What’s the best email marketing software? You’ve probably heard a lot of buzz about email marketing many years back and its effectiveness. But, you may be in doubt if it’s still a way to go in 2020.
According to Statista, Despite the growth and prominence of mobile messengers and chat apps, e-mail is an integral part of daily online life. In 2018, the number of global e-mail users amounted to 3.8 billion and is set to grow to 4.4 billion users in 2023.
For every $1 spent on email marketing, you can expect an ROI of about $32. With all these stats, I’m sure you are convinced that this is an effective marketing route for your small business. But if you are a beginner, you may still not be very clear on what the best email marketing software is and how it works.
That’s why I wrote you this as a guide.
The best way I can think of to help you understand email marketing from a beginner’s point of view is to tell you a little imaginary story.
Understanding email marketing from an offline perspective
Imagined opening a supermarket at a high traffic corner of your neighborhood, stocked with high in demand consumer goods. But, the larger parts of those visiting are first-timers. So, naturally, they buy nothing on the first several visits.
They’ve probably heard of your store just launching out and are there for sightseeing.
But, as a smart entrepreneur, you have strategically plan on how to get the contact of as many of them as you can. But don’t forget that not so many of them be willing to give you their contact details, (even when you ask).
So, how then do you get their contact details so you can develop a great rapport with them, earn their trust and then market them slowly but surely?
It is by giving them a bribe in exchange for the contact details (Phone number, email address, home address, etc.). Wait, it’s not what you think. This is an ethical bribe – call it an incentive if you wish. Like saying, every customer that gives you their contact details get a $20 off their first purchase.
Now, you can bet that a whole lot of them will be more than happy to pen down their contact details, isn’t it? For you, you know you’ll surely recoup your investment in the not too distant future.
That’s the beauty of a win-win marketing strategy.
The importance of this strategy cannot be overemphasized. Imagine the amount of money, time and effort it has cost you to get those visiting your shop to come down in the first place. Sightseeing will be the last thing you’ll want from them. Neither can you force them to hand you their contact details or make a purchase against their own wish?
But, when you have effectively deployed this strategy to perfection and keep harvesting as much contact as you can and nurturing your relationship with them all the way, selling becomes as easy as asking for the sales.
This is specifically so because you gain the trust of your contacts over time. Thus, they don’t have a hard time believing your recommendations of products or services.
On the contrary, imagine your next-door competitor was not collecting customers’ contact details and sell to 3 people out of every 100 that visit her store. They bought, say something worth $50 each. That is a sales of $150 for 100 foot-traffic. It means they’d need 1,000 foot-traffic to make sales of $1,500.
That’s a sale of $1.5 per person. Not so great, right?
Now let’s do the math of your own scenario above, shall we?
Assuming you were also making an average of 1 sale for every 100 visits (since you are newer in the neighborhood). But, will the combination of your warm personality and great customer service, you were able to get a 35% customer details. That means for 1,000 customer visits, you’ve sold products worth $500 and have the contact details of 350 people.
Let’s also assume that you’ve formed the habit of reaching out to these people once a week to check up on them and let them in on the latest happenings in your store. And as a result of that, 25% of these 350 people bought something from you in your second month of opening.
That is about 88 people.
And because they now know, like and trust you, you were able to upsell them on a few other things. The average sale per person is now worth $250. That is a whopping $22,000, right? Wrong! Not so fast. Remember you promised each of them a $20 discount on their first purchase. That is 88 X $20 = $ 1,760
$22,000 – $1,760 = $20,240 in your second month of opening store. Plus the $500 you’ve sold upfront = $20,740
How much did your competitor make again? $1,500. That is even less than the total amount it cost you to get the details of your 350 customers. Remember they each cost you $20?
In your second month in business, if you both open every day of the week, it means your competitor would get an average of 100 persons visiting their store each day and 3 people buying something worth $50. But you’d be getting approximately 1 sale a day and selling goods worth $250 plus $50 every 3 days or so.
If it takes 5 minutes to attend to each customer, it means your competitor would be working approximately 2 hours a week to make $350 and you’d have to work just over half an hour a week to earn $5,191.
Can you imagine where your business would be in 12 months and where your competitor would be?
Assuming all the variables remain constant (but we know it can’t because a lot of word of mouth advert would have spread about your business by now), you would have recorded sales of $248,880, you’d have a customer database of 4,200 people you can call friends, amongst whom you’d have at least 1,056 friends to call happy-customers.
On the flip side, your competitor would have a total of $18,000 in sales, maybe the database of 365 customers and no sure way to know who their happy customers are.
This thing applies online too. And the most potent means of collecting contact details on your blog or business website is by using the service of the best email marketing software company.
There are so many of them these days. But in this article, we would be examining the 7 best email marketing software for beginners. But first, let’s look at what email marketing is.
What is email marketing? (e marketing)
Going by the analogies we’ve discussed above, it is safe to define email marketing as the process of ethically collecting emails of site visitors in order to develop a relationship with potential clients/ or customers. Emailing is an essential subset of online/ internet marketing.
Another very important aspect of email marketing you’d need to know about, learn and utilize as soon as you possibly can is email autoresponder.
