Email is one of the most powerful marketing platforms at your disposal as a blogger. If you’re not collecting email addresses from subscribers, you’re leaving a lot of conversion on the table. More importantly, you’re missing out on an excellent way to stay in touch with your audience.
There are a lot of top email marketing services you can get started with in a matter of hours. Some of them even offer free plans, which is perfect if you’re on a budget. Once you start building your list of subscribers and sending campaigns, you’ll realize just how powerful email can be for marketing.
Luckily for you, I’ve tried a lot of the top email marketing services around these days. In this article, I put together a list of my favorite options and what makes them stand out.
Before we get to that, let’s take a minute to talk about how email marketing can help you.
Why You Need an Email Marketing Service for Your Blog
As far as marketing goes, email is one of the most unobtrusive ways to reach your audience. It’s not as in your face as pop-ups or phone calls, and the medium enables you to craft campaigns that are as short or long as you want.
When you subscribe to a blog’s email list, you’re free to ignore emails you don’t care about. In some cases, a title will catch your attention, you’ll open it, and you’ll find yourself back to browsing through its parent blog. When you send a campaign, your primary goal is probably to get more traffic back to your blog or to convince your subscribers to buy something. If you accomplish either of those things, then your campaigns are a success by any metric.
Some people think email marketing is a waste of time and they should focus solely on their blog’s content. I used to think that as well, but time has proven me wrong. After a lot of trial and error, here are my takeaways on why email marketing is worth your time, regardless of what niche you’re in:
- You can curate a list of subscribers. Customer lists are essential for any growing businesses, and blogs are no exception. Depending on which marketing platform you use, you can get insights into your subscribers and what they care about.
- Email marketing platforms provide you with analytics. Most modern services enable you to track every aspect of your campaign’s performance. That means you have hard data you can use to improve efforts instead of flying blind.
- You can maximize your blog’s reach. In many cases, email campaigns will reach users that might not otherwise have seen your content.
In my opinion, the most accurate way to look at email marketing is as a low-cost source of conversions. Imagine you have a thousand subscribers, for example. Each time you send an email, you get a free chance to convince a fraction of those to visit your website or convert. Even with a conversion rate of 1.5%, that equals 15 sales you might have not otherwise made, in exchange for very little effort.
With most email marketing platforms, you can send as many emails as you want. That means if a campaign fails, you can return to the drawing board and refine it. Even better yet, you can automate a lot of the processes involved in email marketing, so you don’t have to micromanage things. That leaves more time to focus on creating excellent content for your blog.
Blogging is like any other business in the sense there’s more to becoming successful than having a good product to offer. The way you present your blog and market it also plays a significant impact on its reception, and email is one of the most influential tools at your disposal. It can be overwhelming to learn about all the ins and outs of blogging if you’re new to this, so we recommend you find a useful resource that can help you take things step by step. Our Beginner Blogging course, for example, is a great place to get started (and it’s free, to boot!).
5 Top Email Marketing Services for Your Blog
There are a lot of email marketing platforms available online. So many, in fact, that narrowing down your top options and choosing one requires a lot of work. In this section, I did some of the legwork for you and narrowed things down to my top five choices. I’ve had more experience with some of these platforms than others, but I can tell you they’re all worth your time.
All these platforms share the same basic functionality – they enable you to create email lists and send campaigns. Instead of rehashing those features, I’m going to focus on what makes each of them unique.
Constant Contact is one of the oldest email marketing services still around. It was created in 1995, and that age shows somewhat. When it comes to style, it’s not as flashy as other platforms. However, it makes up for a dull interface with a robust email editor that’s easy to use.
The service boasts a surprisingly high amount of integrations with third-party platforms. Those include WordPress, Facebook, Salesforce, and more. If you need an email marketing service that plays nice with another online application, Constant Contact should have you covered. However, it can be hard to recommend Constant Contact if you’re on a budget. The platform offers a free 60-day trial. After that, plans start at $20 per month for up to 500 email subscribers.
- Integrate your campaigns with hundreds of third-party services.
- Supports niche features such as event management.
- Boasts one of the highest email deliverability rates among all marketing services.
