Top Email marketing service provider comparison

Table of Contents

One of the regular questions I get is, “How does Aweber compare to Infusionsoft?”  If you are familiar with either, you will know they are drastically different in functionality and features.  No matter if you are a veteran or internet marketing newbie, choosing the right email subscription plan can be confusing.

Aweber is simply a basic email auto-responder.  Infusionsoft features are much more robust including email, CRM, web analytics, affiliate program, shopping cart, and much more.  If you are a small business owner who wears multiple hats, you’ll want to find a service that’s robust, easy to learn, and reliable.

But, given all this, Aweber and similar services like Mailchimp, GetResponse, iContact, Constant Contact, and Pinpointe have their purpose and at a much cheaper price.

What is Infusionsoft used for?  Alternative, Infusionsoft software or Office Ontraport is all-in-one automated marketing software solution that will change your small or large business.

The first rule for starting a blog or small website is to collect and manage email addresses.  It’s a cardinal rule!  Everyone’s big regret is not collecting emails from day-one.  There is money in the email list!

What Do Aweber and GetResponse and Constant Contact Do?

Collectively, they are all tools for handling your mailing list, autoresponders, producing eye-catching newsletter templates to grab attention, and sending newsletter and communications with your subscribers.   The autoresponders are used to send e-newsletters at pre-determined times.  For example, it may automatically send a new subscriber a welcome email or send a coupon or incentive to a subscriber a week later.  Many businesses have pre-written material which the autoresponders automatically send to subscribers on a weekly basis.  The emails tend to be coordinated with the members’ sign up date.

Who is the best Email Marketing Software For Small Business? 

These are all considered marketing tools.  They are not intended to be used for individual or residential email.  Ideally, these email marketing companies should be used for bulk emails and surveys that apply to an internet property.  Some people will ask me, “What is the best free email service provider?”  or “Who is the best free bulk email service provider?”  None of these email marketing providers are free and are intended for personal use.

PRICING – How Much Is Constant Contact, Aweber, GetResponse, iContact, Pinpointe, Infusionsoft, and Office Ontraport?

Aweber Pricing

  • $1 full-featured service for first month
  • Basic package: $19/month, up to 500 subscribers, unlimited emails
  • No annual discounts (pre-pay)
  • 30-day money back guarantee with hassle-free refund
  • No long-term contacts
  • No setup fees or hidden charges with any account plan
  • Forms of payment: Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, checks and money orders

GetResponse Pricing

  • $15/month, up to 1,000 subscribers, unlimited emailing, all features
  • Save 18% with annual discount
  • No money-back guarantee
  • No long-term contracts
  • Forms of payment: Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover

 

iContact Pricing

  • iContact has a free trial
  • $10/month, up to 250 subscribers, 1500 emailings, all features
  • Save 15% with annual discount
  • No money-back guarantee
  • No long-term contracts
  • Forms of payment: Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover

Constant Contact Pricing

  • Constant Contact free trial with no credit card
  • $15/month, up to 500 subscribers, unlimited emailings, all features
  • Save up to 15% with annual discount (up to 30% for nonprofits)
  • Money-back guarantee
  • No long-term contracts
  • Forms of payment: Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover

Pinpointe Pricing

  • No free trial
  • $49/month, up to 5,000 subscribers, 40,000 emailings, all features
  • Save up to 10% with semi-annual discount
  • No money-back guarantee
  • No long-term contracts (pro-rate unused portion)
  • Forms of payment: Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, Diners Club, Bank

Infusionsoft Pricing

  • No free trial
  • No money-back guarantee
  • $2,000 startup costs
  • $199 for “essentials” package
  • Limited to 500k emails each month

Ontraport Pricing

  • No free trial
  • 90-day money back guarantee
  • No upfront fees
  • Monthly rate $297 or $597
  • Limited 100k emails per month. $99 for each additional 100k emails

 

Contact Management Features

Import Mailing List: allows you to import your email list from an Excel spreadsheet for like CSV, instead of manually typing each email contact

Aweber: (video)

Step by Step Instructions for Importing Mailing List

 Aweber Importing Mailing List

“Add Subscribers” function only allows you to import up to 2,000 subscribers per day.  If your list exceeds 2,000, then you will need to use smaller chunks and repeat this step the following day.

  • Under “Subscribers” tab, click on “add Subscribers”
  • Once on the “Add Subscribers” page then click “Import Subscribers” button
  • Umder the “Which list should we add these subscribers to?” drop down, you need to select the appropriate list you want to import then click “Next”
  • If your subscribers are stored in XLS, XLSX, TSV, CSV, or TXT, then drag the file into the “Drag File Here” area or by the “Click to browse” link if the files aren’t handy
  • If your subscriber list isn’t in the above format, then you need to click on “Copy & paste or enter by hand” link
  • You will then see the information of your first subscriber that was imported. Using the several drop down menus, you can select how you would like the information to match.  If none match appropriately, then you will then select “Create New”
  • You will then be prompted to inform Aweber how you obtained and gathered the subscribers you are importing.
  • You will then have the option to have your imported subscribers start on your follow-up sequence.
  • Finally, the last page of the import process. You’ll be asked to review your confirmation message before it’s sent to your subscribers.  They must click the link in the confirmation message in order to receive any future messages.

