Growth Marketing

Best Email Platforms: Recommended By 30+ Email Experts

When looking for an email platform, it can get a bit overwhelming. There are many, many email platforms out there, all with different features and pricing. 


We decided to reach out to some email experts and ask them the question: which email platform would you recommend and why?


The Best Email Platform?


The key takeaway is that there’s not one platform that could win the award for the ‘best email platform’. 


Choosing an email platform is like choosing a pair of shoes. It depends on what you’re trying to achieve and what your price range is to pick the right one. 


So, if you go climbing a mountain you want some waterproof hiking boots, while if you go to a 90’s party you’d probably want to go for those Nike Air Max’s.


There are many options available in the market, and the email experts that we reached out did mention a few multiple times. 


Now, let’s dig into the email platforms that the experts mentioned the most.


Small to Medium-Sized Businesses


Now, for email platforms that are suitable for small to medium-size businesses, we have looked at platforms that are more affordable and still offer the most important features.


The email experts that we have asked mentioned the following email platforms that are suited for small to medium-size businesses:

  • MailChimp

  • Constant Contact

  • MailerLite


MailChimp


MailChimp is one of the most well-known email platforms. They have a free starter package that will allow you to add up to 2,000 contacts. From there, you can easily upgrade to a low-cost package that unlocks extra features.


Many email experts have mentioned MailChimp as the go-to platform for small to medium businesses and starters. The UI of the platform is being praised, as well as the guides and support that they provide.


Screenshot of MailChimp website.


Constant Contact


Constant Contact is all about making email marketing as easy as possible. Therefore, it is best suited for businesses that are planning to run basic email campaigns.


In terms of pricing, they are in a similar bucket as MailChimp. They offer a free one-month trial, and their packages start at $26/month.


The email experts that we asked specifically mentioned the user-friendliness of the platform, as well as the good support and the ability to integrate with third parties.


Screenshot of ConstantContact website.


MailerLite

 

As the name suggests, MailerLite is all about making email marketing as easy as possible for beginners. It has an easy drag-and-drop functionality, which makes it easy to create you campaigns. It also integrates with third parties like Shopify and WordPress, which is perfect for small businesses.


To get started, MailerLite offers a free package which allows you to send up to 12,000 emails per month. From there, there are low-cost packages starting from $10 per month.


Screenshot of MailerLite website.


Medium to Large Businesses


Now, these email platforms are more like an overall marketing platform. This makes them perfect for larger organisations.


The email experts we asked, mentioned the following platforms multiple times:

  • Salesforce Marketing Cloud

  • Oracle Eloqua


Salesforce Marketing Cloud


Salesforce Marketing Cloud is much more than just an email platform. It’s a unified marketing platform, that lets you personalise the experience of your (potential) customers across pretty much everything. It allows you to automate your marketing across many platforms.


The email experts that we have asked are raving the active community and the online resources that are made available. 


Screenshot of Salesforce website.


Oracle Eloqua


Now, Oracle Eloqua is definitely one of the more advanced platforms in the list. Similar to the Salesforce Marketing Platform, it is more than just an email platform. It is a marketing automation platform, that automates the experience across multiple channels.


Oracle provides marketers with a robust network of over 500 partners, representing over 700 integrations. This empowers users to align existing enterprise applications to marketing automation for scalability and extension.


Screenshot of Eloqua website.


What the experts said


Now, let’s have a look at what the email experts had to say about their favourite email platforms.


