A premium feature that you won’t find with any of these providers is marketing automation, so it’s worth taking that into account. It’s often also not possible to access advanced reporting with most of these free accounts either. So if you need this kind of sophistication you may need to open up your wallet. You can get an idea of prices, and compare them between providers, with our newsletter cost calculator.
Vertical Response is great email marketing tool for creating professional newsletters as it offers tons (over 700) of designs for email newsletter templates. It also has a lot to offer in terms of editing and integrations (e.g. various CRM software, survey software and more). Additionally, users can create landing pages, conduct A/B testing (e.g. subject line performance), test emails using the Vertical Response test kit and much more.
Make it scannable. Your subscribers are busy people who get a lot of email, so it's safe to assume you don't have their undivided attention. Instead of one long block, break up your content into short paragraphs. Include subheadings and images to guide readers through your email and make it easier to scan, and add a teaser to the top of your newsletter to tell subscribers what's in store. If you're sending a long article, consider inserting a "read more" link so people can get to the rest when it's convenient for them. Your subject line should be to-the-point and easy to digest, too. You might even want to a/b test subject lines to see which ones perform best.
The CAN-SPAM laws stipulate that you must honor a recipient’s opt-out request within 10 business days, and that you cannot charge a fee to opt them out, require the recipient to give you any personally identifying information beyond an email address, or make the recipient take any step other than sending a reply email or visiting a single page on an Internet website to opt out.
Cuuver’s James Nuttall agrees that the subject line should be enticing. Saying, “No matter how great your content is, there is no point in writing any of it if the people you send it to aren’t tempted to open the email in the first place; the best way to ensure they do this is to have a subject header which grabs their attention and makes them want to check out the contents”.
At the end of the day, the right email marketing tool is one that will always be able to fit the changing needs of your business. Email tools that can be configured, customized, and adapted mean that no matter what form your organization takes, or where it might be headed, you’ll always have the right tools to keep your email marketing campaigns achieving results.

We added individual contacts, copy and pasted groups, and imported files to find out how simple it is to build your email lists. If you’re just getting started with email marketing, this may not seem important, but if you’re migrating large numbers of subscribers from one email service to another, the ease with which you can import contacts will save you significant amounts of time and energy.
Yes. Subject lines play an important part in getting your customers to open your emails. Rubin Manzoor, Content Marketing Manager at Contact Monkey, says “emails need to have an interesting subject line to grab readers’ attention.” Sometimes it takes more than one try to get it right — it’s good to test a few different options. According to Hubspot, “47% of marketers say they test different email subject lines to optimize their emails' performance.”
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Presentation is everything, or so they say. With this old adage in mind, we’ve compiled our best tips for anyone who wants to send emails that subscribers click into a handy email design guide. We cover each facet of design: content, templates, identity, color, images, layout, fonts, and calls to action. Design is as much science as it is art, and we take the guesswork out of what can seem like the most challenging part of sending good emails.
There’s significant upside to adopting email marketing. It generates the highest return on investment (ROI) out of the most common digital channels, earning businesses an average of $38 for every dollar invested, according to a VentureBeat Insight study. It also cites that “84% of marketers believe email is important or critically important for customer loyalty.”

Make it shareable. Send content that people want to share, and make it easy for them to do it. Sure, subscribers can forward your campaign to friends, but that's a lot to ask. Include a public link to the web version of your campaign so people can read it outside of their email programs, and consider adding Twitter and Facebook links to your newsletter, so readers can share your content where they're already active. When their friends start sharing and subscribing, you'll know it's working.


You can add more detail to your emails with GetResponse, as well. It can import images from Flickr, Facebook, and iStock, sell products in emails with PayPal buttons, and even reuse text from previous emails with its snippets feature. Then, you can schedule your emails in advance by dragging them to the correct date on a calendar. And if you're promoting your products online, GetResponse has you covered with tools to import contacts from Facebook forms and Twitter ads.

When we do e-mail marketing, we follow all CAN-SPAM e-mail practices. This means that with every e-mail we send, we give recipients an easy way to be removed from the mailing list. It also means we follow certain guidelines when acquiring e-mail addresses and even keep the source and date of addition for every e-mail we have. Finally, with e-mail marketing we use "white listed" servers, meaning servers that have been tagged as acceptable by the main internet providers. This results in a higher percentage of our mail getting to the inbox, rather than the junk mail box.


