Are you spending countless hours in front of the computer sending out similar versions of the same email?
While you are whiling away a good time doing this mundane task, you could be doing something else that actually adds value. I’m not just talking about sending emails here. It applies to countless other marketing jobs that you do, which doesn’t need any expertise but consumes a majority of your productive hours. You can put those precious hours to use when you have an email marketing and automation software instead.
In this article, we will see the basics of what an email marketing software can do and how the automation helps with your day-to-day activities along with the recommendations of the best email marketing and automation software in the business. Let’s start with a simple question.
What Is Email Marketing Software?
It’s as simple as it sounds. An email marketing software helps marketers to use the software for easy email marketing. Email marketing is still one of the most effective forms of digital marketing. It is supported by the fact that 58% of people check their emails as the first thing in the day when compared to just 14% of people who check social media.
The applications of email marketing software are numerous. From creating custom email templates to segmenting the subscribers and sending out personalized emails, email marketing software simplifies the job of a marketer.
For businesses like yours, you wouldn’t be bound by the limits of time and can make full use of email marketing with such efficient software to support. Further, you can also gather the metrics to analyze the effectiveness of the email and gain insights to design and craft better emails as you grow.
What Is Email Marketing Automation?
An email marketing software helps a marketer to schedule and run email marketing campaigns with ease. The automation software for email marketing takes it one step higher. It automates the entire process of sending and replying to emails for which we just need to spend a fraction of time than what we usually do!
For example, when a new user signs up for your website, you will send them a welcome email, right? That can easily be automated with an email marketing automation tool. Similarly, you can use the software for various purposes to stay in the minds of your leads and customers.
Based on the customer segment, online behaviour and their actions, we can automatically schedule targeted email communication. We can also set up autoresponders for replying to certain emails, quick replies saved for the commonly asked questions, automatic recording of the response rates of every email according to the segments and many more.
One of the common problems that email marketers face, according to the DMA Insight Report of 2019, is to understand how the users respond to the emails. Around 59% of people unsubscribe because they get too many emails while 43% unsubscribe as they consider the content no longer relevant for them. An email marketing software will help you to gauge the thoughts that run in the minds of the subscribers and help in crafting content that keeps it interesting.
I bet you want to enjoy all these advantages of email marketing now! Well, there are hundreds of email marketing and automation software in the market, but only a few are as effective as we need. So, here are a few things you need to check when planning to get an email marketing software as such.
Criteria for Choosing Email Marketing Software
The email marketing software you choose should make your work easier and not complicate it further. There are a few criteria you can consider when selecting an email marketing software like:
- Ease of use of the software, availability of pre-defined templates and creative tools.
- Free integrations, APIs and ability to work with other marketing and automation tools.
- Out of the box ways to offer CASL and GDPR compliance for all your contacts database.
- The ways of deployment on a website. Scripts, tags and codes.
- The software packaging and its costs. Does it contain SEO, blogging and CMS bundled?
- The size of the company, its revenue and the number of people who uses the software. The more users mean more robust software as a general thumb rule.
- The main motto of what the company aims to achieve with the email marketing automation software. Look into how exactly they deliver emails to you being a prospective customer or try a trial version to know more.
With these criteria in mind, I have shortlisted a few email marketing and automation software that is best suited for businesses like yours.
The Ultimate List of Best Email Marketing Software and Automation Tools
Every business has a unique selling point. Therefore, when you go through the email marketing tools below, keep an eye out for the software that fulfils your means to achieve your goal.
If you are a marketer or a new business, then you must have heard of HubSpot by now. HubSpot is one of the leading Inbound marketing software available that not only provides automation tools for email marketing but also for various other marketing purposes like CRM, uploading documents for tracking and so on.
HubSpot offers marketing, sales and service software. The plans start at $50 per month for Marketing starter, $400 per month for the Service Page and $800 per month for the Marketing professional with tons of free and detailed tutorials, videos and even certifications to enhance your resume. I recommend trying HubSpot Free tools, the only limitation being their branding and if you like it, you can always grow from there.
