Did you know that agencies and local businesses can get a 4,400% return on investment (ROI) from their email marketing automation campaigns?
If not, then you probably belong to one of the 82% B2B and B2C organizations that use email marketing as one of their core marketing efforts. Which means that you’re enjoying a $44 return on every dollar that you spend.
With such staggering statistics, it’s no surprise that almost every business today is jumping on the email marketing automation bandwagon. In fact, research indicates that 95% of the companies that use marketing automation take advantage of email marketing.
However, with great power comes great responsibility!
It’s very easy for agencies to lose control when it comes to implementing their email marketing campaigns, especially since the technology is automated and is really easy to execute. One minute you have the answer to your lead generation query through marketing automation, the next minute you feel as if you’re back to square one, as your potential customer just marked your email as spam in their inbox.
There’s a thin line between email marketing and spam emails and it’s imperative that agencies know that difference. Nurturing prospects and guiding them towards the end of the customer funnel is the main purpose of email marketing automation, a process that is hindered by spam.
According to a survey conducted in 2013, one of the top reasons why people label marketing emails as spam is because they receive too many emails from the same company.
One reason for that is the use of blast email marketing software, which, as the name suggests, provides agencies with the functionality to ‘blast’ multiple emails to a large number of people at one go. The area where this software fails to deliver value, however, is setting up methodical algorithms that segment and control emails based on interaction with the potential customers.
Agencies must exploit the functionality to set up triggered emails using drip campaigns. Based on a ‘if this, then that’ workflow that can be constructed using email marketing automation software, agencies and local businesses can be twice as effective while generating leads.
Another reason why people mark marketing emails as spam is that the content sent to them is neither relevant nor interesting. This could be either due to a lack of personalization or a prospect being added to the wrong list.
This is another area where email marketing automation provides value to agencies since the software ensures that there isn’t any wasted opportunity with respect to the content being sent.
Furthermore, the software is also critical in maintaining personalization, a concept that has proven crucial time and again when it comes to increasing engagement. So much that, according to research, emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened.
Best Email Marketing Automation Software
Now that we have an idea about the ‘whys’ of email marketing automation, it’s time to understand the ‘hows’ and ‘whats’ of it as well.
How must agencies and local businesses enjoy the benefits of this process and what are the best tools that they must employ?
Here’s a list that we’ve curated (organized alphabetically) of the best email marketing automation tools present in the market today:
What works really well for this tool is that in addition to its easy-to-use interface, it also provides customers with value by not expecting them to be technology experts when it comes to designing email campaigns.
There’s an interesting video on the ActiveCampaign website that showcases the ease with which customers can create their email marketing automation campaigns in a matter of minutes by using a cool drag-and-drop feature.
Furthermore, the tool provides the functionality to design different types of emails that range from broadcast emails to the more customer-focussed triggered emails. One can choose to schedule their emails at a specific date and time, and can also exploit the autoresponder feature.
Lastly, there is the possibility for customers to segment their email marketing campaigns, which proves to be valuable when it comes to executing dynamic content. Using this feature, users can send emails targeting a specific customer base and accordingly get the best returns.
Depending on the number of contacts a business has, the price for using the ActiveCampaign automation tool varies. The pricing (for a minimum of 500 contacts) starts from US $15 a month for the Lite package and goes up to US $309 a month for the fully-loaded Enterprise package.
In today’s age, when everyone is looking for convenient ways to get their tasks done, all email marketing automation tools are striving to equip themselves with features that save time and are convenient. One of those features is drag-and-drop, which seems to be a game-changing value proposition for companies.
Autopilot, in an attempt to give its potential customers a taste of that feature, has put the drag-and-drop editor functionality right on its webpage for users to play around with. One can drag elements on a semi pre-made email campaign to get a gist of the real thing. Users would, however, only be able to design extended campaigns using the more intricate ‘if this, then that’ algorithms once they sign up for the tool.
There’s also a short video, which could be a little hard to find on the website if you’re in a hurry to get information, that explains the features of Autopilot’s automation process. It talks about how the tool helps users ‘connect the dots in a visual way’ and stands true to its name of working on ‘autopilot’ mode in the background. This helps them save time and multitask better.
In terms of the pricing for the tool, Autopilot differentiates between its packages on the basis of the number of contacts a business has, instead of the number of features that they provide.
