There are so many email marketing platforms out there Active Campaign, Convertkit, MailChimp to name but a few. But which is the best email marketing software? Wonder no more my friends I’m talking about my top 3 in this blog post.
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What is email marketing software and why do you need it?
Email marketing software is software that helps you collect and manage email addresses as people sign up to your list. This includes the ability to create sign-up forms and landing pages, send regular newsletters and set up automated sequences of emails.
Using email marketing software will make your life so much easier than trying to do these things manually, once you’ve got it set up it will effectively run itself as long as you keep sending traffic to your landing page.
It will give you the ability to create sign up forms and some even let you create landing pages for your sign-up forms so you don’t even need a website to start building your list.
You’ll be able to customise your sign up forms to match your branding, as well as choosing which fields to include on that form. A couple of words of wisdom – make your sign up forms as easy to use as possible. Keep the number of fields people need to fill in to a minimum because people can’t be bothered filling huge forms just to join your mailing list. I recommend a maximum of name, so you can personalise your emails, and email address. That way you’re making it as quick and easy as possible for people to sign up.
The whole point of building your list is so that you can send emails to your subscribers, right?
Your email marketing software will make it easy for you to pick and choose which subscribers get which emails or you can choose to send to everyone. Which you decide to do will depend on the kind of email you’re sending out.
When it comes to sending emails to your subscribers my advice is to make sure you send them useful content, don’t just make it about the sell.
Automated email sequences
The best email marketing software will allow you to create automated email sequences based on some kind of trigger. This could be anything from someone new signing up to your list to them clicking a link in an email.
I always recommend that you have a welcome sequence of emails set up for when new people join your list, so that they can learn more about you early on. Remember that they’re at their most interested in you when they’ve just signed up, I mean they’ve literally just handed over their email address to you, so make the most of it.
Ever heard people talk about email funnels? They’re basically a sequence of emails designed to nurture your subscribers towards a desired goal – usually to buy your thing.
What are the options?
There are loads of email marketing platforms out there, but in this blog post I’m going to be talking about 3 of the more popular ones. In this week’s email I’m going to be talking about an extra 2 options so make sure you keep your eyes peeled for it in your inbox later today.
Not on my mailing list yet?
MailChimp is one of the more common choices for email marketing software when people are starting out. Their free plan allows you to have up to 2000 contacts as well as tools for you to look at your subscribers behaviour to help you tailor your content to them.
I started out using MailChimp but switched away from them in late 2019. I switched away because I found the changes they had made to become more like a customer relationship management system made it more difficult to use.
For example they changed the name of your subscriber lists to ‘audiences’. As part of those updates they also changed their terms and conditions which meant that free plans only had 1 audience. I felt like they’d pulled the rug out from under the feet of their free-plan users and it just didn’t sit right with me.
Up until recently ConvertKit didn’t have a free plan and I’m disappointed to say that I actually found it really difficult to find out just what the free plan offers in terms of features and subscribers before I created my free account. In the end I had to message them via chat just to see how it worked.
You can set up forms and landing pages and collect unlimited subscribers but I can’t actually email any of them unless I invite friends to join ConvertKit. If you invite 10 friends you can get 1000 subscribers free. If I’m honest I think this is a poor excuse for a free plan. In my view a free plan should include basic email marketing software functionality as standard, even if it’s limited.
I have, however, included them on this list because they’re paid plans offer some great functionality. Their landing pages and forms are easy to create with templates for you to choose from. I like that their email automations and sequences are shown in a visual way, like flow charts, and the interface in general is really easy to use. It would be an ideal platform for beginners if they’d created a better free plan.
MailerLite is the platform I switched to from MailChimp last year. The free plan allows up to 1000 subscribers and for you to send up to 12,000 emails per month. As far as I’m concerned, that’s plenty of a basic plan. In a normal month I send weekly emails, which even with the maximum number of subscribers the free plan offers, keeps me well below the email limit. Throw in the 7 email welcome sequence I have set up and I still have plenty of wriggle room for new subscribers and any one off promotional campaigns I might decide to send.
If you wanted to send unlimited emails for a list below 1000 subscribers you could upgrade to a paid plan for $10 a month, which I think is pretty reasonable.
What I like about MailerLite is that they call a spade a spade. You want to see your subscribers? Click the Subscribers tab. You want to look at your forms or automations? Click those tabs. It doesn’t try to confuse you with alternative names for it’s features, it just does what it says on the tin. When you consider that a lot of people find email marketing software downright confusing at times, this is as valuable as any feature.
They also show your email sequences in a visual way, just like ConvertKit, so it’s easy to see where people are dropping out of your funnels.
|Drag and drop editor||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Embedded sign-up forms||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Subscriber management||Yes||Not unless you refer people to ConvertKit||Yes|
|Email automation||Yes||Not unless you refer people to ConvertKit||Single step automations only|
|Cost||Starting at $10 a month||$29 per month||Starting at $9.99 per month|
|Live Chat support||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Remove EMS branding||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Access more templates||Yes||No difference from free plan||Yes|
|Email Automation||Yes||Yes||Single step automation only|
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Which is the best email marketing software?
For anyone starting out with email marketing I’d recommend MailerLite as the best email marketing software. Like I mentioned before it’s straightforward to use and gives you basic email marketing software features as part of the free plan.
When it comes to people with bigger email lists you may find ConvertKit more up your street. They allow you to create detailed user profiles vs the grouping system used by MailerLite, which will help you target your users with more relevant content and offers.