MailChimp is one of the most popular email marketing platforms around. For me, two things make it stand out – its ease of use and robust free plan. The first time I logged into MailChimp, it didn’t take me long to start working on my first campaign. Their email template system is not as in-depth as other platforms, but it offers a lot of options to get you started quickly. That means, if you’re entirely new to email marketing, MailChimp can enable you to get your first campaign up in record time.
Secondly, the platform enables you to send up to 12,000 emails per month and rack up to 2,000 subscribers for free. Chances are your email list will start making you money long before you reach 2,000 subscribers, so that’s more than enough to get you started.
- Create stylish campaigns with an easy-to-use editor.
- Use templates to get campaigns up faster or design them from scratch.
- Automate your email campaigns, even on a free plan.
Benchmark Email features one of the most intuitive email design tools I’ve encountered. With this platform, you can design attractive emails using simple drag-and-drop features, with access to plenty of pre-built elements.
The downside is that same editor is also rather limited. For example, I often ran into problems trying to do simple tasks such as resizing images. This would be a deal breaker in some cases, but Benchmark Email made up for it with a couple of other features I liked. For example, the service enables you to preview emails on both mobile and desktop clients. In both cases, previews were pixel perfect.
Moreover, the service includes step-by-step wizards to help you create basic email campaigns, automatic responders, surveys, and polls. This is invaluable if you want to save time and you have little experience with the process. As far as pricing goes, you can add up to 2,000 subscribers and send 14,000 free emails per month, which is a bit better than MailChimp.
- Use a simple drag-and-drop builder to create stylish email campaigns.
- Preview how your campaigns will look on mobile and desktop email clients.
- Create campaigns, polls, surveys, and more using step-by-step instructions.
Drip is a bit different than the services we’ve talked about so far. It’s an email marketing platform that’s all about driving sales. For example, if you’re using your blog as a way to drive affiliate sales or to market your own product, Drip can help you get the job done.
To this end, the platform offers a few rather unique features. For example, Drip can provide you with a ‘lead score’ that helps you determine which subscribers are more likely to convert. It also enables you to build complex automated campaigns using a chart-based system that’s incredibly intuitive. Overall, the service offers so many advanced features, I felt like I was using a marketing tool in another league when I signed up.
However, despite all its upsides, I only consider Drip a good option if you’re selling a product. The platform offers a basic free plan that’s capped at 100 subscribers, which is nothing, so it’s only useful as a way to help you learn the ropes. Drip’s basic premium plan starts at a hefty $41 per month (for up to 2,500 subscribers), which is somewhat expensive for blogs without a monetization strategy.
- Calculate the potential of your subscribers to convert.
- Track the lifetime ‘value’ of your subscribers.
- Create automated email chains using a chart-based system.
If I had to use a single word to describe AWeber, it would be safe. It’s an all-around excellent email marketing service, but it doesn’t excel in any areas, at least in my opinion.
For example, AWeber provides you with a staggering number of templates (over 700) you can use for your email campaigns. No other service offers as many options, but some of AWeber’s designs are somewhat dated. Likewise, its autoresponder features are solid, but not particularly outstanding. Overall, AWeber provided me with a rather worry-free email marketing experience. However, I sometimes missed the more advanced features other services offered me.
Personally, I see AWeber as MailChimp’s older sibling. It’s a bit better in some aspects, so it’s a great option if you want more than MailChimp’s free plan can offer you. As far as plans go, AWeber doesn’t offer a free one, but you do have access to a 30-day trial. After that, plans start at $19 per month for up to 500 subscribers.
- Get access to what is possibly the largest collection of email templates available online.
- Set up a robust system of email autoresponders.
- Automatically send your latest blog posts to your subscribers.
There’s a reason why most blogs are interested in collecting your email. Even if you only have a couple of hundred subscribers, reaching out to them periodically is a great way to drum up more traffic for your blog. Plus, if you’re promoting any products or services, email campaigns are a killer way to drive conversions.
As far as which platform to use, it’ll come down to the features you’re looking for. Personally, I’m a big fan of MailChimp and AWeber if you’re looking for ease of use and a powerful set of features. However, they’re not your only options, so you should take the time to look through the features of each option we talked about and see what they have to offer.
Do you have any questions about which email marketing service to use on your blog? Let’s talk about them in the comments section below!
Image credit: Pixabay.