Diana Conner

Diana is the Director of Email Marketing for Bulldog Media Group. She has spoken at several conferences and has contributed to numerous articles, sharing her knowledge and experience of the continually shifting email landscape. Diana has spent her career living and breathing all things email. With over a decade in the industry, she has been a keen orchestrator of the email marketing symphony.  

http://www.linkedin.com/in/dianaconner18


“A marketer’s email service provider (ESP) is the foundation of all email operations. It’s a critical tool and a major budget item. Frustrations run high if you are not with a platform that compliments your business model. Respondents to a survey from Litmus said marketing limitations with their ESP was third on their list of biggest challenges for 2018. 16% of brands said that changing ESPs was on their list of email marketing priorities for 2018. Issues lie within not having proper customer support or having technical limitations on the email platform. An ESP migration can also be one of the most exhaustive (yet necessary) processes for a team to successfully transition. Whether you are looking to start over or begin for the first time, choosing an ESP is paramount for the successful launch of your campaigns. The market is saturated with ESPs and knowing which ones can help you grow and maintain your customer database can be challenging. Having your goals and marketing plan mapped out before you start your research will help you narrow down which service will be best for you.

Before you even begin to research ESPs take time to have a marketing plan prepared and begin building a customer list to make sure the right email goes to the right person at the right time. That is the crux of email marketing. You can spend all your time planning, creating and hitting send but if the ESP cannot deliver your email it’s wasted effort. Another thing to consider is the right size platform for your investment. Is this a new endeavor or migrating to another system? If your company is growing rapidly you’ll need to think about scale and reaching a larger audience over time. You’ll only want to bring highly engaged data/subscribers to the new ESP. Make sure the list is validated through a data hygiene tool. Never buy or rent lists. Your content should be relevant to your subscribers and a preference center is key for them to let you know how often they want to hear from you. Are you a novice or experienced marketer? Sometimes it’s not just about the budget but also resources. Services like Constant Contact and MailChimp can help you with tutorials, live chat, community support, blogs, and dedicated company reps to answer your questions and teach you about the platform.

Constant Contact “ One of the largest and fastest growing ESP’s in the world. It’s beginner friendly and gives you a robust platform to manage lists, contacts, templates and more. There is detailed reporting, social media tools and an image library available. It has a vast library of resources and offers online training. It allows small businesses to dive right in and navigate the system like a pro. They also offer a 60-day free trial (no CC required) and pricing starts as low as $20 per month.

MailChimp “ One of the most popular providers. They have a great UI (user interface), lots of tools and plenty of support. They offer an easy email creator, autoresponders, segmenting and analytics. An additional feature is setting up delivery time based on user’s time zones and geolocation. There is a huge knowledge base of how-to’s, videos, blogs and tutorials for all experience levels. They have a forever free plan which allows you to send 12k emails for up to 2k customers. Paid plans start at $10 per month. For small businesses, there are a lot of features for a low price to make this a great choice to partner with.

Email marketing is one of the most lucrative marketing tools available worldwide. It is easy to manage, gives you full control of building and maintaining relationships with customers and has a very high ROI. It is especially useful to build brand awareness and provide excellent customer service by offering support, updates and promotional announcements. Choosing the right ESP is imperative to keep costs down and pay for features you use instead of an entire enterprise you may not be ready for. Many services also provide deliverability support and free templates to help you get started quickly and efficiently.”


Marcus Miller

Digital marketing consultant based in Birmingham UK. Focused on helping small business get BIG RESULTS with SEO, Google Ads, Facebook advertising and email campaigns. 

https://www.bowlerhat.co.uk

“Mailchimp. It’s free for beginners and allows you to create ads, landing pages and email campaigns all in one place. At Bowler Hat (my agency), we focus on helping small businesses so a powerful, low cost tool like MailChimp is a win with many of our customers. 

I am also a big fan of the support and help archives at mailchimp.com – from the basic set up to creating detailed automations the help documents will ensure you are never lost in the woods!”


Olly Beckett

For over 15 years Olly has worked with some of the world’s largest brands, including STA Travel and Expedia. He’s managed databases up to 35,000,000 in size and spoken at numerous international marketing conferences. Olly runs worldinwords.co.uk, focusing on improving key email metrics, plus advice on automation and machine learning.

https://www.worldinwords.co.uk

“I’ve always had good experiences with Salesforce Marketing Cloud. It has an easy-to-use drag-and-drop interface, but still allows for sophisticated personalisation and dynamic elements, meaning that each subscriber could get an email with content unique to them. Automated emails are also easily set up and managed. Analytics are clear and allow for easy decision making, plus the platform can have numerous other channels plugging in, therefore offering fully-integrated customer marketing. In addition to all this, Saleforce offer good support regardless of whether you’re a huge multi-national, or a small start-up.”


