Since starting up as a freelancer five years ago I have been fortunate enough to use a variety of different email platforms and providers. I think when businesses are starting up, it can be very overwhelming working out which email platform to select.
If you have come round to the power of email marketing, whether that be for a newsletter or to nurture your audience, you might be wondering which service is best.
I love email marketing both for B2B and B2C businesses, it’s such a powerful tool! I like to remind my clients that if someone has signed up to give you their marketing permissions THEY WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU! I feel like this needs all caps as many people (like myself) are a little wary of using email to contact their clients and prospects too much. Did you know that 35% of marketers email their customers 3-5 a week?!
Yes, you want to add value and provide information to help, but you can and should also use this platform to sell your services. Hubspot is one of my favourite CRM platforms and they share some brilliant stats in their 2020 email marketing report. The below stats all come from the Hubspot article and really drive home the value of email, particularly for small businesses like ours with limited marketing budgets.
- 31% of B2B marketers say email newsletters are the best way to nurture leads. (Content Marketing Institute, 2020)
- 87% of B2B marketers say email is one of their top free organic distribution channels. (Content Marketing Institute, 2020)
- 59% of marketers say email is their biggest source of ROI. (Emma, 2018)
What do you need? Every business is different
Depending on what field you operate in, your needs will be different. Before selecting a provider, take some time to work out what your requirements are:
- Are you planning to sell specific products?
- Do you want to automate your email flows?
- How much freedom do you need with regards to design?
- How big will your audience get?
- Does the system need to hold data within the EU for legal reasons?
- What sort of analytics are important?
- How will it integrate with your website?
Do your research
Once you know what your requirements are and have checked out some comparison sites, be sure to check for common problems such as emails falling foul of spam filters, potential hidden costs of sending a certain number of emails a month, how easy it would be to switch should you need to. A lot of the services have a free plan that you could start with before upgrading at a later date.
Some thoughts on email service providers that I have used
The three platforms that I work with regularly are Mailchimp, Mailerlite and Hubspot but I have also seen freelancers talk about FloDesk and Active Campaign amongst others. I am not affiliated to any of them.
I find that all the platforms have their own little perks and there are plenty of comparison sites to refer to once you know what you are looking for. It may also depend which website platform you used. I think that with email service providers, it is a little like the WordPress v Squarespace debate – some of it is down to personal preference and some depends on your requirement. The healthy competition is great as it means these providers are constantly innovating!
Vicky, founder of Flicemail, has niched to specialise in Mailchimp and this is the platform I use for my welcome series and newsletter. She said “I started out on Mailchimp purely because one of my first clients was using it. I've worked on many email marketing platforms since, but in the last 12 months I have completely niched down and only work on Mailchimp. Why? They truly aim to serve their users and are constantly working to understand small businesses, and you can see this in all the new features they have rolled out recently. It's becoming a multi-channel platform, which provides so much value.”
I like the Mailerlite email template as I feel like it is very intuitive to use and visually quite appealing. When working on client campaigns, it feels easy to modify designs and also target specific audience segments. However, I have a (currently un-tested) concern that sometimes emails don’t seem to make it to people’s main inbox compared to Mailchimp.
Hubspot is brilliant because it provides tips and advice at every stage, including how to optimise for better engagement. I use this system for a client but they do have a paid for service and use it as a wider marketing platform.
Need some help? Get in touch
If you are starting out with email marketing and could do with a sounding board to run through your plan, I’m here to help. I’d happily research for you, provide feedback or even write or edit your email campaigns. Book a 15 minute call to see how I could help.