’re looking for. Some common features that will make your campaign flow like a good wine cascading from a clean glass decanter are:

  • CRM platform with segmentation capabilities
  • Good standing with Internet Service Providers
  • A positive reputation as an email service provider (ESP)
  • Easy-to-build forms, landing pages, and CTAs
  • Automation
  • Simple ways to comply with email regulations
  • Ability to split test your emails
  • Built-in analytics
  • Downloadable reports

CRM and Why You Need Segmentation

Customer relationship management (CRM) is the software that stores all your interactions with your customers. You’ll need this for segmentation.

Segmentation lets you get to know your audience better. Instead of sending everyone on your list the same promotion, you can show them products related to what they are already buying.

For example, you can have a different set of emails for leads than the ones for your current customers.

Not only does this tell you the type of promotions to deliver, but how to deliver them.

Let me explain.

Certain demographics respond better to video. Others may prefer something they can read during their commute.

The point is to find what you have most in common with your customers and give it to them. If your current email marketing service doesn’t offer segmentation you’re not going to be able to test ad sets fast enough.

You’re leaving money on the table by going with a one size fits all strategy.

Easy to Build Landing Pages

Your landing page works in close conjunction with your email to find leads.

Having to coordinate landing pages from one provider to your marketing service can be a hassle. Most email marketing software offers some kind of landing page creator, but some have more robust systems in place.

Sites like MailChimp are a good starting place because they offer a free email marketing service for lists of up to 2,000 subscribers.

Their landing pages are sleek and with their drag and drop features, they make integrating your landing pages with your email list easy.

Staying Compliant

The CAN-SPAM Act attempts to protect Americans from junk email they did not give consent to receive. Even if your leads give you their email addresses, your email marketing must follow a long list of rules.

The best email marketing for e-commerce lets customers opt out at any time. Your emails should also be easy to distinguish as an advertisement.

Your email marketing service should provide an easy way to comply with all these regulations.

Split Testing

Once you get all the regulations and legal stuff squared away, it’s time to start focusing on your actual email.

You may have heard of split or A/B testing before, but might not understand how it fits into your marketing strategy.

There are lots of tools, like Facebook Insights, that can tell us what our customers’ interests and behaviours are. But it can still be difficult to know what the best formula for an ad is.

Should there be one image or several? Do we speak to them as a best friend would? What is the best call to action for them?

A lot of marketing is trial and error. Split testing lets you test two or more ads with slight variations in order to track which is the most effective.

Knowing what our customers respond to best tells us which ads are worth scaling.

It’s All Useless without Analytics

Split testing is great for scaling because it gives you solid facts to base your next move on.

Email marketing without tracking your successes and failures is like trying to go hunting with a blindfold on.

You might get lucky once or twice, but in order to make the most of your marketing budget you need to know what’s working and what isn’t

Most email marketing services provide some kind of in-app analytics. If your current service doesn’t provide analytics you’re wasting your time with email marketing.

How Much Does This All Cost?

Good question. Email marketing has an average return of about 37:1, meaning for every dollar you spend you should get about $37 back in sales.

That’s a great return on investment (ROI). But make no mistake, email marketing fees can creep up fast.

The average mid-sized company spends up to $1000 a month on their email campaign. That’s not surprising since the vast majority of businesses spend up to 20% of their marketing budget on email.

Are There Any Ways to Save Money?

Email campaigns increase in price as your contact list grows. You’ll either need to remove unengaged contacts or figure out how to get more money from existing customers.

Removing contacts is the less desirable option because we pay so much to get them in the first place. Making operations more efficient so we get the most out of our customer relationships is the best way to improve your ROI.

One way to do this is personalization. Emails with a personalized headline get opened 26% more than messages with general subject lines.

But how do you personalize a mass email beyond putting the recipient’s name in the subject? An awesome example of personalization in marketing comes from the wedding retailer Paper Style.

All they did was ask a question: “Are you shopping for a friend’s wedding or your own?”

Each customer then got a set of emails curtailed to their specific shopping needs. Instead of trying to sell wedding invitations to bridesmaids, now these women were getting promotions for bachelorette party favours.

