Email Marketing Services and Survey Software

by Chad BrooksLast Modified: February 8, 2018

Intro
Best Picks
Reviews
State of the Industry
Pricing
Negotiation
What We Tested, What We Found
Social Media & Email Marketing
Survey Software: What Else Is Important?
Map
Services

The Best Email Marketing Services and Survey Software for 2018

With a premium being placed on email marketing today, finding the right software to make the most of your campaigns is a critical task. From evaluating the design and list-building tools to price and customer service, there are a number of factors businesses need to consider when choosing email marketing software.  

There is no shortage of options to choose from. A recent Capterra study found that there are more than 250 different email marketing solutions on the market. We want to help you narrow down your options.  

Besides highlighting some of the essential features and tools to look for, and offering advice on how to get the best deal, this guide offers our recommendations on the email marketing software platforms we think are best for business' different needs.  

Specifically, iContact, GetResponse, MailChimp, Pinpointe and SurveyGizmo are the email software solutions we think are best for various types of businesses. You can read more about each, and the types of organizations we think they are best for below.

Best Picks

Best Overall
Best for Small Business
Low Cost
Free
Large Businesses
Surveys
iContact

Best Email Marketing Software Overall

iContact

iContact is the best email marketing software because of its ease of use, array of design and mailing features, and intuitive interface.

With iContact, you can create emails using your own HTML code or with one of the software's 12 design templates. If you use a template, you can design your emails with a drag-and-drop editor, which makes customizing them a simple task. You can add in element blocks – such as text, pictures, headers and logos – wherever you choose. You can also select your own color scheme or pick from one of 15 preset themes.
Among some of the valuable features iContact offers are a preview function that allows you to see how to see how a finished email looks on different devices and email clients, and a spam checker that helps ensure your messages have the best chance of landing in each recipient's inbox. The software also offers A/B testing, autoresponders, campaign tracking, social media sharing, landing pages and triggered messaging.

Benchmark Email

Best Email Marketing for Small Business

Benchmark Email

Benchmark is the best email marketing software for small businesses. It is easy to use, includes a wide range of design tools and provides excellent customer service, all for a fair price.

With this software, you can create emails using a drag-and-drop editor, or for those with HTML experience, a code editor. It also offers a plain text editor for text-only emails. When using the drag-and-drop editor, you can create your own layout or pick from nearly 200 predesigned templates.

GetResponse

Best Low-Cost Email Marketing Software

GetResponse

GetResponse is the best low-cost email marketing software for its affordable pricing plan, easy-to-use interface and wide range of features.

The software is available in four different pricing plans: Email, Pro, Max and Enterprise. Plans vary by starting list size, included features and users. The Email plan is the most affordable, with prices starting as low as $15 per month for up to 1,000 subscribers. This plan can be used by one user at a time and includes autoresponders and basic landing pages. The Pro plan, which can be used by three users at a time, starts at $49 for up to 5,000 subscribers, while the Max plan starts at $165 per month for up to 10,000 subscribers. Committing to one year of service lowers prices by 18 percent, with a two-year commitment bringing down prices 30 percent. iContact also offers the Enterprise plan, which supports up to 100,000 contacts. You'll need to contact the company to schedule a demo and obtain a personalized price quote.

MailChimp

Best Free Email Marketing Software

MailChimp

MailChimp is the best free email marketing software because the service is free of charge for businesses with fewer than 2,000 contacts and that plan to send 12,000 emails per month. As long as you stay within these parameters, the service will remain free. With the free option, users have access to all of MailChimp's design, list-building and automation tools.

If you have larger list sizes, or want to send more than 12,000 emails a month, you can choose one of MailChimp's paid plans, which range from $30 per month for up to 2,500 contacts to $150 per month for between 12,801 and 25,000 contacts. All of the paid monthly plans include unlimited sending each month.