What is an email autoresponder? (Automated email response)
An autoresponder is just a sequence of email marketing messages that gets sent to subscribers in the order and frequency that you decide.
Let’s say you have a seven-part autoresponder that delivers an exceptional tutorial for your potential customers — something that they’ll find beneficial and valuable, and that lays the groundwork for you to make a sale.
That autoresponder creates a great experience for your first subscriber. And it creates the same great experience for your 10,000th subscriber.
It never gets tired. It never needs the weekend off for Father’s Day or Mother’s Day (or Email Autoresponder’s Day).
It never gets bored with your marketing message. It never gets snarky. It never gets sick of newbies.
It delivers your best content, in the best possible order and frequency, to every new reader who finds you. Forever.
And that’s why Sonia Simone calls an email autoresponder a lazy marketer’s best friend.
Would you like to see an email autoresponder in action? Sign up for my free blogging course (if you hadn’t already)
In today’s world of business, email marketing and the use of email autoresponder sequence is unarguably the most effective form of online marketing for small business. A good reason why that is what I have explained above.
15 advantages of email marketing
#1. Reach a global audience; Just like a website or blog, email marketing allows you to break the barriers of geographic restriction to reach your target audience.
#2. Easy to share; It is quite easy to share the info or message of an email with other. This can be especially important in helping you get a viral message out beyond your direct reach when you create a message that resonates perfectly with your audience.
#3. Easy to measure; Unlike SEO, with email marketing, you don’t need to wait too long to have enough data to tell if your marketing is working or not.
#4. Easy to get started; Getting started with email marketing is essentially easy. So long as you know how to read and write and can also use your basic MS-word interface, starting an email marketing for your business is within your grabs.
#5. Drives revenue; As we’ve highlighted earlier, a good email campaign with a well-optimized autoresponder can keep driving your website visitor through your sales funnel and converting most of them to paying customers even when you sleep or busy with other parts of your business.
#6. Deliver targeted messages; With email marketing, you can easily pass on your message to the specific segment of your audience the message is meant for without needing to offend others who’s got no business with such message.
#7. Reach an already engaged audience; Email is a perfect way to keep your audiences informed, and educated about your services, products, and offers which can help them make an informed buying decision along the line.
#8. Low costs; The cost of starting, running and maintaining a sizable email database is relatively cheap. You can get started for less than $10/ month and even FREE in some cases.
#9. High return on investment; As we’ve discussed earlier above, for every $1 spent on email marketing, you’d expect an ROI of around $32. That is a whopping 3,200% profit margin
#10. A daily customer reaches potential; According to LifeHack, in a recent poll, about 40% of the people surveyed check their phone about 6 – 20 times a day. That is a whole lot of possibility of your email being read by your recipient.
#11. You can automate your sales process; Deploying email campaign and marketing allows for complete sales automation once the whole sequences are set. Potential customers can easily join your email list, get natured by your autoresponder sequences and be guided to making a buying decision without you needing to lift a finger or do any extra work once everything is set up. That is one of the reasons why it’s possible to make money while you are sleeping.
#12. Serves as a reliable source of website traffic; When you’ve successfully built your email list to a considerable size, getting lots of eyeballs to your new blog posts and offers becomes as simple as composing and sending out an email to inform your email subscribers.
#13. Helps you build credibility; Since email sequence and autoresponders allow you to run email automation, this can quickly help to build your relationship with your readers, potential clients, and customers. This way, your credibility is established and they all get to know like and trust you and therefore, it becomes much easier to sell them on your offers.
#14. Brings back abandoned cart and sales page traffic; Email tools and software allow you to easily track the progress of each customers’ journey in your sales process. When you find people who have stopped or abandoned their journey for any reason, you can use a simple email to get them back on track to complete the purchase by simply reminding them of where they stopped, asking if they have questions and offering to help them out if they need your help.
#15. Helps cut down on ads budget in the long run; Building an impressive email list size saves you the headaches of needing to spend on ads every time you want to get some serious momentum into your business.
Top 7 email marketing best practices and tips
#1. Always send yourself a test-email; This is a very important thing to do as the last thing you want is to finish sending an email to your entire list only to discover so many errors in your message.
#2. Make your headline compelling and click-worthy; Just like when writing a blog post, ensure your headline gives your email recipient every reason to open the email. But also ensure you are not using a clickbait title to trick your email subscribers into opening your message. That can quickly ruin your reputation and credibility.
Wondering what “a clickbait title” is? Google, is your friend.
#3. Fulfill your promise of what they signed up for; It is your duty to make sure you deliver on your promise of the value they expect before joining your email list. Again always send yourself a test email to make sure that everything is working perfectly before hitting the send button.
#4. Tell story everywhere possible; You have probably heard it a thousand times “fact tells, story sells”. At every available opportunity, always use the act of story-telling to deliver your offers persuasively.
#5. Every email should one serve one purpose and convey only one message; Don’t be some of those marketers that ask people to take multiple actions in a single email. Don’t do that. It simply kills your conversion rate. Let your email contains only one message and calls to action.
