What we liked: The tool just looks cool, with a black background and icons that pop with colour (imagine Spotify, but for email marketing). It’s also easy to use, and has a zippy and intuitive email editor. We really like the effort they’ve put into their email templates, too, which are some of the nicest looking we’ve seen. Plus, they’ve baked plenty of flexibility into their email editor, allowing you to tweak templates pretty much as you please.
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.

I already mentioned that you should use social media to grow your email list, but you should also use your newsletters as a way to grow your social media profiles as well. The simplest and most effective way is to add the social media buttons in your newsletter so that your subscribers can share the content but also connect with you in the various social networks.
Both easy to learn for email marketing newcomers and extensive and functional for more technically inclined veterans, iContact is a solid choice of email marketing automation. The back-end functionality is reliable and pretty extensive, their email templates are high quality, and the user experience of the software is very typical to other platforms we reviewed. The ability to schedule social media posts from the same tool is also a nice bonus, particularly if you’re new to social scheduling and would prefer to learn only one new piece of software at a time.

Last but absolutely not least – Aweber, GetResponse and Vertical Response all have solid Privacy and Anti-Spam Policies in place that are 100% trustworthy as of Dec 2016 at last check. All companies change their policies though so always check the final print (toward the bottom) and make sure you know exactly what you and your clients have “Opted In” for.


Build your audience and manage your contact groups. Install our opt-in widget on your website to capture email addresses and automatically sync to contact lists in your account. Upload your own contact lists as either a CSV, TXT or XLS files. Our system will seamlessly integrate into your CRM acting as your second pair of eyes, filtering out unsubscribes and possible errors.
SumoMe is a free embeddable plugin for your website or WordPress blog. One of it’s core features is the “list builder” feature. The list builder features works to help you collect more email addresses by fading in a nicely designed pop-up widget on the screen. You are given a lot of control over how the pop-up looks as well as the exact time when it will appear. You can set it to appear in X seconds or to automatically try to detect the best time to appear. Based on research the App Sumo (parent company behind SumoMe) team recently published here are two quick tips for maximizing your conversions when using their list builder tool:

This is a very common practice, especially on the homepages of startups and companies that have a relatively young brand. The idea is that by leveraging the credibility and trust already built up by other brand names (i.e. press outlets) or authority figures you can build trust and authority faster to get a visitor to convert into a subscriber. In other words, this can mean
Search engine marketing, or SEM, is designed to increase a website's visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs). Search engines provide sponsored results and organic (non-sponsored) results based on a web searcher's query.[19]:117 Search engines often employ visual cues to differentiate sponsored results from organic results. Search engine marketing includes all of an advertiser's actions to make a website's listing more prominent for topical keywords.
I’ve always been a mailchimp user myself, and I have to say I really like their UI but I’m always open to new options. I’ve dabbled in a couple of the other email marketing providers like Pure360 – but find them so clunky and annoying to use (despite them looking really pretty and having great templates) that I always end up going back to good old mailchimp. I haven’t used GetResponse yet, I’ll give their free trial a shot :)

Unsubscribe requests: Are certain types of emails making your audience run for the hills? Has an issue with your segmenting caused you to send the wrong email to the wrong audience members? To know this, you need to dig into the data around your unsubscribe requests. Look for an email marketing platform that tells you not only your total volume of unsubscribes over time but also breaks that data down by specific list and email sent.
Create quickly — Before BIM software, the building design process involved a lot of manual drawings. These solutions enable designers to draft up a BIM model far quicker than by hand. Digital models also include more information than what is in a drawing set. Ultimately, by facilitating a quicker design process, BIM software saves firms money and labor.
As mentioned before, the type of email campaign you send depends entirely on your goals with email. If you’re looking to drive direct sales then sending marketing offer and announcement campaigns are going to return the best results, however if you are simply looking to keep your existing customers up-to-date on the latest projects, products or developments at your company, then sending a regular newsletter is going to be the best way to achieve that.
Even if at first you do not succeed, the relaxing acoustic soundtrack and bright art style in this bridge building game will make you feel somewhat better about the watery graves you have just made for your poor passengers – as we found in our Poly Bridge review. With 24 challenges in the base version and hundreds more on Steam Workshop, Poly Bridge will keep you entertained for hours.
Do you have an older list that you suspect has mostly decayed? Create an engaging opt-in message and send it to your old list encouraging contacts who wish to re-opt-in -- promising to remove all contacts who don't respond. Though it might seem counterintuitive to remove folks from your email lists in order to grow them, emailing only engaged contacts could improve your deliverability and increase the odds of your email getting shared with those outside your current contacts database.
When I think about the brands I like best, like J. Crew, Spotify, and SoulCycle, I know I’m not a loyal brand advocate because of their products alone. I can get cheaper clothes, music, and groceries from plenty of other places. Ultimately, I’m a brand advocate because I believe in what they promote and I feel invested in their stories, like SoulCycle’s: “We aspire to inspire. We inhale intention and exhale expectation.” I relate to their brand messaging.
Benchmark offers both free and paid plans. Its plans and packages can fit into the budget of almost any small business. All plans, including the free plan, come with its drag-and-drop editor, responsive templates, signup forms, basic drip campaigns, email delivery management, Google Analytics tracking, list management, contact segmentation, and list hygiene.

