When it comes to email platforms for small businesses, there are several factors that you have to take into consideration. A business can benefit from a more secure platform, one that allows for more control, and a variety of features that aren’t necessarily available on other platforms. However, with so many options to choose from, it can be challenging to find the best fit.
All small businesses need a platform from which to utilize email marketing. Email marketing is the best way to reach customers, prospects and partners. You should choose an email marketing platform that is cost-effective, customizable and reliable. Below are the top five best email platforms for small business:
What Features Should I Look for in an Email Marketing Tool?
Today’s email marketing platforms do more than just send email to your list. There are many features and capabilities you’ll want to consider and evaluate before choosing the best email marketing tool for your small business.
Drag & Drop Builder
Creating eye-catching HTML emails is essential for small businesses for getting newsletters and promos read in the inbox. These emails include elements outside of simple plain text, including images, colors, different font-styles and more. The tricky part is that email clients (inboxes like Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo, iPhone mobile, and the multitude of others) don’t follow the same rules when it comes to displaying HTML emails.
A drag & drop email builder is essential for small businesses that want to send well-designed emails that look great in any email client. Drag & drop email builders do double duty for small businesses. They make it super simple to create email layouts, add text and pull in images – without the need to know any HTML code. And, they are designed to render your HTML email flawlessly in most ever email client.
While you are doing a trial of an email tool, spend a little bit of time in their drag and drop builder to evaluate ease-of-use. You may also want to try a few test sends to the email clients you send to the most and make sure you get the results you expect.
Even small businesses can be organized in complex ways, and your email marketing tool should help you work efficiently.
You may need the ability to create sub-accounts if you want to treat communication channels differently in different departments. Small businesses that have clients, such as business coaches, consultants and marketing agencies, may require a way to share email templates across client accounts.
As your email marketing efforts grow, so do your lists of contacts. As everyone knows, there’s money in your lists – and you don’t want a rogue client or employee to take off with your proprietary data. If security is a concert for your small business, you’ll want to evaluate your options for protecting your lists.
The cold hard truth of email marketing today is that not every email will make it to the inbox. However, there are steps you can take to protect your sender reputation and ensure you’re delivering as many emails as possible.
As you compare platforms, take note of deliverability help they provide. Email verification, spam checkers, whitelabel IP, and DKIM authentication can all give your business a boost in the battle for the inbox.
Small businesses can have a giant reach as they grow their email list. List building tools, like online forms, surveys and polls can help you capture a wider audience. As you test out new email marketing platforms, take a look at their list building tools. Do they have forms? Will they embed seamlessly with your website? Understand if you’ll need a technical resource or not to take advantage of any list building tools an email marketing platform offers.
As an email marketing best practice, you want to send the most relevant message to everyone on your list. That’s where segmentation comes in. Your customer’s inbox is a competitive place to reach, and sending a generic message to your whole list is rarely a recipe for getting noticed.
Pulling a list of contacts who opened a certain email or clicked a specific link can help small businesses refine their message and improve engagement with their contacts. As you compare email tools, make sure you have an easy way to slice and dice your contact data and get the right message into the right hands with every send.
Speaking of sending the right message at the right time, automation is helping small businesses scale their email marketing efforts. Email automation can help you send one-to-one emails to a large list of contacts.
An email automation is a series of triggers and actions that fire automatically. Triggers can be signals such as a contact getting added to a list, opening an email, or clicking a link. Meanwhile, actions can be steps like sending a specific email or removing a contact from a list. Even just a few triggers and actions put together can create powerful workflows for small businesses.
For instance, an automation can send a special offer to a contact who fills out an offer form. More complex automations can including sending a reminder email to a contact who has put an item in their shopping cart, but has not bought it yet.
Automations can vary from platform to platform, so get a handle on the scope of automation actions and triggers before you make your final decision.
Digital buying behavior is changing all of the time. A subject line that may have gotten noticed a year ago may feel stale today. Testing subject lines and email copy can set your email marketing efforts apart from the pack.
A/B testing features can be simple or complex. It’s definitely a feature that can help you improve engagement – as long as it’s easy to use for your business.
