Photo by Stephen Phillips
Email marketing software is a vital component in your digital marketing toolkit. In this post, we review why and how to choose the best email marketing software for your business needs. If you’re looking for a truly robust way to market your services and products and grow your customer base, email marketing is an excellent strategy to deliver that and more. A robust email marketing software solution should help you connect with your leads, nurture them and turn them into customers as well as loyal, raving fans. We have chosen three email marketing software platforms that are well known, proven, and well regarded.
But when you’re just starting, you might be bogged down by the various email marketing software solutions available today. This definitive guide will show you how to choose email service providers (ESP’s) for your business. What to look for in an email marketing service, and give you a sneak peek into three of the leading email service providers to help you make an informed decision.
Let’s dive in.
What Is An Email Service Provider or ESP?
An email service provider, or ESP, is a technology company that offers the platform, or email marketing software, that helps marketers build email lists. They send bulk email marketing messages to the targeted prospects. An ESP offers and operates the technical infrastructure that allows you to create, customize, and send curated messages to your most qualified list of candidates.
The advanced features of ESPs can help you target and automate your emails better than when using email client solutions such as Gmail or Outlook. You also gain better insights and tracking options when using an ESP.
There are “tons” of email service providers available today, which differ significantly in terms of portfolio. This guide will focus on Aweber vs. ConvertKit vs. GetResponse. They are three of the most popular and effective platforms for email marketing automation. Additionally, we’ll see how each of these platforms allows you to create and manage your marketing plan.
Clearly you see at this point that choosing the right ESP is critical for your business success. An ESP that is a good fit for your business should optimize your deliverability and open rates, leading to more sales and subscriptions. Here are a couple of things that you should consider when choosing an ESP before you take the plunge and invest your time and money into an email service provider:
1. Outline Your Email Marketing Strategy Clearly
If you’re just beginning your email marketing efforts, it is crucial to determine your email marketing plan and strategy. Identify the number of emails you’re possibly going to send. Then identify how many new subscribers you’ll be expecting. Next, identify the metrics you’ll want to capture and how you’re going to track your stats.
It is also essential to understand what you’re going to use your emails for. Is it for newsletters, upselling, lead generation, or product launch? Whichever your purpose, go for an ESP with enough industry-specific capabilities to deliver your emails to your prospects and customers.
2. Identify The Features and Functionalities That Are A Good Fit For Your Business
All ESPs are not created equal. However, there are several features and functionalities that any decent email marketing service should provide to make your marketing plans a success. These include:
Pre-designed email templates
Templates with drag and drop options will help you create eye-catching emails quickly, and allow you to deliver beautifully curated email messages with quick turnarounds.
A decent ESP should provide you with metrics on email opens, bounces, click-throughs, unsubscribes, and spam complaint rates. Any others should be easily accessed through at-a-glance dashboards and reports. Think at the type of metrics your business would require and go for a service that really meets those needs.
Today, consumers are accessing their emails through a bunch of devices from mobile, tablets, and laptops. Therefore, it makes sense to go for an ESP that can deliver your emails in their crisp, beautiful designs across all devices and browsers without the risk of losing some elements.
As you get accustomed to the new email marketing platform, you’ll need a support team that can lend a helping hand on the fly. Go for an ESP with a reliable phone, online customer support, and training to ensure smooth, seamless experience as you grow your mailing list.
Automation really helps you to send out emails to the right people at the right time. Make sure your preferred ESP offers reliable workflows to help you send scheduled automated emails to prospects and customers at the most convenient time/day.
Additional Critical Features and Functionalities:
Simple personalization and segmentation
Autoresponders and simple trigger messages
Email workflow and scheduling
3. How Scalable and Future-ready is the ESP?
When choosing your email service provider, you want to go for a company that will meet your current business needs but also accommodates your future growth. You should be able to scale up your email marketing efforts without digging deeper into your wallet. The payment plans, therefore, really come into play here.
You’ll also want a service that allows you to integrate your email marketing efforts into various programs without the need for additional technical staff to manage those systems. If you introduce a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system such as Insightly or Salesforce. Perhaps you may opt for a Content Management System (CMS) such as WordPress, then go for an ESP providing integration.
