What is Email Marketing?
Email marketing is designed to help a company maintain communications with customers. This builds loyalty, increases brand recognition, and drives sales.
The challenge with email marketing is to strike a balance between efficiency and personalization so that you can:
- Create a one-to-one sense of connection with individual customers.
- Reach out to hundreds or thousands of customers at once, at minimum cost.
Email marketing software helps marketers create, send, and track subscriber emails while complying with the regulations that govern email outreach. Most email marketing tools do this on a bulk level, which increases efficiency. These bulk emails are commonly referred to as ‘email blasts’.
Tools range from batch-and-blast products to products that allow users to configure personalized, triggered messages. The messages are based on the behavior or demographics of subscribers. For example, if a subscriber clicks a link to download a whitepaper or buying guide within an email, or if they are part of your target audience. The simplest email marketing services are designed for sending newsletters or advertisements.
All email marketing tools facilitate ‘big’ sends. However, the definition of a ‘big’ email send can vary. For some vendors, a large batch of emails consists of a few hundred, while for others it could mean thousands or even millions. Therefore, make sure the email marketing platform you choose will work for your list size without causing performance issues or breaking the bank.
Most email marketing software offers the ability to design engaging emails without writing code. This is possible by using a drag and drop tool or a what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) email editor. Advanced email marketing platforms include a landing page editor as well, and allow for retargeting, triggered drip sequences, and segmented subscriber lists. Many of them integrate with third-party CRM, CMS, and ecommerce platforms to make running email marketing campaigns even more efficient.
Email Marketing Software Features
- Subscriber and list management
- Contact segmentation
- Email marketing templates
- Visual editor or WYSIWYG interface
- Content/image library
- Dynamic content/personalization
- A/B testing
- Mobile optimization
- Triggered drip sequences
- Campaign tracking/reporting
- CRM integration
- CAN-SPAM compliance
- SPAM testing
- Email client testing
- Deliverability support
Email Marketing vs. Marketing Automation Software
Email marketing software is closely related to marketing automation software. All marketing automation platforms include email marketing, and many email marketing tools include some degree of automation. But marketing automation tools also include broader marketing capabilities not connected to email. These include lead management, campaign calendars, event management, landing pages, social campaigns, cross-channel campaign orchestration, advanced analytics, and more.
Email Marketing vs. Social Media Marketing
Email marketing is also related to social media marketing activities. Where email marketing platforms govern all aspects of customer communication via email, social media marketing tools provide business with tools to monitor, interact with, and track customer engagement across social media channels. Software tools that specialize in social media advocacy or proportion activities also fall under the umbrella of social media marketing.
Though email marketing tools primarily focus on email communication, some tools provide a handful of social media marketing features as well. These may include capabilities like social posting and creating ad campaigns for platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Some email marketing service providers will have integrations with third-party social media marketing products, or directly with social channels themselves.
While they focus on different methods of communication, the ultimate goal of these two types of marketing is similar. They both seek to help marketers gain a deeper connection to their customers or subscribers, nurture leads, and drive brand loyalty and revenue.
Email Marketing Platform Comparison
To more easily compare Email Marketing tools, consider evaluating different options based on these three key factors:
1. Contact List Size / Number of Emails: Make sure your email marketing software can support the number of contacts you have. The price of different email marketing tools will vary depending on the number of subscribers you have on your contact list, or the volume of emails you send per month. Typically, the larger these numbers are, the higher the cost.
2. Ease-of-Use: This means more than just having an intuitive interface, it involves actually having the features that make email marketing software cost-effective. Features like pre-designed email templates that are mobile-responsive, drag-and-drop editors, and native signup forms will make life easier for your marketing team and allow them to be more productive.
3. Use Case Support: Think about whether you’ll be using emails for different purposes and identify which tools cover all your intended use cases. For example, will you primarily be sending direct emails? Or will you also use your email marketing software for website, social media, or event marketing? If so, make sure you invest in a tool that will help you achieve your goals across these programs.
Start an Email Marketing software comparison
Email marketing software is typically priced on a monthly subscription model. Pricing depends on the number of email contacts you have, and the number of emails you send each month.
There are a few free products available or paid products that offer free plans, though these tools usually limit the number of emails businesses can send per month. Free tools may also require senders to keep the email marketing tool’s branding in the footer.
On the lower end, an email marketing service can cost as little as $25 for up to 2,000 contacts. Mid-tier service runs up to $500/mo. for lists of up to 50,000 contacts. The cost of enterprise-level email marketing software goes up from there. Depending on the scale and complexity of your email marketing needs, your organization may find that investing in a comprehensive marketing automation solution may be a more suitable choice.
The following email marketing software offer award-winning customer relationships, feature sets, and value for price. Learn more about our Best Of Awards methodology here.