Measuring the success of email marketing is simple with good reporting tools. If there are metrics you want to track that go beyond the basics of open and click-through rates, make sure you can get to the data you need with your email marketing tool.
HubSpot is one of the most well-known softwares in the CRM and email marketing space.
Their email marketing service is free to start, and it comes with a lot of powerful automation features designed to grow your business.
You can use their easy drag-and-drop email builder and a selection of templates to create a completely custom newsletter that matches your brand’s personality and colors.
Because of the native integration with the HubSpot CRM, you can personalize your emails for each subscriber based on things like device type, country, list membership, or any other custom information you might have on the individual subscriber.
HubSpot comes with all the powerful feature you’d expect from an enterprise level email marketing software such as send time optimization, high email deliverability, A/B testing, detailed performance analytics, marketing automation, drip campaigns, and more.
One of the main reasons why small, medium, and enterprise customers choose HubSpot is because they offer an all-in-one marketing platform that includes email marketing, CRM, automation workflows, sales tools, website builder, operation hub, and more.
Hubspot Email Marketing has a free plan, which includes the CRM and all of HubSpot’s free marketing, sales, service, and operations tools.
The free version allows you to send 2,000 emails and store an unlimited number of subscribers. You can create custom signup and popup forms, build landing pages, manage and track your online ads, and more. It has all the tools you need to get started.
If you need more advanced capabilities, then their paid plans starts at $45/month.
AWeber is suitable for those who based their businesses in the web marketing industry and are looking for a reliable tool while having a limited budget.
In fact, according to their official website, AWeber’s mission statement is to “deliver powerfully-simple email marketing for small businesses that does 90% of the work for you. We leave 10% for you to have fun!” And who doesn’t want to have fun?!
Beginners can benefit from AWeber’s detailed and intuitive reports. The more experienced power users can take advantage of split-tests.
<<< Want to grow your email list? Here are 10 different ways to do it. >>>
Features of AWeber include unique features like a prebuilt template library, an AI-powered design assistant, a drag-and-drop email and landing page designer, campaign marketplace, and automated campaign features.
Drip is a powerful email marketing platform, with high WooCommerce integration. It’s a particularly good option if you run an e-commerce website. It has smart marketing automation tools and intelligent email segmentation.
Drip also provides a ton of support through live chat, as well as with webinars, complete online courses, and excellent documentation.
It may not be the cheapest option depending on what your email marketing outreach needs are, but it’s worth the money to maximize your marketing efforts. Look at their pricing more here.
Omnisend is a powerful SMS & email marketing service for eCommerce businesses who are looking for an omni-channel marketing automation solution.
They offer one of the most generous free email marketing plans because it includes all the powerful features like pre-built automation workflows, subscriber segmentation, A/B testing, performance reports, and even SMS + web push notification.
Most other free email marketing plans are restricted, but Omnisend is confident in their value proposition, so they offer most everything in their free plan. As your contact list grows, you will need to upgrade to their paid plans.
Omnisend seamlessly integrates with all the popular website builder and eCommerce platforms like WooCommerce, Shopify, BigCommerce, and more. They also have integration with hundreds of other business tools like live chat software, help desk service, and more.
The best thing that we liked about Omnisend is their pre-built eCommerce marketing automation workflows that are designed to help you drive more revenue. This includes emails like welcome email series, cart abandonment emails, cross-sell emails, and more.
Their email builder is very easy to use and comes with a large selection of email templates, so you can create beautiful, on-brand campaigns. Once it’s set up, you can personalize the email using their powerful targeting and segmentation features.
What a lot of users love about Omnisend is that they offer SMS built-in, so you don’t have to pay for a separate software, and their SMS feature allows you to send messages in 209 regions across the world.
Omnisend free email marketing plan allows you to contact up to 250 subscribers, and their paid plans start at $16 per month.
You’ve probably seen email marketing in the news recently. The tone is often “look at this spamming business, they couldn’t care less about our privacy” — but if you’re a small business owner you probably have receieved a few emails yourself that gave you pause. The best way to prevent these emails from hitting your inbox in the first place is to have a professional email platform.