Last time we started a discussion around your brand using email to help drive conversation and sales, including suggestions on storytelling, personalizing your message, tracking and reporting. Then what’s the best way to deliver email to brand fans? It’s often more cost-effective and professional to use outside email marketing services, so this week we’ll look at three of the most popular:
We use “email marketing services” as a catch-all for the software and systems to help you send and track newsletters, drip campaigns/promotions, event invitations, etc., to your subscriber list. We’re not talking about service providers like Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo! and other platforms that may host your brand’s email addresses, messages, calendars and archives. The difference may seem subtle, but the two are very different, and we see brands everyday make the mistake of sending out newsletters directly from their inbox. Our goal is to help your craft beverage brand identify the best email marketing service.
Get started at campaignmonitor.com
Used by over 250,000 businesses worldwide, this service offers drag-and-drop simplicity combined with customer journey mapping tools and enhanced tracking/reporting.
“Get started for free” is misleading – there are no free accounts with Campaign Monitor. You must select a plan before sending your first email.
Plays well with a number of popular enterprise platforms, including: Shopify, Salesforce, WordPress, Google Analytics, Magento, Facebook and WooCommerce.
Intuitive setup process promises to help you send out your first email within 5 minutes.
|Basic: $9/month for 2,500 campaign and automated emails, email customer service.||Unlimited: $29/month for unlimited campaign and automated emails, 5,000 transactional emails, email customer service.||Premier: $149/month for unlimited campaign and automated emails, 5,000 transactional emails, phone customer service.|
Our take: mobile-friendly templates and a drag-and-drop interface makes it easy to create a simple promotional email without custom coding. Importing subscribers from other platforms is less intuitive. Great tool for basic email marketing needs.
Get started at mailchimp.com
The undisputed leader in free-to-join email marketing services, boasting millions of customers and billions of weekly sends. Introduces a broad set of marketing tools beyond email, including direct mail, Google remarketing and integrated social ads.
Truly a free service to start, with nearly unlimited functionality to encourage trial of the tool followed by subscription once usage thresholds are met.
Integrations with hundreds of popular software platforms, including Salesforce, Eventbrite, BigCommerce, Square, WooCommerce and others.
Setup process is straightforward, but not as intuitive as other services evaluated.
|Free: full functionality for up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 campaign email sends per month.||Grow: $10/month and up, priced according to total number of subscribers and unlimited email sends per month.||Pro: $199/month in addition to “Grow” pricing, with premium support, advanced list segmentation and A/B or multivariate testing.|
Our take: we like Mailchimp’s fully-functional starter package for small businesses looking to begin engaging their customers via email. Thoughtful integration with popular software makes it easy to share data between platforms. Default email templates are mobile-friendly, but customizing the look-and-feel of your email to be consistent with your brand requires more hands-on coding skills.
Get started at www.constantcontact.com
Over 20 years of helping organizations leverage email to attract and retain customers, with simple tools and hundreds of mobile-friendly templates for getting started quickly.
Full access to their suite of email marketing tools for the first 60 days.
The “Marketplace” features out-of-the-box integrations for over 400+ software platforms, primarily for importing/syncing contacts.
Setup process for the 60-day free trial is the easiest of all services evaluated.
|Free 60-day trial: unlimited sends and email marketing tools, limited to 100 contacts.||Email: unlimited sends with tiered pricing based on list size starting at $20/month with limited features (A/B Testing and personalization are noticeably missing).||Email Plus: unlimited sends with tiered pricing based on list size starting at $45/month with enhanced features including dynamic content, surveys, couponing and others.|
Our take: one of the older email marketing services out there, with a singular, narrow focus on email and an outdated pricing model. The 100-contact limitation during the 60-day trial may work for businesses just getting started collecting email addresses, however most craft beer brands will find it restricts proper testing of the service.
Additional email marketing services are reviewed in this article by PC Mag on February 27, 2019.
We hope this evaluation of popular email marketing services has helped Northwestern consider additional options. Or to reaffirm a current partnership (which is just as valuable). Next time we’ll look at how templates reduce the time needed to deliver engaging, branded emails that are both mobile-friendly and CAN-SPAM compliant – two very pressing topics for email marketers today.