It is almost impossible to succeed without an email account. You need them for so many things in your personal life such as job applications, social media, financial accounts, and so on. In business, you use email to serve and keep track of your customers. Email is a super easy way to begin reaching your customers through email marketing. Join me for a discussion of the top 3 email service providers.

Email marketing is a brilliant and effective way to link up with people. It also has the ability to keep customers informed. Think about it. Do you even realize how few people don’t have an email address? The amount is so low that it doesn't even matter.

The reason why email marketing is so crucial is that it is fairly cheap to start doing and it scales very well.

According to Marketing Land, nearly 68 percent of emails were opened on a mobile device, with 52 percent of those being opened on smartphones. Email is a very large element of our lives.

Why is Email Marketing Important?

Versatility

  • The versatility of email marketing is incredible. Email marketers have the ability to personalize messages and so much more.
  • Email marketing is a significant part of all integrated marketing campaigns, being that it can be used with almost every marketing tactic there is.

Ability to Drive Sales

  • Recent data from Deloitte found that 65 percent of purchasers indicate email coupons are important when shopping online.
  • NRF also reported 64 percent of US Internet users have printed coupons from emails.
  • You don't need coupons to drive sales but those two sources above were fascinating to review.

Affordability

  • Email marketing allows small business owners to influence a large number of customers at a very small rate per message.
  • Email marketing can not only pay for itself, but will also increase the profit margin.
  • According to Reengager, the average return on email marketing investment is $44.25 for every dollar spent.

Note: The Reengager link was removed. It appears the website is down. The full link was http://www.reengager.com/case-studies/5-surprising-ecommerce-email-marketing-case-studies/.

Now that you know the importance of email marketing, let’s have a look at the best email marketing service providers you can start using today.

There are a ton of possibilities to choose from but here are the top 3 email service providers I've had the pleasure of using:

Top 3 Email Service Providers for Marketing

There are a ton of different email marketing companies out there besides the email infrastructure service offerings like Mailgun. The top 3 email service providers below are my favorite solutions so far.

ConvertKit

When you’re using double opt-in the process might have looked something like this:

  • Step 1: Individual signs up for a freebie on your website.
  • Step 2: They see a page that tells them to go check their email to verify their subscription.
  • Step 3: Individual clicks on the link in the email.
  • Step 4: Individual sees a Thank You Page that has a download to the freebie or a quick blurb that tells them the freebie is on its way to their inbox.
  • Step 5: Individual finds the freebie in their inbox.

This of course is in a pre-GDPR world. Even still, chances are that you lost people somewhere along the way. They may not click on the confirmation link, or they may do so but then never actually getting around to checking out the freebie.

With ConvertKit, steps 4 and 5 can be taken out of the process to help streamline your lead acquisition process.

The first email a subscriber receives already contains the freebie people signed up for. This can follow a similar process to the single opt-in process, but it’s certainly a double opt-in. When people click on the download link for the freebie, they’re automatically confirming their subscription to your emails.

This way you can have a double opt-in process with a lower chance of people dropping people along the way and being able to see the value you can actually provide to them.

What is ConvertKit?

ConvertKit is a fairly new entry into the email marketing game that allows you collect, save, and send emails to the email addresses of your fans. ConvertKit also provides InfusionSoft-like automation abilities without the “ConfusionSoft” implication and price.

At a bare minimum, a proper ESP will provide you the capability to collect leads with the aid of forms, create autoresponder collections, and send out email broadcasts.

Plans start at $29 a month.

Why Would Someone Use ConvertKit?

ConvertKit originally positioned themselves as a business tool to help bloggers grow. They actually encompass the entire creative industry now and aim to help you begin your digital journey of making money online. If their core message resonates with you, they may be the provider you're looking for.

Single or Double Opt-In

You can pick if you desire to use single or double opt-in. With MailChimp for example, this is solely viable if you’re using an extra solution like LeadPages. And when you’re using double opt-in with ConvertKit, it’s a whole lot less difficult for your subscribers than with MailChimp.

Simplicity

People regularly find ConvertKit a whole lot less complicated to work with than most other email service providers like MailChimp. You can also create multiple opt-in forms that lead subscribers to the identical freebie and email automation. This is quite difficult to set-up in MailChimp. For example, you may want to have opt-in forms on your homepage and below your weblog posts.