So, if your business has 2,000 contacts, then be prepared to shell out US $49 a month under the Silver package. For 5,000 and 10,000 contacts, businesses would have to pay US $149 (Gold package) and US $249 (Platinum package) a month respectively.
The AWeber email marketing automation tool boasts about having the drag-and-drop editor as well, which makes us believe beyond certainty that the functionality is a necessity when it comes to showcasing convenience to customers. However, in this case, the feature is used for a different reason as opposed to designing the ‘if this, then that’ algorithm
The AWeber tool facilitates users to use the drag-and-drop feature to design email campaigns from scratch without writing any sort of html code. Furthermore, the tool also offers users with the option to utilize one of its four pre-built email campaigns in just a matter of seconds.
AWeber also has all the standard features needed in an email marketing automation software like incorporating automation based on customer interaction, tracking results using robust analytics, and using the split A/B testing feature to experiment with different email strategies.
When it comes to pricing, AWeber hasn’t labeled the different packages that is has, but like Autopilot differentiates between them on the basis of the number of contacts. Therefore, the pricing starts at US $19 a month for 0-500 contacts and goes upto US $149 a month for businesses that plan to send automated emails to 10,001-25,000 contacts.
And there’s the legendary drag-and-drop feature again. In addition to using the functionality to help users design the layouts of their email campaigns, Campaign Monitor also uses that feature to help them design their ‘if this, then that’ algorithms.
The capability to design campaigns, using a variety of ‘professionally-designed templates’, empowers users to drive engagement and boost their bottom line. Furthermore, the tool also offers the capability to track a customer journey by analysing the level of engagement with the automated emails, thereby designing processes to target specific people with specific purposes.
The pricing plans for Campaign Monitor are a blend between the number of contacts a business has and the features it plans to use. For a minimum of 500 contacts, the tool would cost companies US $6.80 a month under the Basic package with limited features. For more features, companies would need to shell out US $29 a month under the Unlimited package and US $150 a month for the fully-loaded Premier package.
Being true to its name, the Drip marketing automation tool provides users with value by helping them design drip email marketing campaigns with ease. Even though its website doesn’t showcase the drag-and-drop feature anywhere, the tool enables users to design their email workflows without having prior knowledge of writing any sort of code.
What stands out for Drip is its focus towards the ecommerce domain. The tool’s ecommerce CRM (ECRM) functionalities help users master the ecommerce platform through personalization and optimization of campaigns. In addition to that, it also provides users with access to an ECRM dashboard to measure and analyze the customer journey through data and analytics.
Just like some of its competitors, the price for Drip varies depending on the number of contacts a business plans to target, instead of the features provided. Therefore, for a minimum of 2,500 contacts, businesses will need to pay US $49 a month.
GetResponse is primarily known for its email newsletter sending functionality that helps users design and send broadcast emails at ‘the right time.’ The tool boasts a 99% email deliverability guarantee on its website, which means users can be assured that when they send out an email, it will be delivered to their contacts.
One of the interesting features about this email marketing automation tool is its autoresponder function that helps users nurture their customers through automated follow-up emails. Apart from that, GetResponse also has the standard triggered email functionality that facilitates users to target customers based on certain triggers like website visits and call-to-action clicks.
When it comes to pricing, the packages differ from each other based on both the number of contacts as well as the features provided. Therefore, for a minimum of 1,000 contacts, businesses need to pay around US $12 a month under the Basic package, US $40 a month under the Plus package, and US $81 a month under the Professional package.
HubSpot’s marketing automation platform claims to be an ‘all-in-one inbound marketing software’ and allows users to design emails using pre-made templates. The CRM enables users to keep a track of the analytics for their campaigns by analyzing click-through and open rates. This helps users to curate campaigns based on understanding different customer journeys.
HubSpot also offers scalability to its users and therefore is a great tool when it comes to closing prospects and potential customers. The email marketing automation tool has the capability to allow users to implement tailor-made content and create automated workflows for better impact.
For a 1,000 contacts, the pricing of the tool starts at US $50 a month under the Starter pack with limited features. For additional features, businesses would have to pay US $800 a month for the Professional package, or US $3,200 a month for the Enterprise package.
Mailchimp is a convenient tool when it comes to sending automated drip emails. The tool is handy for users who prefer all their email marketing automation needs to be in one place. Prominent features for the tool include a CRM dashboard, email segmentation, and the capability to incorporate personalization to target customers in the most impactful manner.
