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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.
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.
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. 
This website is an independent comparison site that aims to help consumers find the most suitable product for their needs. We are able to maintain a free, high-quality service by charging an advertising fee to featured brands whenever a user completes a purchase. These advertising fees might impact the placement of the brands on this page and combined with the conversion rates might impact the scoring as well which are further based on a combination of review findings, user experience and product popularity. For more information please review our how we rate page. We make best effort to present up-to-date information; however, we do not compare or include all service providers in the market.
Not only is InVision's newsletter a great mix of content, but I also love the nice balance between images and text, making it really easy to read and mobile-friendly -- which is especially important, because its newsletters are so long. (Below is just an excerpt, but you can read through the full email here.) We like the clever copy on the call-to-action (CTA) buttons, too.
Not only was this initial email great, but his response to my answers was even better: Within a few days of responding to the questionnaire, I received a long and detailed personal email from Matt thanking me for filling out the questionnaire and offering a ton of helpful advice and links to resources specifically catered to my answers. I was very impressed by his business acumen, communication skills, and obvious dedication to his readers.
* Average click rate is calculated by the total number of clicks in a 5 day period divided by the number of solos sent in that period. There is no guarantee that your solo mailing will receive the current average click rate. Your solo mailing could receive more clicks or less clicks than the current average click rate. The average click rate is provided for informational and comparison purposes only.
Gmail lets you log into multiple email accounts at once and simply toggle between them without having to log out and re-enter your credentials each time. We found this to be a very helpful perk especially if you have a personal Gmail account and another dedicated to your work or home business. This multi-account feature works on mobile, too, so you’re always connected and can quickly access important email while on the go. It’s hard to attach files to outgoing messages using the Gmail app, though, since it only allows you to upload one file at a time.
The first autoresponders were created within mail transfer agents that found they could not deliver an e-mail to a given address. These create bounce messages such as "your e-mail could not be delivered because..." type responses. Today's autoresponders need to be careful to not generate e-mail backscatter, which can result in the autoresponses being considered E-mail spam.
Along with specialized uses for email, you should investigate how your users are emailing on a daily basis. Email has come a long way in 40 years and the way people use it has significantly evolved. That's important because it will impact the tools and features you need to look for in your hosted email provider's client software. Sure, Microsoft Outlook is still the most popular on-site email client, but a fast-increasing number of today's email users are opting for other email clients, such as Thunderbird, or all-web clients, such as Google's hugely popular Gmail. These clients can be very sophisticated and, depending on what your users are doing with email, they can have a big impact on your day-to-day business process.
The email software can be learned and used to benefit your business. But the time it takes to learn how to use it and the best way to use it can be time consuming and a lot of trial and error. Although a email marketing service can get that out their for you, the cost can be overwhelming. So, you are going to want someone that also does your social media work as well in order to know your product and get the message out that you want. There are companies out there that can do both and...
“Third, tell me how it benefits me. I’m very very active in my charity work, but your startup is not a charity…”We thought you’d enjoy meeting young entrepreneurs” – bzzzzt. I DO enjoy meeting young entrepreneurs, I do it all the time as a matter of routine at conferences and through friends and so on. But if you’d like more than a friendly pat on the back and encouragement, then treat me like a businessperson – let’s find something that’s mutually agreeable. “If you could join us as an advisor, we’d be able to compensate you with stock options in a quantity appropriate to our stage of development.” – yay.”
While pricing varies by provider, the cost structure is usually the same. Most email marketing providers charge a monthly fee based on contact list size, with a range of packages and plans. With this structure, most providers allow you to send out an unlimited number of emails each month and have enough different plans to fit into the budget of any business. 
Running in-house email servers does provide more control and wider customization as well as tracking and compliance for small to midsize businesses (SMB). But they require specialized on-site IT staff as well as the need to manually manage and support both hardware and software. A third-party hosted email service matches many of the advantages of in-house email without the expensive initial investment. The ability to manage the number of users, access the latest security protocols, and enjoy ease of connectivity and deployment of hosted solutions makes it a viable and competitive option.

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


Setting up your account usually takes just a few clicks. In most cases, all you need to do is to enter your email address and choose a monthly plan. If you are not sure which is the right email marketing software for you, it is advisable you request a free trial. Some platforms offer free trials to all new users. Just be aware that they usually ask for your credit card details. This means that once the free trial period is over, you will be billed for the following month unless you cancel in due time.
Bronto is a cloud-based commerce marketing automation platform for midmarket and enterprise organizations. An advanced marketing automation engine with solutions for browse recovery, recommendations, shopping cart abandonment and powerful e-commerce integrations, Bronto helps commerce marketers grow revenue through targeted email, mobile and social marketing.
The email software can be learned and used to benefit your business. But the time it takes to learn how to use it and the best way to use it can be time consuming and a lot of trial and error. Although a email marketing service can get that out their for you, the cost can be overwhelming. So, you are going to want someone that also does your social media work as well in order to know your product and get the message out that you want. There are companies out there that can do both and...

Finding the right online marketing tools can seem like a difficult task. Luckily, the best email platforms offer an unlimited number of messages and progressive pricing packages. This means that your bills depend on the number of subscribers. So, if you are a small business with a few hundred mailing list subscribers, you will only have to pay a small monthly rate. Constant Contact offers great price points for small businesses. You can even find an email platform that offers free plans for those who need only a limited number of features, like Benchmark. If you are unsure what your needs are, you can opt for a pay-as-you-go plan.
WhatCounts, which recently joined forces with Windsor Circle, offers email marketing software can be operated from the cloud or on your own servers. Features include a life cycle workflow builder, behavioral personalization, advanced segmentation, dynamic content, a relational database, responsive templates, campaign analytics, A/B testing and social sharing.
What's the difference between them? One-off communications versus prolonged, email-based interactions. For example, email marketing tools are excellent for one-off communications. You can use these tools for the one time you'd like to send someone an automated email response when they join a subscriber list, on their birthday, or when you promote a new product. But marketing automation tools are better suited for prolonged, email-based interactions. For example, you can use marketing automation tools whenever you want to guide someone from a subscriber list to a product purchase. Or you can send thank you emails or send new product promotions—all without having to lift a finger after the workflow is designed.
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.
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. 
Delivra is an email marketing automation platform designed to ensure the right messages get to the right people at the right moment. The service features automation, a drag-and-drop editor, multichannel drip campaigns, custom and responsive email templates, triggered mailings, and analytics. In addition, Delivra integrates with CRM, e-commerce and web analytic programs.
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