GetResponse Importing Mailing List

Click Video Here

  • Go to “Contacts” then click on “Import Contacts”
  • You then have a choice of “Copy & Paste” or “Upload File” or “Another Service.” Another service choices include: Google docs, Plaxo, Salesforce.com, Zendesk, Highrise, Magento, and Formstack, Freshbooks, or Batchbook.  If you choose “Upload File,” make sure your mailing list is a CSV, TXT, VCF, XLXS, or XLS file format.
  • Then you must choose which campaign to import into. Be sure not to click on opt-in enabled if you don’t want each subscriber to opt-in the new list.
  • Click “Finish Import” and you are done!

iContact Importing Mailing List

  • Go to “Add Contacts”
  • Then click on “Upload from File” button
  • “Browse” to find your contacts CSV file
  • Then click “Upload Contacts”
  • Then you need to match any remaining columns from your CSV file
  • Click “Next” once you are finished matching the fields

Constant Contact Import Mailing List

  • Click “Add Contacts”
  • Then “Choose File”
  • Find your mailing list file then click “Continue”
  • Make sure the information from your mailing list is stored in the proper fields under the “Field in Constant Contact” column
  • Click Continue
  • By default, the “I have permission to email these contacts” is checked. Uncheck if otherwise
  • Click the BLUE PLUS icon and choose the appropriate mailing list then click
    “Apply.” **If you don’t have permission (Step 6) then you won’t be given this option.
  • Finally, click “Import” button

Pintpointe Importing Mailing 

  • Under the “Contact” menu, select “Import Contacts”
  • Choose the appropriate contact list you would like to import the mailing list
  • Make sure the information you are importing matches the formatting
  • “Contact Status” defaults to “Confirmed”
  • Then click “Import”

Infusionsoft Import Mailing List

  • Click on “CRM”
  • Hover over “Contacts” then click “Import Contacts”
  • Under the drop down menu “Pick what you wanna import” select “Contacts” or select the “Import Tool” below if yours is listed, such as, “Aweber, Constant Contact, iContact…”
  • Click “Browse” and find your mailing list CSV file
  • Click “Next” to start Infusionsoft’s Import Wizard
  • Matchthe Infusionsoft field name with each drop-down. If there isn’t a matching field, you can create a custom field then click “Next”
  • Read through the permission guidelines before selecting “Yes” or “No.” Infusionsoft “Acceptable Use Policy” requires requires a series of questions on how the list was obtained.
  • Click “Next” and you are complete!

Ontraport Importing Mailing List

  • Click “Contacts”
  • Choose “Upload Multiple Contacts”
  • Click “Settings” then “Import Contact List”
  • Either “Drop CSV Files here” on the screen or click “Browse Computer” and find the mailing list file
  • Verify the contact accuracy
  • Then choose, “Merge and underwrite with old record date,” or “Merge and overwrite with new imported data,” or “Create New Entry”
  • You must check off all the Ontraport “Usage Agreement” boxes
  • Select the fields to be imported from your mailing list
  • Click “Finish” to complete the import process

——————————————————————

Remove Unsubscribed Contacts

Each email provider will either automatically remove unsubscribe requests from the email list or will require you to do it manually.

A common question asked, “What is the difference between unsubscribing and deleting a subscriber?”  Unsubscribing a contact removes them from your subscriber list but keeps all their list activity and data.  If the contact subscribes again, all their user history will be restored and available again.

Deleting a user’s contact information will remove all their list activity and data permanently.  If the contact subscribes again, none of their prior data will be available in your database. 

Occasionally, a subscriber may call or email you requesting to be removed from your email marketing list.  If they want to be removed from a particular feed, you can modify their tag, otherwise you may have to login and completely delete their record, depending on the service.

Aweber: Step By Step Instructions to Delete Unsubscribed members

  • Under “Subscribers” tab, click on “Manage Subscribers”
  • Under the “Filters” heading click on “Unsubscribe”
  • Next, you will see a list of your unsubscribed addresses.
  • To delete them all, check the “Erase” checkbox in the upper left
  • Then click the “Delete” button to erase them all **If you have thousands you want to unsubscribe, you can contact Aweber’s Customer Solutions Team to assist.

GetResponse: Manually remove contacts from your list

  • Go to “Contacts”
  • “Search Contacts” in the dashboard to display your list
  • Select the contacts you’d like to delete then click “Remove from account” or “Remove from campaign” under Actions
  • All contacts removed can be found in the “Removed” section
  • **You can also remove contacts under “Contacts” then “List hygiene” then “Add emails.” In there, paste the email address(s) in the box then choose “Unsubscribe from.”

Pinpointe: Unsubscribe/Delete multiple contacts at once?