HubSpot has over 2000 templates for marketing emails, which can be customized and automated. You can create workflows (professional version and above) with the emails sent from HubSpot and use it in combination with other marketing campaigns in real-time The support team at HubSpot is great and responsive.
HubSpot recently started offering CRM for free which utilizes HubSpot insights ,an incredibly useful and free tool to get company and contact wise insights right within the HubSpot CRM.
HubSpot otherwise, is a bit pricey tool when compared to other software, especially if you are going to use it just for email marketing with marketing automation. You need to pay at least $800 and more for just getting email automation which is much needed and very common in digital marketing these days. This works best when you have HubSpot deployed as one single tool across your CRM, Email marketing, workflows, proposals, blog and content.
Mailchimp is the most popular email marketing tool ever and is one of the undefeated champions of email marketing. Mailchimp has grown to around 11 million active customers with an audience in the figures of a whopping 4 billion! They are also expected to hit the $700-million-mark revenue by the year 2019.
With such a massive volume of people using Mailchimp for email marketing, you can guess how effective it is. Mailchimp has a basic paid plan which starts at $9.99 per month, which allows up to 50,000 contacts. As your connection grows, you may need to take up the other high-priced plans – Standard ($14.99/month) or Premium ($299/month).
They recently included Artificial Intelligence-based targeted ads on Facebook and Instagram. Mailchimp also has a mobile app for Android and iOS users from which you can quickly send out emails. You also have the option of automating the replies with autoresponders and promptly setting up sales pipeline for your business.
Mailchimp is an excellent place to try your hands at automating email marketing strategy. You can try out the free plan that allows up to 2,000 contacts and 10,000 emails per month and take it on from there.
ConvertKit is a specialized email marketing tool for Content creators as founder of this company, Nathan Barry, himself is from blogging background. . With ConvertKit, you can quickly set up landing pages to collect email addresses of your leads and from then on, use it for marketing.
You can create autoresponder emails based on the specific actions from the subscribers. It allows you to segment the users and, therefore, customize the emails based on it. You can also build workflows based on user segmentation. It is best for bloggers, influencers, video creators, course creators, authors and other professionals who create their own content.
The plan starts from $29 per month for 0 to 1000 subscribers and increases up to $79. You can also use the 14-day trial period to get an idea of how ConvertKit works and get and hands on experience to validate if this is the right one for your email marketing needs. One factor which stands out for me is getting marketing automation at $29 a month which is rare in other leading email marketing software today!
Constant Contact is one of the oldest email marketing tools that has been around for almost 25 years. While Mailchimp and HubSpot are the popular choices for enterprises, Constant Contact is the preferred email marketing and automation tool for small businesses in terms of pricing and ease of use. It crossed the major $1 billion revenue mark in 2018 and is steadily increasing to include more than 500,000 customers.
Constant Contact provides industry-specific email templates with various design elements to create an attractive design. It has all the right metrics displayed on the dashboard for tracking the response of the emails.
Recently, in 2019, Constant Contact announced the addition of social media tools for creating and monitoring posts and an SEO tool for keywords and features for creating landing pages. One of the new attractive tools is the AI-powered Google Ad creation tool, which will automatically optimize the ads for keywords based on the responses for optimal conversion.
With these new features, the simple email marketing tool has uplifted itself to yet another level. There are two plans offered by Constant Contact – Email, which begins at $20 per month and Email Plus, which starts at $45 per month.
While Email plan satisfies the basic needs of a small business-like email creation, segmentation, monitoring, template customization, and so on, the email Plus plan offers A/B testing, automated email series, online survey creation, event marketing and a lot more.
The best part is that Constant Contact offers a 60-day trial period that includes unlimited campaigns but for only 100 contacts. However, it is a great deal to test out the features you need and choose a plan accordingly.
SendInBlue is a one-stop marketing tool for communications in the form of emails, SMS, landing pages, ads and more SendInBlue was started to simplify email marketing for those who send tons of emails every single day. Now, with the recent inclusion of SMS options, it becomes much easier to combine and target the leads.