There are countless ways to build your email list, but a good place to start is to embed an email registration form on your website. This way you can leverage your existing website visitors and offer them special information or discounts in exchange for their email address. You can also use your social media accounts to gather emails, as mentioned previously.
Probably one of the most advanced ways to build your email today is to create an app or WordPress plugin of some kind. In order to access it, users need to enter in an email address. This the ultimate “content upgrade” because instead of just being content it’s a tool that helps your target audience get closer to a key goal of their’s. How to do it:

I’m sure you’ve heard it before many many times but it’s true. If you have something to sell your list will bring you more income than any other single method. Not only is your list the most important asset you have but it can come with you. What I mean by that is if you have a website on your chosen topic that dies for whatever reason your list will be unaffected by it. You can simply start a new site and move all your peeps over to the new site with one email notification. It sure beats starting all over again.
One of the greatest advantages of email marketing is that it allows marketers to send targeted messages. Print, radio and television ads are broadcast indiscriminately and frequently reach consumers who have no interest in the product offered. But email marketing allows companies to tailor certain ads to certain customers. If a customer has shopped for a brand of shoes in the past, companies can email them coupons for that same brand knowing that they have already expressed an interest.
ConvertKit – ConvertKit is email marketing software designed specifically for bloggers. The software combines simple sending with the automation and tagging features that professional bloggers need. While ConvertKit was built with bloggers in mind, that doesn't mean you must be a blogger in the traditional sense to use it. Its customers are also podcasters, service-based business owners, course creators and YouTubers, among others. convertkit.com

A lead magnet (a.k.a. an optin bribe) is something amazing that you give away for free in exchange for an email address. This doesn’t have to cost you anything to create; most lead magnets are digital materials like PDFs, MP3 audio files, or videos that you can create yourself at minimal or no cost. It can be absolutely anything you want, so long as it provides value to your visitors for free.
The above template is partially based on the “Break Through Email” system that’s been used to generate millions of dollars in sales for it’s founder, as well as his students of the course. The format is a bit different but it’s a good starting point to help you get results. To setup the landing page, you can use one of the recommended tools above like Lead Pages, or Unbounce, or Instapage. There’s also plenty of free HTML templates online you can download. Cold Email Case Study Years ago, I used cold email campaigns to generate leads via… surveys. Yes, I was obnoxious (and scrappy enough) to email strangers — but I did it out of love! (or ignorance haha) I knew a lot less about how to be an effective marketer back then, but I was willing to try just about anything without assuming “oh that just wouldn’t work.” So, when I was working on building a previous company, I sent an email to several thousand restaurant owners with a link to fill out a 5 question Google survey. That campaign received a response rate just over 1%. I sent the campaign just to collect some research data for a whitepaper I was writing at the time on how weather and other factors affect restaurant sales. About 2 years later, I ran a similar experiment, emailing business owner (with no personalization or any strategic thought in how to target it) and received relatively the same response rate. Keep in mind, in both of these situations, I was taking value rather than giving it (but still getting results!). If you try this strategy and offer something for free THAT IS VALUABLE and to a TARGETED group of people (as you should, otherwise you’re just spamming), you can expect to see a much higher response rate. However, I urge you not to abuse this. Otherwise you’ll poison the well for other companies and hurt your own brand.

Mixergy.com helped to popularize this strategy. The idea is that in order to gain entry to a website’s content, you have to enter your email address on the homepage. One you do so, a cookie is set on your browser so the next time you come back to the site you don’t have to fill in your email again to get access. There have been a number of off-shoots of this strategy. For example, Noah Kagen used a similar strategy to help grow Appsumo’s email list to over 700,000 subscribers in record time by having this simple newsletter call-to-action sitting above the page content… But wait, there’s more to AppSumo’s “improved gateway” email capture strategy. It’s so simple, most people would miss it if they weren’t looking closely… Here it is: Any content page you visit (outside of their Browse page) will show you this header design by default… And you’ll continuously be shown this call-to-action… until you optin. So even if I’m searching for something on Google and I come across a subpage one one of AppSumo’s older offers, I’m going to see this optin header. I like how this is implemented because it’s less “annoying” that the other types of gateway email optins because I can easily bypass it… but at the same time I’ll keep being exposed to it until I sign-up. I guarantee you, this was one big factor in why AppSumo was able to grow their email list so quickly. But I’ll ask Noah just to confirm and update this section later on…


It’s probably the world’s best-known (and loved) newsletter tool, and for a small business, MailChimp is definitely worthy of consideration. It comes with some with useful features, including automations, landing pages, A/B testing, and advanced reporting. You can also choose between a monthly plan, pay-as-you-go credits, or even a free plan (with 12,000 emails per month for up to 2,000 subscribers).

This one is simple and marginally effective, but every little bit counts. In the by-line right below your blog posts, insert a link that visitors can click to sign-up for your newsletter. Here’s what I mean. That’s pretty much all there is to it, but a quick note… I’ve tested this with and without Lead Pages’ Lead Box feature. I found that the plain link that send visitors to a newsletter sign-up page converted at a much lower rate (might have been 0 actually) than when I used a Lead Box link instead.


You’re probably already investing time and resources into marketing to potential customers. But are you also thinking carefully about how you build relationships with vendors and partnering businesses? Email gives you the ability to maintain communication with all of your different audiences so that you can build the relationships you need to be successful.
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