Email marketing will become more technologically advanced in 2020, adopting and integrating more use of artificial intelligence (AI) into its capabilities. AI's primary function in email marketing will be to gather and analyze data in order to deliver better and more targeted experiences to customers, like specific subject lines or personalized email bodies. AI will also make emails more interactive by allowing customers to purchase products directly from the email, streamlining the purchase journey.
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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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Anne: How many "contacts" do you have on your list. Most plans charge by the number of contacts. Some charge by the total number of contacts, some by the contacts per list (which means you pay for duplicates if a single contact is on multiple lists due to your segmentation activities). As both Ray and Gee indicated, most email service providers will meet your functional requirements. I have used MailChimp successfully but switched to ActiveCampaign because of the marketing automation...
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Extra analytics: While most services offer analytic tools, some service provide more amped-up analytical tools. Evaluating which extra analytical tools are best depends largely on your business's email marketing strategy and survey strategy. Some email stats will be important measures for certain businesses, while other companies will have another set of metrics to judge success.
Be sure to look at the tech support offered by each of these companies, as 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.
The most advanced email marketing services offer custom workflows where you can specify triggers based on actions (such as opening an email or making a purchase) or on inaction (such as ignoring emails). With these services, you can also set up a series of emails (such as tutorials) to be sent to segments of users, and you can pause or stop a campaign at any time. You can also move contacts into new segments once they have completed tutorials.
The email software can be learned and used to benefit your business. But the time it takes to learn how to use it and the best way to use it can be time consuming and a lot of trial and error. Although a email marketing service can get that out their for you, the cost can be overwhelming. So, you are going to want someone that also does your social media work as well in order to know your product and get the message out that you want. There are companies out there that can do both and...
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If you put “Email Newsletter” on each month’s to do list, it’s a lot more likely to get done. And you’ll use it for more than just advertising whatever sale you’re currently an affiliate for. Author Emily Freeman made a commitment to send out a newsletter once a week for a month, just to get in the habit. If you’re just getting started, make a commitment as to when you’ll send out your newsletter and ask for accountability from your readers.
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Molly K. McLaughlin is a New York-based writer and editor with more than a decade of experience covering technology. She has tested and reviewed all sorts of software, mobile apps, and gadgets. Before launching her freelance business, she was an editor at PC Magazine, covering consumer electronics, followed by a stint at ConsumerSearch.com, a review website. Molly also runs About.com's Android site and contributes to DealNews and other online publications. Follow her on Twitter @bloggingmolly.
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While social media is an important part of marketing strategies, email marketing remains a vital method to reach your audience. When you use email marketing services, you can post sign-up forms on your social media platforms to grow your contact list. You can also schedule posts on your social media platforms and track your followers' engagement to determine what's popular.
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Whether you already have a list of subscribers or are starting from scratch, email marketing services can help. All of the services we cover let you add contacts manually using copy and paste or by uploading CSV or Microsoft Excel files. Some integrate with third-party software enabling you to import Gmail and other webmail contacts, Salesforce (75.00 Per User Per Month and Up at Salesforce.com) and other CRM data, or other software where you might have contacts stored. Depending on the size and location of your list, third-party integration could be key. Verify whether you can export contacts as well (and how easy it is to do so) should you leave the service. Managing users who unsubscribe should also be easy so you're not accidentally contacting anyone who has opted out of your newsletters.
Drip campaigns, as mentioned above, are automated sets of emails that go out based on specific timelines or user actions. They enable you to stay in touch with groups of people based on events like when a user signs up for an account or how often that user visits your site. Each time a drip email is sent out, it comes from a queue of already-written emails—there's no need to manually write and send each one. They can even be personalized with your contacts' name, company info, and more.
Don’t use exclamation marks or spammy words in your subject lines: that’s a sure way to miss the inboxes and go straight to the spam folder. (How do I know? My own newsletter landed in my very own spam folder when I used the word “free” in the subject.) Use the Mail Tester and Email Subject Line Tester to double check your own subject lines and content before you hit send.
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