Pinpointe

Best Email Marketing Software for Larger Businesses

Pinpointe

Pinpointe is the best email marketing software for larger businesses. Its enterprise edition allows you to send more than 10 million emails a month and store up to 20 million contacts.

With the enterprise edition, organizations can create and manage up to 250 separate user accounts, with each user able to access their own campaign statistics. In addition, the software is 100 percent private label for enterprise users, which means email recipients only see your company's branding, not Pinpointe's.

SurveyGizmo

Best Survey Software

SurveyGizmo

SurveyGizmo is the best survey software. It provides all the tools and features you need to design eye-catching surveys.

The software's online platform is easy to use and makes creating surveys a simple task. The software's icons are clearly marked and include a description of what each one does. After clicking on each icon, a pop-out screen appears that provides additional options for each function.

Reviews

Below are all of our reviews for email marketing software and related categories. Our coverage includes reviews of the best email marketing software, email marketing services and survey software. See all of our reviews below.

State of the Industry

Email marketing software has quickly become a favorite marketing tool for many businesses. With more than 3 billion users worldwide, email is one of the easiest and most efficient ways for businesses to not only connect with current customers but attract new ones as well. Research from Mailgen reported that nearly 90 percent of marketers said email is their primary channel for lead generation.  

Email marketing allows businesses to send newsletters, coupons, invitations and other company news directly to their current and potential customers' inboxes. Unlike direct mail which is hard to track, email marketing offers organizations a wealth of data on how their campaigns are faring.  

Today's email marketing systems provide users with specific details on how many of their emails are being opened, when they are being opened and on what devices. You can also see how many of your emails lead to sales.  

Research shows that email marketing provides businesses with the biggest bang for their buck. A study by eMarketer found that email marketing has a median return on investment of 122 percent, compared to just 28 percent for social media marketing and 27 percent for direct mail marketing.  

A separate study from eMarketer revealed that 80 percent of small and mid-sized businesses said email marketing drives customer acquisition and retention.

Research from GetResponse found that marketers ranked email marketing as the most effective form of digital marketing.

Pricing

While pricing varies from provider to provider, the cost structure is pretty similar. Most email marketing software providers charge a monthly fee based on list size. With this structure, businesses, for the most part, can send an unlimited number of emails each month.  

Monthly costs can range from as little as $10 to send emails to 500 contacts to as much as $4,000 to send emails to one million contacts. While some email marketing services provide all of their features to all of their users, others offer additional features to those with larger list sizes.  

Besides the unlimited sending options, some providers offer plans that cap the number of emails you can send each month, while others allow organizations to purchase "digital stamps" that can be used to send individual emails.  

The only other cost you may incur is for expert help. Some providers allow you to consult with their email marketing experts for help with designing templates and setting strategies. This can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars a month to several thousand.

 

 

Negotiation

While most email marketing providers have set pricing for their software, there are some steps you can take to ensure you are getting the best deal possible:  

  • See if the provider offers discounts for agreeing to a long-term contract or paying for an entire year in advance.
  • Check whether you can get a discount on expert guidance if you agree to an extended contract.
  • Ask if they are willing to match a competitor's lower price
  • Inquire if you can use the service for a few months free of charge to land your business.

Regardless of whether you get a discounted price, it is imperative that you read over the entire contract before signing anything. It is important to make sure the contract includes everything you agreed to and doesn't have any hidden fees or price increases after an extended period time.  

You should also check on the company's cancellation policy. How much advance notice do you need to give? Is there a cancellation fee? Can you still access your templates after you cancel? These are all questions you should get answers to before signing a contract for email marketing software.

What We Tested, What We Found

To find the best email marketing services, we tested each application as if we were running an actual email marketing campaign. We sent HTML-designed emails to our contact lists that included email clients Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, Zoho and GMX. Then we rated the services based on the success rate of delivery. Those services that were able to deliver emails to our contacts' inboxes more often scored higher.