SendInBlue is an easy-to-use tool for sending emails to multiple people, adding subscribers and tracking campaigns. However, the one drawback of this tool is the lack of options for email templates, which limits the ability to send out creative emails. For small businesses, SendInBlue is great for creating simple workflows, automating the email sequences based on several criteria like the date of the event, a particular action taken by the users, the interaction with previous emails and so on. They work together continuously to tweak the features and make it better for the customers.
SendInBlue has a free plan which you can use without any restriction in the time frame and send up to 300emails per day for an unlimited number of contacts. The paid plans start at $27 per month and increases based on the features you would require.
GetResponse is preferred by small and medium-sized businesses for email marketing strategies. GetResponse has a solid workflow management system for emails that helps to automate the entire process of automatic emailers.
GetResponse provides a 30-day free trial and the paid plans start from around $15 per month and goes up to $1199 per month. There is no upper limit to send the emails for the paid program, which is a great advantage when compared to the plans of other email marketing software. The best part about GetResponse is the immense options available to integrate it with third-party applications. You can create newsletters, landing pages and autoresponders with the features it has. It also allows to conduct webinars, build sales funnels and webinar funnels with the advanced paid plans.
However, GetResponse does not have all the required analytics; it barely fulfils the basic necessity. Nevertheless, it is a great email marketing and automation tool for Small and medium scale businesses and available at affordable rates.
AWeber is one of the few email marketing tools that started in the early 2000s. It is said to be responsible for some popular features that every email marketing tool has today.
In AWeber, you will get access to a set of email templates and many third-party integrations to customize the email. Further, the follow-up option of the AWeber is one of its attractive features wherein the subscribers are sent a few follow-up emails instead of sending many unwanted spams.
AWeber offers a 30-day trial period, after which the paid plans begin at $19 per month up to 500 subscribers, $29 per month for up to 2500 subscribers, $49 up to 5000 subscribers and so on. You can send unlimited emails, segment the subscribers, automate the emails, leverage the 700+ email templates and 6000+ stock images, support image hosting, integrations and sign up forms and so on with all of the paid plans.
MailerLite is one of the new email marketing tools in the market but is quickly gaining popularity due to its simple operations. This tool is available in multiple languages all over the world. You can create email campaigns, surveys, landing pages, pop-ups and automated target segmentations with the MailerLite tool.
It boasts a range of user-friendly newsletter templates, which is the best fit for small businesses, freelancers, influencers and website owners who are looking for simple, quick-fix email marketing solutions. It has several third-party integrations, which makes it all the more effective.
The free plan allows 12,000 emails per month and 1000 subscribers. The paid plan starts at $84 (annually) for 1000 subscribers and unlimited emails and goes up to $420 for up to 10,000 subscribers or more based on your requirements.
ActiveCampaign is a multipurpose marketing tool that helps marketers to create and manage streams of emails based on a few functions. As it has many functions, initially, it can be daunting to understand and get a grip on everything ActiveCampaign has to offer.
However, once you get the hang of it, you can use it for lead generation in the form of emails and SMS, segment users, prioritize among the leads and use it for better conversions. It is an all-in-one marketing platform for CRM, sales, marketing, messaging, email marketing and marketing automation.
With ActiveCampaign, you can send out beautifully structured emails that your users want to see. It also allows the creation of automated marketing pipeline to increase the chances of conversions.
The package starts at as low as $9 per month for the basic operations of email marketing with unlimited sending options. The paid plans increase up to $229 per month with custom branding, SMS marketing, free social data, custom mail server domain and unlimited users to handle the account.
The starting plans are affordable for those with a small budget and want to concentrate on just email marketing. The advanced programs can be used for medium to large enterprises for combined marketing campaigns.
Pardot by Salesforce is an enterprise level B2B marketing automation software that provides a holistic view of marketing. It works great if you happen to have salesforce CRM in your company. With respect to email marketing, Pardot has a simple email builder tool to add texts and images. For the regular emails, Pardot has a set of 39 email templates that will be sufficient. However, if you are looking for an advanced email design template, then you have to do it yourself by dropping in the HTML codes into the builder.
