Email automation is an incredibly important part of email marketing and business. If you aren’t sure which automation software to choose, keep reading.
Email marketing is one of the most critical strategies used today. It helps businesses to stay relevant by sending the right recipient a message at the perfect time, and failing to manage either one of these things can result in your campaign failing before even really getting started. Email marketing can help businesses so much it’s scary – statistics show that businesses who use email marketing generate twice as many leads compared to the businesses who don’t.
Small and medium-sized businesses have struggled with this in the past. Before the recent arrival of affordable cloud-based providers, only large businesses were able to use and benefit from email automation. This was due to the software programs being incredibly expensive, so only the bigger corporations could afford to use it.
Since this rise in email automation availability, it’s time to discuss how beneficial it is to have this tool for your business. There are automation software providers that are great fits for use in small and medium-sized businesses, which we will be going through in this post. Using any one of these marketing systems will change your business for the better – so if you want to raise your business to the next level, continue reading and take notes.
An Introduction To Email Automation Software
You get both simple and highly complex automated email marketing campaigns. These campaigns include abandoned cart and behavioral automation emails, as well as welcome emails to new subscribers. Using a software, especially one with templates to choose from, makes your life easier and will increase your profits.
Basic email automations ultimately send one or a series of emails. This typically happens due to a simple action, such as a visitor to your site signing up to the mailing list you offer. The autoresponder feature is usually able to do this when you are using newsletter tools, so this is really simple.
The goal of these kinds of emails are to, at some point, turn the newsletter subscriber to a paying customer at some point. They have already indicated that they have an interest in your website and its products, so the newsletters act as a way of drawing them in and giving them more reason to have an interest in your side. This could take some time, depending on the person, but this method works well to gain more customers.
There are email automated campaigns which are more sophisticated. These campaigns are slightly more complex, but still work on the same principle as the basic campaigns. For these campaigns, more targeted content can be sent to people who have shown interest is specific topics.
This can be learned through knowing which emails and links the newsletter subscriber opens, indicating their particular interests. Once you know why that subscriber is there in the first place, you can work on tailoring content to them so that it appeals to them.
Lastly, there are professional automation campaigns. These automations are in a league of their own and do a lot more than the two mentioned above. Professional level automation campaigns do a lot of work, such as contact tagging, linking anonymous website data to known contacts, lead scoring, dynamic content and abandoned cart campaigns.
In reality, these automations can do a lot more than that, but not everyone has a marketing automation platform that has the power to run these actions. If professional automation campaigns are a necessity for your business, then there are a few good options to consider.
Choosing The Right Email Automation Software For My Business
There are several things to consider when trying to decide which software is best suited to your business. You need to determine your budget and find out the level of automation your business will require.
You might want to jump in the deep end and buy the most expensive software you can get your hands on, but that isn’t always necessary – if your business doesn’t require professional level services yet, save some money until it does become a necessity.
There are great cloud-based email automation software programs that are good fits for small and medium-sized businesses. These include:
- MailChimp – great for triggered campaigns
- Sendinblue – a good choice for something that is more affordable
- ActiveCampaign – had lead scoring, customer relationship management and powerful tagging
- MailerLite – has landing pages and simple automations
- Zoho Campaigns – good customer relationship management and workflow automation
- Drip – has workflows that are flexible and intuitive
- Freshworks – has advanced customer relationship management
- GetResponse – good for advances list management
- Omnisend – a great choice for automated e-commerce campaigns
- Benchmark – easy to set up automations and simple all-round
- HubSpot – a fantastic marketing software that is all-in-one
Overview Of The Email Automation Programs
Every email automation has its good and bad things. In many cases, the negative aspects are the prices, but you get what you pay for. Below, we will go through each of the aforementioned software programs and outline what is good and bad about them and help you decide which one would be the best fit for you and your business.
MailChimp is the most popular marketing software, and for good reason. This newsletter service offers a range of automations that can be used by many. Using this software, you can send both standard autoresponders and advanced campaigns, including ones with triggers, opens, clicks and contact data.
On top of that, MailChimp allows e-commerce integrations. That means that you have the ability to send order confirmations, abandoned cart campaigns and suggestions for related products that buyers may be interested in. Using MailChimp also means that you will get detailed reports as well as the ability to build landing pages.
MailChimp can be integrated with hundreds, if not thousands, of apps. They can be used for customer relationship management, e-commerce, blogging and other social platforms. Overall it is an amazing tool and even better considering it is very affordable for what you get out of it.
However, it should be noted that the free plan only has single-step automations that are available to use. This means that money would have to be spent if you wanted to really benefit from the feature.
