When it comes to email marketing tools, there literally are hundreds - if not thousands - to consider putting on the list. I've written about many lesser-known pieces of email software over the years, but what defines "best"? In my book, it's a tool that helps you do your job better. And what is your job? Sending emails that accomplish marketing goals like generate revenue, increase loyalty, improve lifetime value, or boost customer satisfaction.
So when I try to define the "best email marketing tools" my brain goes to problems and solutions. Email marketers in our question to do great email marketing. So I'm going to organize my favorites by 10 specific problems and share one (or more) tools that do a great job of solving that problem.
#1) Monitor Your Competitors: SendView
We all subscribe to our competitors' emails to get ideas and keep tabs on who we're up against. The trick is that Gmail or Outlook wasn't designed answer the questions we're asking when we do. Things like which ESP they're using, source code tactics, send frequency, content calendar analysis, etc. SendView, however, is a tool designed to answer those questions and much, much more.
#2) Code Amazing Emails: Parcel
Writing HTML is tricky. You've got unique coding styles, challenges with testing, previews, and analysis, and lots of things that you wouldn't normally need or do with traditional HTML. Most code editors fail miserably when it comes to these nuances, but not Parcel. It's a tool built specifically for email and it doesn't a ridiculously awesome job at helping email developers create amazing campaigns.
#3) Get Design Inspiration: Really Good Emails
Want to create really good emails? You'll probably need some ideas - some inspiration - of where to start. Well, funny thing, there's this website with over 10,000 examples of beautifully-designed campaigns with the HTML to boot. Really Good Emails is one of the most popular email marketing tools around for good reason.
#4) Test in Inboxes: Litmus
Instead of a website where you might have a couple browsers with tiny variances to worry about, email inboxes are great in number and notoriously diverse version to version. Add that up, and you've got a boat load of combinations to test. Litmus has tools that can do so many things well, but I love their email rendering testing perhaps the best. It's fast, it's accurate, and it covers that matrix of possibilities as well as anyone.
#5) Create Dynamic Images: Movable Ink
At some point you're gonna wanna add a little more pizzaz, a little more relevance, a little more information based on what you know about that customer. Moveable Ink started with some clever dynamic images back in the day, but now their platform is amazing. If you want to unlock some powerful dynamic image capabilities, this is the place to start.
#6) Implement a Referral Program: SparkLoop
Big email newsletters had the resources to build referral programs from scratch (and reap the results). What about the rest of us? Enter SparkLoop. They make it so anyone can tap in the word-of-mouth potential that lies within their own email database. With a long list of amazing features and a reasonable price, they're tough to beat if the success of your newsletter hinges on engagement and growth.
#7) Track Domain / Authentication: DMARC Digests
Deliverability is a worth that, if you haven't dug into yet, you'll need to embrace sooner or later. There are a lot of tools out there, but DMARC Digests (originally created by Wildbit but then sold to ActiveCampaign) is elegant in it's simplicity and design. Track one sending domain or a dozen, the price is right and the insights are priceless in helping you reach the inbox.
#8) Get Deeper Insights: Email on Acid
Like Litmus, Email on Acid does a ton of stuff and their advanced analytics are just one of them. But they do this really, really well. The insights are actionable, thoughtfully designed, and give you a bit more data that can influence future campaigns, testing, and the health of your email database. Like I said, EOA can do a ton of stuff, but their analytics are really impressive.
#9) Validate / Clean Up Emails: NeverBounce
There are a lot of bogus emails out there, old emails, emails that you really don't want or need in your database. Whether you're looking for a one-time cleanse, real-time cleansing when folks are filling out your forms, or a recurring cleanup of your database then NeverBounce is tough to beat. I've tried a long list of these tools, but I've always come back to NeverBounce.
#10) Build Emails without Code: BEE
Once again, there are a lot of great email builders out there. I have my favorites, but it's tough to argue when you hear so many people tell you that they've tried a bunch and their favorite was BEE. Honestly, it's not hard to see why. With a great interface and lots of tools that give developers extra superpowers (like embedding it in their app), BEE is popular for a reason...it's really good.
Bonus: - Email Resources
Looking for a more comprehensive list? Check out Email Resources, a library of tools created by the cool cats at Parcel. It may take a while to sort through them all, but if you need something? Well, chances are it's there.
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