MailChimp, Campaign Monitor, Litmus… Oh My!

Whether you’re starting your first e-mail program for your company, or you’re a seasoned e-mail veteran looking to switch up your e-mail platform, choosing the right e-mail provider can be different.

There are so many platforms you can choose from– a lot with free options up to a certain amount of sends per month. How do you choose the right one? We think it’s all about: user experience.

Most e-mail platforms use a visual editor to create their e-mails. Visual editors have a drag and drop type format where you can pull in blocks of texts or images, can store images within the e-mail data base, and even use some pre-made e-mail templates. Most e-mail platforms also give you the option to upload your own code for e-mail design or templates as well.

The truth is, you can’t go “wrong” with any e-mail provider, but you can get confused and limited. You want to chose a provider that is above all, easy to navigate. You can’t focus on your e-mail strategy when you’re stuck trying to figure out your e-mail tool.

Providers like VerticalResponse and Constant Contact are popular, but not so user-friendly. They have great tools– even some social media integration, but in our opinion, they’re user interface could be greatly improved. Creating your own templates in either of these providers can get tricky if you’re not very familiar with the different editing tools. The good thing is, you can look into free trials to test out either of these tools.

Campaign Monitor is another popular e-mail provider. They have a semi-easy to use interface, and offer great templates. We don’t like that you can’t jump around in the e-mail process. You need to create a campaign and follow the tool’s steps instead of being able to jump around. We like freedom! They also do not provide a free option for users– you pay as soon as you start sending e-mails.

Litmus is provider that we love! But not for the reason you’re expecting. They’re e-mail design preview tools are aaah-mazing. Do you want to see what your e-mails looks like when you send it? On every screen size imaginable? Oh wait, within every e-mail provider too? You can literally see how your e-mail will render anywhere. Totally worth it if you have a large e-mail base your sending to and want to make sure your e-mails are top-notch. A bonus? You don’t have to design or even send your e-mail via Litmus. You can just grab your code from whatever e-mail provider you’re using and drop it into their analytics tool.

Our favorite e-mail provider you ask? MailChimp all the way. MailChimp’s interface is simple. Their templates are easy to manipulate, and their visual editor is very straightforward. They offer several integration opportunities with social media as well. And, they offer a free plan! It’s pretty hefty too if you’re just getting your e-mail marketing started. We love it! MailChimp is also super in-tune with e-mail best practices and benchmark metrics. Their industry metrics are a good resource to gauge your own campaigns.

This is a brief rundown of just some of the e-mail providers we’ve worked with. To sum it up: MailChimp = most user friendly and efficient, Litmus = great e-mail preview to help your e-mails succeed.

Stay tuned for our next post on e-mail analytics and metrics!

Is online marketing right for you?

Many small business owners who haven’t chosen to dabble in online marketing for their outreach think it’s not a possibility. Oh how wrong they are! Online marketing can be added to a business’ marketing plan easily and simply.

First, we need to define online marketing: online marketing is any type of outreach (advertising) to a target audience via web-based mediums. The most common forms include: having a web site, running an e-mail marketing campaign, creating and posting advertisements online, running a paid search (keyword bidding) campaign via Google and the use of social media to promote your business.

If you haven’t used online marketing before, these marketing tactics may seem complex, but they are not. They are extremely attainable and manageable for any business looking to grow their customer base and make more money.

One of the key components to a successful online marketing campaign is: having a professional web site. All of your other marketing tactics should tie back to your web site, where your product, be it a service or actual item, is showcased.

There is no question: if you have a product or service you are proud of, deem valuable, are looking to push out to the masses and bring in significant revenue– online marketing is for you.