As creatives, marketers, brand experts, and even salespeople, a large part of our days can be spent sweating over a well-crafted email. And, as you probably know, the art of writing effective emails isn’t as easy as it seems. Many marketers are daunted with improving click rates, funneling sales down the pipeline, and gathering client feedback all via email. We at Clear Elevation believe quality email marketing can dramatically expand your reach.
How do you craft an email that gets people to engage? How do you even find the time to write, draft, design, edit, re-write again, and finally send out emails to your contacts – when there are so many other ways you could be spending your precious time?
The answer: email marketing & automation platforms. From contact list management, linking to CRMs, A/B design and content testing, and built-in analytics, there’s a whole host of things email automation platforms can do. There are dozens of automation platforms out there today. Let’s explore the pros, cons and various features popular platforms allow.
MailChimp is a marketing automation platform and email marketing service founded in 2001. They’re the world’s leading marketing automation platform, sending more than a billion emails per day. MailChimp’s popularity is partially due to their comprehensive “Free Forever” subscription – you get 2,000 subscribers (contacts) and 12,000 emails per month! There are also monthly paid plans available should you need more contacts, emails, or other “plus” features like unlimited sends, advanced reports and campaign message testing.
MailChimp’s email design interface is straightforward and easy to use. You can build single emails, a multi-touch campaign, or save a template designed for a segmented audience. Everything is drag and drop, with some common “needs” addressed in pre-made templates. All you have to do is have your content ready, place it into the template, then customize. You can change everything from images, to colors, to font size, and even subject line.
Pros: Comprehensive free plan, includes automation & scheduling, easy to navigate & design, A/B testing is available, tracks open and click rates.
Cons: Upgrade required for “other” added features, importing extensive contact lists can be difficult, no phone support, fewer email template designs (compared to other platforms).
Constant Contact is one of MailChimp’s biggest competitors. Founded back in 1995, Constant Contact evolved from basic email software to a full-fledged marketing management tool. Because of their growth, they’ve got multiple offices across the US (even one in the UK). They offer customer service and paid management plans as add-ons to their email marketing services.
Much like MailChimp, Constant Contact offers drag-and-drop buildable templates for your email campaigns. The designs, content and subject headlines are customizable. There are even features like an immediate “auto response,” which sends customized emails once the initial send is opened! But, there’s no free option with Constant Contact. Even your basic features require a monthly subscription that depends on the size of your contact lists. If you’re a larger business with lots of contacts or interested in “PLUS Features” (at an added cost), it may be worth the investment.
Pros: 400+ email template designs, more contact imports than other platforms, discounts available for agency and non-profit plans, customer service support via phone, campaign analytics and reports real-time.
Cons: “Advanced” options cost more, no free plan – only a 30-day free trial with 60-days money back for paid plans, limited customer support hours, hard to cancel your paid subscription (see reviews here).
When it comes down to it, it depends on what’s right for you and your business. Affordability versus necessary features. MailChimp and Constant Contact are just two of the big hitters in the industry. There are SO many platforms from which to choose.
To talk to one of our experts about email marketing, contact us today.