Once we sent the email campaigns through the programs, we compared them to the original email we sent to make sure they appeared as we intended. We also rated services based on where they ended up. Some emails landed in the spam folder or the Promotions tab in Gmail, which we counted against the software. It's critical that businesses have their email campaigns end up in a person's inbox, so we felt that was a necessary test in the evaluation process.
iContact's email editor is great for marketers at all skill levels. You can create emails using your own HTML code or with one of the software's 12 design templates. If you use a template, you can design your emails with a drag-and-drop editor, which makes customizing them a simple task. You can add in element blocks – such as text, pictures, headers and logos – wherever you choose. You can also select your own color scheme or pick from one of 15 preset themes.
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.
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