As a growing business, you may also be looking for a CRM solution, and you'll find that the more advanced email marketing services have begun to crossover into CRM. It makes sense: Both types of software deal with managing and communicating with customers. A handful of these services are one-stop shops, either offering both email marketing and CRM out of the box or as add-on services.
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Each of those tactics requires different tools when it comes to creation of the source email, dissemination to specific recipients, and integration with other back-end systems, notably the accounting system, the customer relationship management (CRM) system, and possibly even the inventory management system. You can manage your contacts by simply keeping a list of names and email addresses, or you can create a complex database full of subscribers segmented by demographic slices and engagement levels. Which method you choose really just depends on how much of your budget you're willing to allocate toward the email marketing software that can give your company the features it needs.
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Next up is building an email newsletter. The best services offer several ways to do this; you can import your own HTML, start from scratch, or use a predesigned template. Most of these services have drag-and-drop UIs that let you choose exactly the elements you want to include, as well as image libraries in which you can store assets such as your logo or company photos. Tools that let you test your emails for spam are also essential since there are some seemingly innocuous terms that may send up red flags and drop all of your hard work into your subscribers' junk folders or, worse, get your emails banned before they ever reach their recipients.
While pricing varies by provider, the cost structure is usually the same. Most email marketing providers charge a monthly fee based on contact list size, with a range of packages and plans. With this structure, most providers allow you to send out an unlimited number of emails each month and have enough different plans to fit into the budget of any business.
Econsultancy Research Manager Aliya Zaidi says email is no longer just on a computer—it's also mobile content on smartphones and iPads. As a result, Zaidi's email marketing tips include being aware of how your message is delivered and displayed on different mobile devices. "Think about touchscreens and how you can optimize an email to improve this part of the customer experience," Zaidi says. For some, mobile is read offline, which limits real-time offers in the content, she says. On the other hand, mobile does let you do some things better, such as target by location.
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But is free the only thing this German newsletter service does well? Not quite. They offer a lot of different pricing options, which may seem overwhelming at first but give you a lot of flexibility. Among them are flat-rate, pay as you go and high-volume options. Once you move past the free plan, their prices are in the upper third of the market though. Then there are pro features such as their content segmentation that allows you to customize content blocks to your reader's preferences.
The email software can be learned and used to benefit your business. But the time it takes to learn how to use it and the best way to use it can be time consuming and a lot of trial and error. Although a email marketing service can get that out their for you, the cost can be overwhelming. So, you are going to want someone that also does your social media work as well in order to know your product and get the message out that you want. There are companies out there that can do both and...