Email marketing can be effective and profitable so it’s no secret that it’s one of the most popular ways to market products and services in the world of online commerce. However, just as well as it can be lucrative, it can be incredibly time-consuming, too, especially if you’re trying to work alone (or with only a small team).
That is why so many email marketers have turned to automation tools to help sort incoming mail, schedule outgoing messages through “drip emails,” and collect data to help turn leads into returning customers.
The services are so popular, in fact, that there are easily hundred to choose from, including some big names like HubSpot, as well as some of the smaller guys that are equally as effective and useful for small business owners.
If you’re just getting started, or you are looking for a way to improve your email marketing technique, we’ve outlined some of the best email marketing automation services available, with options from every price range. First, for those who don’t know, let’s talk about what these services are and why you definitely need them for your email marketing efforts.
What is Email Automation?
Email automation tools are frequently used by marketers to help run their email marketing campaigns. These services allow you to set individual emails from your campaign to send to someone once they meet a certain trigger.
This saves you from having to individually send them out to recipients and helps you keep your campaign on track based on when each person subscribed to your email list.
Other reasons for an email marketing manager may be to send out a welcome message to customers who have recently subscribed to your email list or sending thank you messages after a purchase.
However, you use it, if drip emails are a large part of your marketing campaign, then you need an email marketing automation service.
What Can an Email Automation Service Do for You?
There are so many things you can do with the right email marketing software that can improve your customer engagement and satisfaction, as well as save you time (which you can use to generate new leads). Some great ways to use email marketing manage include:
- Welcome Message/Subscription Verification: An email marketing automation service can be set to automatically send messages to people as they subscribe to your email (usually via an email collection tool placed on your website). This means customers will get an automatic verification of their new subscription. You can use this as an opportunity to say hello, begin to introduce your company, product, or brand, and thank people for their interest and subscription. One benefit to the email response being immediate is that users will receive the email while your brand, product, or service is fresh on their minds so it is a great time to send out incentives, perhaps a small discount, to help turn these subscribers into customers.
- Thank You/Purchase Confirmation: These email marketing managers are also useful for sending out purchase confirmations, which can include a receipt of purchase and “thank you” message. This immediate response to purchases helps replicate the “instant gratification” factor that is lost during an online purchase (because the customer has to wait for shipping). The response should feel personable and genuine and will, therefore, help improve your brand’s appeal and customer satisfaction. You can also include information about giving feedback or inform customers on how they can contact you with comments or concerns. The invitation makes customers more likely to give you feedback, which can help you better your brand or services.
- Follow Up/Customer Satisfaction: You may opt to set up a message to send to customers a certain amount of time after a purchase in order to acquire feedback on your product. This will help you to find what techniques are working, what you can improve regarding your brand, and what customers think about your product. The best thing about follow-up emails is that you can target certain concerns about your business or brand by including specific questions.
- Annual or Monthly Messages: Email marketing software with automation is great for sending out regularly scheduled messages. This could include monthly updates about your brand or new products or yearly messages, like if you wanted to recognize customers’ birthdays.
- Email Series or Campaigns: These automation services are incredibly convenient for sending series or drip campaigns to customers at a regularly scheduled time, daily, weekly, or monthly as part of your email marketing campaigns. Having an automation service sends the correct messages to the correct list of subscribers at the same time every time will let people know what to expect and make sure that nobody gets left out. This is important with sequences because getting behind with one email or leaving one out, can make the entire email series pointless. Using an email automation service will increases the effectiveness of your drip campaigns.
- Surveys: You can schedule to send surveys out to mass amounts of customers or subscribers, which gives you an opportunity to ask important questions. This is a great way to collect data to help you improve, generate new ideas, design new products, or address customer complaints or concerns, even if they have not recently made a purchase.
When email automation services are used to perform a combination of these tasks, you can expect your marketing efforts to excel. Email automation services have shown to lead to:
- Increased Brand Recognition: These automatic messages will help increase how often your subscribers and customers see your name, thus increasing your brand recognition without costing you a ton of time. Increased brand recognition leads to increased customer trust and, therefore, can increase sales.
- More Customer Engagement: With the time you save on just one round of emails, you’ll have plenty of time to create surveys and send verification emails like we mentioned earlier. All of these things, as well as other types of messages you have auto-sent to customers, will increase customer engagement, meaning you will get more responses and customers will feel that they are receiving a more personalized experience with your brand.