Pat Marcello

Pat Marcello is President and SEO Manager of MagnaSites.com, a full-service digital marketing and Web development company, since 2011.

https://MagnaSites.com

“I have used several of the email platforms over the years — AWeber, iContact, Constant Contact, MailChimp, etc. Of all of them, I still like AWeber the best. Their way of doing things just suits Internet marketers better and their UX is better. You can’t get lost in the site looking for things, like you can with MailChimp. 

Another big reason that I like AWeber is that customers can be redirected to whatever you’re giving away immediately. With MailChimp, for example, you have to send a link in your Welcome message. Of course, you should always have a welcome message with a link in your follow-up series, but people like to see your PDF, ebook, or article immediately after they hit that confirmation button (or after opting in if you have your list set up not to confirm).

That said, for people just starting out, I still think that MailChimp is the best choice if they’re watching pennies because it’s totally free up to 2,000 subscribers. I tell my clients to use MailChimp to start, and if they want to move when they reach the subscriber limit, they can export their lists and import them into AWeber, without making list members re-confirm.”


Kateryna Nazarenko

Email marketer from Ukraine, over 8 years experience, data-driven decisions maker, crazy about numbers and analytics.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/kateryna-nazarenko

“MailChimp.com

Simply because it’s a classic of Email marketing SaaS. MailChimp has a separate unit for transactional emails called Mandrill. It can be a little bit expensive for some small business, but you always can try its Forever Free’ plan to find out how it works for your scenario.

MailerLite.com

I worked at Mailerlite as an email marketing and support specialist almost for 4 years 🙂 But I recommend it for small businesses because it’s very easy to use and start email marketing from the scratch. Mailerlite has a simple Drag-and-drop Email Builder, its automation tools can help you to build sophisticated campaigns with no technical skills required. Also, you can create responsive landing pages, customize beautiful popups in just a few clicks and connect a MailerLite account to other web services (Shopify, WordPress, etc.)”


Crystal Vargas

Crystal has over 10 years of Email Marketing experience working in various capacities for different companies.  She has been a solo email marketer working on strategy through deployment and reporting. She has also worked on teams and hopped around from Deployment to QA and Team Lead.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/crystalvargas/

“I have worked with a variety of email platforms through the years and, while they all have their quirks, I’ve had good experiences with a couple of them.

Cheetah Digital – While working with Cheetah, we had some company limitations to prevent us from using their drag and drop design features but the data side of Cheetah is drag and drop as well, and so easy to work with.  Using filters and grabbing from the data was quick and helped meet timelines. It was also easy to use and train others on for backup. Reporting was detailed and helpful as well.

Salesforce Marketing Cloud – I’ve worked the most with SFMC/ExactTarget and while having to write SQL queries and AmpScript is time consuming and not ideal when on a time crunch, it does allow a level of detail that helps in investigations and data sourcing.  Automation Studio is where most of the work gets done and once you have it all set up, you don’t have to think about it anymore because it runs smoothly.

Another ESP I would like to mention it Iterable.  I have not worked with them yet but I did, just recently, see a demo and would gladly work with them in the future.”


Melanie Diehl

Melanie Diehl, founder and CEO of Melanie & Co Marketing Collective, is an award-winning email marketer and SEO specialist. She and her team create strategic marketing campaigns that help businesses get found and generate leads, both online and offline. In addition to done-for-you services, Melanie has trained 1000’s of DIY marketers in best practices.

https://www.melaniediehl.com

“For small businesses and nonprofits, my number one choice for an email service provider is Constant Contact. Constant Contact is dedicated to the success of small businesses and nonprofits. They support Chambers of Commerce, Small Business Development Centers, SCORE and the United Way. The platform is affordable, incredibly user-friendly and their coaches are welcoming and helpful. Not to mention their amazing deliverability, and their award-winning customer service! They have certified solution providers that offer in person training for email marketing and other popular social media platforms. They are constantly releasing updates and additional benefits to the platform, including landing pages, Shopify integration, and more. I encourage all of my clients to use Constant Contact for their email marketing.”