A great fit for: MailChimp is a great option for those of you with an online store. This is because it has purpose-built templates and a range of integrations, including e-commerce features.
Price: There is a free version of MailChimp as well as three paid plans. Their free plan allows you to send 10,000 monthly emails to up to 2,000 subscribers. The plans depend on the number of subscribers you have, but can be put into three categories: essentials ($9.99 – $270 per month); standard ($14.99 – $540 per month) and premium ($299 – $1,190 per month). For anyone running a non-profit website, a 15% discount is offered.
Sendinblue started out as a newsletter tool and offered affordable advanced marketing automation. Now, however, Sendinblue includes sales reminders based on customer triggers, SMS-based campaigns, lead scoring and goal-based campaigns for websites.
Additionally, you can use this service for transaction confirmations and invoices for purchases.
Sendinblue’s price is good for what you get, however there is no A/B testing. There is also no function to let a user set up multiple logins or users, making it a bit tricky if there is more than one person who needs to use the software.
Great for: Sendinblue is a good choice for online store owners, email marketers and businesses who want to run a sophisticated campaign without spending too much money. The automations, integrations and transactional email abilities mean that Sendinblue can be suitable for a multitude of things.
Price: The free version of Sendinblue allows you to use its automations and the capacity to send 300 emails in a day. For paying customers, you can choose the lite ($25 – $99 per month), premium ($65 – $599 per month) or enterprise plans.
For those with more needs, they can get a quote for the enterprise plan. If you are running a non-profit, you can expect to get a 15% discount.
ActiveCampaign is might be the best choice if you want to get the full package when it comes to marketing automation. With this choice, you get dynamic content, lead scoring, site tracking and segmentation.
ActiveCampaign had enterprise-grade automations at a very reasonable price, and even include customer relationship management built into it, which allows you to create automations to follow-up sales and even link your marketing data and sales, showing you the full picture of your business.
There are hundreds of pre-built automations are available on ActiveCampaign, as well as helpful guides to aid you while you’re setting things up. If the guides aren’t enough, you also have access to customer support that is always there to help.
Because of the options available in ActiveCampaign, you can offer your subscribers personalized campaigns. This opportunity to run one-to-one and targeted campaigns can be an incredibly handy thing in your business, and you will draw in more and more paying customers.
With that being said, this powerful tool can be intimidating to use if you have little experience with these kinds of software programs.
Great for: ActiveCampaign is a perfect choice for people with larger businesses. This software ensures that marketing processes and sales are smooth. ActiveCampaign does require resources and time, however, to run its marketing automations that are more advanced, so this is something to consider.
Price: There is no free version of ActiveCampaign, but there is a 14-day trial you can test out. After the two weeks, you will have to decide whether to subscribe to one of the plans that there are. These plans can be paid for annually or monthly, though annual payments tend to receive discounts of anywhere from 15% – 40%.
For the plans, you can choose the lite ($15 – $687 per month), plus ($70 – $474 per month), professional ($187 – $686 per month) and enterprise ($323 – $674 per month). After a certain number of subscribers, there are options to create customized plans to suit personal needs.
For anyone with a non-profit, ActiveCampaign offers 20% discounts for their plans.
MailerLite is the simplest option when it comes to email automations. This software uses a drag-and-drop method for designing it, making it easy, streamline and actually fun. It offers you to create multistep campaigns and automation triggers include, dates, anniversaries, email clicks, new sign-ups and updated contact fields.
MailerLite comes with forms that are easily edited, as well as a landing page editor. Overall, this software is a great value for money, as it has very low prices and a wide array of easy-to-use features.
There are a very limited number of templates to use when setting up the software, but considering the price you are paying for an otherwise great service, template designs are hardly something to fault.
Great for: MailerLite is a good option for anyone who is new to the world of email automations and marketing. Also, people who would like to start out automations but not spend money on it would greatly appreciate this fantastic software.
Price: You can use the free version of MailerLite, which allows you to send up to 12,000 emails to 1,000 contacts. For paying customers, you can choose between the four other options available.
For people who want to be able to send an unlimited number of monthly emails to fewer than 1,000 people, the price starts at $10; for up to 2,500 contacts and unlimited emails starts at $15; up to 5,000 contacts is $30 and finally 10,000 or more subscribers you can send unlimited emails for only $50 per month. You can get a 30% discount on MailerLite with a non-profit site.
Zoho Campaigns offers you services such as website creation, forms, email hosting, email marketing, surveys, customer relationship management and automation. This is a robust software that allows you to use a wide range of autoresponders and automation workflow.
