5 Email Marketing Apps to Help You Stay Connected

Welcome to the first in a series of articles in which I play the role of “App Guinea Pig” by App Guinea Pig: 5 Email Marketing Apps to Help You Stay Connected image todd1982 low resolutiontesting out some of the apps found here at GetApp. The full disclosure: I’m starting a website of my own and I’m paying my own money for these apps (or, more often, opting in on the free trials). I’m no more “techie” than you probably are – I’m just trying out different solutions in the hopes of finding the right tools for my site.

Since email marketing is such an essential part of business, I’ve decided that’s where I’ll start. GetApp offers a listing of many of the most popular email marketing apps around. Having never used an email marketing app, I really don’t know what to expect.

But I do know what I need.

Here’s what I’m looking for in an email marketing app:

  • Capture email addresses
  • Generate mass emails
  • Create segmented email lists
  • Reporting and analytics on email success rate
  • Idiot-proof ease of use (just keeping it real!)

And that’s basically it. I have no huge expectations, no over-thought strategy. I simply want to capture some emails and send some messages.

Here’s what I’ve discovered.

App Guinea Pig: 5 Email Marketing Apps to Help You Stay Connected image zoho campaigns appZoho Campaigns

Since I use a few other Zoho apps, I thought I’d give Zoho Campaigns – the company’s email marketing app – the first shot in my humble experiment.

Since my site does not have a robust customer list (because it’s brand new), I opted for Zoho’s basic package, which is only $5 a month and gives you the ability to target up to 500 customers per month.

Upon signing up, I was greeted with Zoho Campaigns’ settings dashboard. The dashboard’s options include:

  • Subscription
  • Company Profile
  • Manage Users
  • Email Authentication
  • Sign Up Form Themes
  • Integrations
  • Custom Fields
  • Merge Tags
  • API and Callback
  • Sender Address
  • User Profile

When you choose to create a new campaign, you are asked to name the campaign, provide a customized subject line, and other details.

Zoho Campaigns’ integrated guidance made it easy for me to put together a test message in no time. Like Zoho’s other apps, I found Campaigns to be very simple to get started using.

Creating a mailing list was very simple, though segmenting your list requires external actions – there seems to be only one segment per campaign in Zoho Campaigns, though you can create potentially multiple campaigns, allowing you to segment your audience – if you’ve done your homework.

The Bottom Line:

Zoho Campaigns is a true email marketing app standout. I wish it had more integral segmentation features, but that aside, it’s a great option for your email marketing needs. My favorite feature of this app is the ready-made newsletter template. All in all, Zoho Campaigns is a strong contender.

App Guinea Pig: 5 Email Marketing Apps to Help You Stay Connected image pinpointe appPinpointe

Pinpointe goes beyond the “basics.” That much I knew going in, based on feedback on the app found online.

Pinpointe offers a trial, which I opted for. Pinpointe offers all of the features we’ve discussed with Zoho Campaigns, plus a few others. Notably, Pinpointe offers a couple of sought-after features: email marketing segmentation and “heat map” analytics.

Full features of Pinpointe:

  • Drip marketing
  • SPAM scoring to improve deliverability
  • Email inbox preview
  • Bounce analytics
  • 1,000s of templates
  • Duplicate email prevention
  • A/B testing features
  • Google Analytics integration
  • Drag & drop ease of use
  • Audience segmentation
  • Salesforce.com synchronization

The great strength of Pinpointe, as I see it, is the ability to launch drip marketing campaigns, depending upon customer actions. In other words, Pinpointe is responsive.

The Bottom Line:

If you are ready to step up to professional features, including behavioral targeting, Pinpointe is the email marketing app for you. I was totally impressed with the features of Pinpointe. Although slightly more expensive than Zoho Campaigns, if you’re ready for Big League features, Pinpointe is the app for you.

App Guinea Pig: 5 Email Marketing Apps to Help You Stay Connected image sendgrid appSendGrid

SendGrid is responsible for more than 13 billion non-spam emails worldwide per month. SendGrid’s customer base consists of more than 150,000 companies.

That puts SendGrid among the major players in the email marketing app business. While my needs are comparatively humble, I had to give SendGrid a try because I could not ignore the robust feature set of the app.

Features of SendGrid:

  • Dedicated sending IP address/multiple IP
  • Enhanced SPAM filtering
  • Feedback features
  • Tracking and analytics
  • Domain-level load balancing
  • Reputation monitoring
  • Complete 24/7 support
  • Unsubscribe features

SendGrid is also comfortably priced, with plans starting at $9.95 per month. This puts serious features that were once only accessible to big companies at the hands of freelancers and small businesses alike.

The Bottom Line:

SendGrid is a great Web-based contender for email marketing. That said, I thought that its features are a little more geared for large enterprises than my specific purposes. That said, the free trail allows you to send up to 200 emails per day, so that itself can prove to be an affordable option for emails.

App Guinea Pig: 5 Email Marketing Apps to Help You Stay Connected image sendinblue marketing automation appSendInBlue

SendInBlue caught my attention because it is a highly scalable solution. And, of course, SendInBlue is extremely reputable, holding among its customers major companies like Aasics footwear and BMW.

And that’s with good reason. SendInBlue is easy at every turn, from composing and sending messages, to tracking their results.

Features of SendInBlue:

  • Email creation tools
  • Scheduling
  • Deliverability
  • Easily import all your contacts
  • Subscription customization
  • Segmentation
  • Tracking
  • Google Analytics integration
  • Hard-bounce pooling

SendInBlue is a really robust solution that balances the advanced features of an app like SendGrid with the affordability of something like Zoho Campaigns, which makes it a great pick in a variety of email marketing scenarios.

App Guinea Pig: 5 Email Marketing Apps to Help You Stay Connected image benchmark appBenchmark

The last email marketing app I tried out was Benchmark.

Benchmark, as the name implies, is a real standard-setter in the email marketing app space. The app is among the most well-known email marketing solutions around, and my take on it is that there’s a good reason why you would recognize the name “Benchmark.”

Benchmark offers everything you would expect from an email marketing app, with enhanced A/B testing features. That’s something that I plan to get into at some point on my site, so it’s a feature that I feel I don’t need right now, but I might use at some point down the road.

Features of Benchmark:

  • Email Marketing
  • Event Management
  • Real-Time Reports
  • Mobile
  • Contact list management
  • Auto-responders
  • Social Media Integrations
  • Signup forms
  • Polls and surveys
  • Email templates
  • A/B Testing

I love Benchmark’s Inbox Checker feature which lets you see what your emails look like when your customers receive them. It may sound basic, but for someone (like me) just getting started with email marketing, it’s that kind of thing that really matters.

The Bottom Line:

Benchmark is a great choice among email marketing apps. It’s a big name, with plenty of support. With tight mobile integration, Benchmark was one of my favorites in my email experiments.

So, which one am I going with?

Drumroll, please!

App Guinea Pig: 5 Email Marketing Apps to Help You Stay Connected image zoho campaigns2I’ve chosen Zoho Campaigns as my email marketing tool. When my site officially launches, you’ll be able to register your email address there and receive messages from yours truly, by way of Zoho Campaigns.

That said, it’s important to note that one of my main considerations in reaching this decision is the fact that I have used other Zoho apps and have an existing contact list already there. But I would rate each of the apps on this list quite favorably, having now been “under-the-hood” of each one. In different situations, I could see any app on the list being useful to someone.

If you’d like to check these apps out, and all the other email marketing apps currently on the market, take a look at GetApp’s email marketing app category.

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