Choosing an
Email Marketing System



A robust email marketing system will let you automate sending sales and marketing e-mails to your contacts. In this article, I want to give you some tips and advice on getting started while providing an overview of the leading solutions out there. While you may not choose one of the programs that I talk about here, this information will give you a good idea of what you should be looking for and will also allow you to compare the features and functionality you should expect from a top system.

Email Marketing System


An email marketing solution may be a standalone product for e-mail management only, or may be part of a large Customer Relationship Management (CRM) or Marketing Automation solution. I will look at leading programs in each category – including a number of free email marketing system options - and give you the basis for being able to compare these to other systems you might research. As well, I will cover how you can ensure that your system is accredited and how not to get into trouble with the law by being branded a spammer!


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Email Marketing System Accreditation

Before looking at some of the different e-mail marketing systems available today, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with some of the industry associations which help distinguish “good” email marketing systems from “bad” ones. Seeing one or more of the following accreditations on the website of a particular e-mail marketing application or service is usually an indication that you will not get into any trouble by utilizing unethical or even illegal e-mailing practices (click to visit websites).

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Email Marketing System


You should also read the checklist on the CAN-SPAM Compliance Guide provided by the Federal Trade Commission and look at the examples provided to make sure your sales and marketing e-mails do not infringe on the CAN-SPAM act. This law was set up to govern businesses e-mail and you can find additional resources on the FTC website.


Top Email Marketing System Solutions



Email Marketing System Benchmark Email is CAN-SPAM compliant and purports to have good relationships with Internet Service Providers which theoretically makes it more likely that your e-mails will be delivered and will not be considered spam. The solution offers all of the “bells and whistles” of a fully-featured system including newsletter templates, reporting and ongoing education and support. Benchmark is committed to staying on top of changing laws and email regulations which means that you will always be in compliance and you can use the system for a 30-day free trial.



Email Marketing System

Constant Contact consider themselves an industry leader with innovative features like being able to create e-mail campaigns right from your iPhone (although I am not sure how advisable that is!). They have a robust social media marketing model for tying e-mail marketing into social media sites like Twitter and Facebook and it might be worthwhile for you to look into this and see how it works in detail. Constant Contact offer the features of a top-tier solution and you can view a demo or sign up for a 60-day free trial on their website.



Email Marketing System Email marketing is all about getting a response and GetResponse helps you do that with 1000s of images and templates you can use to design eye-catching e-mails and newsletters. In addition to standard best-of-breed features, GetResponse also offers social media integration as well as E-mail-to-Speech and Video Email Marketing functionality (not to mention another iPhone app!). Check out the great resources in their learning center and sign up for free to send up to 500 emails per month before looking into one of their competitive packages.



Email Marketing System

StreamSend is another email marketing system that you can try for free, or take a tour of the solution to get a detailed walk through of look, feel and functionality. While StreamSend does provide basic social media integration, don't expect a lot a features and resources in that area. Instead, what you will get is a robust solution that has all the basics down pat and a good set of comparison features when looking at other solutions. If standalone, stripped-down email marketing is what you are looking to do then this may be the application for you.



Email Marketing System iContact is another snazzy, top-of-the-line solution with plenty of marquee customers, lots of features and an “affordable” price tag. If you are going to pay for an email marketing solution then it is worth checking out iContact's demo video or even signing up for a 30-day free trial. Hopefully, by now you should have a great idea of what to look for in a top end system and have good comparison points for prices and featuresets.


And... since writing this article I have been running into many more email marketing systems, too many to talk about in detail. However, I can't resist presenting the best of these with links so that you can research them yourself. I strongly suggest visiting the ”Resources” and Blog section for some of these companies as they contain many valuable articles about email marketing in general...

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You can also jumpstart your email marketing system research by filling in this form and have top email marketing solution providers contact you directly...


Email Marketing System CRM Solutions





Email Marketing System


In recent years, Salesforce.com has taken the CRM industry by storm and has become a fixture at large and small sales organizations in almost every kind of business in every industry. With their famous “No Software” logo, they were among the first software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications to become widely accepted by the market. With Salesforce you are looking at a complete sales and marketing automation solution that may go beyond the simple email marketing solution you are looking for. However, you can sign up to view demos and even use the solution for a 30-day free trial.