  • Go to “Menu”
  • “Contacts” then “Remove Contacts”
  • Then, select whether you would prefer to “Delete” or “Unsubscribe”
  • Click “Next” and upload your list of deleted or unsubscribed subscribers from your contact list
  • If necessary, repeat process for each list you wish to unsubscribe or delete contacts

Infusionsoft: Subscriber opting out a list of contacts

  • Open the subscriber’s Infusionsoft contact record
  • Click “Manage Email Status” next to their email address
  • Click “Manually opt-out this address” then select opt-out configuration from the dropdown
  • Click the “Opt-Out” button

—————————————————-

Auto-detect Duplicate Emails

Many email list services will search for any duplicate addresses when you manually enter or import an email address.

**Most email services will charge you for the TOTAL NUMBER of contacts in ALL of your various campaigns.  If you have the same email address in multiple campaigns, EACH will count toward your total plan limit.  Be careful, it could be costly!

Aweber: What does Aweber do with duplicate subscribers?

  • Aweber will automatically remove duplicates based on a subscriber’s email address per subscription list. Once a list has an email address, future “subscribe” attempts to the SAME list will be rejected.  They will either see an Aweber hosted error page with an explanation or you can create a custom error page.

GetResponse: What does GetResponse do with duplicate subscribers?

  • GetResponse will automatically remove duplicates based on a subscriber’s email address per subscription list. An email address will not be added twice in each campaign.

How do you remove duplicates from multiple GetResponse email marketing lists?

  • Go to “Contacts”
  • Then “Search Contacts” to view all contacts on all lists
  • Then “Sort by: Email”
  • Using the “Actions” button, click the boxes of the duplicate email addresses you would like to delete and remove.

iContact: What does iContact do with duplicate subscribers?

  • If an email is already in an iContact email list, it will not allow or import an email contact duplicate. It helps manager your email list for you.

Constant Contact: What does Constant Contact do with duplicate subscribers?

  • Constant Contact, like similar email marketing services, will automatically check and remove duplicates from the master list. But, it will allow the same email address to show up on numerous sub lists.
  • **When a contact unsubscribes from your list, it will go in your “Do Not Mail” list. Though you cannot send future emails to these email addresses, you still have access and can export as either a *.CSV file or *.txt file.

Pinpointe: What does Pinpointe do with duplicate subscribers?

  • Pinpointe will automatically remove duplicates from re-subscribers when they are imported. The “Pinpointe Import Wizard” will check each address in your *.CSV import file to safeguard it does not duplicate in your database.  It will segment prospects in multiple email campaigns to prevent your subscribers from receiving numerous emails.

Infusionsoft: What does Infusionsoft do with duplicate subscribers?

  • Infusionsoft, a marketing automation system, automatically checks and validates all email addresses for duplicates.
  • **Given Infusionsoft is a CRM, you may end up with duplicate “contacts” in your database vs your email list. You maybe want to auto-merge duplicate contacts.
    • How you identify and merge duplicate contact records in Infusionsoft?
  • Login and go to “Admin” then “Data Cleanup” in your master navigation
  • Then click “Check for Duplicate Contact Records” to view the duplicates
  • To merge, choose one of two auto merge options:
    1. “Merge DuplicateContact Records By Overwriting Old Data With New
    2. “Merge DuplicateContact Records By Only Adding New Data, Not Overwriting Old Data”
  • Once you click “OK” to merge, it is irreversible!

Office Autopilot Ontraport Cleaning Your Database

  • Office Autopilot Ontraport CRM doesn’t have a function to clean your database. This is especially important knowing Ontraport email has monthly limits, otherwise you have to pay up for more emails.  A good way to keep your list lean and clean is to run a re-engagement campaign.  Send out an email making subscribers re-subscribe to your list in order to keep receiving your email blasts.  What is an email blast?  It’s sending a single message to many people at the same time.  But, if you do it without the email recipients permission, it’s considered spam! 
  • Ontraport Tag: is another way to efficiently target your email lists by using the Ontraport’s WordPress plgin. This allows you to have a record of your subscriber’s interest.  For example, the automated marketing system can send an email 24 hours after the subscriber visits a “Schedule a Demo”  page, but only if they didn’t schedule the demo.
    • How do I set up Ontraport Tag?

      • First, create a new sequence to send a message. Go to “Contacts” then “Sequences” then “New Sequence” then “Step Sequence” then “Create”
      • Name the sequence in the “Untitled Sequence” field
      • Next, create and compose a new message. Click “Email” then “Message” then “Create New Message” then once done, click “Save”
      • Be sure to prevent your contact from getting repeatedly getting the sequence. Go to “Settings” and be sure “Unsubscribe Contact after Last Step” is NOT selected.
      • Create a standalone active response rule as follows: “Contacts” then “Rules” then “New Rule” then “When this happens” then “Select Trigger” then “Contact visits URL” then Paste the URL in “Contact Visits” field
      • Then select “Add contact to a sequence” then “Select Sequence” then “Choose sequence you created earlier” then “Save”
      • Be sure to test the rules and sequences in a different browser to confirm it works properly

Require Opt-In

An email marketing service will require all your contacts to request your email newsletter or opt-in.  Most of the email marketing services will require double opt-in.  Double opt-in sends your subscriber an email after they sign up to double check they want to receive marketing emails in the future.

