Email marketing solutions run the gamut from basic text-based email editors to fully designed HTML or JavaScript templates. Leveraging email for marketing can take several forms, so some packages will attempt to address all of them while others will seek to specialize. For example, some businesses might decide their most effective marketing tactic is a value-add newsletter delivered to a gated community of subscribers. Others might want to tie their emails directly to their product and sales engines, providing special offers and deals to recipients.
Email Octopus’ free plan (‘Shrimp’) allows users to send unlimited emails to up to 2500 subscribers. Users can send emails from multiple email addresses and there are still plenty of templates to experiment with, although it does not include any automation functionality (which is reserved for paying subscribers). If you don’t fancy signing up for an account just yet, 11 completely free templates are available to download directly from their website.
GetResponse is an email marketing tool that helps businesses both maintain their contacts as well as coordinate professional marketing campaigns. It offers a very easy-to-manage database, users can create individual campaigns and manage multiple emailing lists within the software. GetResponse can also be used to build landing pages and surveys and publish newsletters on social media accounts such as Twitter and Facebook.
The primary cost of poorly crafted or mis-targeted emails is lost business opportunities, though in extreme cases it can damage a firm’s reputation as well. But the potential payoff for effective email marketing is substantial; email messages are more likely to be seen and acted upon by decision makers than online content, social media, or advertising.

And that leads us right into understanding service pricing and packaging. The email marketing services we reviewed range from about $3 per month to send out 500 emails per month in Zoho Campaigns to as much as $1,250 per month for up to 10,000 contacts in Pardot. Many email marketing plans include unlimited email sends each month and bill you based on the number of subscribers. If you have a small list, then look for a company that offers a free plan, a low-cost plan for several hundred subscribers, or even a pay-as-you-go plan. On the flip side, many of these services also offer high-volume plans with up to 100,000 or more contacts. Sometimes this requires a custom plan that has to be arranged directly with a sales rep. If you're willing to commit, then look for the companies that offer discounts if you pay yearly rather than monthly. A few also offer money-back guarantees.
Active Trail is an automated communications platform that focuses on SMS and email marketing campaigns. It has a user-friendly newsletter and email editor with a drag-and-drop interface as well as an advanced image editor. Additionally, Active Trail includes predictive delivery which helps users predict the optimal time to send emails to their recipients. It also includes ready-to-use sign up and lead forms, A/B testing and Personalisation tools.

If you are a small business, email marketing templates can be extremely handy. They are designed to be easy-to-use, adaptable, and fit in with any campaign.There are hundreds of thousands of templates out there, many of them free. At DirectIQ, we provide email templates as a part of our services, both for free and paid users.A good template must have the following features:


Constant Contact is a fairly experienced email marketing tool, with nearly 20 years experience in the industry. Customers can take advantage of professional (and mobile optimised) email templates, various customisation options, easy set up and engagement-driving action blocks. This software also includes list building tools, automated welcome emails, contact list segmentation, and email tracking.

Another type of electronic mailing list is a discussion list, in which any subscriber may post. On a discussion list, a subscriber uses the mailing list to send messages to all the other subscribers, who may answer in similar fashion. Thus, actual discussion and information exchanges can happen. Mailing lists of this type are usually topic-oriented (for example, politics, scientific discussion, health problems, joke contests), and the topic may range from extremely narrow to "whatever you think could interest us". In this they are similar to Usenet newsgroups, another form of discussion group that may have an aversion to off-topic messages.

Every week, the folks at InVision send a roundup of their best blog content, their favorite design links from the week, and a new opportunity to win a free t-shirt. (Seriously. They give away a new design every week.) They also sometimes have fun survey questions where they crowdsource for their blog. This week's, for example, asked subscribers what they would do if the internet didn't exist.

If you’d like to keep in touch with our support team through online chat or email, upgrade to our Essentials plan starting at $9.99 a month. Whether you’re hitting a roadblock with an email you’re writing or want more information about how something works, help is available around the clock. And when you’re ready to take your marketing to the next level, we have plans for that, too.