Claire Poorthuis

Experienced Marketer with a demonstrated history of working in the marketing and advertising industry. Skilled in SEO, SEA, Display, Video and Social Media Advertising. Co-Founder of Grid Marketing. Grid Marketing is a digital marketing and web development agency for businesses that wish to acquire more customers and grow revenues through digital marketing and web design.

https://www.griddigitalmarketing.com/

“MailChimp, it is great for business owners who want an easy to use tool that’s packed with advanced features.”

Nick Crawford

My mission is to help businesses win & retain customers with relevant & engaging marketing. Working with B2C & B2B clients for over 15 years, I have a deep understanding of data-driven marketing & strategic planning with experience across CRM, Direct Marketing & Automation with a specialism in Email and cross channel integration. As a hobby I make balloon models – its from here that Twist Consultancy got its name.

https://www.twistconsultancy.co.uk

“https://www.ometria.com/ In the latest The Relevancy Ring “ ESP Buyer’s Guide 2019, Enterprise Edition, when marketers were asked for their top 10 selection criteria “expertise in our industry’ came in 2nd highest. It’s here that Ometria as a specialist in the e-commerce vertical, differentiate themselves from many in the pack.

They handle data like nobody else, focused on the retail needs,= across structure and output. Cohort insight, recency frequency and value analysis and product based next best actions, are all ‘out of the box’ segmentation tools.


On top of this they use AI (a much hyped buzz) to real world effect, enabling propensity and predictive actions in a way that makes the life of a retail marketer much simpler, effective and successful.”



Luke Harrison

Luke operates as a delivery lead where he helps to manage the effort of marketing and development teams. His career has spanned nearly every side of the “email” industry from working at an email service provider, email marketing agencies to holding email marketing roles across retail and finance.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/luke-harrison/

“This answer depends entirely on the requirements of the individual or business but lucky for you we can break this into two categories. Within each, I have a preference.

Small to medium enterprises:

MailChimp is king here. With the ability to integrate into multiple e-commerce platforms you can be sending abandoned cart emails like a pro without the need for a digital transformation project that will end in 2035.

Whether you’re running an online store from your living room or working in an established retail environment you need speed to market.

It’s the ability to get you the web behavioural data to achieve the bottom line with minimal effort that can’t be understated.

Large businesses:

Go for the cloud. Salesforce Marketing Cloud that is.

With hands down the most active community and fantastic online resources, your current power users and developers can find everything they need online to fully leverage the functionality of this platform.

That said this isn’t something you should just purchase and migrate into. You’ll need to carefully work out how you can implement this product within your business.

Let the platform do everything and simply give it the data it needs and you’ll see the results.

If you let business requirements dictate the setup of the platform you’ll be restricted in the functionality you can use which is the whole point of using a tool such as this.”


Mariana Santiago

Mariana Santiago is an email marketer from New Orleans. As an email copywriter and strategist, she’s worked with a diverse group of businesses to create thoughtful, intelligent email marketing strategies. Mariana specializes in helping businesses meet their customers along every step of the customer journey through targeted campaigns and workflows. 

https://marianawrites.com

“There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to which is the best ESP or EMS for my business?. It depends entirely on what your business’s needs are and what you need your EMS to do for you. That being said, there are a few I like better than others.

I think Klaviyo’s great for ecommerce brands. They do an amazing job of training their agency partners, so your business will be able to find someone to help you with all of your Klaviyo needs. The integration with Shopify works wonderfully. Klaviyo flows are easy enough to set up if you’re at all familiar with marketing automation. It offers the ability to back-populate flows, which I’ve found super helpful.