Single Opt-in vs Double Opt-in

The advantage of single opt-in email marketing is once your subscriber submits their email, they are automatically added.  The disadvantage of double opt-in permission is they are sent a follow-up confirmation email and only added to your list after clicking the verification link.

The method of confirmed Opt-in (aka double opt-in) protects that only people who want your information are subscribed.  It also safeguards you from filtering and blocking due to incorrect spam complaints.  If you choose double opt-in then your email subscriber must confirm their subscriptions via email before being added to your list.

What happens if a subscriber doesn’t confirm an email address?

A study from MarketingSherpa and KnowledgeStorm says only 68% of users always enter a valid email address.  In addition, 10-15% of email addresses submitted are mis-typed.  That means around 20% knowingly enter false email addresses.  Most of the time, people enter a bogus email address to get to the next page, get to your download, or reach the bonus page.

We highly recommend double opt-in required for all your email lists.  The benefits outweigh potentially losing a few contacts.  Remember, most email marketing service companies charge you monthly based on subscribers.  You want to pay for highly engaged subscribers who want your email marketing.

Aweber:  How do I disable confirmed Opt In for Sign Up Form Submissions on Aweber?

Aweber by default, enables confirmed Opt-In for all subscription methods.  To disable:

  • Under “List Options” click “List Settings”
  • Click the “Confirmed Opt In” tab to change your settings
  • Lastly, click “OFF” to disable future confirmations then click “YES” when the popup appears

**This ONLY works for subscribers added directly from your sign up form and NOT when importing lists

————————-

How can I disable double opt-in confirmation in GetResponse?

  • While in your current email campaign, click the gear icon in the upper right
  • In the “Permission” tab, you can uncheck “Email subscriptions” and/or “Web subscriptions” and/or “Import subscriptions”

**If you import a list into your campaign, GetResponse will run multiple algorithms to estimate the list quality.  GetResponse Privacy & Deliverability Department will either approve or reject the email list depending on their evaluation.

———————————

Is Opt-in required by iContact?

Yes, iContact requires opt-in and has no tolerance for spam.  Every email has a required remove link at the bottom of all messages.  iContact will not allow you to remove the “unsubscribe” function on any of your emails.

Can I require a double opt-in link in iContact?

By default, iContact is setup as single opt-in but when setting up the list you can change it to double opt-in.

———————————

Constant Contact Email Opt-In

Does Constant Contact require single opt-in?

Yes, all lists offered to Constant Contact must be “confirmed” or “opt-in”

Does Constant Contact offer Double Opt-in?  If so, how do I turn on Constant Contact’s double opt-in?

By default, Constant Contact is setup as single opt-in but you can change it to double opt-in, easily.  When you turn “Confirmed Opt-in” on, it does not automatically send confirmation mail to imported or existing subscribers in your account.  Follow these steps:

  • Click “My Settings” then “Manage My Settings”
  • Select “On” under “Confirmed Opt-In” then “Next”
  • Click “Finish” once you agree with the statements and check off the boxes

Are there advantages to using Constant Contact’s double opt-in?

Using Constant Contact’s double opt-in email has a higher deliverability rate because they use special confirmed mail servers that rarely get blocked.

—————————-

Does Pinpointe require single opt-in permission?  Does Pinpointe offer double opt-in?

Yes, Pinpointe requires single opt-in permission which reduces hard bounces, recipient complaints, and hitting spam traps.  Yes, you have the option to configure Pinpointe email software to require double opt-in so subscribers don’t inadvertently remove themselves from your email list.

——————————-

Infusionsoft Email Opt-In

Does Infusionsoft require opt-in permission?

Infusionsoft actually defaults to double opt-in permission email but you can change the default to single opt-in.

How do I create Infusionsoft’s double email opt-in email link?

  • In the master navigation, go to “Marketing” then “Settings”
  • In the settings menu, click on “Automation Links”
  • Click the “Create Opt-in” button to start a new link
  • Complete the “Name, Link Blub, Link Text, Link Burb” sections
  • Click the “Save” button
  • Click the “Double Opt-in Page Appearance” tab to customize the email then “Save & Close” button when complete

Ontraport Email Opt-in

Does Office Autopilot Ontraport require single opt-in?

Yes, all lists offered to Ontraport emails require single or double opt-in permission.

How do I setup a Double Opt-in email in Ontraport?

  • Under “Admin” click “Double Opt-In / Invoice Manager”
  • Click “New Message Template” button
  • Under “Select Template Type” select “Double Opt-In”
  • Compose your double opt-in message
  • Finally, click “Submit For Review”

Email Provider Reporting Features

All email marketing platforms including Aweber, GetResponse, Constant Contact, iContact, Infusionsoft, and Ontraport all have similarly integrated features for analytics.  They all make it extremely easy.  As soon as you send out your first email marketing campaign, you will be able to start viewing metrics.