You can also analyze if your emails will pass the spam test and land in the person’s inbox after creating the emails in advance. This is one of the essential features to have when you are cold calling the leads. Further, Pardot lets the users create automated email campaigns based on user responses in an easy interface.
The one major drawback of Pardot is that it’s too pricey. It starts at $1250 per month for up to 10,000 contacts and increases to $4,000 per month. You can add B2B Marketing Analytics and Salesforce Engage at additional costs.
11. Zoho Campaigns
Zoho has a pretty decent interface for conducting email marketing campaigns at an affordable price of $5 per month for 500 subscribers. If you are already using other Zoho applications, you can integrate them and transfer data between these platforms. Zoho Campaigns is straightforward to use with a decent set of templates for emails and a direct workflow builder for automating the emailers.
Zoho continually works to introduce new features that help the users to get the best out of email marketing. Recently, it added new trigger-based automated workflows and options to re-engage with lost contacts which comes very handy if you are looking at lead nurturing campaigns.Zoho Campaigns also supports autoresponders based on the date and time or the interaction of the user with emails.
Zoho offers a model where you pay based on the number of emails sent. To start with, if you send 250 emails, it’s $6 and it increases to $750 for 100,000 emails. There are also monthly subscription plans that start from $5 for 500 subscribers. There are a few pricing models of Zoho Campaigns that helps the users to choose one that allows them to pay for what they use. You can also try out Zoho Campaigns with the free model that comes up to 2000 subscribers.
As of now, Zoho Campaigns is close to touching 50,000 customers.
12. Campaign Monitor
Campaign Monitor is a robust email marketing tool with powerful features. It has every possible feature you will need to craft emails and set up automated workflow channels.
With Campaign Monitor, it is easy to segment the users and create autoresponders based on the calendar. You can monitor the email marketing campaign with a set of metrics that will tell you everything about what went right, what went wrong and how the customers reacted to your emails as such.
Campaign Monitor doesn’t support real-time analytics or image library when building the emails. Also, one huge disadvantage is the lack of phone or chat support for the basic plans, which sometimes makes it challenging to get your questions answered.
The basic plan starts at $9 per month for 2,500 emails and the highest costs $149 per month for unlimited emails with link tracking, unlimited spam testing, countdown timer, phone support and several other benefits.
Infusionsoft or Keap is designed by keeping in mind the requirement of small businesses and it doesn’t fail to please. It has a simple drag-and-drop interface that lets the users to create automated workflows very easily.
Though it doesn’t have many email templates, it offers several choices for customization in the form of colours, fonts, formats, videos, images, social buttons and several other styling options. You can customize timelines, use the pre-built reports and get information about the response of the email broadcast.
This was started in the year 2001 and the name ‘Infusionsoft’ was recently rebranded as ‘Keap’ in 2019. On average, it has more than 90,000 software users and 25,000 customers, as of 2018. It doesn’t have any free plans and the paid plans start from $49 per month for 500 contacts, which is a bit on the expensive side when compared to the other email marketing tools.
Marketo is an enterprise level automated marketing tool acquired by Adobe. Marketo helps companies to run and manage various forms of marketing like email marketing, account-based marketing, mobile marketing, customer-based marketing, consumer marketing and lead generation.
For email marketing using Marketo, it allows one to understand the customers better by mapping their behaviour, create customer segments, trigger emails and responses, A/B test the marketing emails and get the most out of your email marketing efforts.
There is no fixed package at Marketo, unlike the other tools. Based on the Bundles you choose, their sales team will give you an estimate of the cost of using Marketo.
Ontraport is an all-inclusive email marketing tool that lets you generate creative emails that aid towards the conversion. Be it the attractive designs to the pop-up forms in emails, you can create all of it using Ontraport. You can include images, videos, buttons and change the style of the email all with Ontraport.
They use private IP setup, which means that there is a high possibility of placing your emails in the inbox than the spam folder. Ontraport also helps to leverage the automated re-engagement campaigns to win back the old leads.
