We are often asked about the various email software platforms available today and with so many options out there, how should you decide which is best for your hotel or venue? In this blog I’m going to give an overview of LeadDigital’s Top 5 recommended services for Email Marketing.
It’s easy to be tempted by all singing, all dancing services like Infusionsoft (discussed below), but these are often overcomplicated, and require a significant investment. We’ve all heard the saying “Don’t try to run before you can walk”. In this case it’s better to start simple and select software based on your needs today. It’s easy to upgrade as your requirements become more sophisticated, but it’s very difficult to go backwards!
So without further ado, lets get started:
“All The Tools You Need To Send Emails The Right Way.”
Established back in ’98, AWeber is one of the original email marketing platforms and is considered a great starter option for people new to email. It’s very simple, offering most of the core features a small to medium hospitality business would need, without overloading you with too many tools.
Pros: All the basics are covered, simple reporting and functionality and it offers a useful WordPress plugin for quick website sign-up forms.
Cons: The subscriber importing capabilities are quite limited, no ability to build landing pages, overall it can be quite limiting for more established businesses.
Cost: Today you can get a 30-day free trial followed by $19 (£15) per month for up-to 500 subscribers. Standard pricing then peaks $149 (£120) per month for 10,000-25,000.
“Send Better Email. Sell More Stuff”
If you want to design awesome looking emails without needing a web designer on-hand, MailChimp is the tool for you!
A fan favourite for many, MailChimp is a popular option for most email marketers given its powerful functionality and user friendly interface. Whether you’re adding new subscribers, creating new email campaigns or looking for advanced automated email options, MailChimp is a solid all rounder.
Pros: Integrates with hundreds of web services including e-commerce platforms, huge collection of templates to design from, quick to get started.
Cons: MailChimp use a unique language for features & processes, they only allow for one opt-in form per list, reporting whilst informative can be less comprehensive than competitors unless managed by a MailChimp expert.
Cost: Up-to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month you can sign up for free, however this only gives access to the most basic features. To access all functions including autoresponders, pricing starts from £8 per month for <500 subscribers, then £65/mo+ for over 10,000 subscribers.
“Quick And Easy Email Marketing Automation Software”
Marketing automation is the ultimate dream of most email marketers. The ability to take insights you have on customers and turn them into personalised & automated outreach campaigns, makes for the perfect recipe to succeed in email marketing.
Drip take that one step further by building their entire platform around the premise of drip marketing. Intelligent workflows allow users to automate the entire customer journey, with sophisticated rules based on interactions helping you get the most engagement from each subscriber.
Pros: Specialists in drip marketing, advanced visual workflows & event triggers, automate everything, access to marketing automation normally reserved for only high end expensive email software.
Cons: Still quite a new software platform so constantly seeing changes, integrations are less available and can be complicated.
Cost: Free for 100 subscribers, or get 2 months free when buying an annual package. £39.50/mo for up-to 2,500 subscribers, £120/mo+ for 10,000 subscribers.
“Email Marketing For Professional Bloggers”
Like MailChimp, ConvertKit offer many of the essentials needed for hotels, venues, restaurants and other hospitality businesses. Its advantage over competitors however, is that it uses ‘tags’ rather than ‘lists’. List based systems store subscribers (email addresses) on a per list basis, such as ticket buyers or competition A entries. If one subscriber is in both lists (tickets & competition), you could get charged twice!
Alternatively a ‘tag’ based system like ConvertKit looks at all subscribers together as one. Using customisable event tags, segments are then created and personalised emails can be sent to a select audience only, without the risk of double charging!
Pros: Tag based software, easy to use, simple to create sign up forms, offers a basic landing page builder.
Cons: Reported information and email testing functions can be quite limited and the email composer is somewhat basic.
Cost: 0-1,000 subscribers is £23 per month, £64/mo for up-to 5,000 then custom price for above 5k subscribers.
“Build Better Connections With Leads And Customers”
If your subscriber numbers are above 50,000, you’ve got everything you can out of platforms like MailChimp and need to step it up a notch, it’s probably time to look at Infusionsoft.
This is a marketing automation, CRM and sales platform all rolled into one, and is big, powerful and perfect for complete email marketing dominance! It has every feature you could imagine and more, but does also demand a significant investment in time and money so can’t be taken lightly. Its abilities extend way beyond just email marketing, so you’d likely see this service become part of every aspect of your hospitality company.
Pros: Ultimate tool for much more than just email.
Cons: Too expensive for most business owners, very complex.
Costs: £160/mo for 2,500 subscribers plus you have to buy a kickstart package from £804 up. Thats not including the cost of training and additional staffing this system would require.
There is a huge range of email marketing services to choose from in 2017, and this list only scratches the surface, with other services like ‘ActiveCampaign’, ‘GetResponse’, ‘Constant Contact’, ‘Ontraport’ etc… equally deserving of mention.
So how do you choose? Stop. Down tools and just ask yourself one question – what do I actually want to achieve with email marketing? Be specific.
The right software is vital, but even more so is the right email marketing strategy. This is the point when you should talk to LeadDigital. We have over 20 years experience in email marketing and only serve businesses within the hospitality sector – with our team creating bespoke email strategies designed to increase bookings and sell more events!
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