Which email marketing service provider should you be working with?

With plenty of E-mail marketing service providers out there to choose from, finding a good fit takes a little bit of research. We’ve worked with plenty, so when someone asks us which one is “best,” we know that it all depends on the needs of the client. To help you get started, consider some of these popular platforms and our experiences with each.

Our Choice: MailChimp

PROS: Like Constant Contact, MailChimp is a leading choice among mainstream marketers. It has all the common features that you would expect from a leading email service provider, but does it all for a lower price point than many similar paid subscriptions. The free service allows a generous 2,000 email list. User interface is easy, there are no restrictions on image uploads. It is responsive and the code is clean. It offers A/B testing, which is a big plus for us, and for paid subscriptions, you get some great automated email features.

CONS: If you want access to great customer support, it’s lacking—especially with the free plan. With a paid plan, you can email or chat for support but you can’t get a real person on the phone.

BOTTOM LINE: What makes it right for us is that it is a clear winner over similar plans when it comes to third-party integrations with CRMs, social media and many CMSs.

Client:
Trent Waite Realtor
Service Provider:
Mad Mimi

PROS: For a paid account, Mad Mimi comes in at a pretty low price point compared to other service providers. It has an easy user interface and writes clean code. It’s auto responder feature is pretty solid for the price, and we like the analytics reports.

CONS: There aren’t a whole lot of templates to choose from, if that is important to you. For the free version, it recently reduced the generous amount of emails you could include from 2,500 to just 100. This rules out the free version for most people. And it lacks many of the extras that many other providers offer.

BOTTOM LINE: Mad Mimi does not offer responsive design. Since a large percentage of email users use mobile devices, this is a real problem for us.

Client:
UNCF
Service Provider:
Constant Contact

PROS: Constant Contact is a staple provider of email marketing that has been around for quite a while. It has loads of user interface and organizational options that are easier to manage than many other providers. And they have laods templates and features that marketers just love.

CONS: Constant Contact still lacks A/B testing analytics and the auto response options are very limited.

BOTTOM LINE: Since it limits the number of images you can have in your library to 5 unless you upgrade, it really isn’t practical to avoid paying the higher amount.

Client:
Capital Bank
Service Provider:
ExactTarget

PROS: For organizations that do a large volume of email marketing, ExactTarget has integrated features that make planning, executing and analyzing dynamic email marketing easier. It’s new Content Builder platform provides a much more user-friendly design experience than the classic platform does, and the features are seemingly limitless.

CONS: The pricing can be comparatively high if you don’t need all those extras, and the it can be quite buggy.

BOTTOM LINE: Plenty of bad code is created by content builder that needs to be corrected after several rounds of edits. You wouldn’t pay for this service unless you were emailing in volume, and you would need a code writer to correct all the bad code it writes if you were emailing at that level.

Client:
Prince George’s County Executive
Service Provider:
GovDelivery (Now Granicus)

PROS: If you are in government marketing, you’ve probably either sent or received GovDelivery (Granicus) emails. It’s tailored to constituent-supported services and can integrate with email alerts and other messaging systems that government organizations are using more and more each year.

CONS: It’s not very user-friendly. It’s platform is cumbersome. Access to coding, and editing code are unnecessarily difficult at best. And its too easy to make mistakes that are unattractive.

BOTTOM LINE: It’s the go-to platform for government communications. If you are in politics or government email communications, it’s pretty unavoidable.