I think this email also makes quite a brilliant use of responsive design. The colors are bright, and it's not too hard to scroll and click -- notice the CTAs are large enough for me to hit with my thumbs. Also, the mobile email actually has features that make sense for recipients who are on their mobile device. Check out the CTA at the bottom of the email, for example: The "Open Stitcher Radio" button prompts the app to open on your phone.
At the end of the day, the right email marketing tool is one that will always be able to fit the changing needs of your business. Email tools that can be configured, customized, and adapted mean that no matter what form your organization takes, or where it might be headed, you’ll always have the right tools to keep your email marketing campaigns achieving results.
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.
Carl: Yeah, absolutely. And then on the drip side, often times, when you create a drip, you want to, before you even map what the drip is going to look like, have a goal in mind. So what is your goal? In the example we shared with MailChimp, their goal was to get new customers onboarded and to get them to know about the different features that they offer.
Get direct access to those who matter in your target market, and improve your marketing and sales drive with our targeted email marketing lists. The success a quality, current and consistent targeted lists plays in your business success cannot be downplayed. Even well thought-out marketing and sales drive have fallen short because of inadequate and inaccurate list building services.
Make it easy to subscribe. Post a signup form on your homepage, blog, Facebook page, and wherever else your customers and fans are already active. You might want to collect names and birthdays (for a special offer or gift) or invite readers to join groups, but don't go crazy with the required fields. A too-long subscribe form might scare people off.
A. Whether a seller or forwarder is a “sender” or “initiator” depends on the facts. So deciding if the CAN-SPAM Act applies to a commercial “forward-to-a-friend” message often depends on whether the seller has offered to pay the forwarder or give the forwarder some other benefit. For example, if the seller offers money, coupons, discounts, awards, additional entries in a sweepstakes, or the like in exchange for forwarding a message, the seller may be responsible for compliance. Or if a seller pays or give a benefit to someone in exchange for generating traffic to a website or for any form of referral, the seller is likely to have compliance obligations under the CAN-SPAM Act.

We strongly suggest that you get permission from all of your subscribers before sending emails, especially with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation in effect. And most email service providers, like VerticalResponse, require you have permission before sending any email through their service. The only time you don’t have to warn readers about ads? If everyone on your list has agreed to receive your emails.
I recently had my MailChimp account suspended. One of my sites is in the ‘make money online’ space. It’s a completely legitimate website, but apparently if your emails contain keywords they don’t like, they will suspend you. I would not recommend using them. Contacting support I just get form responses that are completely unhelpful. There’s no phone support- just account termination. Really bad experience. Luckily, this is a very new site- but imagine if you have thousands of emails and they just shut you down without ANY recourse.

Carl: They’re most likely to open a new emails when they just sign up, versus a month from now, versus a year from now. You’ll see this tail basically, your email rate tailing off in terms of open rates and click rates, and that is expected. So as a marketer, if you see that, don’t freak out. It doesn’t mean that your second or third email are really bad. It’s just a normal user behavior that you’ll see throughout your campaigns.


Beyond that, avoid using all caps, too many exclamation marks, and hyperbolic phrases ("ACT NOW BEFORE TIME RUNS OUT!!!!"). Poorly formatted HTML in your emails can also hurt how they’re handled. Every spam filter is different, so an email might pass through one filter but get flagged by another. For more comprehensive info on how spam filters work and how to avoid them, check out this guide by MailChimp.
But there's a happy medium if you'd like more control. You can host your own email app, and then use a transactional email sending service—including Amazon SES, Mailchimp's Mandrill, SendGrid, and Mailgun—to send your messages. That gives you the flexibility of an app that you control, the cost savings of bulk email sending, and the confidence of sending emails with a dedicated service that delivers your messages to any email app, anywhere.
With a clean and minimalist design, Benchmark is one of the most user-friendly newsletter tools we’ve tried. What’s more, their free Starter plan gives you access to all areas – marketing automation, forms, surveys and reporting included – with a few caveats (you won’t be able to activate automations or A/B tests, for example, and sign-up forms will only allow you to add 75 subscribers a day).
As your email-marketing service provider, we'll get your emails into customers' inboxes with lightening speed and laser-beam focus. We treat your contact list as the MVP of data, for its ability to provide meaningful, actionable insights into your potential and current customers. From that data, we segment, target, deploy, test and refine your email campaigns. All the while, we identify key performance indicators and trends that help us repeatedly stay in front of your customers.
A/B test your headlines – For emails going to larger audiences, don’t be afraid to test different types of subject line. If you are contacting several hundred prospects at once via autoresponder, try a handful of different headlines to see which perform best. Software that supports A/B testing in a single batch is even more effective because you can keep all variables static except for the subject line. 
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