4. Look At The ESP’s Delivery Rates
Before investing in an ESP, it’s essential to look at their delivery rates. This is the likelihood of your emails getting delivered successfully to your subscribers. Sometimes, email service providers offer shared IP addresses that can quickly get flagged as spam. You may, therefore, end up having your emails delivered in the junk or spam mailbox or not getting them delivered at all.
So, you end up wasting time, money and risk ruining your reputation or even get blacklisted. Be sure to look at the ESP’s reputation on deliverability and go for the ones that have maintained high delivery rates consistently.
5. Consider Security Measures
Today, the security of customer’s data is a big deal that every marketer, entrepreneur, and business owner should be aware of. Your ESP should have measures in place to protect your customer’s data. Depending on your business and the amount of information you’ll be collecting from your leads, go for an ESP that provides the requisite security levels to match your needs.
6. Ask About Integrations
Having an email marketing solution quickly and seamlessly integrate with other programs like a CMS (Content management system), CRM, web analytics, and custom reporting dashboards is vital. This will help you create timely, relevant, and genuinely customized emails that stand out. Your ESP should provide pre-configured integration capabilities to help you connect with various programs and platforms.
At the very least, the email marketing solution should have seamless API integration to help you build custom integrations where needed. An ESP that offers easy integrations will save you time and money in the long run.
Cross-platform integrations also enable you to deliver your messages to your customers and prospects across all devices and platforms. Your ESP must be able to help you optimize your users’ experience quickly and seamlessly.
7. What’s your Budget?
Different ESPs have different price points. If you want fantastic campaigns and analytics, you need to make sure you’ve got the appropriate budget. However, your email marketing budget should reflect your current and future business needs.
This means that while enterprise-level providers may offer a variety of features, functionalities, and capabilities at a premium price, you might never use some of these features. When getting your email campaigns off the ground, you need a reliable ESP that offers you all the features that you need at the best price point.
But price should not be your only consideration when choosing a service. You’d be surprised to know that some minimal email marketing solutions go for top dollar. At the same time, other ESPs offer heaps of great functionalities at a fraction of the cost – sometimes even for free.
Ensure that you clearly understand your business needs, then look for a service that meets those needs while keeping your costs low. The ESP should have available upgrade plans that allow you to scale up and grow your business without thinning your bottom line. This way, you’ll get a better ROI without throwing good money away.
To wrap up the above points, here’s what to look for in an email marketing service:
- An easy user interface to create highly engaging emails
- Ability to send highly customized bulk emails without needing a lot of work and expertise
- Create, manage, and segment your email list easily.
- Easy tracking and reporting capabilities
- Easy integrations for enhanced user experience
- Enhanced security features and ISP relations to ensure deliverability.
- Viable price points and upgrade plans.
Now, let’s look at Aweber vs. ConvertKit vs. GetResponse and see how they stack up against each other.
ConvertKit is a robust email marketing platform. It allows users to easily share their ideas, connect with their audience, and gain deep insights about their audience to help them earn an income.
This powerful yet easy-to-use tool has been built with the needs of the online small business world clearly addressed. Creative entrepreneurs such as bloggers, YouTubers, course creators, curators, authors, and speakers will find design and features well thought through.
How does ConvertKit Work?
ConvertKit is a subscriber-centric solution that is modeled around a unique tag-based system that allows users to manage their subscribers easily and run automation effortlessly. Users can easily segment their subscribers based on their click behaviors using the tag-based features. You can send highly personalized and dynamic emails to subscribers, depending on their practices and actions.
Definitely, this is a huge advantage. Since ConvertKit doesn’t separate your subscribers into a silo-ed list, you can deliver truly personalized emails that only target your most qualified subscribers. This means that unlike email marketing solutions such as AWeber:
- No need to create new lists for each of your products/services.
- You can tag a subscriber with various tags so that they’ll receive emails with different offerings that are really specific to them.
- You can add tags to a subscriber whenever they click on certain links.
In addition, a simple and highly automated lead-generation process ensures that you shorten your email list/form setup and integration process tremendously at no extra cost.
ConvertKit Feature Breakdown
- Seamless Visual Automation Editor
ConvertKit has an intuitive, easy-to-use automation editor that allows you to work within the editor so that you can visualize your email’s feel and look. This ensures that your workflow is as seamless as possible, and the results are fantastic.
