The best email marketing software programs offer a full range of creation and mailing features, an intuitive interface and ease of use for beginners as well as flexibility for those who have created newsletter campaigns before. The Business.com Gold Award winner, iContact, has the perfect arsenal of tools to help you reach current and prospective customers in noticeable and impactful ways.
This service provides hundreds of templates that can be viewed on desktops or mobile devices, plus it offers design services if you want a professional to create the perfect template.
iContact allows you to connect your current email campaigns with social media tools so you can find customers to spread the word about your products or services. In our tests, iContact was not as easy to use as other email software, and our test email did not make it past Gmail's spam filters. Otherwise, it is an excellent choice for online marketing software.
This email marketing software impressed us with the variety of ways it adds contacts. In addition to uploading a file or adding contacts individually, you can copy and paste a list and it loads items into the proper fields.
You can also create a sign-up form. These forms are very simple; we could not add images or other branding. Despite the limited customization for forms, it did allow for a large variety of fields, so you could target subscribers' interests. This is very useful if you have a wide range of products you promote, as you can then create campaigns specifically for those interests. For example, if you have a bookstore, you can ask subscribers their favorite genres, so that science fiction readers get your promotion of the latest space opera but don't receive notice about your new regency romance.
You can segment contacts in many ways, which allows you to target specific audiences. For example, you can alert customers to a sale in only one geographical area, or target certain emails to specific age groups.
iContact offers a spam checker which recommends items to eliminate so your message is not erroneously filtered to the spam folders of your potential customers. However, we had mixed results from this platform.
It removed some code from the HTML-coded newsletter professionally created and used by our marketing department, but iContact did not specify what the disputed code was. Further, neither the HTML-coded newsletter nor the email we made using iContact's templates made it through Gmail's spam filters. In fact, it did not show up in our Gmail account at all. About 35 percent of the email-creation solutions we tested had this problem.
In addition to sending your email, you can post your newsletter to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn with a link to the newsletter. This allows your followers to view your marketing campaigns as well.
iContact helps keep your product on the minds of potential customers with its autoresponder tool. The software takes you through the steps of constructing an automatic response to certain actions by a contact. For instance, you can set up an autoresponse to greet new subscribers. In addition, iContact lets you create not just a single response but an entire series of newsletters. This is very convenient if you are bringing in more clients by giving away a series of articles or if you are selling an informational product.
The Reports tab helps you see the results of your efforts with pie charts and statistics about each mailing and autoresponse effort. You can find out how many contacts opened your emails and how many bounced. You can also get a clear view of social media successes. iContact tracks tweets, likes, shares and other helpful statistics. Reports are downloadable as CSV files, so you can keep track of them and share them easily.
The dashboard on iContact provides a quick view of the important information, although not all campaigns are listed. You can access various tasks from the menu. In addition, a help button, which appears on the side of your screen, opens up a sidebar with links, task pages and a tutorial, which we found convenient.
You have a few different options for creating your emails: You can use your own HTML code or a template complete with a WYSIWYG screen so you know exactly what your recipients will see when they receive your email. There are hundreds of templates organized by business type, such as education, finance, insurance and technology.
All templates are easily customizable with your own text and images. We found the editing features limited compared to the best email marketing software applications though still good enough to make a professional and attractive email.
iContact offers four different design services, including template creation, sign-up form creation, message conversion and message repair. Costs vary; some services involve a flat fee while others are charged by the hour, and certain packages also offer design services.
One standout feature we liked was the preview function. It allows you to see how your finished product looks in several formats. Most newsletter builders show only the desktop or mobile version. We did find, however, that our email didn't size correctly; that is, it wasn't narrow enough for some email screens, including Outlook. So while the preview function is nice, you may find that your email still won't correctly display on some preview screens.
With iContact, you can build an impressive email advertising campaign that brings your company the attention it needs to grow. This email marketing software integrates the best features, such as easy editing, a strong autoresponder function, and multiple list-creation methods, all in a very user-friendly interface. Whether you need surveys, auto-responses or quality emails, this program can help make it happen.
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