#6. Don’t spam your list; I can stress this enough. Don’t ever spam your subscribers. If your normal email sequence is once a week and you now have reasons to maybe message them 5 times a week, it’d be better to inform them beforehand and ask people who may not be interested to opt-out of that daily email.
#7. Make it easy to unsubscribe but give them an ethical reason not to; This is just what it is. You think of it. How furious would you be to want to unsubscribe from an email list only to realize that you can’t? So, the list owner keeps messaging you?
7 best email marketing software for beginners
With Mailerlite you can sign up and start for $0, no credit card is required. They currently have 670891 global users. When you get started, Mailerlite would allow your first 1,000 subscribers for free. And you’d be allowed to send 12,000 emails per month.
The user interface is really simple to use and beginner-friendly. And if you ever need any help along the way, they have very friendly and helpful support. If you need help, just reach out.
One major advantage with Mailerlite over other email service providers that also give you a range of subscriber level for free (like Mailchimp) is that you can start enjoying email automation (email autoresponder) from day one.
MailChimp is one of the household names in the email marketing arena and they price themselves as an all-in-one marketing platform. They also bank on the fact that you can sign up for a free account. With the free account. You would be allowed a 2,000 subscribers level and you can send 10,000 emails to this list per month.
If you are just getting started online and you are running on a lean budget, Mailchimp is one of the great options that will get you started for free.
The drawback, however, is that you’d be limited to a small range of their pro options.
Convertkit is one of the best email marketing software for creators by a creator. Better put, it was created with love for bloggers by a blogger. You can enjoy a 14-days free trial to test their service and decide if Convertkit is for you or not.
If you have an existing list with another service provider, Convertkit promise to help you move your subscribers over for free. All you need to is ask. Click the free-trail button on their homepage and follow the self-explanatory steps that follow and you’d be on your way to getting started with ConvertKit with the help of their support.
With over 20 years of presence and experience in the email marketing software industry, Aweber is one of the great options to consider when starting out or considering a replacement for your email service provider.
Over 1,000,000 entrepreneurs currently bank on their service.
You can test drive their service for the first 30 days absolutely free of charge and if their service is a great fit for your needs and budget, they’d start charging you $19/ month after the 30 days trial period.
Like AWeber, GetResponse is one of the oldest in the industry and also allows you a 30 days trial period.
If you are cool with how things are going with your email marketing after 30 days, you can continue using GetResponse for $15 per month or more depending on the size of your list.
#6. Constant Contact
Constant Contact is also one of the big guys in the email marketing industry. Starting your email marketing with them will allow you to enjoy the first 30 days for free. And if you decide to go with them after the first 30 days, you can upgrade to any of their premium plans for $20/ month or $45/ month, as they only have two plans to opt for.
Sendinblue is one of the youngest in this list of providers.
Founded in 2012, the company offers an array of services which includes cloud-based marketing communication software suite with email marketing, transactional email, marketing automation, customer relationship management, landing pages, Facebook ads, retargeting ads, SMS marketing, and more.
If your business needs any of these other services alongside email marketing, Sendinblue is an option to consider.
Also, if you are just starting out and have a small budget, Sendinblue would allow you start your email marketing for free with no limit to the numbers of subscribers you can have on the free plan. The limit, however, with the free plan is that you can only send 300 emails per day.
I have experience with three of these services (GetResponse, Mailchimp, and Mailerlite).
Here is golden advice for anyone who is just starting out and probably running on low or zero budgets. Don’t be in a hurry to start spending on the best email marketing software for your business. Here’s why. Building your email list takes time. And a service like AWeber, Constant Contact, ConvertKit, and GetResponse will begin to charge you for their service after the expiration of the trial period.
So, what do I do now, you are wondering, right?
Well, here is what I advise you do, instead.
Go with the FREE account services of Mailerlite or MailChimp. Both of them will offer you a free email marketing account. The major difference in both of them, however, is in the number of subscribers they will allow you on their free plans, the number of emails you can send to these subscribers per month and the level of the premium features allowed.
You’ll only have to start paying Mailerlite for their outstanding service after your subscribers must have exceeded the initial free 1,000 subscribers.
At this email subscriber level, you must have been making a decent amount month-in month-out (as it is safe to start monetizing as soon as the subscriber level hits 100 and beyond). This will enable you to pay for your hosting, email marketing service and still be able to pay your bills (all things being equal).
The only limitation with Mailerlite service, however, is the fact that they would not allow you to run an affiliate marketing service using their platform. But, you can send an affiliate link (part of which is supposed to fetch you money) on the free plan.
So, be mindful of how aggressive you get with your affiliate marketing and affiliate links if you are using Mailerlite and you should be fine.
So, which one of them should you go for?
Going by my own experience, if you are just starting out and have a robust budget to work with, I’ll advise you to go for either MailChimp or Mailerlite. They will give you the privilege of honing your email skill while still keeping your money until you reach the 2,000 or 1,000 subscribers level respectively.
One both platforms, you can enjoy to test and understand how things work and possibly start making to cover some of your expenses before you start paying.
Question: Have you any experience with any of the above services and what were they like? Consider sharing with us in the comment below. I’d love to hear about your experience.