Email marketing is a vital part of the marketing mix for most retailers. With 205 billion emails sent each year, and email being one of the most ROI positive channels out there, it is important to choose the right email marketing service for you.
So, which email marketing service is right for my business?
It's a question we get asked all the time and so we thought it was only right to shed some light and share some knowledge to help you make the best decision for your business..
What we're going to compare
How well and extensively an email service can connect to existing business platforms such as ecommerce or CRM tools is integral in getting the most out of your email marketing campaigns. This allows each system to sync data, leading to you utilise their functionality within a single view and create a holistic view of your customer.
The majority of email platforms will offer automation nowadays. It has been recognised as essential for marketers as subscriber lists grow and strategies get more complicated. Ultimately, the level of automation a service offers will allow your business to scale your marketing efforts efficiently while creating sophisticated campaigns to turn leads into customers.
Ease of Use
After signing up for a shiny new email service with the perfect mix of integrations and automation to suit your business needs, the last thing you want to be doing is contacting their support team (more on that next) every 5 minutes trying to set up your first campaign. The tool must make creating email and setting up workflows as easy as possible so even marketers who aren't familiar with email can get going straight away.
No matter how easy the service is to use, there will be times when you will need some assistance, we are only human afterall. The key here is how available the email service provider is to you and what kind of channels they offer to contact them. With accessible opening hours and a variety of communication channels, it means you can solve issues quicker and get your campaigns back up and running.
Everyone wants some bang for their buck, regardless of budget size. What email marketing systems can provide at different price points vary and will certainly be a deciding factor in which tool to go for.
So, let's get into it!
Dotmailer was founded in 1999 and they describe themselves as a marketing automation platform with email at its core.
Dotmailer have a wide variety of integrations at their disposal, covering CRM all the way through to social media marketing. They have created their own integrations with anumber of leading ecommerce providers including premier email marketing integrations with Shopify and Magento.
Magento integrations is where Dotmailer really come into their own. Magento's first and only Premier Technology Partner, their world class marketing automation and integration comes in the form of a plug & play extension. There is no doubt that this is the most feature rich extension available for Magento.
The workflow automation capabilities within Dotmailer are fairly extensive. Some of the most impressive features you are able to automate within your email campaigns include; setting up SMS messages, sending your warehouse a reminder to re-stock certain products and, even sending direct mail.
Another great feature which is available is to create dynamic landing pages personalised to the recipient of the email. Dotmailer gets its power from data so make sure to take advantage of custom data fields for segmentation and targeting.
Ease of Use
Dotmailer features a very intuitive drag & drop system to create campaigns, making it easy to change the format of emails,add button CTAs and much more. They offer a range of mobile responsive, customisable templates aswell, so you don't have to start your email from scratch.
There is an excellent offering in terms of support. As part of onboarding you are offered 1 to 1 training (this does come at an additional cost). Their support page also offers loads of great information,guides and FAQs.They also have free training videos for customers to use. Live website and phone support is also available on a 24/5 basis.
The starting price for basic packages is a little pricier than some of the other platforms such as MailChimp however the features available in the standard package far outweigh competitors. Prices start at £250/month or £350/month if you need the Magento integration as well; thesescale and become competitive as your business grows.
The technology you get for your money is also second to none so don't let it put you off. Be aware that there is an onboarding fee - this is 100% necessary as they run through ISP ramp up and other checks to ensure your mailing list and integration is optimised.
MailChimp is currently the world's largest marketing automation platform. Worth noting is that their servers are in the US; this may pose potential issues for GDPR next year.
MailChimp offers integrations with all major ecommerce platforms, so you're completely covered from that perspective. However, they do not own a premier partner status with any, so expect the integrations to be less feature rich.
MailChimp's app directory also has an extremely wide variety of integrations available. Many are also developed by 3rd parties and so there is often a lack of support for this.
MailChimp offers automation workflows for many features including abandoned carts, reminders, welcome emails and customised order notifications. For abandoned carts and some other transactional emails you'll also need to plugin Mandrill. This has it's own licensing fee.
Automated features include the ability to send personalised product recommendations to customers based on their purchase history.
Ease of Use
MailChimp includes an extensive email template library which are fully customisable via a drag & drop interface.
One great built-in feature they offer is the ability to run your social media ad campaigns through the platform without having to add an extension, making it easy to run a cross-channel campaign through ads to generate leads before following this up with email.
The support MailChimp offers is great including a wide catalogue of resources, live chat and email. However, there is no community led support.
MailChimp offers a 'Forever Free' plan for up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month which includes free templates and reports. This is one of MailChimp's best selling points, making it very affordably for the start-up retailer..
To add more features such as email and chat support it will start to cost more. Any plans that do cost are competitively priced.
Campaign Monitor is specifically an email marketing service, unlike the previous two who have expanded into marketing automation.
Campaign Monitor puts particular emphasis on their integration with Shopify, which pulls data regarding buying behaviour to help you create offers and make emails hyper-personalised.
In terms of other ecommerce platforms, the majority of all other major platforms, such as Magento, are available apart from BigCommerce.
Campaign Monitor supports a variety of automation levels including VIP offers, re-engagement series and birthday offers.
The workflow editor is also very good, providing a visual journey to your automations.
Ease of use
As mentioned previously the workflow editor is on-par with Dotmailer's version, a very easy to use system where you can draw out your customer journeys.
Also on offer is a drag & drop system with hundreds of email templates to choose from. A nice touch is the availability of an app so you can manage your campaigns on the move.
The support Campaign Monitor offers is excellent, again they have a great resource section full of helpful guides and material. A main feature is the 24/7 live chat and phone support, making it accessible to every customer all the time.
The basic package starts at £9/ month which covers an email subscriber list of up to 500 and scales up from there.
Bronto is a marketing automation service that was acquired by Oracle (NetSuite) in 2015.
Bronto offer Shopify and Magento integration apps developed by themselves, there are also WooCommerce and BigCommerce integrations available from third parties.
Their headline integration is for Netsuite's ERP system, unsurprising since they own Bronto. Look for this integration to be full of features.
The automation of workflows in Bronto is extensive, offering the ability to personalise emails based on factors such as abandoned cart and buyer's behaviour on-site. However, these come in the form of app extensions and are not part of their core features
Ease of use
It should come as no surprise this system is drag & drop, along with the others. Making the editing of emails templates (over 700) as easy as possible.
This is another service that offers a mobile app to improve accessibility on the go.
Bronto offers live chat, email and phone support. Where they fall down is product guides and tutorials, to access these you have to sign up to a mailing list. However, they do have a useful blog with articles and white papers.
Price with Bronto is not as clear cut as with the others. Pricing is done on a quotation basis and therefore, you have to contact a sales rep in order to find out how much you'll have to pay each month.
And the winner is...
It really does depend on what factors you value the most. For example, if you're a start-up and need good value for money, then MailChimp's Forever Free plan could be your best bet for a basic, cost-effective tool.
However, if you are looking to scale in the near future and need more complex campaigns. Dotmailer is the way to go. It's ease of use across the board in terms of editing emails and workflows allow you to fully utilise all the features on offer to you.
Need help with your email marketing? Why not talk to our team today on 01344 266 844 and discover how we can transform your business online.