Here is an example of a report you will see from an email marketing provider:

Here’s some email provider reporting terminology and ways to improve your metrics:

Open Rate – number of people and times your email was opened.

  Improve: Try A/B testing captivating subject links. Also try sending the email different times of the day or week.

Constant Contact small business published this awesome Industry email comparison chart:

As of October 2014:

Business Type Open Rate Bounces Rate Clicks (Click-Through Rate) Opt-out Rate
Accountant/Financial Advisor 14.48% 8.53% 7.64% 0.86%
Art Galleries/Museums 24.70% 9.53% 6.94% 0.69%
Business products and services 16.40% 11.92% 9.05% 0.88%
Communications 18.06% 9.83% 20.84% 0.33%
Consultant (ex. marketing, management) 8.88% 5.44% 5.95% 1.13%
Crafts 23.10% 4.80% 13.52% 0.49%
Education and services 20.93% 7.93% 8.23% 0.61%
Entertainment (ex. musicians, theatre, film) 17.80% 8.47% 7.65% 0.73%
Event planner 18.59% 9.70% 7.69% 1.06%
Franchise 16.08% 8.08% 6.46% 1.60%
Government agency or services 25.13% 8.60% 8.95% 0.48%
Hotel, Inn, B&B 18.87% 8.68% 6.60% 1.73%
Legal services 21.32% 11.46% 7.22% 0.96%
Manufacturing and distribution 19.44% 11.05% 8.92% 1.07%
Marketing/Adv/PR Agency 11.16% 7.76% 6.85% 0.77%
Medical Services 20.21% 10.82% 7.20% 1.20%
Nonprofit – Arts organization 25.00% 7.83% 6.68% 0.62%
Nonprofit – Association 22.27% 10.72% 8.12% 0.39%
Nonprofit – Education 25.03% 7.82% 8.05% 0.55%
Nonprofit – Health and human Service 26.01% 10.12% 8.67% 0.82%
Nonprofit – Membership organization 8.67% 2.79% 9.13% 0.47%
Nonprofit – Other 24.48% 10.26% 7.83% 0.57%
Nonprofit – Religious organization 30.58% 8.28% 7.14% 0.27%
Office supplies 12.28% 10.48% 6.75% 1.01%
Other 16.54% 8.94% 10.14% 0.83%
Personal services (ex. dry cleaning, photography) 13.14% 6.18% 7.33% 1.48%
Professional services 19.43% 10.78% 8.50% 1.48%
Publishing 17.75% 8.36% 12.54% 1.14%
Real estate 20.50% 13.23% 6.47% 0.80%
Restaurant, bar, caterer 17.61% 9.52% 4.28% 1.12%
Retail (online and offline) 15.49% 7.29% 9.24% 0.83%
Salon and spa 17.37% 12.69% 4.29% 1.52%
Sports and recreation 20.20% 8.82% 7.49% 0.98%
Technology 13.59% 11.32% 6.49% 1.12%
Transportation 20.07% 9.30% 12.83% 0.94%
Travel and tourism 16.54% 8.93% 8.24% 0.84%
Unknown 16.24% 8.10% 8.00% 0.95%
Web developer 11.72% 8.07% 8.10% 0.45%

http://support2.constantcontact.com/articles/FAQ/2499

You may notice Constant Contact for non profits particularly had a high open rate. 

Click Rate – number of people and times a link was clicked within your email.

Improve: Typically, you want your subscribers to take action.  To increase this metric, try making your content more compelling and make sure your call-to-action is visible.

Bounces – number of people who didn’t receive your email

Improve: Make sure subscribers opt-in to receive your emails and offers by using double opt-in permission

Unsubscribes – number of people who request to be removed from your email list using the link at the bottom of your email (required by most email providers to reduce spam.)

Improve: Be sure your content is relevant and compelling so they want to keep receiving your emails.  Also, many people unsubscribe because you are sending too many emails.  In some cases, you can allow the subscriber to choose the frequency of emails per week or month

Forwards – number of subscribers who forward the email using “Forward To Friend” at the bottom of your email.

Improve: Ideally, you want this as high as possible.  If so, it means you’re writing something that’s good enough to share with others.

Complaints – number of subscribers who report your message as spam

  Improve: You do not want to be spammy, nor send too many emails daily or weekly.  To send out higher quality emails, you may want to segment your lists based on metrics and varying promotions 

Mobile-Ready Templates:

5 Tips to Create Highly Effective Mobile Emails

According to Litmus, by 2017, it estimates that 78% of email user will access their emails via mobile.  It means you better be creating mobile friendly emails starting today.

