There are many great options available, but some key considerations to help businesses make the right choice are budget, ease of CMS integration and available resources to manage the platform, as the more complex platforms require a dedicated internal or agency resource in order to get the most value. If you’re interested, check out this post on choosing the right marketing automation solution.

Matt Ackerson founded AutoGrow (Petovera Inc.) in 2010 as a conversion-focused web design agency. The company has since worked one-on-one with over 500 customers and clients to create their sales funnels. Matt is a graduate of Cornell University. He and AutoGrow have been featured in Techcrunch, Forbes, Inc, Venture Beat, Mashable, and Popular Science among others. He and the team write in-depth articles on digital marketing, sales funnel design, and also offer an advanced funnel training course here on AutoGrow.co

☑ Autoresponders (and automation) – Because you don’t want to be manually sending a welcome email every time someone signs up for your service! Autoresponders are an absolutely crucial part of small business email marketing (think order confirmations, renewal reminders etc). And if you want to take them to the next level, choose a tool that offers advanced automations, such as web-triggered campaigns and lead scoring.
The “Cons” are in the Privacy Policies, at least this is true for Constant Contact and Mailchimp. Constant Contact was bought out by Endurance International Group (EIG), an unscrupulous acquisitions company who has purchased ~74 web companies over a decade or so. Before EIG, Constant Contact was the most trusted brand in the business. Today, all you have to do is take a look at their Privacy Policy, if that’s what you want to call it – I have another name for it and Privacy was not one of them. See the sections on “Security and Privacy” and “Sharing of Information” as I said – towards the very bottom of https://www.constantcontact.com/legal/privacy-statement. Mailchimp’s Privacy Policy has similar wording, the sharing of your account information with their affiliates. However, Mailchimp’s Affiliate network pales in comparison and quite frankly, so does their contacts database.
The primary purpose of a transactional email is to convey information regarding the action that triggered it. But, due to their high open rates (51.3% compared to 36.6% for email newsletters), transactional emails are an opportunity to introduce or extend the email relationship with customers or subscribers; to anticipate and answer questions; or to cross-sell or up-sell products or services.[4]
The best email marketing automation tools depend on your budget and email campaign goals. Here are some to consider. MailChimp offers a free plan for up to 2000 subscribers, so it’s a popular email marketing service to start with. Alternatives to MailChimp include Constant Contact and Aweber. If you need to include more features, try an email marketing software such as Hubspot or Infusionsoft, which many larger and small businesses use. Whichever you choose, you can easily hire an email campaign marketer to help you set up your personalized email address and create an email newsletter template.
This is one of those low-hanging fruit strategies that is so easy you can implement it across your website and sales funnel in a matter of minutes. Simply put: if your goal is to collect email subscribers… then why are you requiring fields other than an email address on your form? Avoid creating an optin form that looks like this:  Not only should you not require all those fields, but take them out! Take them ALL out, and just require an email address. Early on, I was able to double our email conversion rate by just changing our form from 2 fields (first name and email) to just 1 form field (email address). Similarly, Marketo (which is now a public company) experimented with removing multiple form fields. The result? Cost per lead dropped by $10 and conversion rates increased 34%. 

One of the downsides of email marketing is that you are only able to reach the contacts that you already have. However, you can use social media to help you grow your email marketing list so that you have an even larger audience for your holiday sales. One way to do this is to promote your opt-in offers across your social media profiles. Consider offering some sort of incentive for joining your email list, such as a special coupon code.
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