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.
During testing, we looked at the maximum size allowed for attached files. Most of the accounts we tested can handle between 20MB and 25MB, which is about six professional images or 10 snapshots taken with a point-and-shoot camera. It was also important for us to see a thumbnail of the file once we uploaded it, so that we could confirm we had attached the correct one.
For email, security starts with spam, otherwise known as unsolicited email. This is often the bane of not only those who live in their email inboxes,but also of the IT administrators who manage email services. The good news is that spam filters are getting better every day and email providers tend to deploy the very latest and greatest for their customers. The bad news is that these filters still aren't perfect, which means they can catch a lot of "good" email but often vary significantly in effectiveness. Today's spam filters are based largely on machine learning (ML) as the primary method of determining what's bound for the trash bin. Given that ML gets more effective over time, it is no surprise that the services that have been around the longest tend to have better spam detection.
A: Businesses have different needs, and email marketing services have different strengths. If you're going to pay to utilize an email marketing service, you should pick the one that best fits the needs of your business. If you're running basic email marketing campaigns, the least expensive options might make the most sense. If you're a major company sending emails to thousands of people, you'll want an email service that can handle that workload without many errors. Picking the right service can help you make the most out of this marketing solution.
The best email software providers offer user-friendly interfaces, making it easy for anyone to set a campaign and build appealing newsletters. Worried about HTML and graphic design skills? If you want to build your newsletter in HTML, you can certainly do that. However, it is best to choose a platform offering a wide range of templates and stock images you could potentially use, such as Active Campaign. Some of the best email software also offers tools that test your messages for spam. They will warn you if your text contains words that might trigger red flags from email providers. After all, you don’t want to see all your beautifully designed messages end up in your subscribers’ junk folders without an even remote chance of getting opened. The best email provider services will even block your address if they detect any spam suspicion.
Within 24 hours you’ll then receive a personal email from yours truly, with your very own click tracking link. (We use ClickMagick and MCBP as they are the industry's leading click tracking platforms). You can then watch as your clicks come in with highly detailed statistics such as geographic location, I.P. address, device type, browser type plus lots more detailed information.
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.
Email services typically charge between $2 and $10 per month for their paid services, depending on how much mail you need to send and receive. The biggest differences between free and paid email services is the size of the files you’re allowed to attach to outgoing mail, how many emails you can send per day, how much backup and inbox space you’re given, and the level of customer support you can access. Most free email services give you enough inbox and online backup space combined to hold hundreds of thousands of emails, but they typically limit the number of email messages you can send in a day to about 100. This is plenty for most people using an email account for personal use. But if you have a home business or know a lot of people you need to email every day, then it may be worth purchasing an email account with unlimited outbound messaging.
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.
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Ultimately, it boils down to a balance between cost, features, and risk. It's always tempting to simply jump on the lowest-cost solution, but the fact that email is ubiquitous keeps this from being the smart play. It's nearly impossible to escape using it, which means your users, your customers, and the guts of your business have all come to depend on it in different ways. You need to discover those ways, evaluate them, and then choose a service that either meets or improves on them. This takes time, discussion with your IT staff, and some investigation; these are steps you don't want to skip. Otherwise, you'll pay for it later.
Well, charity: water took an alternate route. Once someone donates to a charity: water project, her money takes a long journey. Most charities don't tell you about that journey at all -- charity: water uses automated emails to show donors how their money is making an impact over time. With the project timeline and accompanying table, you don't even really need to read the email -- you know immediately where you are in the whole process so you can move onto other things in your inbox.
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.
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.
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.
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.