  • Enlarge The Fonts – An email font that looks fine on your desktop may look small on mobile devices. According to Apple, they recommend font sizes between 17-22 points for most mobile devices.
  • Single Column Design – If you’ve ever tried viewing a multi-column website on your smartphone, you know how difficult it is to zoom in and read it. The best way to make happy visitors is to use single-column templates instead of intricate designs using multi-columns.
  • Know Your Call To Action – This is true for all emails. Make sure your call to action button stands out and is large enough to press on smaller smartphone screens.  Ideally, you want to place your call to actions above the fold.  The majority of email clients allow roughly 300 to 500 pixels of vertical space on your screen.  This “above the fold” is considered the prime real estate because typically you have 3.5 seconds to engage someone before they move on.  You may want to consider using some text before your header banner and also don’t make your banner too big, not only use a graphic image but also a text title (over 75% of Microsoft Outlook users have email images turned off by default).
  • Cut Your Text By Half – Keep it simple stupid! Don’t make your visitors think too much.  Have a clear message and do it with half the amount of words.  A smaller the screen typically results in shorter attention spans.
  • Test on All Mobile Platforms – Odds are favorable that you or your friends have access to an iPhone, iPad, and Android platforms. Open your emails in as many devices as possible to make sure it looks right.  An alternative way is using a service like Litmus.com to test your emails on multiple devices.

Generally, all email marketing providers have a variety of templates ranging from several to several hundred, like Aweber’s 700+ templates.  Email template forms won’t be a made or bread deal during your selection process.

 

Test A/B Split Campaigns

A/B Split Campaigns let you send out two different versions of your email campaign to random parts of your email list; no subscriber receives both versions.  Simply, the email version your recipients click or open the most is your winner.

Factors to Test

Delivery Date and Times – Decide when most subscribers are likely to open your email campaigns.  You will need to do numerous tests given there are several days (weekdays and weekends) and 24 hours in a day (morning, day, night).  Once you have a winning time, then a/b test the winner against a different time.

Sender’s Name – Determine whether your subscribers are more reactive to emails coming from a company name or from a person’s name.

Subject Line and Pitch – Try a multitude of headlines and see what tends to get opened the most.  Keep them simple and no nonsense subject lines.  Studies have shown that short and descriptive subject lines fare better than tacky enticements.  Remember, there is a difference between humorous and tacky.  We are saying, don’t be dull!  Another successful tactic in recent years is the use of numbers and lists.  Sites like Buzzfeed live by email lists and numbers!  Successful email headlines include:

  • A Question in the email subject line, like “do you think”
  • Testimonials in the email subject line, like using a celebrity’s name
  • “How-To”
  • Captivating subject lines, like using “Amazing”
  • Targeted audience based on variables like demographics, niche, age
  • List that draws curiosity
  • Personalization (Example: “Mr. Smith” vs “Tom)
  • Teaser with a time limit showing urgency
  • Seasonal subjects like holidays

General A/B Testing Tips

  • Test one variable at a time. Be sure to keep everything else constant.
  • Randomize your testing. Since you are testing one variable, you want to eliminate audience variables.
  • Use common sense. Test what makes the most common sense.  Don’t waste your time on silly variables and tests.
  • Document all your results using a simple spreadsheet. Keep track of all your results.

Overall, all the email marketing providers offer some sort of A/B testing feature as part of their services.

Adding Images to Email Campaigns

Remember, your message is the most important part of your email.  Content is king!

Traditional markets and email designers passionately debate the use of images in email marketing and newsletters.  By limiting email images, it reduces display problems and deliverability hitches.  Images can potentially land you in a spam folder, particularly with overuse.

Many email service providers do not display images by default such as Gmail and Hotmail.  They count on users actively downloading the images they would like to view.  Also, keep the width of your image 450 to 500 pixels to ensure email clients like Microsoft Outlook can view your email vertically while iPhones allow for up to 300 pixels width when held verticially.

Best Image ideas

  • Use an infographic to stand out. Display your message in a different way and use some interesting statistics.
  • Be sure to include your logo. You want to build brand recognition.
  • Use images of people. Images of people create an emotional connection to you and your content
  • An animated GIF will catch someone’s eye with some movement

**Be sure to test the emails before sending!  Make sure you message and images are displayed properly and keep on testing, testing, and testing.

Keep the image above the fold.  About 80% of people are only scanning and not reading emails.  You have a brief moment to catch their attention before they move onto someone else who does.

Finally, be conscious of the image file size.  Load time on an email is critical and a large image file can be a detriment for devices on a slow wi-fi or 3G connection.  Surprisingly, 3% of Americans still use dial-up Internet, according to Pew Research in August, 2013.

In sum, using images in your emails generally has its benefits but use them wisely.  All email service providers allow the use of images in your campaign.  In addition, many of the email providers provide a database of free images for your campaign while some make image design easy by allowing onscreen drag-and-drop.

Generally free image websites

Flickr.com: use the advanced search for “CC images” (Creative Common or royalty-free images)

Wikimedia.org – almost 20 million media files with nice quality

Microsoft Office: Anyone with Office.com or MS Office Web Apps: “…may copy and use the media elements in projects and documents.”

Openclipart.org: Beautiful clip art, all royalty-free.

