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.
Take the email below from Paperless Post, for example. I love the header of this email: It provides a clear CTA that includes a sense of urgency. Then, the subheader asks a question that forces recipients to think to themselves, "Wait, when is Mother's Day again? Did I buy Mom a card?" Below this copy, the simple grid design is both easy to scan and quite visually appealing. Each card picture is a CTA in and of itself -- click on any one of them, and you'll be taken to a purchase page.
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.
Examples of this include things such as instant messaging (IM) and team chat tools, video conferencing software, online meeting collaboration tools, shared team intranet sites, and more. Some even integrate with third-party tools such as Slack, a highly popular collaboration tool that combines customizable chat "channels" with file sharing and project management. For those who want to integrate with certain apps more deeply or integrate with custom-developed apps they have built in-house, many bigger-name email services will provide robust application programming interfaces (APIs) that will let your in-house developers or consultants deliver on those needs. They will need to be involved in the email service selection process, however, as this is an important consideration during your evaluation period.
Be sure to look at the tech support offered by each of these companies, as we felt many weren't as available as we would have liked. You'll find that some offer 24/7 phone support, live chat, and email help, while others leave you to rely on online documentation and limited live support hours. The best services offer a combination of self-serve help resources—where you can search FAQs and articles to find your own answers—as well as live support via chat or phone when you can't solve an issue yourself. We cover all of these concerns in our reviews, plus you can get an overview in the feature chart above.
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.
MessageGears is a hybrid email marketing system that combines the security of an on-premises system with the scalability of the cloud. The service connects directly to any local or remote database, data warehouse, e-commerce system, or content management system. There is no need to extract, transform, or load customer data into the system or to move or replicate data. Features include subject line previews and testing, spam testing, and automation, drip and trigger campaigns.