- Tag-based segmentation
The tag feature allows for the segmentation of your list to the smallest details. This segmentation will enable you to send a single email to your subscribers and add a coupon to your VIP subscribers using a built-in code snippet.
- Free Trial
If you’re just starting, you can use ConvertKit’s free trial to test its features and functionalities without spending a dollar. The free trial helps you blast out emails to not more than 500 subscribers. But there is a catch; you will not have access to their visual automation feature while on the free plan.
- Autoresponder for unopened emails
Whenever your email broadcast goes unopened, ConvertKit enables you to resend it to the people who didn’t open the first email. You can even make a few tweaks to your email to make it catchier before you send it out.
ConvertKit Pros and Cons
- ConvertKit is easy to use
- Integration with several apps
- Subscriber management is super easy
- Affordable pricing to fit the needs of users
- Simple email automation
- ConvertKit offers custom white gloves migration from your previous tool
- Access to unlimited landing pages
- Allow for simple landing page designs
- ConvertKit is great for social media campaigns
- Responsive support team
- Optional double opt-in signup forms
- Its default design options are not impressive
- Lacks in-depth analytics to boost your marketing efforts
- For more subscribers, pricing becomes high
- The text is understandable in most of the email templates
Free Trial: 14 days
Free Plan: No
- 0-1000 Subscribers: $29/month
- 1000-3000 subscribers:$49/month
- 3000-5000 subscribers:$79/month
- Above 5000 subscribers: Custom pricing depending on the number of subscribers
**Click the image below for the latest information on ConverKit’s email marketing software pricing and programs.
Who Should Use This Email Marketing Software?
ConvertKit is specially designed for creators such as bloggers, vloggers, course creators, curators, authors, and speakers. If you’re a creative entrepreneur who wants to run an ultra-targeted campaign, ConvertKit is an excellent solution. ConvertKit has also released a WordPress plugin, marking it an excellent option for WordPress owners looking for a genuinely dynamic email marketing solution.
AWeber is one of the older established email marketing tools with over 20 years of the game. This email marketing tool allows you to:
- Create a mailing list
- Use Autoresponders to automate your email marketing efforts
- Design newsletters that you can send to your subscribers’ list
- Access in-depth email marketing analytics
AWeber Feature Breakdown
The features are curated to help small businesses and entrepreneurs. In particular, those who are just starting out. They are better able to segment their contacts, design professional emails, and nurture their leads without much hassle. One of the most popular features of AWeber is its deliverability. You can almost certainly rely on them to deliver your emails to your subscriber’s mailbox.
One of the main differentiation features of AWeber is its auto-responder feature. This quick, easy-to-use feature allows you to customize emails that can be sent out whenever someone subscribes to a form on your blog.
AWeber also offers several impressive, pre-designed email templates that you can customize before sending it to your subscribers’ list. They are highly responsive, allowing for viewing across multiple devices.
Other intuitive AWeber features include:
- A bunch of email templates (some may be quite dated)
- Basic automation functionalities
- Decent reporting and analytics
- RSS / blog to-email functionality
- A/B split testing
- phone, email and live chat support
- Integrations with third-party apps
AWeber Pros and Cons
- Has an easy-to-use autoresponder
- The platform supports tagging by clicks
- Excellent integration with a host of related programs
- Over 700 responsive templates
- Easy email automation features
- Drag and drop editor for seamless email automation
- Attractive pricing plans
- Great customer support
- Charges for unsubscribes and duplicate email addresses
- Archaic list-based segmentation and email template designs
- Issues moving between the lists
- Does not allow email split testing
- Limited social media integrations
Free Trial: 30 days
Free Plan: No
- 0-500 subscribers: $19/month
- 501-2500 subscribers: $29/month
- 2,501-5000 subscribers: $49/month
- 5,001-10,000 subscribers: $69/month
- 10,001-25,000 subscribers: $149/month
- 25,000+ subscribers: Call to Request a Quote
**Click the image below for the latest information on Aweber’s email marketing software pricing and programs.
Who Should Use This Email Marketing Software?
