Email marketing templates compared

If you’re actively using email to notify subscribers of releases, events and promotions in your area, then it’s worth doing a review of your email marketing service.  Last time we discussed three of the more popular: Campaign Monitor, Mailchimp and Constant Contact.  This week we put each of them to the [speed] test, using email marketing templates to determine which offered members of your craft beverage brand the fastest, most direct path to sending out a branded email.

summary

Summary title screen for email marketing templates postThe team at Market Your Craft used our April 2 email titled, “Evaluating email marketing services,” to compare each of the platforms on ease of 1) recreating the custom-coded email using off-the-shelf templates, 2) conforming to CAN-SPAM/GDPR practices and 3) sending a test and full list email in less than 30 minutes.  We summarized our findings as well as provided your brand with the step-by-step videos for sending out a branded email using each service.  If you’re happy with your current email marketing service, great!  Otherwise, we hope this information helps you make an informed decision about making the switch to a new provider.

Summary video

campaign monitor email marketing templates

Campaign Monitor templates for email marketing templates postGet started at campaignmonitor.com
Test email
Step-by-step video

Pros:

  • Steps that prompt you to easily send your first email
  • Large selection of templates
  • Great drag-and-drop tools with tooltips to help guide you
  • Easy to delete template content blocks that don’t apply
  • Add CAN-SPAM elements to the email footer directly
  • Preview function quickly checks for email best practices
  • Great desktop and mobile test/preview side-by-side

Cons:

  • Limited formatting tools
  • Unable to use anchor tags and links from within the template
  • Unable to add an image to an existing block of copy (right-, left- or center-aligned)
  • Not obvious, but campaign will not send to the account holder’s email, you must use another email address to receive a test or list send

Our take: Campaign Monitor was the fastest email marketing service tested, with a start-to-finish time of less than 18 minutes.  The intuitive interface and abundance of templates makes it easier for your craft beverage brand to quickly transition to the new service.  Less intuitive is using custom code for existing templates and importing subscribers from other platforms, so that’s a consideration.

mailchimp email marketing templates

Mailchimp interface for email marketing template postGet started at mailchimp.com
Test email
Step-by-step video

Pros:
  • Straightforward, single interface for selecting recipients, personalizing subject line and preheader and editing content
  • Drag-and-drop interface with content blocks that are easy to customize
  • Image asset library available beyond single email campaign
  • More flexible image handling than with Campaign Monitor
  • WYSIWYG editor – formatting from the origin document carries through to Mailchimp (in this case, a formatted table)
  • CAN-SPAM footer content is dynamically populated based on account settings
  • Good preview and testing tools

Cons:

  • Templates are limited to formatting options versus themes
  • When you have more formatting options, more time is spent on fine-tuning than may be necessary
  • Content blocks are hyper-sensitive, with formatting in the origin document sometimes creating inconsistencies with the default style

Our take: Mailchimp took the longest to recreate our original email in the selected newsletter template.  Clocking in at nearly 25 minutes, it’s safe to say that you have many more formatting options than the other services tested, however it’s often about fast and clean versus slow and perfect…Without using backend coding to customize the email presentation we were able to get the generic Mailchimp template to most closely resemble our original email (which could be expected given that Mailchimp delivers our biweekly newsletter).

constant contact email marketing templates

Constant Contact interface for email marketing templates postGet started at www.constantcontact.com
Test email
Step-by-step video

Pros:
  • Intuitive interface for new users
  • Catalog of ready-to-use themes
  • Probably the most intuitive drag-and-drop interface of the three services evaluated
  • Aspects of the email “build” are represented in their native environment, like the subject line and pre-header information being displayed as if appearing in your inbox
  • Asset library available for use beyond single email
  • Adding images is easy, with flexible formatting options (like left-align with word wrap)
  • Error check prior to send is a nice feature

Cons:

  • Plain/unformatted text is pulled over from original document (not entirely WYSIWYG)
  • Limited formatting options in the template, i.e. no anchor tags available

Our take: it’s easy to see how a new user could send a good-looking, branded email out quickly with Constant Contact.  This service came in second in terms of speed, however the email was the best looking of the generic template options.  Trial of Constant Contact is severely limited unfortunately, so in order to truly put the service to test you must sign up for an account.

can-spam/gdpr compliance

Matrix-style data screen for email marketing templates postRead more on the FTC’s CAN-SPAM Act
Information about the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

As you may know, the CAN-SPAM Act is “a law that sets the rules for commercial email, establishes requirements for commercial messages, gives recipients the right to have you stop emailing them, and spells out tough penalties for violations.”  What follows is a summary of CAN-SPAM’s main requirements:
  1. Don’t use false or misleading header information.
  2. Don’t use deceptive subject lines.
  3. Identify the message as an ad.
  4. Tell recipients where you’re located.
  5. Tell recipients how to opt out of receiving future email from you.
  6. Honor opt-out requests promptly.
  7. Monitor what others are doing on your behalf.

The EU’s GDPR can be seen as greater protection for the individual, with these major cornerstones:

  1. Breach notification within 72 hours of becoming aware of data loss.
  2. Right to access the information being processed by an organization.
  3. Right to be forgotten, or “Data Erasure,” is a complete purge of individual information from a company’s system (could also extend to third parties).
  4. Data portability, where the subject can request to receive the personal data concerning them.
  5. Privacy by design, where systems are built ground-up with these practices in mind, rather than after-the-fact.

We like Constant Contact’s comprehensive footer, followed by Mailchimp then Campaign Monitor.  Constant Contact goes one step further than the others by providing a link to information about the service provider in addition to the expected unsubscribe and update profile options.

in closing

We hope this evaluation of popular email marketing services has helped your craft beverage brand consider additional options.  Or to reaffirm your current choice (which is just as valuable).  Next time we’ll look at best practices for newsletter signup forms with an eye to CAN-SPAM/GDPR compliance.

MailChimp archive:
https://mailchi.mp/98426269820f/190416_email_templates?e=bd76eedb35
Download:
https://app.box.com/s/juesen8owjzku7phgx1lj8o6awnu01fiz

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