Personalization brings some of the in-person finesse of salesmanship to the digital world. It is the building blocks for trust with your customers because you’re actually asking them what they want.

Who Are Your Customers?

Building customer personas take personalization up a notch. By compiling your customers’ interaction with your social media, polls, and surveys you can differentiate your customers from one another even further.

Building personas take more time and money to build, but you get a great visual of who your customers are. The more segments you can break your audience down to the easier it is going to be to fit a customer with the right product.

Send Your Emails at the Right Time

Dinner time telemarketer calls have been the bain of dining Americans for decades. Getting a hold of your customers at an appropriate time is half the battle of marketing.

The same goes for email. Use split testing to find out what times of day work best for sending automated emails.

B2B customers may respond better to morning messages they see as soon as they log in at work. B2C, on the other hand, may respond better to an evening email sent when they’re on the train home after work.

Trigger Your Customers

Ever gotten an email from Facebook when you haven’t logged in for a few days? That’s a trigger email.

Trigger emails have, get this, a 624% higher conversion rate than regular mass emails. Welcome letters, shipping updates, and thank you notes are all great opportunities to upsell or reengage your audience.

Give Your Emails a Matching Landing Page

Personalized landing pages add another layer of sophistication to your sales funnel. Getting a customer to take out their credit card out means taking away all the extra noise and offers that don’t pertain to them.

Landing pages give your personalized emails more structure by walking your customer through the entire buying process.

Kind of like decorating a house, you want your emails and landing pages to be cohesive. Use the same call to action throughout both. The content of the landing page should build on what the email covered.

Remember to keep your landing pages simple. 48% of landing pages contain multiple offers. The whole point of a landing page is to put the spotlight on one product.

Each offer needs its own landing page or is at risk of being drowned out by the noise of other promotions.

So What Are Some Suggestions?

Now that you know what features to look for in your email software, let’s introduce a few of the big-name contenders in the space with lots of positive feedback from their customers.

1. ActiveCampaign

ActiveCampaign started as an underdog in the email marketing world. A few years ago, the bulk of ActiveCampaign’s customers were businesses with under 5 employees.

Now, most of their customers are medium sized businesses with 20-80 employees. ActiveCampaign wanted to offer their customer’s more help than what the dominant services were offering at the time.

“We want to be the brain,” says ActiveCampaign founder Jason Vandeboom, “of marketing, sales, and customer success teams.” They do this by offering tailored suggestions on expanding and automating a small business’ email campaign.

2. Constant Contact

If you prefer a more seasoned service because of the experience they offer, Constant Contact may be the right choice for you.

It is one of the largest and oldest email marketing services. Opening its doors in 1995, Constant Contact sees over 200 million emails pass through its service every day.

Templates seem to be their one weakness. Lacking inspiration, you’ll want to add some extra design elements to their premade templates for the best ROI.

Constant Contact has all the basic functions you’ll need for a successful campaign, but don’t expect anything extra like the in-depth analysis tools ActiveCampaign offers.

3. SendX

Finally, an email marketing service for non-marketers. As an entrepreneur, you wear a lot of different hats. But just because you’re in charge of your business’ marketing strategy doesn’t mean you have any idea what you’re doing.

SendX set out to be a simple service for entrepreneurs with little marketing experience. How do they make things easier for customers new to email marketing?

One of the most unique features they offer is their “opti-send technology”. This is a fancy way of saying they’ll resend your email to any recipients that didn’t open it the first time around.

This is an important feature for beginners who may not realize that an unopened email doesn’t mean that lead is lost. Email marketing is a game that relies on statistics.

The more exposure your potential customers have to your services/products, the more likely they are to make a purchase.

Start Getting Better Conversions Today

Advertiser Gary Thuerk proved how effective something as simple as an email can be for sales. Getting email subscribers is the hard part. Your email marketing software should make the next step easy.

Are you ready to finally start delivering valuable content to your customers without the confusion of how to start?

If so, this article will show you how easy it is to start a blog for your business. Remember, your investment in your marketing strategy using a blog makes you 13 times more likely to see a positive ROI.

Read now and get ready for a simple way to boost your sales.