The customer relationship management and workflows offered by Zoho Campaigns mean that sign-ups, anniversaries, dates and email actions will be monitored, and sophisticated automations can be created based on a variation of triggers.
This software is simple and easy to use, and offer everything that you could want to get the job done with email automations and marketing. However, there is no live chat support.
This means that any problems you face with the software may not be resolved as quickly as you might hope. Additionally, compared to some other software programs, Zoho Campaigns is not as easy to use when setting up.
Great for: Zoho Campaigns is a good option for smaller businesses or businesses that are starting up. This is because of their very reasonable pricing. Zoho plans can be scaled up, however, so this software could also be an option for larger businesses who do not want to spend too much money on email automations.
Price: You can get a 15-day trial for this software, but there is no free plan beyond that. After the trial, you can choose between a standard plan, which starts at $30 per month or a premium plan, which starts at $60 per month.
You have the option to tailor the plan to your needs when setting up, which gives you a lot of options and choices. Zoho offers a 15% discount for non-profit sites.
Drip is a fantastic software known for its segmentation features and e-commerce automation. It describes itself as ‘the e-commerce CRM’ and is a powerful service. You can expect to be able to send targeted emails to contacts at every point in their journey as a part of its deep integrations with the largest online stores.
You can make use of Drip and use the software for communications for product views, order updates, deleted checkouts and, of course, abandoned cart campaigns among many more things. On top of that, contacts will receive tailored emails due to triggers.
Drip isn’t only ideal for e-commerce sites, though. The flexible marketing automation editor also makes it a great option for on-e-commerce businesses and sites. This will allow you to create any number of sophisticated automations while making use of all the triggers and actions the software has to offer.
This is because a small amount of coding is required if you want to add checkboxes and dropdowns.
Great for: Drip is a good choice for anyone who would like to have a great deal of flexibility when creating automations in a very easy way. Additionally, online store owners would greatly benefit from using Drip as their email automation software of choice.
Price: After a 14-day free trial, you can choose a plan depending on your personal requirements. Their cheapest option starts at $19 per month and allows you to have up to 500 contacts.
From 500 to 2,000 contacts, the price is $29 per month, up to 2,500 contacts is $39 per month and 3,000 is $49 per month. For those with more than 5,000 contacts, you can navigate a price by speaking to an expert to determine the right choice for you.
Freshworks is a great all-in-one marketing and sales platform that is somewhat reasonably priced for what you get. Its plans offer various allowance with automation but has segmentation and automation workflow.
Additionally, you can get sales sequences, pipelines, dashboards and custom reports on your business. Freshwork’s customer relationship manage is another great thing that should be noted about the software, and a good feature to have for businesses.
However, it should be noted that some features such as transactional emails are only available at the higher plan tier, whereas this information is given as other software’s low-cost plans.
Great for: All kinds of businesses that want a customer relationship management software would benefit from having Freshworks.
Price: Freshworks offers 21-day free trials and a multitude of different offers and plans. Their growth plan starts at $29 per month, while their pro is $69 per month and enterprise starts at $125.
GetResponse is well-known for its strong automations in list management. It is a fantastic marketing tool which offers segmentation, trigger campaigns data updates and tagging. Customer relationship management is featured on their pro plan, too, so there is a lot to gain from using them.
Using GetResponse, you can run webinars and build landing pages using their Conversion Funnel feature – a tool that will be of great use for anyone who has a passion for automation.
This all-in-one solution has a long list of integrations and features that can do all the work you could think of. The issue with this software, however, is that it has not been proven to do well with delivering emails. This is a big concern and something that should be considered if you are thinking of getting a plan with this software.
Great for: GetResponse is a good option for anyone who wants all the of the extras when it comes to automation. This software gives you lots of options to choose from and can do just about anything.
Price: There is a free version of GetResponse for you to use if you have 500 contacts or fewer. For a paying customer, this software has three plans to choose from, depending on your needs. The first plan is the basic plan ($12 – $370 per month), plus ($40 – $413 per month) and the professional ($80 – $480 per month).
For medium and large companies there are custom plans you can create, too, so there will be a plan for everyone. A discount of anywhere between 30% – 50% can be offered to those who have non-profit sites and businesses.
Omnisend is a great email marketing tool that can be used perfectly for e-commerce. You can have access to features such as scratch cards and email gift boxes, as well as integration with ads from Facebook and Google.
There is a wide range of e-commerce-specific automations including order confirmations, cart recoveries, browse abandonment, cross-sell and even customer reactivation.
With so many automation features, Omnisend is a fantastic tool. The software is very easy to use and had a simple editor and workflow that can be used, both with nice and ready-to-go templates.