Email Marketing System

Zoho CRM is another web-based “on demand” solution that has email marketing and marketing automation functionality. Once again, this is a more complex sales and marketing automation system that goes beyond being a simple email marketing system. That being said, the power of such a system is that it lets you manage customer information and monitor and grow opportunities while tying all of your sales and marketing activities together. Zoho is a relatively affordable system in the world of CRM and you can sign up for the limited free edition or take a 15-day trial of the Professional or Enterprise versions.



Email Marketing System


Infusionsoft is another solution that, like Zoho, very much takes e-mail marketing into the realm of marketing automation. The builders of the “coolest email marketing program ever” wanted to come up with a solution for small businesses that simplifies e-mail marketing. What this means, more than anything else, is that you put all of your prospects into a funnel and then send them automated, periodic email updates. When the timing is right, they will convert to customers! Find out more by demoing Infusionsoft and see for yourself what all the fuss is about.


Email Marketing System Marketing Automation Solutions


Email Marketing System Genius is the first solution we look at that moves past CRM and into more of standalone Marketing Automation. What does this mean to you? Well, you are going to have to view a demo or sign up for a free account that lets 3 users send up to a maximum of 2,500 emails per month. If you just want to send emails and forget about it, then this solution may not be for you. However, if you are committed to making the most of email marketing then Genius offers the detailed features and resources for you to roll up your sleeves and maximize your return on your effort and investment.



Email Marketing System

Did someone say, “free email marketing system?” Well, in addition to the standard demo or a 14-day trial you can sign up for the basic version of LeadFormix for free. Building on the concept of standalone Marketing Automation, LeadFormix is another solution that provides you with a bucketload of data and analytics for you to be able to measure every imaginable aspect of your email marketing campaigns as well as be proactive in monitoring visitor activity across the web and other techniques to help you generate more leads.



Email Marketing System Eloqua prides itself on being the solution “more marketers rely on than all other marketing automation solutions combined.” While it may be a bit more expensive and geared towards larger enterprises, it is worth checking out because it represents the cutting edge of what is out there in term of a state-of-the-art email marketing system. Sign up for the Eloqua overview to learn about things like Digital Body Language™, which is learning more about your customers based on what they do online. If nothing else, you can learn a lot by spending some time reviewing some of the resources here.



Email Marketing System

Marketo is another highend standalone Marketing Automation solution that will give you an idea of where email marketing systems are evolving to. Everything within the realm of demand generation from e-mail marketing to lead nurturing and scoring is included here and Marketo promises you “faster success with less risk.” If nothing else, you should check out the extensive Marketing Automation research, some of which is premium but many others of which you can download and read. This is a solution for larger companies with at least 10 salespeople spending at least $500,000 per year on marketing.



Email Marketing System Silverpop is the last premium Marketing Solution I will mention and is worth checking out for their great email marketing resources if nothing else. More brand name customers and a full set of features including multichannel marketing, surveys, landing pages, white listing and “best-in-class deliverability”. A video tour and product demo are available and Silverpop also has a services team that are available to help with email marketing strategy and more.


How to Choose the Right Email Marketing System?


Email Marketing System


As you can see, there is quite a bit of overlap in functionality between a standalone e-mail marketing system versus more complex CRM or Marketing Automation solutions. As well, different terms may mean different things to different companies and so your best bet is to do your own due diligence in looking at different systems. You can look for more solutions by typing “email marketing”, “crm” or “marketing automation” into your search engine while keeping these pointers in mind:

• Budget: make sure you are not paying too much and always weigh benefits with how much you can afford to spend. If you are new to e-mail marketing then start small and grow organically as you experiment to find what works for you.

• Try: most leading solutions will allow you to use the product through trial for a few days or weeks. You have waited this long and so there is no point in rushing things now! Take your time and make sure the application you go with is one that meets your needs and is easy to use.

• Ask: talk to someone to get your questions answered and ask for proof that the system you are acquiring will work for you. Different email marketing systems work for different kinds of company and so do not leave any stone unturned in finding the right solution for you.

As a final word of advice, make sure you that you NEVER buy email marketing lists and that you use these email marketing system to market to your own email list which you should grow organically. Many email marketing solution providers will not let you use their products in order to market to third-party email lists!


Get help with your Email Marketing System!

GO TO:
Email Marketing StrategyMass Email Marketing Basics35 Email List Marketing TipsEmail Marketing ListsBusiness Email TipsMarketing Communication MixMarketing Communication PlanMarketing Communication StrategyIntegrated Marketing CommunicationMarketing Communication ProcessInteractive Marketing Communication"You" MessagingEmail Marketing System Consultant




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