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Email marketing and Enewsletter systems and software reviews 2017

Our recommendations and reviews on email marketing broadcast software options

Since I delivered one of the first training courses on Email marketing in 2001, I have regularly been asked for recommendations for affordable E-mail broadcast software packages for Email marketing and sending Enewsletters. Today, email services are far more sophisticated when I first became involved with Email marketing 15+ years ago. The main changes are:

  • All Email services have some features of Marketing Automation including dynamic content, automated email sequences based on actions and lead-scoring scoring based on content interacted with (particularly important for B2B Email marketing)
  • Many email services are now part of broader 'Marketing Cloud services' particularly relevant for larger businesses. These are covered in our enterprise marketing cloud review

This post highlights some of the options for businesses of different sizes that are most commonly used in the UK and delegates on my E-mail marketing courses have recommended to me. It's an informal post I originally started on a previous site in 2005 to point marketers on courses to for a shortlist of suppliers to review and I've added to it and removed sites over the years. It also includes recommended reviews site.

I always recommend hosted (Email Service Provider or ESP, or SaaS) email marketing solutions rather than software since, in general, the reporting/tracking and bounce management capabilities of the cheaper desktop e-mail packages are inferior. There are also management problems with deliverability and blacklisting which are best managed by an external email service provider in my opinion.

Although you can use an email service provider in another country, I recommend using a local provider since this is easier for support and resolving deliverability problems locally. So I have highlighted UK Email marketing companies at the start of the list, but options for US and Asia Pacific are also covered.

The E-mail broadcast / management (E-mail Service Provider, ESP) solutions which are most cost-effective (below $50 per month for low volumes) recommended to me by delegates on my courses are as follows. I have grouped them by region, since often, local support is useful to deal with local deliverability issues.

2017 update: Free Email Marketing RFP Guide

Since I originally created this comparison around ten years ago I have updated it with new Email marketing services available in different countries which can give better local support.

Choosing the best email service provide can be challenging since there are so many features. Although some providers may offer 'Marketing Automation', there are many features within that. To help here we offer members now able to offer this downloadable checklist of features to look for when choosing an email - it's free to all members on Smart Insights.

Since this post was originally posted on my blog 10 years ago, there have been huge changes in functionality of email systems. So in 2016, many Email marketing providers have expanded their services to include broader Marketing Automation features and Marketing Clouds that cover marketing communications across the full customer lifecycle. If you want to learn about our top recommendations in these categories see our Digital Marketing Tools 2017 checklist, available as a free download to all Basic members.

Services comparing Email Marketing Software

Use publisher sites to compare criteria for email marketing systems side-by-side

In the next sections we have recommendations of ESPs we're familiar with who have local support which can be vital for timely response and knowledge of local deliverability issues.

Popular UK-based Email marketing systems most suited for small and medium businesses

  • NewZapp - a relatively low cost, capable UK-based solution
  • dotMailer - another cost-effective UK solution
  • Pure 360 - UK-based Email marketing specialists with options for SMEs and larger companies wishing to run trigger-based personalised Email marketing campaigns
  • Newsweaver - Offices in UK and Ireland with clients ranging from large multinationals to SMEs. Have examples of SMEs Email templates on their site
  • CommuniGator - a service focused on B2B Email marketing and Email marketing automation

European-based ESPs

Enterprise email service providers and Marketing Cloud providers with UK offices

These focus on providing services for large brands with complex needs of systems integration, higher quality support and delivery of services in different countries. Companies I have worked with in the UK at training days for their clients include:

Popular US-based Email broadcast services

  • MailChimp (US email service often recommended for its ease of use)
  • Constant Contact (again US-based but used widely in Europe)
  • Benchmark Email (a US-based email marketing platform with offices in Europe and worldwide). They differ from some of the other providers since along with ease-of-use and affordability, personalised support is included in all plans.

Asia Pacific Email management systems

Of course, there are literally hundreds of E-newsletter broadcast solutions and these represent the most widely used lower-cost options.

Key criteria to consider for an Email or Enewsletter system are - can the solution:

  1. Track E-mail response at an individual level? Essential for follow-up?
  2. Create automated email sequences for event-triggered or behavioural emails?
  3. Integrate with actions on a websites, e.g. search or browse a product category?
  4. Track campaign response across time / multiple campaigns?
  5. Integrate response with customer database?
  6. Manage profiling and subscription/unsubscribe?
  7. Bounces, e.g. Out-of-office auto-replies?
  8. Deliver WYSIWYG editing for marketing staff?
  9. Archived e-newsletters on web site?
  10. Is broadcasting straightforward?

Please add your comments on other systems or suppliers you can recommend, or not!

By Dave Chaffey

Dave is CEO and co-founder of Smart Insights. He is editor of the 100 templates, ebooks and courses in the digital marketing resource library created by our team of 25+ Digital Marketing experts. Our resources used by our Expert members in more than 80 countries to Map, Plan and Manage their digital marketing. For my full profile, or to connect on LinkedIn or other social networks, see the About Dave Chaffey profile page on Smart Insights. Dave is author of 5 bestselling books on digital marketing including Emarketing Excellence and Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice. In 2004 he was recognised by the Chartered Institute of Marketing as one of 50 marketing ‘gurus’ worldwide who have helped shape the future of marketing.

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