“Email is the greatest marketing tool in history. If used properly, nothing is more personalized, inexpensive, interactive or easier to execute.” – Chris Baggot
While email marketing is exceptionally powerful, it is also one of the least used, least understood, and least optimized parts of many small ecommerce websites.
To help small online businesses close the knowledge gab, we wanted to list the top Email Marketing blogs, tools, and resources that we have come across. Please help us add to this list if you notice that we missed anything.
The Top 5 Email Marketing Blogs
Blog: Chris Baggot
Description: Email marketing best practices. Voted best of the web by Fortune and MarketingSherpa
Blog: No Man is an Island
Description: Blog from Email Marketing Reports
Blog: Bill Nussey
Description: Author of “The Quiet Revolution in Email Marketing
Blog: Tamara Gielen
Description: Best practices, tips & tricks to optimize your next email marketing campaign.
Blog: The Email Wars
Description: Optimizing email deliverability
The Top Email Marketing AutoResponder Tools
To succeed with email marketing, the single most important tool that every small online business needs to find is an autoresponder. An Autoresponder is an email marketing software application that will automatically broadcast newsletters and deliver targeted emails to your prospects. Unfortunately, finding a great, affordable, email marketing tool is not easy.
We are going to list the top 5 tools that we are aware of but it is important to note that we are not fully satisfied with any of them. As you know, our mantra is “test everything” and none of the auto-responders developed for small businesses offer A/B testing, which makes optimizing your online email marketing campaigns very painful and slow. The only tool that offers all the features that we liked is Lyris, but that is far too expensive. We just listed it so that you can see what will hopefully one day be available to all of us.
Tool 1: AutoResponsePlus
Description: AutoResponse Plus is a solid choice if your email list has grown beyond 25,000 subscribers and if you want an auto-responder that you install on your own server. This is the system that we use. It is functional and does the basics right but if you are doing broadcasts beyond 100,000 subscribers then we recommend getting a dedicated server just for ARP alone since it takes up a lot of resurces.
Tool 2: GetResponse
Description: GetResponse is the perfect tool for beginners. It is offered at the lowest price point and is a fully hosted solution so you do not need anything to install to get started. When we last used it, however, we noticed that as your email lists grows into the tens of thousands you might experience scaling problems with GetResponse.
Tool 3: AWeber
Description: We have heard great things from AWeber customers saying that the system is very easy to use and that they have one of the highest email deliverability rates in the industry. Since email deliverability is a hot issue, this one might also be a great choice if you are just getting started. However, their pricing plan only goes to 20,000 subscribers and since we have hundreds of thousands we have to go with Auto-Response-Plus.
Tool 4: Zoodoka
Description: Email marketing for blogs. Zookoda enables you to send a daily, weekly or monthly summary of your latest blog posts directly into your vistors inbox. Oh…did we mention… for FREE?
Tool 5: Lyris
Description: This one is a luxury email marketing application. It is far beyond the reach of any small business but it is great to see where email marketing tools are headed. Now we just need to get the little vendors to upgrade their capabilities.
The Top Email Marketing Resources
Resource 1: Email Marketing Reports
Description: Hundreds of articles to help you start or improve your email marketing.
Resource 2: Marketing Sherpa – Email Marketing Newsletter
Description: This is one of our favorite online newsletters with high quality content and test results and best practices.
Resource 3: Return Path Resources
Description: Company site with a good resource center. Their articles tend to be a little boring and academic though and mostly applicable to big online retailers. For truly great articles – take a look at the resource below.
Resource 4: EmailLabs Learning Center
Description: Their resource center has some excellent articles on best times of day to send, text vs HTML open rates, send time reports and more. All complete with metrics, numbers and charts that would make a math major smile. We loved it.
Resource 5: Constant Contact Learning Center
Description: Great collection of free email marketing resources.
Do you know of any other great email marketing tools, blogs, and resources that we have left out? Please let us know and we’ll add them to the list.
Additions: Tools Recommended by Our Readers
Recommendation 1: Campaign Monitor
Description: Campaign monitor offers an excellent email marketing tool, blog, and resources.
Recommendation 2: Mail Chimp
Description: Another excellent email newsletter tool with lots of great resources and an excellent blog that is worth following.
Recommendation 3: Email Roundtable
Description: Email Marketing Roundtable is a Yahoo Group consisting of e-commerce and online marketing personnel from leading brands. People here come together to discuss what works and what flops when it comes to crafting and executing winning email marketing programs for their organizations.
Recommendation 4: R | Mail – RSS to Email
Description: Lets you subscribe by Email to Any RSS Feed.