Despite all of the attention on social media these days, email remains one of the most preferred and effective marketing methods for many small businesses. It’s a fast, efficient and inexpensive way to communicate with clients and prospects, or to generate traffic for your website.
If you send just a few emails, you can probably make do with whatever regular email service you use. But if your list is growing, you want your emails to look great, and you also want to track the effectiveness of your efforts, using an outside provider offers many advantages.
Email marketing services offer customized designs and newsletter signup forms, list management tools and the ability to see who’s opening your emails and what they are clicking on. You can also split your lists into different groups and test various messages to see what works best. Email is also a great way to nurture leads through various stages and keep them engaged.
But with numerous email providers catering to small business, it’s hard to know which one is right for your particular business. NextAdvisor (www.nextadvisor.com), an independent research firm that reviews and compares small business products and services across multiple categories, recently tested eight of the top services to determine the best value and what users can expect from each one.
To review the different services, NextAdvisor editors signed up for each one and used it as a small business would. They compared several factors to come up with an overall ranking, including the quality of the email creation tools, how each service handles email analytics and tracking, the site layout, customer support and overall usability. They also considered the number of emails and contacts allowed, and whether the plan provides good value.
Here’s what NextAdvisor had to say about the email services it ranked as the top six:
- GetResponse is a well laid-out and easy-to-use email marketing solution that won us over with their new email creator. This service allows you to easily create and send attractive emails, with a lot of customization. They aren’t the cheapest service, starting at $12.30/month (with annual plan) for a 1,000 contact allowance, but if you’re big on quality this is a service to consider. Visit GetResponse.com
- Benchmark Email may seem a bit pricey but it is actually a good value thanks to its comprehensive email creation tools and extensive template options. Their contact plans start with an allowance of 600 subscribers for $11.95 per month, and all of their contact plans let you send an unlimited number of emails. Not only is the service intuitive, they also provide 24/7 live assistance. Visit BenchmarkEmail.com
- SimplyCast stands out for its email creation options, A/B testing feature and super cheap price. Not only is the paid plan affordable, you can actually send 30,000 emails to 2,000 contacts per month, for free. Though all of the features may seem overwhelming at first, this service is easy to use once you get the hang of it. Visit Simplycast.com
- Intuitive and sleek, Mad Mimi is free for anyone who wants to send emails to less than 2,500 contacts, and includes 12,500 emails per month. Though their HTML editor falls short, we enjoyed using the email composer, which uses text modules as well as drag and drop capabilities. With a user-friendly site and friendly customer service, Mad Mimi is worth a try. Visit Madmimi.com
- Campaigner is simple and cheap. For $10 a month, users can send an unlimited number of emails to up to 1,000 contacts, the highest allowance for this price range. Though they don’t have the widest selection of templates, those with HTML knowledge should definitely take advantage of the 30-day free trial to test out this basic, reliable and affordable service. Visit Campaigner.com
- Though Constant Contact is one of the most popular names in email marketing, they fall in the middle of our rankings due to the higher price. Still, it is a solid service with some nice extra features. Though the service is not fully compatible with Macs, PC users will enjoy their extensive set of customization tools. Their nicely laid out template editor is definitely worth checking out on the 60-day free trial. Visit ConstantContact.com
For the full reviews and rankings, visit NextAdvisor.com.
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Filed Under: Marketing
About the Author: Daniel Kehrer, Founder and Chief Content Officer of BizBest Media, is a senior-level leader in digital media, content development and online marketing with special expertise in startups, SMB, social media and generating traffic, engagement and leads. He holds an MBA from UCLA/Anderson and is a passionate entrepreneur (started 4 businesses), syndicated columnist, blogger, thought leader and author of 7 business and financial books.