The Elite Email cloud-based platform allows organizations of all sizes to build and grow their mailing lists, create emails, and track results with detailed reports and analytics. There's nothing to download or install with the software. With Elite Email, businesses can choose from more than 400 customizable templates to create email newsletters, promotions, announcements and coupons.
Gmail has all the tools and features you need for an email account, including 15GB of inbox storage space, a 100-per-day limit on sent messages, and no inbox ads to interfere with navigating the program. Along with an email address, Gmail also gives you automatic access to many of Google’s other services, such as Drive, Calendar, Maps and Google Plus. You can also use Google Translate within Gmail to translate messages in other languages.
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.
Product Price Overall Rating Inbox & Folder Settings Composition Tools Security Tools & Filters Conveniences Help & Support Ease of Use Daily Message Limit Mail Collector Mobile Service IMAP Support Inbox Storage Message Translator Import Social Media Contacts Aliases Spam Filters Suspicious Account Activity Alert Secure Sign-In Phishing Blocks Virus Scanning View Attachments Average Upload Time Multiple Image Upload Auto Reply Conversation View Max Attachment Size Pop-Out Window Standout Feature Task Calendar Custom Themes Video Chat Chat/Instant Messaging FAQ Email Support Forums
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While social media is an important part of marketing strategies, email marketing remains a vital method to reach your audience. When you use email marketing services, you can post sign-up forms on your social media platforms to grow your contact list. You can also schedule posts on your social media platforms and track your followers' engagement to determine what's popular.
The cloud certainly makes delivering email to your users easier but, for the vast majority of organizations, there's still going to be some setup required beyond simply activating the service. At a minimum, a domain must be purchased and configured to point to the new email host. The service provider can make this process very simple or they can make quite hard; this is something you should watch for in the provider's customer support forums as well as in our reviews. In most cases, there is a validation phase that will require some technical familiarity, though a few providers go so far as to walk even neophyte users through it step by step. Other solid services bolster excellent support with tutorial articles and videos that also walk you through the process. The worst will leave you to figure it out on your own.
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.
Email isn't going away any time soon. Despite a rise in adoption of collaboration-based communication platforms such as Microsoft Teams or Slack, 86 percent of professionals prefer to use email for business purposes. How companies host, store, and distribute their email—that's the area that has undergone a massive transformation. Businesses are veering away from costly onsite email servers running products such as Microsoft Small Business Server and looking instead to the cloud with hosted email solutions. Businesses of all sizes have realized the wisdom of going with a scalable and secure hosted Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution with guaranteed uptime that breaks down pricing into flexible, per-user charges.
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.
Support availability is an important aspect to consider any time you purchase online marketing services, especially if you are a novice. Check if the email marketing software provider you plan to use offers 24/7 support via phone, chat, or email as well as comprehensive documentation. This is especially important when your marketing campaigns are time sensitive. You don’t want to end up not sending out your Black Friday newsletter just because of a technical glitch you weren’t able to fix.
Analytics and reporting: Once you send an email, you'll want to determine how it's doing. Most services provide a range of data, including how many emails you sent, how many of them landed in inboxes, the bounce rate, who opened your emails, and the number of clicks and opens by location. Click-through rate and open rate are two basic metrics all email marketing services should provide. Those are important metrics to track for businesses.
Email marketing is an easy way to communicate directly with your customers who are interested in your business. You can also use email marketing to send personalized emails with the help of segmentation. With about 70% of businesses using email marketing, it's critical to invest in this technology, or you'll fall behind the competition. Businesses use this software to send emails about company updates, promotional emails, newsletters, event invitations and to gather customer feedback.
Your efforts on social media may work one day but not the next for various reasons, such as changes to the site's algorithm. However, once a customer subscribes to your newsletter or emails, you're likely to have a long-term reader. Even if subscribers don't read your email, they'll probably see the subject line, which keeps your business's name fresh in their minds. By integrating social media with email, you can make the most of multichannel marketing campaigns.
Social media has radically expanded the options marketers have when promoting their wares. But at the core of almost every digital marketing campaign, you'll still find email. With a low cost to entry, numerous options to let you tailor a solution for your particular needs, and fantastic engagement numbers when done properly, email remains a marketing favorite.
We also love how consistent the design of Uber's emails is with its brand. Like its app, website, social media photos, and other parts of the visual branding, the emails are represented by bright colors and geometric patterns. All of its communications and marketing assets tell the brand's story -- and brand consistency is one tactic Uber's nailed in order to gain brand loyalty.
Getting started shouldn't be daunting. Generally, you'll know right away whether you like a user interface (UI) or not, and most of the contenders we reviewed offer free trials so you can poke around before dropping any cash. Luckily, most of these services have modern-looking graphics and uncluttered layouts. These are not the complex business software UIs of yesterday. Be careful, though, as some free trials require a credit card. This means you need to be sure to cancel your trial before you're billed if you're not happy with the service.
Obviously, it takes more work to create and place guest posts, but it’s worth it if the publication is aligned and authoritative. We found a way to create additional value with this as well by working with internal HubSpot experts who wanted to get their thoughts out on a given subject. For example, here’s a guest post that Blake Toder wrote for the Usabilla blog:
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.
Molly K. McLaughlin is a New York-based writer and editor with more than a decade of experience covering technology. She has tested and reviewed all sorts of software, mobile apps, and gadgets. Before launching her freelance business, she was an editor at PC Magazine, covering consumer electronics, followed by a stint at ConsumerSearch.com, a revie... See Full Bio