When people talk about email marketing, lots of them forget to mention transactional emails. These are the automated emails you get in your inbox after taking a certain action on a website. This could be anything from filling out a form, to purchasing a product, to updating you on the progress of your order. Often, these are plain text emails that marketers set and forget.
For those unlucky enough to choose an email host that doesn't have built-in spam detection, it can often be an ordeal to route email correctly through a third-party filtering service. Some businesses actually prefer engaging with a third-party spam filterer, mostly for compliance or customization reasons. But, for the majority of SMBs, this is headache they would be best off trying to avoid.
Even businesses with dedicated on-site IT staff have seen the wisdom of moving their email service. The advantages include per-person cost averages, cutting-edge security, cheap email storage, and simple ease of connectivity and deployment. While these advantages hold true for most organizations, there are not only exceptions but also hidden "gotchas" you should look for before selecting a cloud-hosted email provider.
And that leads us right into understanding service pricing and packaging. The email marketing services we reviewed range from about $5 per month to as much as $20 per month for a range of features. Many email marketing plans include unlimited email sends each month and bill you based on the number of subscribers. If you have a small list, then look for a company that offers a free plan, a low-cost plan for several hundred subscribers, or even a pay-as-you-go plan. On the flip side, many of these services also offer high-volume plans with up to 100,000 or more contacts. Sometimes this requires a custom plan that has to be arranged directly with a sales rep. If you're willing to commit, then look for the companies that offer discounts if you pay yearly rather than monthly. A few offer also money-back guarantees.
Next up is building an email newsletter. The best services offer several ways to do this; you can import your own HTML, start from scratch, or use a pre-designed template. Most of these services have drag-and-drop UIs that let you choose exactly the elements you want to include, as well as image libraries in which you can store assets such as your logo or company photos. Tools that let you test your emails for spam are also essential since there are some seemingly innocuous terms that may send up red flags and drop all of your hard work into your subscribers' junk folders or, worse, get your emails banned before they ever reach their recipients.
GetResponse has an easy-to-use interface and a wide range of features for an affordable price. The software is available in four different pricing plans: Email, Pro, Max and Enterprise. Plan prices vary by starting list size, included features and number of users. The Email plan is the most affordable, with prices starting as low as $15 per month for up to 1,000 subscribers. This plan can be used by one person at a time and includes autoresponders and basic landing pages.
Professional email marketing software offers you the tools to track results so that you can better understand customer behavior. This allows you to set customized messages, as well as to A/B test your messages so that you can constantly fine-tune your marketing campaigns. Let’s say, for instance, that you want to find out which is the best auto-responder for your high-rolling segment of customers. You can set different options, compare auto-responders, and make an informed decision. Sendinblue also features marketing automation, and its wealth of plugin capabilities make it easy to maximize your email campaign.
Elastic Email provides comprehensive tools for handling any size of email campaign. With Elastic Email, businesses can create and edit emails using predesigned templates, drag-and-drop editors and raw HTML editors. Features of the service include email client and spam testing, A/B split testing, contact management tools, segmentation, triggered emails, detailed activity reports, private IP addresses, and custom branding.
A: With so many businesses using email marketing, it's important to make your email marketing campaigns relevant to your customers and subscribers. Selecting the service that best fits your business is the first step in helping your email marketing campaigns stand out. After that, you'll want to use segmentation and other email tools to best cater to the wants and needs of your customer base.
Effective email marketing campaigns are designed for all devices on which users can read their emails -- desktop, tablet, and smartphone. Email campaigns that are designed for mobile devices are especially important -- a quality known as "responsive design." In fact, 73% of companies today prioritize mobile device optimization when creating email marketing campaigns.
If you want to integrate your email with your shopping cart but don’t quite want to spring for InfusionSoft, 1ShoppingCart could be your answer. 1ShoppingCart is a one stop solution for payment processing and email marketing. It allows you to segregate lists and mail only buyers or your entire list. It’s one of the more reputable shopping cart services on the net.
When people talk about email marketing, lots of them forget to mention transactional emails. These are the automated emails you get in your inbox after taking a certain action on a website. This could be anything from filling out a form, to purchasing a product, to updating you on the progress of your order. Often, these are plain text emails that marketers set and forget.
Anne: How many "contacts" do you have on your list. Most plans charge by the number of contacts. Some charge by the total number of contacts, some by the contacts per list (which means you pay for duplicates if a single contact is on multiple lists due to your segmentation activities). As both Ray and Gee indicated, most email service providers will meet your functional requirements. I have used MailChimp successfully but switched to ActiveCampaign because of the marketing automation...

If you receive an email or call from someone claiming your computer is out of date, be very wary. If they further ask you for your personal information, Wi-Fi information or IP address, you’ll know for certain it’s a scam. They’re simply trying to steal your identity or hack your computer. If you’re uncertain, contact the actual company they claim to represent to see if there is anything wrong with your accounts.
Most companies offer tutorials and support for their services. Using the trial version of each program, we evaluated layouts and looked for things that would make the platform user-friendly. For example, are the icons easily identifiable? Is it apparent where to go to begin to build a survey and distribute surveys to users? How easy is it to create or change a survey? We found that the best survey builders allow you to quickly edit questions and rearrange the order of your survey without many additional steps. 
Most companies offer tutorials and support for their services. Using the trial version of each program, we evaluated layouts and looked for things that would make the platform user-friendly. For example, are the icons easily identifiable? Is it apparent where to go to begin to build a survey and distribute surveys to users? How easy is it to create or change a survey? We found that the best survey builders allow you to quickly edit questions and rearrange the order of your survey without many additional steps. 
We spent 120 hours testing 16 free email services, narrowing our list to the eight services we believe are the best options. These services have sufficient inbox storage and tools to make it easy to send, receive and store messages. Gmail is our top pick because it’s the easiest to use and comes with the most services, including access to Google Calendar, an attachment preview, automatic spam filters and direct import of social media contacts into its address book.
Free email services do cap the number of email messages you can send out per day. This is to cut down on spam messages sent with their services. The cap is generally around 100 messages per day, which is sufficient for keeping in touch with family or other personal email uses. But if you need an email service for business purposes, it may be better to purchase an email service that permits unlimited messages each day.
We narrowed down our list by eliminating vendors that don't specialize in email marketing campaigns or that don't work with small businesses. Next, we researched each provider by investigating its services. We considered pricing when available. After narrowing the list down to seven, we contacted each company's customer service department and posed as small business owners.  

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Pay attention to the amount of inbox storage available, because once you reach the cap, you’ll have to  start deleting messages in order to receive more. Many free email services offer a terabyte or even unlimited storage, which is helpful if you tend to receive messages with large attachments, like image and video files. However, even a few gigabytes of storage gives you enough space to hold between 100,000 and 300,000 messages.
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