One of the first questions new (and even experienced) marketers often ask is: “What’s the best autoresponder service or email marketing tool?” Autoresponders and email marketing tools are some of the most important parts of your business. You use it to follow-up with customers. To keep people coming back to your site. To build loyalty. To make sales. Yet the answer is often not so clear cut. Do you want the highest deliverability possible? Do you want to import offline contacts? Do you want to integrate your list management with a shopping cart? Do you want to spend $20 a month or $500 a month? The answer to these questions all yield very different answers. Here are the top 10 autoresponder tools on the market, along with who they’re for and what they’re capable of.
Tool #1: Aweber
If you’re managing a list in the hundreds, thousands or low tens of thousands and you only collect leads through the internet, then there’s no better service than Aweber. Aweber doesn’t really allow you to add leads from offline sources. However, for online lists, Aweber sports the best deliverability ratings on the market. If you’re primarily using online opt-in forms, use Aweber. Your emails will get delivered, opened and clicked on.
Tool #2: MailChimp
MailChimp is a fantastic place for beginning marketers to get started. Their “forever free” plan allows you to create a list on MailChimp for free as long as your list is under 500 users. When you’re just starting out, that’s more than enough. If you don’t want to start paying for autoresponders yet, go ahead and give MailChimp a shot, it is a great first step as an email marketing tool.
Tool #3: iContact
iContact is a great choice for small to medium sized marketers who do want to import outside lists. iContact allows you to add people to your list manually or through import.
Tool #4: Constant Contact
If you’re a fan of HTML or graphical emails, Constant Contact can be great choice as an email marketing tool. Again, they’re geared primarily for marketers who have lists in the hundreds, thousands or low to mid tens of thousands.
Tool #5: InfusionSoft
InfusionSoft is the tool of choice for serious marketers. If you run a six figure online business or have a list larger 50,000 subscribers, this may be the tool for you. InfusionSoft combines your shopping cart with email marketing, so you can do complex things like segregate your buyers from your subscribers or mail specific sequences to specific people. You can also send physical postcards from InfusionSoft. InfusionSoft isn’t cheap. The monthly subscription is in the hundreds, and there’s a four figure setup fee. It’s geared towards companies that are already successful and need powerful solutions, rather than startups.
Tool #6: GetResponse
GetResponse is a solid autoresponder choice for small businesses. It’s also geared primarily towards list sizes of mid tens of thousands or fewer. They have a strong reputation in the industry and offer a wide variety of features.
Tool #7: 1ShoppingCart
If you want to integrate your email with your shopping cart but don’t quite want to spring for InfusionSoft, 1ShoppingCart could be your answer. 1ShoppingCart is a one stop solution for payment processing and email marketing. It allows you to segregate lists and mail only buyers or your entire list. It’s one of the more reputable shopping cart services on the net.
Be warned however, their deliverability rates simply aren’t as high as a dedicated email marketing service. You save time and money by just having one shopping cart rather than a shopping cart and an autoresponder, but it’s not without tradeoffs.
Tool #8: Autoresponse Plus (ARP Reach)
Autoresponse Plus, also known as ARP Reach, is the autoresponder of choice for doing co-registration. You can certainly use the software to do standard email marketing as well. However, if you’re buying leads and need those fresh leads to be mailed instantly, Autoresponse Plus has one of the most solid reputations in the industry.
Tool #9: Campaign Monitor
Campaign Monitor is email marketing built for the data driven business. All your data, including open rates and clicks, can be tracked using a Google Analytics-like interface.
If you want to split test emails or carefully track what topics do better than others, give Campaign Monitor a spin.
Tool #10: Office AutoPilot
Office Autopilot is a tool that adds a layer of sophistication to the standard autoresponder service. You can almost “program” Office Autopilot to do various different tasks with their if-then rules.
Essentially, you can tell Office Autopilot what to do if certain things occur. For example, if a customer places an order, you can send an order to your fulfillment house to fulfill that order. Or if a customer leaves, you can send them a last minute special offer. Just select the trigger for the action, then select what list it applies to then select what to do when that action is trigger.
Office Autopilot plans all start at above $200 a month. These are the top 10 autoresponder and email marketing tools on the market today. You have options all the way from free to several hundred dollars a month, from basic functionality to complex analytics and shopping cart integration. The one you pick depends entirely on where your business is and what it needs.