For B2B, I think Salesforce Pardot is often a good choice. Their website tracking tool is great for figuring out which of your website pages are working for you and which aren’t; their URL encoding tool is helpful in figuring out if people are actually engaging with the links you send them; and Engagement Studio is an AMAZING tool for creating a nurture series. 


I also like Infusionsoft aka Keap “ it’s nice to have your CRM and your email marketing all in one place. Marketing automation isn’t quite as easy to set up in Infusionsoft, but it’s still a great program.”


Iliana Whalley

Iliana is a CRM professional and Marketing Automation expert with over 12 years of experience helping businesses improve their marketing communication efforts. 

https://www.linkedin.com/in/ilianaawhalley

“I recommend Listrak because it provides a happy medium between a basic ESP and an enterprise level ESP. It offers automation which is key to any email marketing program and it is list-centric so it is easy to keep track of who is on what list. For what it offers it is reasonably priced. Listrak is a great platform for mid-size businesses that don’t require a lot of customization.”


Jacqueline Fassett

I help Non-profits grow and scale with automation. 

http://www.jacquelinefassett.com

“Depends 

Mailchimp for small organizations (less than 10 staff)

Pardot for larger organizations”


Mandy Plugge

Mandy Plugge is a Senior Digital Consultant with more than 10 years of work experience in various digital positions, based in the Netherlands. Started as allround online marketer, she has been a freelancer since 2016 where she assists companies with various digital issues, ranging from CRM to Project Management to Online Strategy.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/mandyplugge/

“Selligent – Selligent is a very user-friendly CRM tool with many options. Email marketers can make maximum use of every interaction with consumers. This allows you to easily deliver personalized and interesting customer experiences through all channels. Over the years I have seen Selligent making beautiful steps, focused on the future.”


Jenny Lassi

With over 20 years of experience, Jenny Lassi doesn’t mind being called a ‘seasoned’ digital marketing professional. As the digital marketing strategist for Infinity Direct, she has a passion for finding the right solution for each situation and solving client business problems with technology.

https://infinitydirect.com/about/jenny

“B2C/Retail: Blucore because behavioral and machine learning triggers are unmatched by any other platform in the space. B2B: Upland’s Adestra for non-html savvy marketers or Mapp Digital’s BlueHornet for advanced users who know html.”


Tom Ehart

Director, Marketing Communications at Blue Pillar, Inc.

http://www.bluepillar.com/

“I have used numerous email platforms over the years including Vertical Response, Real Magnet, and others, and have found HubSpot to be the most efficient and easy to use. Other platforms were quirky, limited in their templates and editing capabilities, didn’t translate well to mobile, and didn’t integrate as well with SalesForce. Time and again there would be lot of extra work that needed to be done on the back end to enable these platforms to provide the type of functionality and lead capture that we needed. And then I started using HubSpot and everything I needed was fully integrated and super easy to use. I highly recommend HubSpot for anyone looking for a great email platform!”


Bram Menco

As a Marketing Automation Specialist I am responsible for e-mail marketing and marketing automation at www.maxilia.nl (the Netherlands, France, Germany, Italy and Spain). This includes coming up with projects, creating and implementing e-mail strategies within my portfolio. In addition, I also participate in the branding team and I am responsible for customer retention.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/bram-menco-85098b3a/

“I recommend the Dutch e-mail software Copernica. The possibilities are endless software for our company (www.maxilia.nl). As a marketer, for example, you can easily and quickly build up and send emails in the drag-and-drop environment. If you want to create more complex templates, then that is also possible with the Publisher environment. In it you can create your desired dynamic and personalized templates with HTML.

The software is well-arranged and self-evident with your own database (without limits). The marketing automation can be set up super-fast and is easy to test.

Copernica’s good service and support is perhaps even their flagship. They respond very quickly and think well in solutions.”