We also considered how easy the programs are to use, from creating email campaigns from scratch or by template to importing a fully designed email. Our testers, who have limited HTML and design software experience, also used the email creation tools to create an email within the program. The email marketing applications with simple-to-use text and image editors scored higher.

It's important to choose an online marketing service that has a clean and intuitive interface so it's easy for you to find the tools you need quickly. Those that are designed well mean you won't waste time trying to find the solution or the support you require. Also, you want an email marketing service that stays on top of any reported bugs or updates to other programs that integrate with the software. It's necessary that the service you choose keeps its application up to date and running smoothly.

Once we sent the emails through all of the programs, we compared them to the original email we sent to make sure they appeared as we intended. All of the emails we sent and downloaded showed up in a timely manner, and they looked almost identical to the HTML-designed email we started with.

The email client that made it the most difficult to push emails through to the inbox was Gmail. Almost half of the test emails we sent were not delivered to the primary Gmail inbox, promotional tab or social tab. Mad Mimi, Pinpointe, Benchmark, Campaigner and Constant Contact all managed to make it past Gmail's spam filters, although not without issue. Some of our emails ended up in the promotional tab, or delivery was inconsistent.

Social Media & Email Marketing

Although social media seems to have taken its place at the top of the advertising food chain, email marketing remains a vital method to reach your audience – especially when you combine your email and social media efforts. When you use email marketing services, you can post sign-up forms on your Facebook and Twitter pages to grow your contact list. You can also schedule posts on the most popular social media platforms and track your followers' engagement with your posts, which helps you learn what works and what doesn't to get your readers interested in your business.

Your efforts on social media may work one day but not the next for a variety of reasons. Social media users may move on to the next big thing in messaging, or a platform's company could change its policies in how you communicate with your audience. Once a customer subscribes to your newsletter or emails, you're likely to have a long-term reader. Most people do not change their email address often, and even if they do not read your email, they're likely to see the subject line, which keeps your business's name fresh in their minds.

Build Loyalty & Increase Sign-Ups

Everyone loves a good deal. When you add exclusivity to the package, you can quickly develop a rapport with a reader and get a loyal customer coming back for more. Email marketing services make it easy for you to connect with your readers from the beginning and throughout your business relationship. These services allow you to set up sign-up forms that offer new customers bonuses or discounts when they agree to receive periodic emails from your business. To ensure that new customer becomes a returning customer, you can also use triggered responses to send them personalized emails on their birthday, or for milestones like being a newsletter reader or member for a year.

You're likely to have some customers opt out of future emails. Email marketing services help you make it easy for those readers to unsubscribe through a link or button at the footer, or bottom, of every email you send them. You can then manage your unsubscribers as necessary.

Survey Software: What Else Is Important?

Ease of use both for you and your respondents are the most important aspects for any survey software, but they are not the only considerations. In many cases, if you are only looking at ease, you may find several survey-creation sites will work for you. To narrow the choices, ask yourself these questions:

Is Design Important to You? 
Every survey design service we evaluated had design features to arrange your survey questions and tweak the layout. However, others offer additional tools to make your surveys visually appealing and are designed to promote your brand.

Typeform impressed us with its survey-design tools. In addition, it provided extra instruction on the best practices for designing a survey. We found the clean design and additional icons for rating things especially appealing, as they allow you to add a fun and personal touch to your surveys. Meanwhile, SurveyGizmo offers customizable templates in all its paid plans and customizable URLs for its higher-priced plans. This gives you many ways to brand the survey to promote your company in look and in SEO.

Are Extra Analytics Worth More to You?
Each service on the lineup provides survey tools that track responses and evaluate the data from your surveys. If you are looking for especially in-depth information and additional ways to utilize this data, then some services provide more amped-up analytical tools than others do. SurveyMonkey, for example, offers filtering and cross-tabbing that lets you narrow in on the information that most matters to you. You can also customize the reports for presentations or collaborations.

