If you’re looking for new email marketing software, you’re probably wondering why there are so many options, and most importantly, which one will work best for your company. Well, each service offers a lot of the same basic features, but they also specialize in different tools, capabilities, and integrations. Like anything in marketing, you must consider your goals, strategy, and audience in order to make an informed decision. Choosing the right email marketing software for your company is less about which one is superior and more about which one is the best match for you.
During our years of email marketing campaigns, we’ve identified two email marketing service providers that get the job done, and done well, for pretty much any client. The first is Constant Contact, and here’s what’s great about them...
- They are an industry leader in the email marketing space and have been in the game for more than 20 years.
- Constant Contact provides over 100 templates that you can use as-is or customize. Plus, they’re drag-and-drop style email builder is insanely user-friendly and excellent for creatives.
- You can add text, images, buttons, dividers, and more to your email layouts.
- Emails can be sent as soon as you’re happy with them or they can be scheduled to go out at a later time and/or date.
- Contact lists can be segmented and managed within the platform.
- With Constant Contact, you can set up drip campaigns. This means you can send an automated email series to a segmented list of contacts. Each new message that is sent automatically is done so because it is triggered by actions that recipients take. This is a very important tool because emails that are sent in a more targeted and timely manner almost always result in better engagement.
- This software is easily integrated with other platforms such as Salesforce, Leadpages, Shopify, Eventbrite, WordPress, Gmail, and more.
- Analytics about each email send are provided in the platform, and some basic engagement information is kept in each contact record.
But these Constant Contact assets really go above and beyond…
- Events: This email service provider is the most user-friendly for companies that are often sending information about events. Constant Contact has features that help you manage invitations, registrations, and tickets. If you hold concerts, shows, or conventions on a regular basis, this software will make it very easy for you to notify your contacts of events and follow up with them afterwards.
- Niche Features: When you sign up for Constant Contact, you can choose between two plans: “Email” or “Email Plus.” Though more expensive, the robust “Email Plus" offers some very unique features that allow you to execute specific types of campaigns such as coupon offers, donation collections, and surveys.
Here’s what you really want to know, the cost…
- Constant Contact offers a generous 60-day free trial. After that, the pricing is tiered based on the number of email contacts in your list, which is common practice. Their paid plans start at $20/month for up to 500 contacts, although that price is for the basic “Email.” If you go with an “Email Plus” plan, you’ll get more advanced features like subject line A/B testing, dynamic content, and automated behavioral campaigns.
So, we think that Constant Contact is great for both beginner email marketers with manageable and straightforward lists and businesses who could greatly benefit from their special features and integrations, such as community theatres and boutique stores. However, HubSpot is our absolute favorite email marketing service provider, especially for medium to large sized businesses, and here’s why…
- Although they are a slightly younger company than Constant Contact, HubSpot is well known as the one-stop-shop for inbound marketing management.
- They also offer pre-made email templates, or you can start from scratch by crafting a custom template tailored to your brand. Even better news is that HubSpot now offers a drag-and-drop style email builder as well, something that Constant Contact really did best up until the last couple of years.
- No matter how you start building your email in HubSpot, you can still add text, images, buttons, dividers, and more just like you can in Constant Contact.
HubSpot assets that go above and beyond...
- Smart Send Functionality: Your send time can greatly impact engagement. In HubSpot, your finished emails can be sent immediately or scheduled for later just like in Constant Contact. However, while most email marketing software sends scheduled blasts based on your time zone, this HubSpot feature uses location information for each contact in your CRM to ensure that if you want them to receive a message at 11:00 a.m. their time, they will.
- List Segmentation & Automated Emails: Because HubSpot not only offers free email marketing, but also free lead-nurturing customer relationship management software (CRM), there are many more options for list segmentation and automated emails than what Constant Contact provides. The HubSpot CRM holds much more information about each individual contact and their behaviors than the contact records in Constant Contact, especially if you’re taking full advantage of the platform.
- Integrations & In-Platform Services: HubSpot also easily integrates with other platforms, but the software also offers many of the tools those with Constant Contact have to find somewhere else. This means you can take care of most of your inbound marketing tasks all in one place, which is incredibly convenient.
- Analytics Dashboard: HubSpot provides metrics that are much more comprehensive than just open rates and click rates, including the amount of time people spend viewing your emails, for example. The more information you have on an email’s performance, the more accurately you’ll be able to judge what's resonating with your audience so that you can optimize your strategy accordingly. These analytics also allow you to report on things as broad as your overall email performance in Q1 or as specific as how one particular lead is interacting with your emails.
- Personalization: With Constant Contact, you can utilize more basic personalization, such as addressing the contact by their first name in your greeting, but HubSpot allows you to do this and much more. You can personalize subject lines and body content using any of the information about the recipient that is stored in the CRM, such as their geographic location, business name, or school.
- Preview Feature: You can preview Constant Contact emails, but with HubSpot you’re able to see what your message will look like based on what email client (Gmail, Apple Mail, Office 365, etc.) a recipient uses. This tool is more important than many realize because email subject lines, preview text, and the content itself can look very different based on the email client and you want your content to look great for everyone.
- A/B Testing: This tool allows you to maximize your email open rates and click rates by comparing different versions of an email to understand which one resonates the most with your audience. This will inform decisions about things like subject lines and calls-to-action as you progress in your email marketing. Constant Contact now has a similar tool for subject lines, but it’s only available for “Email Plus” plans.
- Marketing Hub Starter Package: The real reason that HubSpot is the winner in our eyes is because their email marketing platform is just one aspect of their product. By signing up for the Marketing Hub Starter Package, you will get all the tools you need to align your marketing and sales efforts. When you also use HubSpot as your CRM, your email campaigns are tied to the bigger picture, allowing all your actions and deliverables to be focused and purposeful.
So, what’s all this great stuff going to cost you…
- Nothing! HubSpot’s Email Marketing Software, and their CRM for that matter, are free. Although, this only covers 2,000 emails per month. However, if you’re happy with HubSpot, we highly recommend upgrading to their Marketing Hub Starter Package for $50/month so that you can have more enhanced capabilities.
Although Constant Contact is more than sufficient for smaller companies, we usually recommend HubSpot to our clients. This is because we always encourage people to strive for growth. Though you may not need all of HubSpot’s features right away, why limit yourself? By providing your team with the proper tools, you’re much more likely to expand your marketing strategies. With HubSpot, your inbound marketing efforts will reach new heights. We know this to be true because we see it happen all the time!