- Better Customer Satisfaction: Because customers will be getting such a personal experience, and because you will be able to more easily and effectively collect data, you can also expect to see a boost in customer satisfaction when using an email marketing automation service.
A Look at Your Options
We told you there are tons of options out there to help you stay on track with your email marketing efforts. Luckily, we sorted through to choose the best of the best. Some services are more expensive but offer top of the line features that work well for larger companies while some services still offer high-quality email marketing automation services at a very fair, small business appropriate price. There may be other services out there that are equally as good, but these are a great place to start.
Eloqua is a marketing automation platform (MAP) that includes an email marketing automation system. Eloqua is one of the most detailed systems available, although it is also one of the most expensive. This service is most suitable for larger businesses that will also take advantage of the other included services, like the website monitoring system and the diverse databases that store information like names, addresses, contact details and more on both customers and leads. Although Eloqua does have plenty of other services, its email marketing automation service is perhaps its most notable attribute.
The service sends messages—both singularly and in bulk—when someone hits a trigger set by the marketer. What makes this service stand apart from the rest is its ability to use its running database to customize the messages with individual names and details to add a personal feel to the emails sent out to customers. The email system really is above par, but its high price may be a deterrent for some. If you can utilize this MAP for all of its impressive features, including its email marketing manager, though, it may be worth the price.
Convert Fox is a marketing service that offers multiple different marketing tools, including live chat services, user analytics, and, of course, email marketing automation services. If you opt in to their email marketing service, you get to enjoy plenty of convenient features to help make your marketing efforts successful. Convert fox allows you to create and format your email content inside their program so there’s no need to transfer and reformat the material. This service also filters your contacts based on their behavior and interaction with different established points on your website and then chooses the appropriate groups to send emails to. This means you don’t have to search through long static lists of contacts and sort them yourself.
This program will also segment your lengthy email campaigns so that no customer gets left behind, sending out the appropriate emails for the right customers at the perfect time. Like most email marketing automation services, you can also set up specific emails attached to certain triggers, such as a subscription verification or order receipt notification.
Much like Eloqua, Convert Fox uses email templates to input customer names and company information, making your emails appear more personal, even though you spent almost no time sending them out. Convert fox will also collect data for each campaign, allowing you to see which campaigns are most successful than the others and monitor user activity during the campaign.
Convert Fox offers a free version with limited features and their paid plans start at just under $20 a month for up to 500 contacts.
Pardot works seamlessly alongside Salesforce to mainstream all of your necessary marketing tools into one easy to use format. While Pardot has tons of features to help out a small business owner or busy email marketer, their email automation services are what we looked at.
Pardot is loaded with email templates and is known for their creative touch when compared to many other similar services. With Pardot, it is easy to customize every message you type by using the unique, quality design features they offer. Pardot stores data from your emails and customer engagements and performs A/B testing to allow you to see what works best. This means Pardot will help you increase customer satisfaction, as well as clickthroughs, which will increase profitability. You can also use features like the spam filtering service.
If interested, Pardot is loaded with an intelligent ROI reporting tool to help you integrate all of your sales tools and needs into one service, saving you even more time, and maybe a little money, too. Pardot offers several monthly pricing plans and is one of the pricier services (because they have so much to offer) starting at $1,000 per month.
HubSpot is a well-known marketing tool amongst small business owners and large agencies alike, probably because their customer satisfaction scores are through the roof. When using HubSpot’s software, you’ll notice that everything is easy to personalize, so you can effortlessly add a personal touch to each email being sent out, making sure that you properly represent your brand or business and send eye-catching material. The software also features “smart content” suggestions to help you formulate engaging content for your campaigns. You can use the segmentation abilities, sorted into a large variety of categories, to flawlessly sort contacts and send out the right messages to the right person, at exactly the right time. HubSpot will track customer activity and provide you with detailed reports so that you can tailor your content and campaigns to better meet customer needs.
HubSpot offers more than just email automation, too, and allows you to easily incorporate all of your necessary marketing tools into one convenient software package. They offer three different pricing plans, the first of which starts at around $200 a month, offering a low price for features that meet all the needs of small business owners.