Apart from the email marketing features, Ontraport also supports sending SMS and building the CRM pipeline to watch over the progress of campaigns and learn from it. You can use the trial version for free for 14 days and the basic plan starts at $79 per month.
16. Oracle Eloqua
Oracle Eloqua was launched almost 20 years back to help B2B marketers plan campaigns while personalizing them. It provides a simple platform to create a segmentation of the customers, map the customer journey and include personalization in emails, web content and social media content and has been a leader in Gartner Magic Quadrant for CRM Lead Management It has over 700 integrations, which provides a wide variety of options to customize the emails and it is again an enterprise level marketing automation tool for large enterprises.
It is majorly used as a lead management tool by B2B businesses to keep track of the leads and craft emails and messages for quick conversions. The basic pricing is supposed to start from $2000 per month for 10,000 contacts and the cost increases for the management of more contacts. You can contact them to get the custom price as per your requirements.
Act-On is used for companies that integrate different forms of marketing like inbound, outbound, lead management and so on. Act-On provides a complete interface wherein you can connect the customer management, marketing automation journey, lead management and campaign tracking.
You don’t need to include HTML codes to create the email templates. All you need to do is to use the already-present customizable options to create an email. You can create workflows to track the email marketing campaigns, notice how things function, perform A/B tests and take action accordingly.
The paid plan starts at $900 per month. It’s a decent marketing automation software for small and medium businesses to manage their leads.
iContact is positioned as an affordable marketing software. It is a marketing automation software that helps to manage email marketing and social media marketing effectively. You can create landing pages, optimize the emails for conversions, schedule triggered messages based on time or actions of users, customize objects, prepare funnels, track the engagement and behaviour and monitor social media responses.
It just takes a few minutes to create an email with iContact and you can easily automate the emails with buttons and landing pages. The basic plan starts from $27.20 per month and the advanced paid plans include smart sending, A/B testing, targeted automation follow-up emails, segmented qualification, landing page reporting and custom API, among many others.
19. Adobe Campaign
Adobe Campaign is automated marketing software to create, manage and monitor email marketing campaigns. Apart from this, it also acts as a single platform for lead monitoring campaigns, resource management and data analytics.
Adobe Campaign can help to create mobile-optimized emails, test the emails with A/B testing and analyze the email responses. The cost of Adobe Campaign is more than the other email marketing software. It is best used for big organizations and may not be suitable for small businesses.
Bronto is an email marketing and automation software developed by Oracle. E-commerce platforms prefer it as it seamlessly connects and monitors the lifecycle. It helps to analyze and send messages at specific touchpoints that encourage a buyer during his journey of purchase.
With Bronto, you can personalize the content with data from cross-channel parameters to get better conversions. You can automate to send out cart abandonment emails, transaction emails, product recommendation emails and browse abandonment emails. Further, you can test the emails for spams and deliverability, use pop-ups and send out SMS.
Bronto is very expensive when compared to similar applications like Zoho Campaigns, Mailchimp and so on. It is best to contact them for the exact custom price.
SAP Marketing Cloud can be used for both B2B and B2C businesses to deliver personalized experiences to customers. Apart from email marketing, it provides a host of other marketing benefits. You can use it to profile your customers, create customer journeys, marketing campaigns, and conduct lead marketing and account-based marketing.
You can see the insights of the marketing campaigns in a single screen, schedule budgets and perform real-time analysis. You can visualize the reports of the data analysis, generate insights for customer behaviour and monitor sales activities.
You can try it for free for 30 days. For using the paid plans, you can get the estimate on request.
Over to You!
Email marketing and automation software is a great boon for marketers to cut down the wastage of time and create intelligent campaigns that pave the way for a high conversion rate. It is best to choose an automated marketing software based on your needs and take advantage of the trial versions.
During the trial period, try out all the features offered by the software just to know what more you can do with it. Make sure to track the metrics after using the automated software and see the change it brings. Do refer the steps outlined above for “Criteria for choosing an email marketing software to make an informed decision”.
I hope this article helps you decide a right fit for your business. Which software did you purchased and what different factors you considered, let me know your thoughts in the comments section below and please don’t forget to share this post.