Does Your Industry Have Special Needs?
Some industries have unique aspects that influence their software needs. For example, if you are in the health care industry, you need a survey maker that is HIPAA compliant. Typeform's basic package is HIPAA compliant, and other software providers, such as Survey Monkey and Survey Gizmo, offer HIPAA-compliant packages above their basic offerings. If you run a non-profit, SurveyMoz provides discounted services. Zoho, however, offers a wide range of business programs and applications, which gives them an edge over other online survey tools that cater to individuals or groups rather than companies.

What Are the Most Important Features for Survey Makers?

Prices for these plans range from about $20 to $50 per month, but all of them offer a free trial or basic services with the main tools you need to make professional and useful surveys. To provide the fairest comparison between survey tools, we evaluated each application using the basic professional plan each offered.

The two keys to successful surveys are how easy it is for you to create the survey and how easy it is for your customers or target audience to take it. For your audience especially, ease of use must take into account how well the survey works on a mobile device. Certainly, each company included tutorials and help and support for their services, but you want something that you can handle right off the bat, so we tested how well they worked for someone new to the service as well as for survey takers in general.

We conducted our comparisons of survey tools with an eye for applications most helpful for small businesses. Using the trial version, we evaluated its layout and looked for things that would make the platform easy to learn and user friendly. For example, are the icons easily identifiable? Is it apparent where to go to begin to build a survey and distribute surveys to users? How easy is it to create or change a survey? We found that the best survey builders allow you to quickly edit questions and rearrange the order of your survey without many additional steps. One survey-creation site that did this exceptionally well was Typeform.

Map

RedCappi Software
1046 West Kinzie Street 
Chicago, IL
RedCappi Software
Winning Email Software
PO Box 4225 
Stateline, NV
Winning Email Software
Xert Precision Suite
215 S Union St
Alexandria, VA
Xert Precision Suite
Real Magnet Software
4853 Cordell Ave
Bethesda, MD
Real Magnet Software
TriggMine Software
5-309B
Tallin,
TriggMine Software
Dialog Insight Software
4535 Wilfrid-Hamel Blvd
Quebec,
Dialog Insight Software
Autopilot Software
140 2nd Street 
San Francisco, CA
Autopilot Software
OpenMoves Software
315 Main Street
Huntington, NY
OpenMoves Software
Klaviyo Software
225 Franklin St
Bosotn, MA
Klaviyo Software
MPZMail Software
287 Ringwood Road
Poole,
MPZMail Software
QZZR Software
98 West Main Street
Lehi, UT
QZZR Software
MailChimp
675 Ponce de Leon Ave NE
Atlanta, GA
MailChimp
AWeber
1100 Manor Dr
Chalfont, PA
AWeber
QuestionPro
548 Market St
San Francisco, CA
QuestionPro
Survey Anyplace
Lange Gasthuisstraat 29-31
Antwerp,
Survey Anyplace
Zoho
4141 Hacienda Drive
Pleasanton, CA
Zoho
SoGoSurvey
2291 Wood Oak Drive
Herndon, VA
SoGoSurvey
SurveyGizmo
3090 Sterling Circle
Boulder, CO
SurveyGizmo
iContact
2635 Meridian Pkwy
Durham, NC
iContact
Benchmark Email
10621 Calle Lee
Los Alamitos, CA
Benchmark Email
GetResponse
71 Summer Street
Boston, MA
GetResponse
Pinpointe
4601 Lafayette Street
Santa Clara, CA
Pinpointe
VerticalResponse
550 Kearny Street
San Francisco, CA
VerticalResponse
Campaigner
6922 Hollywood Boulevard
Hollywood, CA
Campaigner
Mad Mimi
14455 N. Hayden Road
Scottsdale, AZ
Mad Mimi
SurveyMonkey
One Curiosity Way
San Mateo, CA
SurveyMonkey
Constant Contact
17 Battery Place
New York, NY
Constant Contact

Services

List of 31Email Marketing Services and Survey Software

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