Creating advanced automations for non-e-commerce has proven to be tricky with Omnisend, as segments have to be set up individually.
Great for: Online store platforms would work well with Omnisend as there are numerous features that can help you maximize purchases and conversions.
Price: Omnisend had a great free plan that allows you to send 25o contacts up to 500 emails a month. For paying customers, you can choose between their two plans: emails and emails & SMS. Their first plan starts at $16 per month, while their second starts at $59 per month.
As with most other plans, the software price goes up depending on the number of contacts you have and the number of emails that need to be sent every month. You can expect to get a 15% discount if you run a non-profit.
Benchmark is a good option if you only want to run basic automations. This software is extremely simple and easy to use, set up and work with. There are a number of templates to choose from when starting, which makes using the software that much easier.
Benchmark’s free plan includes automations related to new sign-ups and anniversary and birthday triggers, while their paid plan allows you to access clicks, webpage views and a number of triggers. These features allow you to run targeted campaigns and tailor emails sent out.
Benchmark is very simple and easy for anyone to use. There are no complicated areas, making it a great option if you are new to the world of email automations. Like with GetResponse, Benchmark has also seemed to have issues with deliverability.
As this is a highly important part of email marketing, this issue should be tested before committing to their paying plan.
Great for: Benchmark is a good option for any business who wants to use trigger-based campaigns very easily and with little effort.
Price: Benchmark offers a free version of their software that allows you to send up to 250 emails to 500 people per month. To be able to send up to 500 people unlimited emails, payments start at $15.
Up to 1,000 contacts will cost you $20, 2,500 is $30 and up to 5,000 contacts with unlimited emails will cost you $50 per month. You can get a 25% discount for non-profit sites with Benchmark.
Hubspot has a wide range of plans and bundles to choose from. You can expect workflows, sequences and task automation with Hubspot, as well as integrated customer relationship management.
It is an all-in-one marketing software that does a great job of reporting marketing campaigns across websites, email marketing and even socials, making it a diverse software.
Using Hubspot, you can gain an audience through the use of live chats and online ads, while the software can manage blog publishing, emails and social media posts. Because of this, Hubspot is a central piece when it comes to email marketing.
This software provides insights for your business, such as the journey the buyer goes on when on the site. Hubspot has so many features and integrations, but these are mostly available in the higher-paying plans.
Great for: Hubspot is a great choice for businesses that are already well-established. In order to make the most of this software, you have to be able to afford to pay the price. For smaller or new businesses, Hubspot would probably too high of a price to pay and continue to pay over time.
Price: Hubspot is not a cheap option by any means. The starter tier starts at $50 per month and allows you to have up to 1,000 contacts. Their next pack is the professional pack, which is $800 per month and allows you to have up to 2,000 contacts.
Finally, their enterprise tier is a whopping $3,200 per month and allows for 10,000 contacts. Each tier varies greatly and has many things to offer, but is expensive any way you look at it. For non-profits, you can expect a generous discount from Hubspot as well as free access to customer relationship management.
Picking The Right Automation Software For My Business
When you compare all the automation software programs on the market, ActiveCampaign is the all-round winner. They are reasonably priced and offer more than any others on the market.
Although there is no free version, the money you have to pay is well worth it. This software can be used for just about anything and will not disappoint.
GetResponse is also a good option. There are lots of creatures to choose from and no matter which plan you decide to go with, you have access to lead scoring and tagging.
On top of those features, site tracking can be used so that you can get more information about certain site activities onto your workflow.
Omnisend and Drip are good contenders for e-commerce sites. While Drip is more flexible for creating automations, Omnisend has unique features that can’t be found with any other software programs in this category.
Sendinblue’s prices are very low for what you get with their website integration, and the software allows you to automate emails using visitor data. It does, however, lack in other departments where other software programs excel.
If you are looking for automation software programs that have from customer relationship management, then HubSpot, Freshworks and, of course, ActiveCampaign are very good options.
If simplicity is a key creature you would like in your choice, then MailerLite and Benchmark take the cake – both are very easy to use and have nothing difficult to learn or do. Benchmark does, however, offer you the chance to create campaigns that are more sophisticated.
MailChimp is the most popular email marketing software, and there are many reasons for this. This software program does well in many regards, but is more complicated than it really needs to be.
Additionally, there is a great deal of inflexibility when it comes to changing workflows that are pre-existing. Because of this, programs such as ActiveCampaign come out as the better product overall.
Examples Of Email Marketing Automation
Email marketing automating is simple in theory, but there are a lot of parts to it. If you still don’t feel like you fully understand it and why it could benefit you and your business, let’s go through it. There are three categories when it comes to email automations: simple, advanced and professional.