 

Autoresponders in Email Service Providers

An autoresponder is a series of email marketing messages sent to subscribers where you decide their frequency and particular order.

For example, you have a nine-part tutorial that your autoresponder will deliver weekly in a series to lay the groundwork for a hook and sale at the end.  An autoresponder will deliver the same great experience to ever subscriber whether it’s one or one million.  It works 24/7 whether it’s late at night, a weekend, or a holiday.  Some refer to it as the lazy marketers’ friend.

What will set your autoresponder apart?

The most important part is to take subscribers who want to learn about your product or service and make them enthusiasts.  You need to provide your best content so they are more than happy to keep receiving your future emails and click through to convert into sales.

To build fans and subscribers, you need to pay for it.  Of course, it can be paid with advertising or affiliates, or you can pay by being creative and putting time into an autoresponder series.

8 ways to use autoresponders effectively:

  • Remind customers when their membership is about to expire
  • Send a promotional email when their free trial has run out
  • Distribute a paid teaching course
  • Follow-up with newer clients to ask for service or product feedback
  • Touch base with inactive customers as a period of time
  • Send holiday or birthday messages
  • Promote an event, service or new product before its released to the public
  • Share dated content from your website with new subscribers

Autoresponder options and terminology:

  • Autoresponder Triggers – A “trigger” is an occurrence that signals the autoresponder to start sending a series of emails such as a new customer joining a list or a particular date like a birthday.
  • Autoresponder Series – A “series” is a single or series of emails that are triggered to send one followed by another. A tutorial site could use a date-specific autoresponder to deliver a series of email tutorials or classes to new subscribers.
  • Segmenting Autoresponders – allows you to “segment” your entire email list in separate emails to target specific

Opened Emails: Common Questions

Can users read your email without opening it?

Yes.

How are Opened Emails Tracked?

Generally, the email marketing software adds a miniscule invisible image in your email’s body.  Often this is called a tracking pixel or “web beacon.”  In order for your subscriber’s email program to view the image, it must communicate with your email marketing software.  Once this happens, your email marketing software tallies the open requests.

How Can A Subscriber Read My Email Without “Opening” It and Triggering the Pixel?

Some email clients and subscribers have “turned off all images.”  For those subscribers, the only way to trigger an “opened” email is to click a link, button, or view images.

Bounced Emails

What are Bounced Emails?

If you list has a high number of bounces, it will definitely have a negative impact on your delivery rate.  Cleaning up your bounced email addresses is important as email providers charge your per email address on your list.

Some reasons your emails maybe bouncing and ways to fix it:

  1. Undeliverable Email

When a bounced email is categorized as “Undeliverable,” that means the recipient’s email server is overloaded, temporarily unavailable, or unfound.  It is possible the server is under construction or crashed.  In this case, just wait and resend to the same address.  If this persists, then it could mean the server is gone forever.

  1. Non-existent Email Address

If your bounced email is categorized as “non-existent email address,” that means the person is either gone from the address, possible typo, or provided you a false email address when registering.  If you are offering a promotion in exchange for an email address, it is common for users to provide a false address.  Requiring a double opt in will elevate false addresses.

  1. Auto Reply/Vacation

Many times when someone goes on vacation or is away, your emails will bounce.  Unlike the other bounced emails, this kind of bounce means your email was effectively sent to the recipient’s inbox.  If this address regularly ends up in this category, then you may want to remove this contact.

  1. Blocked Email
    When an email is “Blocked,” it means the recipient’s server has blocked the incoming email. Many times schools or government institutions have more strict email servers.  To fix blocked emails, you need to contact the system administrator to unblock your email service’s address.
  2. Full Mailbox

Many people have a backlog of emails which results in them hitting the maximum and your email getting bounced from a full mailbox.  You want to give it some time before resending.  If it persists, then it could mean your contact is no longer exists.

How to Reduce Bounce Rate?

Pay attention to your bounce rate.  If you have addresses that consistently bounce, you should consider one of the following:

  • Do Not Mail List will eliminate an address permanently
  • Remove will remove the contact from your list but allow it to be added again in the future

If you are sure the address doesn’t exist, you want to use the “Do Not Mail List” option.  If the recipient’s email address is from an institution blocking your IP address, then put it in the “Remove” bounced option.  This allows the address to sign-up for your address again in the future.