Is ConvertKit a Good and Trustworthy Platform?

ConvertKit is run by Nathan Barry, who for all intents and purposes, is the Godfather of selling ebooks. I bought 2 of his ebooks and was and still am very happy with them. Suffice it to say, he is pretty trustworthy and the way he's put ConvertKit on the map is worthy of study if you're interested in marketing and entrepreneurship.

Is his company really worthy of study? Check it out for yourself. He's very open about ConvertKit's growth on his blog and other sources if you subscribe to his email newsletter.

Pros

  • If you are familiar with other ESP systems, you'll recognize the different lists of subscribers and emails that can be sent out to more than one list. Usually, other companies may double charge you for a subscriber if someone is on 2 lists. ConvertKit only counts 1 contact per email.
  • ConvertKit allows you to easily build a system of tags and segments to help separate your readers to what they're interested in.
  • Their visual editor is pretty awesome and allows you to build your email lists similarly to a page builder in WordPress.
  • Speaking of WordPress, they also maintain a WordPress plugin that allows you to easily import forms on your website. It works very well.
  • All types of creatives will feel welcomed as their content and mission applies to helping you succeed. They provide plenty of content to help you start.
  • Powerful, revenue-boosting automation rules can easily be set up without needing to know any code.
  • ConvertKit permits you to create a collection of emails that drip out over a specific time frame, determined by the moment a user signed up to that sequence.
  • In other services, such as MailChimp, you pay more for this ability, while ConvertKit includes it in your monthly fee.
  • There’s no need for separate landing pages being that ConvertKit allows users to create landing pages within their software.
  • It is easy to digest and follow along with ConvertKit tutorials (great for beginners!)
  • Integration with shopping carts like Gumroad, Shopify and Samcart for easy buyer management.

Cons

  • ConvertKit doesn’t have a free level, in contrast to Mad Mimi. Their lowest stage of service is $29 a month. So if you are a beginner, or not currently in a position to pay for your carrier yet, you won't find ConvertKit as easy to start.
  • The customization alternatives have been lackluster, to say the least. If you want to do anything besides a simple coloration change, you’ll want to use custom CSS. (I admire this is even an option, however it’s pretty much the only choice if you’re not comfortable with the default layout.)
  • I should additionally point out that ConvertKit allows you to construct landing pages, although, the barriers I’ve just referred to apply just as much to the landing page builder as well.
  • The backend CSS may have a conflict somewhere, as when you load a page on the backend, the white content container begins aligned left, then quickly shifts right, then quickly centers. It's very jarring. It makes me wonder if there is an issue with a load order somewhere.
  • Payment issues: Their payment system accepted my PayPal Business card in the beginning but when it came time for renewal it just wouldn't take. I also had a secondary card expire and when I tried to update the information after getting the new card, the lock page buttons didn't work, effectively locking me out of my account. Support was able to fix it for me after a few days but it was still frustrating at the time.

Mad Mimi

What is Mad Mimi?

Mad Mimi is a super easy platform to create, send, share and track email newsletters. Mad Mimi is for those of you who want to get started with email marketing and just want things to be simple.

Every day, over fifty million emails are sent, shared and tracked using this effective service.

Why Would Someone Use Mad Mimi?

I love this quote about Mad Mimi as it describes what the service is pretty well:

MadMimi to me is the FisherPrice of Mass Mailing and I say it in a very positive way: it has bright colours, easy to use functions and all the functions one could need.

If you want something that's easy to use and has basic HTML templates to get you started, Mad Mimi might be what you're looking for. There's nothing too complicated and there is an addon system to connect your other accounts such as Facebook.

The pricing is about the best you can find in this space, free to start and $10 a month for the first paid plan.

Is Mad Mimi a Good and Trustworthy Platform?

It's pretty tough to find current account statistics but it's worth mentioning that this service was good enough to be acquired by GoDaddy in 2014. At the time of acquisition Mad Mimi had around 250,000 users and was sending out over 50 million emails daily.

Techcrunch has a good article about the GoDaddy acquisition and it describes GoDaddy's attempt to beef up its email marketing offering.