Another interesting feature that Mailchimp offers its users is the retargeting ads feature. Using this, users have the ability to target customers who visited a website, did not make a purchase, but are more than likely to make one. With the use of analytics, users can figure out the data surrounding what worked and what did not, which helps them save time and resources.
Mailchimp offers its tool (with limited features) for free to businesses that are early in their startup phase. For established ones, on the lookout for more features, the pricing starts from US $9.99 a month for the Essentials package, US $14.99 a month for the Standard package, and US $299 a month for the Premium package.
The Ontraport website has an ‘in-your-face’ video that shows up as soon as you visit the homepage. The video is a testimonial from one of their email marketing automation tool users, who begins by saying, “I processed, the other day, US $51,000 in sales, and I was actually at the park with my kid.”
That quote, in a nutshell, sums up everything that one needs to know about the Ontraport automation process. Using this tool, users can manage their contacts with ease, design and send email campaigns, and create landing pages using existing templates. Furthermore, it also helps them create user-specific workflows to increase engagement and ultimately drive sales.
The Ontraport pricing varies depending on both the number of contacts as well as the features provided. For a minimum of 1,000 contacts, users would have to pay US $79 a month under the Basic package. For 2,500 contacts, they would have to shell out US $147 a month for the Plus package. The most popular package on their website is the Pro package, which is US $297 a month for 10,000 contacts.
Pardot has a robust email marketing automation software that is used by large enterprises to execute a large number of email campaigns on a daily basis. The tool empowers users to design and send personalized email content to their customers, while tracking its analytics.
In addition to offering features like an intuitive email builder, which helps users design emails using ‘out-of-the-box’ templates, Pardot also gives users access to an engagement feature that helps them schedule emails and nurture leads based on past testing and reporting patterns.
Furthermore, the tool allows users to bring in a level of personalization that provides them with the desired value that they’re looking for. This includes utilizing automatic segmentation of emails and campaigns so that customers can be targeted in a better and more efficient manner.
In terms of the pricing, since Pardot is meant for large enterprises, the cost for a business to use its services starts upwards from US $1,250 a month for up to 10,000 contacts.
In addition to providing email marketing automation services, Sendinblue also provides users with the option to execute SMS campaigns. Also, the drag-and-drop feature makes a return to the fray, as Sendinblue allows users to design their personalized email campaigns that way.
Apart from that, the tool helps users optimize their email campaigns by helping them understand engagement levels through advanced reports. Furthermore, there is the provision for users to design segmented workflows, and the option to create tailor-made landing pages as well.
The pricing plans for Sendinblue vary depending on the number of emails a business intends to send in a day. Users can get access to the tool for free if they keep within a limit of 300 emails a day. For 40,000 emails a day, they would have to pay US $27 a month under the Lite package, and US $71 a month for the most popular package, the Premium package, which allows users 120,000 contacts.
Saving the best for last, were we? (nudge nudge, wink wink)
All kidding aside, Vendasta does offer a very robust and end-to-end marketing automation platform with some game-changing features. The ideal automation process at Vendasta can be broken down into three elements and, therefore, has features that make it stand out.
To begin with, Vendasta empowers users with optimal data collection functionalities that help them get the attention of potential customers. This is done through the Snapshot Report, which enables users to get access to a report that contains a detailed analysis of a customer’s business, and identifies potential areas of improvement.
The platform also provides access to ready-to-use drip email campaigns. Using these pre-made email templates, which can be customized according to a specific target market, users can save time, effort, and resources when it comes to generating leads and driving product adoption.
And finally, one of the most revolutionary features that the Vendasta email marketing automation software has is its hot lead notifications feature that facilitates users to track customer activity. This feature helps users strike when the iron is hot as it deciphers the opportune time to contact and close a potential customer based on their interaction with an email campaign.
The pricing for the platform varies based on the features that a user wants. Businesses looking for minimal features can start using the platform for free. For others on the lookout for more features, the plans begin from US $37 a month for the Starter package and go up to US $754 a month (annual commitment) for the Pro package.
Looking at the list of email marketing automation tools mentioned above, users must choose the software that best suits them depending on their needs and preferences.
While some businesses might have a strong inclination towards convenience and would opt for a tool that has the drag-and-drop feature, others might be on the lookout for a more robust and technical platform to meet their scaling demands.
Therefore, depending on the strategies that users have mapped for their business, they must accordingly determine which tool provides them with the most value and ultimately offers them valuable solutions for all of their marketing and sales-related pain points.