The big 3: How to choose email marketing software

If you’re planning to launch an email marketing campaign, you may be in the market for email marketing software
by: Custom Toll Free , April 11, 2017

If you’re planning to launch an email marketing campaign, you may be in the market for email marketing software that can take care of a lot of the heavy lifting.

One recent study of U.S. companies using marketing automation found that email marketing technology is the biggest category, used by 82 percent of respondents compared to 67 percent using social media marketing tools and 60 percent using marketing analytics tools.

While the market is teeming with hundreds of email software varieties, three of the most popular for small businesses include MailChimp, ConvertKit and Constant Contact. Each has slightly different features and capabilities, and you may want to conduct a little research before settling on a brand.

“You can manage your contacts by simply keeping a list of names and emails, or you can create a complex database full of subscribers segmented by demographic slices and engagement levels,” notes Molly K. McLaughlin on “Which method you choose really just depends on how much of your budget you’re willing to allocate towards the tools that can give your company the features it needs.”

A few helpful facts about our top three picks:

MailChimp: Several online sources list this platform as the most effective for rookies and/or small businesses, partly because it’s free with 2,000 or fewer subscribers (prices thereafter start at $10/month). Listed advantages include its ease of use; its ability to integrate with most online systems; its attractive drag-and-drop templates; its e-commerce integration and its ability to effectively capture leads from subscription forms. “You will be able to track which subscribers opened and clicked through on a particular email, and see an overview of whether your open rates are increasing or decreasing over a period of time,” notes Maggie Aland on Advanced features such as email automation are offered at additional cost. Disadvantages apparently include a less-than-responsive customer service department (with no phone support).

ConvertKit: This system can also work for beginners, but does include advanced features such as complex autoresponders that assist as your campaign gains sophistication. It offers plainer, template-free email formats the company says result in higher open rates. Other highlights include the availability of responsive opt-in forms, landing pages, automation and segmentation, and a customer support team. Pricing starts at $29/month for up to 1,000 subscribers, then rises incrementally. Downsides? E-commerce integration is not yet available. “It’s kind of like a CRM, without the heavy price tag,” advises a buying guide published on

Constant Contact: Online sources cite advantages as free custom templates with drag-and-drop editing tools; automation; Facebook promotional features; customer surveys; coupon tracking; live support and e-commerce integration. Disadvantages? Fewer targeting features than ConvertKit’s. “It’s especially useful for businesses that host events thanks to its ability to manage event registration,” notes a review on

If you’re new to email automation and in doubt, McLaughlin advises, you may be best off choosing a company strong in customer service.

“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,” she concludes.

Ask Custom Toll Free how your new email campaign can drive leads for your inbound call marketing.

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