Pros

  • Basic HTML templates that easily allow you to send HTML emails without coding knowledge.
  • Easy to use and modular with addon support.
  • Free plan with 100 contacts available and low, scalable costs for increased contacts.
  • Clean layout and settings are simple to navigate and upgrade or downgrade account features.

Cons

  • Lack of automatic save in text editors.
  • Their documentation and articles can be tricky to find.
  • Content management capabilities, including segments and custom fields, are limited or non-existent compared to other marketing software.
  • In comparison to other email service providers, email templates are limited as well as sign-up form options. No option to import your own HTML emails.
  • The design of their website looks straight out of 2004.

ActiveCampaign

What is ActiveCampaign?

ActiveCampaign is an intelligent platform that makes it easy to leverage advertising and marketing automation. You'll be in a position to graph sophisticated, automatic advertising and marketing strategies that store time and generate extra revenue for your company.

Plans start at $9 a month.

Why Would Someone Use ActiveCampaign?

The platform is extremely convenient to use and quite intuitive. There wasn't a huge curve to master in order to get up and running. The campaign automation are what most people like about this service, what makes it stand out from the other services mentioned.

Is ActiveCampaign a Good and Trustworthy Platform?

ActiveCampaign has won the hearts of many internet marketers, including Shane Melaugh of ActiveGrowth. His pick for top ESP is ActiveCampaign because of the incredible A/B Testing Features they offer.

Pros

  • ActiveCampaign's pricing starts at $9 a month, perfect for those who want to get their feet wet. 
  • They have one of the best split testing mechanisms in the business.
  • Ability to use platform as an all-in-one CRM and Sales solution. Almost like an intelligent marketing department in a box.
  • Multiple ways to message your reader or customer – by email, website message, or SMS.
  • Beautiful interface: the visual editor and UI is incredibly simple to use and easy on the eyes.

Cons

  • While ActiveCampaign’s automation sequences are superbly designed, their CRM and email builder lacks in comparison to dedicated systems.
  • Only higher-priced plans offer lead scoring, starting at $49 a month.
  • A campaign is solely capable of sending a one-off email at a specific time that is blasted to all contacts in a chosen list. If you have a large list, you may run into problems with SPAM filters due to sending similar emails to contacts at the same organization.

Which of These Top 3 Email Service Providers Should You Choose?

All businesses have specific needs. So it's pretty rare a blanket recommendation will do. ActiveCampaign, Mad Mimi, and ConvertKit are only three email marketing tools out of 30+ available out there to create, send, test, optimize and deliver lead magnets on their email campaigns.

ActiveCampaign has one of the best user interfaces for building automation campaigns, making it easy and enjoyable to use. Their pricing is about as low as you can get for a great marketing solution and their A/B testing is one of the best in the business. I love this service for the sleek way it delivers marketing tools for your business.

Mad Mimi is for people who want email marketing to be simple. Mad Mimi provides strong delivery, effortless audience management, monitoring and support. You can get started for free for up to 100 contacts before needing to pay. Their colorful design and easy to use interface are perfect for tech beginners who just need something that works and not have to worry about technical things. I love this service to be able to quickly test a project without buying a monthly email service subscription.

And last but certainly not least, ConvertKit helps you serve your email list to it's maximum potential by providing key integrations, simple to configure list management, and even training to help your creative business thrive. You pay for this position at a premium as their entry plan is one of the most expensive plans in the business at $29 a month. I love this service for their vision for helping small creators.

So, which of these top 3 email service providers should you choose? Your answer will vary depending on the answers to these 2 main questions:

  1. What are your needs?
  2. What features will help you serve your audience better?

I enjoyed my time with ConvertKit but the bugs and the high price tag sent me packing. I'm definitely willing to give it another bash once my business is built up a little more as they've hired more support staff and updated their design and functionality of their interface.

I'm currently using Mad Mimi as a provider of choice for a few niche websites and probably won't use it beyond that. Their offering, while solid, is pretty bland. It's perfect as a line item for a future built business that will be sold eventually.

I've only begun testing ActiveCampaign and LOVE it so far. It's a bit overkill for what I need but is substantially cheaper than ConvertKit at the moment.

So tell me in the comments below, What ESP are you using and if it's one of the top 3 email service providers mentioned above, what was your experience like?

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