Reference for ME : http://blogs.constantcontact.com/why-emails-bounce/

Email Scheduling

Email Provider Help & Customer Support

The most popular email marketing services clearly provide some form of help and customer support.  Customer support includes:

  • Email Contact
  • Phone Support
  • FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
  • Support Literature
  • Online Community
  • Live Online Chat

Here is a direct links to each email providers contact and help page:

Aweber contact page includes toll free phone, email contact, live support 7 days a week, knowledge base, free live seminars, and video tutorials, here https://www.aweber.com/contact-us.htm

GetResponse customer support page includes toll-free number, email contact, live chat 24/7, FAQ, video tutorials, manuals, and community forum, here  https://app.getresponse.com/support.html

iContact customer support page includes toll free phone number, online chat Monday through Friday, live and recorded webinars, FAQs, guides, short videos, and help articles, here http://www.icontact.com/support/

Constant Contact customer support page includes toll free number Monday through Friday, email support, live chat, and knowledge base, here http://www.constantcontact.com/support

Pinpointe customer support page includes toll free phone support Monday through Friday, email, live chat, online support forum, webinars, and guides, here  http://www.pinpointe.com/contact

InfusiogetresponsenSoft  customer support page includes toll free number, new 24/7 chat support, email support, knowledge base, video seminar, blog, and forum, here http://help.infusionsoft.com/support

Ontraport customer support page includes toll free number, email support, online tutorial, user community, knowledge base and forum, here https://support.ontraport.com/home

 

Service Marketing Providers Pros and Cons

Aweber Pros

  • Holds regularly scheduled webinars to help newer members on getting started and easy to understand tutorials to expand your email marketing knowledge
  • Their interface is fairly easy to use and straight forward
  • Trusted company who’s been doing this for years
  • Yahoo, Gmail and other predominant email providers accept Aweber’s emails and formatting
  • Aweber can take my RSS blog feed and automatically send out my most recent two posts as a newsletter to my members. It’s such a time saver!
  • Add your customer name to emails

Aweber Cons

  • You have to pay more at the end of the month while other companies have less priced plans
  • Cannot send videos through emails
  • Customized templates require some coding knowledge

 

Constant Contact Pros

  • Interface is very intuitive
  • Constant Contact has a customized email template for promotions and features around 425 customizable email templates
  • Quick email deliveries and high delivery rate with low spam ratio
  • A nice “Simple Share” tool allows the capability to publish a newsletter to any social media marketing platform

Constant Contact Cons

  • Constant Contact does not have a free version but do offer 60 day free trial
  • Allows you to only upload 5 images for free to the library, otherwise you need to upgrade
  • You need to purchase Formstack, in the Constant Contact partner program, to build a custom form

MailChimp Pros

  • Free image hosting with no limits on MailChimp. Your image can be as large as 10MB but remember your recipients email box may only allow up to 1MB
  • It’s free for up to only 2000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month
  • Integrated sihn-up forms for WordPress and Facebook
  • MailChimp feature allows you to create emails without logging into your account by sending an email to your private MailChimp email address
  • Multi-user Capabilities: Allows you to create multiple accounts for people creating emails for your business
  • Allows you to pay just pennies per email as your business grows with the pay-as-you-go emailing marketing services plan
  • Easy integration with CRM software and applications including FreshBooks, PayPa, and Google Analytics email campaign.

MailChimp Cons

  • Autoresponders are an upgrade. If you want to thank them or send a link to a download, you’ll want to upgrade
  • MailChimp is complicated if you have little design experience
  • Stricter about CAN SPAN compliance resulting in emails possibly ending up in the recipient’s spam folder
  • You aren’t eligible for phone support if you have a free account

iContact Pros

  • Offers a step-by-step guide which helps you build a campaign just clicks away
  • Library with over 300 professional iContact email templates which allow customization
  • iContact provides reports for sent messages, forwarded, delivered, and click-through rates
  • iContact’s pricing and rates allow you to pay for the amount of emails you are sending
  • -Allows you to upload and store commonly used photos in your emails

iContact Cons

  • iContact live support isn’t 24/7 but you can use support documents to supplement in the mean time
  • Maximum subscriber list if 100,000 and won’t be suited for companies surpassing this ceiling
  • iContact does not offer the ability to send emails at a later date using a time option
  • Google Analytics email campaigns are only available for premium members

InfusionSoft Pros

  • Allows you to track all the actions and behaviors of each contact you have under one software program
  • Sophisticating email marketing software like Infusionsoft allows responsive email marketing. This has marketing sequences in place depending on what your recipient does and doesn’t do
  • Strong customer support team offering phone support, live chat support, and email support

InfusionSoft Cons

  • Extremely expensive pricing compared to simpler less robust choices like Aweber or MailChimp
  • Lead course tracking has been spotty at times
  • Infusionsoft email delivery is very strict and will throttle you if they determine you are spamming
  • Overwhelming amount of features and not for a novice. Infusionsoft has a steep learning curve.  You have to have the time, money, and commitment to use Infusionsoft
  • No image gallery or landing pages

Ontraport Pros

  • Manages email marketing, affiliates, and e-commerce in one place
  • Email deliverability and high segmentation of subscribers are great
  • Great and knowledgeable customer support

Ontraport Cons

  • User interface is not natural and takes a while to learn how to navigate
  • Ontraport links for affiliate tracking doesn’t always work as expected
  • Expensive compared to simpler choices like Constant Contact but less than Infusionsoft
  • Dashboard is less than inspiring
  • No online community for users to share tips, case studies, and approaches
  • Ontraport and Infusionsoft both have steep learning curves
  • Email sequence creation is not very intuitive
  • Ontraport removal of duplicate records and cleaning up your records is not easy