Updated for 2021:
As a marketer or business owner, your email list and your audience is your biggest asset. It’s your foundation.
The better you communicate with your audience using email marketing software and autoresponder emails, the more revenue you'll generate and the quicker you can scale your business.
At the end of the day, your list is your stability. You can always communicate with your list – your buyers and your prospects. You can mail affiliate products. You can promote your product launches. You can do surveys. You can let people know about new offers and product updates. You can even launch new products.
Your Email List Is Your Foundation
Email marketing goes in waves. Every now and then, we read reports and blog posts explaining that email marketing is dead and building a solid email list is a waste of time. Yet, we continue to hear that email marketing is the biggest driver of revenue in business, generating more cash than any other form of advertising.
It doesn’t matter what niche or business you’re in, your email list is one of your most valuable assets. In some cases, it’s your ONLY asset!
First, let's talk a little about what you need to have in order to start building a list, so you have a good system and infrastructure started.
NOTE: Having an ‘email list’ isn’t the same as blasting out an email to 100 contacts in Gmail! That’s bad! There’s a reason why email marketing software programs exist to help you manage your email list :0)
Picking The Right Email Marketing Software
Email marketing software and email autoresponder solutions are the glue that makes everything work when it comes to email marketing. The software itself is what stores your email list and gives you the ability to mail to them. In short, it's how you get into their inboxes!
To put it simply, if you’re collecting names and email addresses for the purpose of marketing, you’ve got to be CAN-SPAM compliant… Meaning every email needs to have an unsubscribe link, the email addresses should be double opt-in, and lots of other stuff.
You CAN’T just collect their email addresses and mail them messages from Gmail!
I know a lot of business owners who think that mass-sending emails from their desktop mail app is the right thing to do, but it’s not. And really, I don’t know why you would! Email marketing software is super cheap, and it keeps you out of the doghouse in terms of being legal and compliant…
Plus, it makes sure that when you send an email it actually gets to where it needs to go - the subscriber’s email inbox!
There are LOTS of email marketing software providers out there. Most of them are very good. Their job is pretty simple, really. They need to get your emails to where they need to go.
For email marketing and automation purposes, we want to make sure that:
- There is an autoresponder feature
- The software has the capability to grow with you
- Price-wise, it's reasonable based on the size of your business
So, here’s a roundup of some of the best email marketing platforms out there… Arranged by ‘business complexity.’
Email Marketing Software Explained
Aweber is one of my favorite tools for startups because it’s reasonably cheap, has autoresponder functionality, and has great deliverability rates. It’s awesome if you’re just starting out.
Besides doing broadcast emails, which are writing one email and sending it, Aweber lets you set up a sequential series of emails that go out at a predetermined period of time.
So, if you want to build an automated sales funnel, email marketing is going to be right at the heart of it all!
When someone signs up for your newsletter, your free report, or for your download, they’ll be put on an autoresponder that systematically sends out emails every day to them (or as often as you set them up…)
Deliverability is another factor. If you were to email your 200 clients out of Outlook or Gmail, chances are your server will shut you down for a little while. They do that to avoid spam. If you email those same clients from Aweber, your emails are almost guaranteed to get there!
If you have a list of 5,000 people or more, or you’re going to be getting into heavy media buying, Ontraport is the way to go. They’re by far my favorite of the email list services, and they have a lot of additional features and capabilities that you'll need to grow your business.
Ontraport has been built from the ground up for serious Internet businesses. When we started using them, email marketing was why we switched over. We needed greater control over our data and more competitive email rates, and OAP gave that to us.
In addition, Ontraport has
- An awesome CRM functionality
- Shopping cart software (so you can sell stuff)
- A membership plugin for WordPress that integrates with said CRM system
- The ability to do direct mail, phone call followups, and task management
- Affiliate management software
- Plus, a ton of other stuff..
The coolest piece of Ontraport – the dashboard. They’ve got one central dashboard which tells you sales, signups, products, and all that. It’s cool looking.
Keap (ie. InfusionSoft)
Infusionsoft is awesome... It's Keap now, but to us it'll always be Infusionsoft. It works very well, and is the standard when it comes to doing big business online...
Here's the thing though. I love how Infusionsoft works, but it's hard to use when you're starting out (for most people). To do one thing, like set up a product for sale that's delivered online through an email (like an eBook), you have to touch like 6 different screens.
With that being said, the power of the software is unparalleled when you know how to use it.
From a cost standpoint, starting up is pretty expensive as well. Not only do you have to pay the monthly charges, but you also have to pay a set-up fee that varies from time to time. I've seen it as high as $5,000, then a free setup, and now a $1500 setup that's waved if you're working with a Infusionsoft-certified consultant.
It's by no means the most expensive system, but it's quite pricey.
All of the things you'll love about OntraPort, can be found in Infusionsoft for half the price.
Depending on the plan you choose, Infusionsoft will be your:
- Customer Relationship Manager (CRM)
- Email marketing software
- Shopping cart provider, with quite a few merchant integrations
- Affiliate management software
- Plus a lot of other stuff...
I just know that I, as well as a lot of my clients, prefer to use OntraPort...
When it comes to email marketing software and autoresponders, it really doesn't matter which one you're using. When you're starting out, they're almost all interchangeable. I tell our Done For You Marketing clients to use whichever they prefer. As long as it gets email to where it needs to go and is easy to use, it's a win.
If you're processing payments for your products and services or need more advanced functionality like affiliate management, link tracking or sales pipelines; using one of the bigger software solutions will work for you. What's most important is choosing one and getting an email marketing strategy locked in so you can start to experience the growth that that brings...
And if email marketing is something that you need to do but lack the time or experience - our team can take it on for you! Click here for more info...