Ben Harrinfton

Ben is a freelance email marketer with over 12 years of marketing experience,  But his true passion was email and became a freelancer three years ago and hasn’t looked back since.  He’s worked with businesses big and small, locally and internationally helping with everything email related.

http://truffleshufflemedia.co.uk/

“This is a tough question because it really does depend on the company and what you want from it.  If you are starting out and just send the odd email here and there then something like Mailchimp, Mailerlite or Zoom would probably be perfect pricing starts from free and are all relatively easy to use.

If its an in depth B2B email marketing tool I can recommend Zoom again with its excellent CRM functionality and AI features or Active Campaign is also a great shout with its excellent automation set up.

If your business is more ecommerce then you wouldn’t go wrong with looking at Klaviyo or Omnisend for the one step on from Mailchimp, they’ve both got inbuilt features that are great and can save you a lot of time.”


Fernando Rubino Pereira

More than 5 years experience working with email marketing strategies and best practices.

Starting with the concept and implementing process of lead generation campaigns, welcome series, develop, retain and analyse the user value cycle, winback campaign strategies, AB testing, Ampscript, Sales Force Marketing Cloud (SFMC), data analysis and more. 

https://www.linkedin.com/in/ferubino/

“This question is pretty personal. I would say depends.

It depends about a lot of factors.

If you are beginner, or the company is small, or the team is small, I would recommend a simpler/ basic Email platform. Which is normally more friendly use, as examples: Mailchimp, Splio, and others.

If you have an intermediate level, some experience, also good resources in the company, you can start using the big tools such as Adobe, Salesforce Marketing Cloud, and others.

I used to say: The Email platform is like to drive a Ferrari. You can’t really drive this car if you don’t have driver license and experience. Go for the simple one.

Email platform is the same.”


Priya Bransfield

Email Marketing Specialist

https://www.linkedin.com/in/priya-bransfield-4582564/

“Top 3 platforms that I like to work with;

1) Silverpop (Acoustic) – this is the first platform that I ever used for email marketing. So there is a bias towards it but it’s stands it’s own ground. Not only is it a robust platform that delivered on all email platform capabilities but it’s progressed into a fantastic marketing automation platform that delivers what is promised by most platforms.

2) Marketo – this is a new found platform for me. It is great for B2B as it has a really flexible drag and drop template functionality. Data feeds are easy to integrate with Salesforce and the overall usability is really user friendly. There are some intricacies that are very Marketo specific but with use these get easier and easier to remember and to work around if needed.

3) Eloqua is probably the next platform that I would recommend. It’s marketing automation flows are great as they allow great flexibility with what they can do. I haven’t personally set up campaigns in the platform but I have managed teams that have set them up. Knowing the technical functionality behind the platform gives me the knowledge that this is another platform that is worth the paper it’s written on. A robust platform that has a great scope for what you want to deliver. You just need to set it up.”


Jonathan Pay

Jonathan is the world’s first second-generation email marketer, with over 14 years of experience across the industry from vendor to agency.

https://www.holisticemailmarketing.com/

“I am vendor agnostic as an email marketing consultant“I work with whatever the client uses or help them to find the ESP that fits their needs“so this is a tricky one because the answer is really, “it depends.” Though, with that out of the way I personally really like Moosend. They’re a MailChimp equivalent, though they’re a bit cheaper and they have a few more features going for them than MailChimp does, so I definitely think they’re worth checking out.”


Melinda van Z.

Email marketing specialist at Toolstation Europe. Responsible for e-mail marketing but also content creation for the website. Also responsible for creating the connection between online and offline marketing channels. 

https://www.linkedin.com/in/melindavanzoest/

“Personally I prefer to work with Emarsys, it is a British company located in the heart of London. The reason why I prefer to work with Emarsys is the additional options that they give in order to work with the platform. It is very easy to combine it with other online channels (Google Ads, Social) and even combine your print marketing with Emarsys is an option.”


Earl Flormata

Earl Flormata is known as the Evil Marketing Genius.

With a 70 million dollar track record in selling everything from software to reusable art boards, he’s a one man army for hire to help your business bring in more sales.

http://mindofamarketer.net

“Hiveku because of their AI capability and hooks into automation. AutoKlose because of their database structure and ability to generate endless lists to email for b2b. And for the beginners I’d say mailchimp because of ease of use and excellent UX/UI.”


