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Email Marketing 101 — Software

Part One: Software to Aid Your Efforts

The most successful email marketing campaigns are done through software or a service that not only allows customization of a top-notch digital presentation, but also captures data to follow your ROI and aid in making leads into customers. Here are a few of the programs available to assist your efforts.


benchmarkemail.com

Base Price: The free plan allows you to send seven emails to 2,000 contacts per month; paid plans start at $10/month including unlimited emails and removal of the Benchmark logo from email templates

Implementation: DIY, but a dedicated customer-service program to help (ranked No. 1 in support in PC Magazine’s Business Choice Awards 2015: Email Marketing Services)

Tracking: Real-time reports show who is opening emails, what links they’re clicking on, if they were shared, etc.

Key Features: Email Designer, a drag-and-drop editor that allows customers to create custom email templates from scratch; A/B testing tool to test the body of your email for likely responses before sending (test subject lines, images or compare to previous campaigns); targeted emailing; integrations with other applications

Benefits to pool pros: “You want your company to be the first one people think of when it’s time to [purchase a pool or hot tub],” says Andy Shore, content and social networking manager at Benchmark. “I’d suggest [using Benchmark] to start a monthly newsletter.”


constantcontact.com

Base Price: Sixty-day free trial, then pricing based on the number of contacts you have, starting at $20/month (number of emails sent does not impact the monthly price)

Implementation: Typically DIY, but Solution Provider Partners are available to manage the campaign.

Tracking: Reports on who opened emails and when, what articles they clicked on, bad email addresses, reported-as-spam and social-media shares.

Key Features: Hundreds of email templates to use as-is or customize; social sharing tool; and contact list segmenting for targeting purposes

Benefits to pool pros: “It enables you to segment your list and personalize your messages,” says Ron Cates, director of digital marketing education at Constant Contact. “The more personalized the message, the higher the likelihood that customers will respond.”


esentall.com

Base Price: $15 to $250/month, depending on how many emails are sent

Implementation: The company recommends using eSentAll’s professional designers, who are trained in what works for email marketing, resulting in a higher rate of opened emails.

Tracking: The system tells how many emails were opened and how many times, how many clicked on a link (and which links), unsubscribers and bad email addresses, and if the email was forwarded and to whom.

Key Features: Responsive and follow-up emails; graphics team to customize email templates

Benefits to pool pros: “If you had six links back to your website for different [pool services] on the email, our system can detect who went to which link and send them a response saying something like, ‘I see you’re interested in [our above-ground pools]. Would you like to have a sales associate talk to you further?’ or you could even send them a coupon for that model,” says Sal Vadala, owner/developer at eSentAll.


infusionsoft.com/spas

Base Price: Infusionsoft’s “Essentials” subscription starts at $199/month

Implementation: Option 1: The Kickstart process, in which Infusionsoft helps the customer get up and running, then it’s DIY from there. Option 2: Using an Infusionsoft Certified Partner to help with strategy and implementation on a continuous basis.

Tracking: Tracks effectiveness and ROI of various marketing channels including direct mail, email broadcasts, lead sources and more.

Key Features: Offers CRM, marketing automation, eCommerce, sales pipeline management and affiliate management all in one application

Benefits to pool pros: “Infusionsoft allows our customers to map out a custom campaign within seconds and send emails automatically based on date, time or a prospect’s behavior,” says Jared Bodnar, senior director of demand generation at Infusionsoft. “Emails can be designed to inspire customers to take action by promoting a special offer or sending a personalized series of emails that nurture leads.”


verticalresponse.com

Base Price: Starting with 500 contacts, it is $11/month for basic (unlimited emails and three social-media account connections) and $16/month for pro (unlimited emails, six social-media account connections, dedicated contact person, email template with company logo)

Implementation: DIY

Tracking: Reports on how many people opened your email and shared on social media

Key Features: Customizable email templates, sign-up forms and autoresponders; templates are mobile ready; connected to Facebook and Twitter; integrates with other apps to sync contacts; web publishing of emails Benefits to pool pros: “We offer a self-service platform in which you can customize our templates,” its website says, “to create professional newsletters easily and efficiently.”

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