Minimal risk: Some top marketers expect to burn through $10,000 of advertising budget before even knowing if they can make a campaign profitable. (Nope, that’s not an exaggeration. But I’d usually aim for a few hundred dollars—not thousands.) With email marketing, the costs are much, much lower. A simple email marketing software like AWeber is very affordable even if your business isn’t a huge success, yet. And even if you go with something advanced like Infusionsoft, you’re still far away from the kinds of investments many other marketing tactics require. Sure, email marketing and advertising aren’t directly comparable (advertising is mainly used to reach new prospects). But you get the point.
Want your link testing stream-lined? Put the email through a landing page test and within minutes, you’re going to get an overlay of that email with complete results for every link. The ESP tracking report inserts a tracking pixel in your email and you get subscriber data such as how and where the email was opened, how much time the user spent time reading it, and if it was organically forwarded or printed.
This template is a favorite of our clients. The image led theme is perfect for apparel brands. The ability to add call to action (CTA) buttons can boost your conversion rates. It also has clearly distinguishable headers and footers, which can be used to maintain brand consistency.The clear social media icons enable you to extend the email’s reach. The overall design is good for the young, funky, and female crowd. If you’re looking to appeal to both genders, there are other color combinations available.Good For:
What's the difference between them? One-off communications versus prolonged, email-based interactions. For example, email marketing tools are excellent for one-off communications. You can use these tools for the one time you'd like to send someone an automated email response when they join a subscriber list, on their birthday, or when you promote a new product. But marketing automation tools are better suited for prolonged, email-based interactions. For example, you can use marketing automation tools whenever you want to guide someone from a subscriber list to a product purchase. Or you can send thank-you emails or send new product promotions—all without having to lift a finger after the workflow is designed.
In our email marketing software review roundup, we test the top email marketing tools available based on how easy it is to create emails, build subscriber lists, set autoresponders, and pull in other communication-based tools, such as social media management, and web analytics software. To that end, we selected Campaigner and Mailchimp as the best pure-play email marketing services. If you need a more complex tool that can build comprehensive workflows designed to automate the email marketing process, then we recommend HubSpot and Salesforce Pardot, which are better served as marketing automation tools.
An electronic mailing list or email list is a special use of email that allows for widespread distribution of information to many Internet users. It is similar to a traditional mailing list – a list of names and addresses – as might be kept by an organization for sending publications to its members or customers, but typically refers to four things:
GetResponse is an email marketing tool that helps businesses both maintain their contacts as well as coordinate professional marketing campaigns. It offers a very easy-to-manage database, users can create individual campaigns and manage multiple emailing lists within the software. GetResponse can also be used to build landing pages and surveys and publish newsletters on social media accounts such as Twitter and Facebook.
Generating your own list of email contacts who have opted in to receive content from you doesn't just comply with legal regulation and protect your brand reputation. It also presents you with opportunities to grow this list through genuine relationships with new customers. We've already written a post of clever ways to go about doing this, which you can check out here. But below are the basic best practices that have a very big bang for their buck when it comes to consistently growing an email list.
Sample review: Optinmonster “has various forms you can embed on your site to help with email conversion but one of the most interesting ones is the popup. You can set the popup only to appear on ‘exit intent’.  This means that your website visitor can browse all they want and when they are about to exit the website you can have a popup appearing tempting the visitor to leave their email address.” — RazorSocial (World)
Will people understand what you’re trying to say? It’s usually better to avoid topics (or opinions) that are complex if many people are extremely passionate about them. For example, sharing almost any opinion about immigration policy is usually a bad move, unless your audience is unusually homogenous. You could agree 99% with someone and still piss them off by using the wrong term just because they have such a strong “either you agree 100% with us, or you’re our enemy” mentality. I once pointed out that I think it’s unacceptable to capture and torture people for years—especially if they aren’t charged with any crime, there’s no evidence they’ve done anything wrong, and they’re children. I got several emails back from people saying, “you have no idea what you’re talking about” or “you should stick to marketing and leave politics to people who understand it.” They took it as commentary on geo-politics. I just said I’m not okay with pointless torture of children. I thought we’d all agree on that.
A tool that enables eocmmerce retailers to reach their customers via email, SMS messages, web push notifications, Facebook messenger, Viber & Whatsapp, or a combination of platforms. It collects data based on customers’ attributes, browsing behavior, and brand interactions to help customize calls to action. Features include personalization, website tracking, auto-response (welcome, purchase confirmation) and abandoned cart follow-up automation.
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.
Marketing emails need to be personalized to the reader and filled with interesting graphics. Few people want to read emails that are addressed "Dear Sir/Madam" -- as opposed to their first or last name -- and even fewer people want to read an email that simply gives them a wall of text. Visuals help your recipients quickly understand what the point of the email is.
If you are intending to sell multiple products, then this is the template for you. The list structure makes it easy to follow. Once again the white background draws the reader’s attention to the content. The red CTAs stand out due to the contrast with the overall color scheme.There is room to create a heading for each product with a paragraph or bullet list of further details. For the main feature image, you can take the opportunity to explain the purpose of the email. The yellow circles can be useful to promote special offers.Good for:

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 revie... See Full Bio


Marketing emails need to be personalized to the reader and filled with interesting graphics. Few people want to read emails that are addressed "Dear Sir/Madam" -- as opposed to their first or last name -- and even fewer people want to read an email that simply gives them a wall of text. Visuals help your recipients quickly understand what the point of the email is.

If you are intending to sell multiple products, then this is the template for you. The list structure makes it easy to follow. Once again the white background draws the reader’s attention to the content. The red CTAs stand out due to the contrast with the overall color scheme.There is room to create a heading for each product with a paragraph or bullet list of further details. For the main feature image, you can take the opportunity to explain the purpose of the email. The yellow circles can be useful to promote special offers.Good for:
Great flexibility: Email marketing can work for every business. It doesn’t matter whether you sell houses, lingerie, or consulting; you can get lots of sales if you use the right email marketing strategy in the right place. And you can promote practically anything relating to your business—you aren’t limited to sending links to your sales pages. Or rather, if your emails are just links to sales pages, you’re doing it wrong.
Reach Mail is great for business just starting out with email marketing. It offers a free package that enables users to create, schedule and send emails, as a well as a paid version that provides users with more customisation options. The free version is quite unique in the email marketing world as normally these types of tools are only free for a certain period. Reach Mail also includes a nice testing feature which enables users to test their email campaigns on a percentage of their subscriber list.

Not only is InVision's newsletter a great mix of content, but I also love the nice balance between images and text, making it really easy to read and mobile-friendly -- which is especially important, because its newsletters are so long. (Below is just an excerpt, but you can read through the full email here.) We like the clever copy on the call-to-action (CTA) buttons, too.


Did you know there are organizations dedicated to combating email spam? Thank goodness, right? They set up a little thing called a honeypot, which is a planted email address that, when harvested and emailed, identifies the sender as a spammer. Similarly, things called spam traps can be created to identify spammy activity; they're set up when an email address yields a hard bounce because it's old or no longer valid, but still receives consistent traffic. Fishy, eh?
What's the difference between them? One-off communications versus prolonged, email-based interactions. For example, email marketing tools are excellent for one-off communications. You can use these tools for the one time you'd like to send someone an automated email response when they join a subscriber list, on their birthday, or when you promote a new product. But marketing automation tools are better suited for prolonged, email-based interactions. For example, you can use marketing automation tools whenever you want to guide someone from a subscriber list to a product purchase. Or you can send thank-you emails or send new product promotions—all without having to lift a finger after the workflow is designed.
This email template is direct and perfectly designed to promote events. Unusually, the brand name comes on the bottom, with the headline focusing solely on the event itself. Yet the principle remains true.The header gives you the opportunity to outline the event. For example, if it’s a business networking event then the font should be professional, supplemented with a sensible image. Alternatively, for a music concert, you can be more creative.For such a simple theme, it’s a versatile option for a variety of events.Good for:
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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.
Purchased lists are ineffective, and they impact everyone else who uses Mailchimp, too. If you send emails to a list of people whose contact info you bought, many of the emails will get identified as spam. Some spam filters will flag a campaign if anyone with the same IP has sent spam in the past. When you use Mailchimp, your email is delivered through our servers, so if one person sends spam, it could prevent other users’ emails from reaching inboxes. But by forbidding Mailchimp users from using purchased lists, we increase deliverability for everyone.
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