Simple Email Marketing Automation
Simple email automation is the most basic form. It’s a great place to start for anyone who isn’t familiar with automation. Any newsletter software program you decide to use should be able to pull simple automations off, as it is a base function.
There are two actions that need to be able to be done with simple automations, these include:
Autoresponder emails are described as a series of emails that are automatically sent out because of a schedule that you have determined. There are many examples of this, and it’s more common than you might initially think.
For example – a potential customer who downloads an app of healthy recipes and fills out some kind of registration form to use it will receive an email the next day. The email will outline how to use the app and any other information that the person might want to know, such as allergies or diet types.
On the second day, you might send a recommended recipe and on day three desert recipes or wine pairings with popular recipes.
Despite its name, birthday emails aren’t only for birthdays – they can be a reminder to take your car to the garage or book a doctor’s appointment. These emails are simply automated to set on specific dates to serve as reminders or special offers for specific events.
Advanced Email Automation
Advanced email automations can complete actions that are a bit more complicated. Most newsletter tool should be able to manage doing these scenarios, but there will be some that do not.
Email Behavior Based Trigger Campaigns
To continue with our recipe app user, whom we will name Steve, we can give an example of this campaign. We will assume that Steve opens a link to a newsletter that you have sent, and the topic goes into healthy eating lifestyles.
Because Steve opened the newsletter in the first place, he will receive another newsletter on the topic of healthy food and eating in the newsletter he gets two days later. Because Steve has already shows interest in the topic of healthy food and recipes, he will continue to get newsletters about that specific topic.
However, we can do more than that.
To make sure that Steve truly is interested in healthy recipes, we can also use tags on top of email triggers. ‘Tags’ refer to a type of attribute in a database. For example, we will use the tag ‘healthy recipes’.
Steve’s interest in the topic was noted or ‘tagged’ when he clicked on the two articles on the newsletter. Another tag could be ‘healthy recipes – strong interest’, which is used for readers who have gone through the newsletters and clicked on the ‘healthy recipes’ related tag at least five times.
Using tags is the best way to ensure that the right people get the right information. There is nothing more annoying than receiving newsletters about a topic that you have no interest in.
The use of tags should eliminate this concern, and only those who are actually interested in ragging newsletters about healthy recipes will receive that information.
Professional Email Automation
Professional email automation goes beyond that. This is almost like magic – if you use the right tools, you can get data collection before a potential customer even thinks about signing up to your newsletter. How? It’s simple, really.
Let’s revisit Steven. We will assume that Steven is looking at the healthy recipes app website for the first time. Our newsletter software tracking code is working on the website and without any other information, we already know that it is Steven on the site.
When Steven registers for either the app or newsletter, we can then connect his contact information to his visitation data. Because a tracking cookie is active from the start of Steven or anyone else visiting the site, no data is lost.
Because we can see the visitor data, more intelligent emails can be sent out. For example, if Steven keeps visiting a certain page, say it’s about the pricing of a recipe book or meal plan service, but still hasn’t actually purchased anything, we can get in touch.
Because of the possibility that Steven may think that the payment is too expensive, we can send an email with a coupon inside and ask what the reason is for his hesitation.
Workflows are based on the ‘if-then-else’ idea. If you can use workflows properly, then you can adjust the content of your newsletters so that it will match specific tags.
Linking your e-commerce store and workflow will give you the ability to create dependencies between sales figures or purchases and your newsletters.
You can implement website tracking easily enough by copy and pasting some coding into your website, but e-commerce tracking requires deeper knowledge to get done.
Lead scoring makes it entirely possible to make a sale with every time someone shows enough interest in a product. Each action can be assigned a number of points – for example, visiting the website or purchasing something.
When a potential customer accumulates a certain number of points through their actions, then a salesperson can be notified a go from there.
A Conclusion Of Email Automation Software
Email automating is a very important yet fascinating part of modern-day businesses. You can collect unimaginable amounts of data and use it all for marketing purposes.
With that being said, you need to remember not to abuse the power you have and use the data wisely – for good only.
As a consensus, we can agree that sending messages that are better quality less frequently is a good thing. Make the messages more relevant to each contact, and it is far more likely that they will make a purchase at some point instead of getting irritated by irrelevant emails.
With the number of email automation software programs becoming available for the everyday person, it comes as no surprise that they are taking the world by storm. Programs like ActiveCampaign and MailChimp are some of the best that you can ask for at reasonable prices.
As more features are added, small businesses finally have the chance to become as successful as their larger counterparts.
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