AWeber is a great email marketing solution for:
- Bloggers looking for a fully-featured, low-cost, simple tool to collect and manage an email list
- Small business owners looking for simple auto responder-style emails
GetResponse is a robust, all-in-one email marketing platform that allows creating, management, and automation of email marketing campaigns. This email marketing platform also offers a bunch of other tools that enable webinar hosting, automated funnels, landing pages, and some aspects of Customer Relationship Management (CRM).
GetResponse has a wide array of features than either AWeber or ConvertKit. Some of the platforms’ intuitive features that place it ahead of the curve include:
- Responsive email templates
- Custom landing pages
- Marketing automation features
- Comprehensive A/B split testing
- Webinar hosting tools
- Video Email Marketing
- Opt-in forms
- Off-site automation sequences
- In-built CRM extras
GetResponse Pros and Cons
- Inbuilt webinar functionality
- Excellent value for money
- Wide variety of useable 3rd party integrations.
- Easy CRM integration and other leading tools
- Good list segmentation
- Comprehensive A/B split testing
- Access to high-quality support channels
- Excellent customer support and knowledge base
- Design and spam testing
- Quick and easy conversion funnel and landing page features
- Dated and minimal reporting interface
- Minimal customization for some of the form types.
- Visual automation builder is relatively tricky.
- Low scores on deliverability
Pricing is available in the following plans:
- Free Trial: 30 days
- Basic: $15/Month/1000 subscribers. Includes Email marketing, autoresponders, unlimited landing pages.
- Plus: $49/Month/1000 subscribers. Includes Email marketing, autoresponders, unlimited landing pages, 5 Automation Workflow builders, Webinars (100 attendees), 5 Sales funnels, Work together (3 users), 5 Webinar funnels
- Professional: $99/month. Includes Everything in Plus + other extensive features
- Enterprise: Ideal for 100,000+ subscribers and comes with solutions tailored to your needs.
For comparison purposes, here’s a look at their Basic plan (email plan) pricing:
- 1000 Subscribers: $15/month
- 2,500 Subscribers: $25/month
- 5,000 Subscribers: $45/month
- 10,000 Subscribers: $65/month
- 25,000 Subscribers: $145/month
- 50,000 Subscribers: $250/month
- 100,000 Subscribers: $450/month
Who Should Use This Email Marketing Software?
Unlike other marketing tools, GetResponse is a lot friendlier towards affiliate marketers and online stores due to the extensive list of features and capabilities. Affiliates can use GetResponse to promote products from JVZoo, ClickBank, Commission Junction, and other leading affiliate programs without issues.
This email marketing tool is also ideal for bloggers, NPOs, and marketers who frequently use landing pages and webinars.
When To Use The Free Version And When To Start Paying
If you’re just taking your business off the ground, you can use the free trial plans for the various email marketing tools to keep your bottom line in check. Free trials and plans help you get accustomed to the features you’ll be using on your preferred email marketing platform before you make a complete switch-over.
Conclusion – Choosing The Right Email Marketing Software
Choosing the right email marketing tool for your business can play a critical role in your success. AWeber Vs. ConvertKit Vs. GetResponse offers a variety of features that are best-fit for different individuals and companies. While these email marketing platforms provide different functionality, usability, and capabilities, your choice should really be guided by your business needs, now and in the future.
If you’re a blogger, YouTuber, curator, speaker, course creator, speaker, or any other creative entrepreneur, ConvertKit is an excellent option. It has features that are truly designed to meet your needs. ConvertKit also offers a seamless WordPress integration, making it a perfect solution for all WordPress site owners who are looking for a dynamic email marketing solution.
With small businesses, bloggers, and online entrepreneurs looking for easy ways to engage with their subscribers on first engagement, AWeber is a perfect, cost-effective solution. On the other hand, GetResponse is an excellent solution for online store owners and affiliate marketers. They stand to benefit from the extensive list of robust features and capabilities.
If you’re not sure about the best option for your business, AWeber, ConvertKit, and GetResponse offer free trials. You can use these trial periods to assess their functionalities and capabilities. The trials are a great way to get a feel for the products before you make the final decision.
For more articles in this online business building series see How To Choose The Right Web Hosting Provider For Your Business and ClickFunnels vs Leadpages Which One is Best When Launching a Business?.