What is the best email marketing software? I get this question a lot, especially since my previous branded name was “emailmarketing.guru”. I’ve spent the last dozen years or so in the email marketing arena. There are now literally hundreds of email service providers (ESP) out there. Today, I’m going to look at three of the top contenders.
What Should You look for in an Email Service Provider?
- “Try it for free” – all three of the programs here allow you to try them for free without a credit card.
- List management – list management should be easy, not hard.
- Email automation – if you will be using email marketing for affiliate or network marketing you will need an easy-to-use automation system.
- Offering layouts or templates to make it easy to prepare emails
I love AWeber. They offer the most comprehensive product for the best price.
Do you love free? Guess what…if you are just getting started, you can use AWeber for up to 500 subscribers for free. That includes some extremely useful features:
- Up to 500 subscribers, 3,000 email sends per month
- Use the drag-and-drop email builder
- Email Automation (Campaigns)
- Sign-up forms
- Landing pages
The free program includes AWeber branding in the footer of emails. Once you are on your way, paid plans start at just $19/month and AWeber branding is removed.
- Can call them on the phone and get a real person (who is likely located near Philadelphia, PA)
- Reliable and designed for affiliate and network marketers
- Excellent tagging system
- Setting up campaigns is easy
- Interfaces well with other online programs either directly or via Zapier.
- If a contact clicks “unsubscribe” they can opt which list they would like to unsubscribe from (if they are on more than one)
- Lists are determined by campaigns, so you might have someone in two campaigns and, therefore on two lists.
- You pay “per subscriber”. Each name in a campaign would be a subscriber – therefore the same person would count as two subscribers.
- If you send a new offer to both lists (mentioned above) you will possibly email the person twice.
- Your company’s branding is not a priority.
I’ve been a partner with Constant Contact for over ten years. There have been a lot of changes lately. They now offer DIY website and logo design programs as well as email. PS the event and survey programs offered by Constant Contact are far surpassed by others in those market arenas.
- Can call them on the phone and get a real person located in the US who can really help
- Excellent, reliable service
- Single List – that means you are drawing names from a single list that can be segmented
- Best for regular business marketers sending out “keep in touch” emails.
- They offer lots of premade templates, including holiday-centered options
- Your company’s branding is important to them and templates can be easily changed to match your branding
- Some integration with other services such as Shopify
- More expensive for automated marketing services (i.e. autoresponder series)
- You can add contacts to “lists” or tag them, but you can not “untag” them
- If someone unsubscribes, thy are totally unsubscribed from your email marketing system; that is, if they click “unsubscribe” they are gone from everywhere.
- Kind of a “con” – Constant Contact branding in is the footer of all emails, BUT, you can have a custom footer designed for a fee OR have it removed if you call them, they just don’t tell you that up front.
Right off the bat I want to say that MailChimp does not allow affiliate or network marketers as is stated in their Acceptable Use Policy. They see them as having too many SPAM complaints and unsubscribes, which reflect negatively on them as an email service provider.
Likewise, they do not offer an actual affiliate program. They have a program that allows you to earn MailChimp credits. The program is aptly named “Monkey Rewards”. LOL
MailChimp has long been a choice for marketers who want to get started “on the cheap”. They offer a free program for up to 2,000 subscribers. With the free plan, you have a single list, but you can create as many tags as you like.
Be aware of the fact that they do not offer any phone help, and email help is only available for paid accounts, so you are on your own if you have a question or concern.
The Bottom Line
Here’s the best part of all three programs – you can sign up and try them for free without entering a credit card number.
My final recommendations:
- If you are an affiliate or network marketer, use AWeber – their platform is designed especially for you
- If you are a regular business sending weekly or monthly emails to keep in touch with customers, use Constant Contact
- Even free, MailChimp is not worth it. It’s difficult to get used to and you have to think too hard to segment your subscribers
Questions about email marketing? Feel free to reach out to me. This is my area of special expertise and I’m happy to help out.