Monique Hulshoff

Monique Hulshoff is a freelance online marketer mainly operating in the automotive and publishing industry in the Netherlands.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/moniquehulshoff/

“I have experience in several email platforms such as Copernica and MailChimp, however i recommend DMdelivery by Webpower. It’s easy to use and has really expanded it’s possibilities over the past few years, so it’s shifted from being an email marketing tool to a real marketing automation tool. The flows are easy to build and monitoring and feedback is excellent.”


Alexander Bekhterev

Alexander is a digital marketer with over 8 years of experience in multiple areas “ from agency services and strategy, to platform integrations and support. During his career in the U.S. and Russia, he worked with the largest global brands such as L’Oreal, Payback, Office Depot, S7 Airlines, Wargaming.net, and Plenti.

https://www.emarsys.com

“In my career, I had a privilege to work with multiple marketing platforms of different grades. In the last 8 years, my team and I helped migrate over a hundred businesses from different marketing platforms to Emarsys. Being part of marketing agencies in the past, I also had a privilege to experience even more email service providers, both B2C and B2B. Overall, I had direct experience with Bronto, Exact Target / Salesforce Marketing Cloud, MailChimp, Klaviyo, Unisender, Marketo, Act-On, Hubspot, and Eloqua.

As one might think, I have no intention in asserting that Emarsys is the best in the field just because I work for the company. And before anyone could answer the question: Which Email platform can you recommend and why? we have to ask our readers: What are your goals? What are your pain points? What are you trying to achieve? What is the long-term plan? What is your budget? It is important to mention, companies like Salesforce, Emarsys, and some others are no longer even considered to be just Email platforms. They offer omnichannel communications, personalized recommendations, automations, and other bells and whistles. Without knowing your needs, it is hard to prescribe the perfect medication. A few years ago, my company needed a tool to manage projects globally in the cloud. What did I do? I created an RFP with all the requirements and talked to about a dozen of different vendors, sharing my profile with them and checking boxes in the spreadsheet with requirements.

Hence, I may not be able to tell you who the winner is, but at least you’ll be equipped with the knowledge to make your own choice. Just like in UFC “ there is no absolute champion in the tournament but there is one in each weight category. In the world of email marketing software those categories are: vertical (ecommerce, travel, finance, healthcare, etc), business type (B2B/B2C), list size (small, medium, large), channels (only email, omnichannel), company size (small, medium, enterprise).


If we are looking at entry level B2C (and even B2B) solutions, MailChimp does the job and does it pretty well. The company offers an intuitive UI, a very detailed help portal, and reasonable prices. Although late to the market, now they offer automations, and if I was a small startup, I’d probably pick them for my own needs.

For B2B needs of different kinds, you might be picking among Hubspot, Eloqua, Marketo, Pardot, and Act-On. They are all different yet intended for the same needs: B2B marketing automation. While Pardot and Eloqua might be too much and too expensive for an average business, lots of companies choose Hubspot or Marketo as they offer great value for the money.

The toughest battle is in the mid-size to enterprise level B2C marketing segment. Here we have Listrak, Bronto, Sailthru, Oracle Responsys, Adobe, Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Emarsys, and a few other players. While being in the same sector, all solutions have different price points and different offerings. For mid-size companies, Listrak, Bronto, and Sailthru could be a fit. Adobe and Oracle tend to serve large scale businesses, and those running Salesforce Commerce Cloud might benefit from synergy effects with the Salesforce Marketing Cloud. Emarsys is well known in Europe and APAC but is relatively new to the North American market. It is largely focused on serving E-commerce, Retail, and Travel verticals and introducing cutting edge tech like AI-driven automations and high degree of personalization across all channels (Email, SMS, Web, Mobile Push, Direct Mail). Again, if you need to simply batch and blast emails “ you don’t need Emarsys, Salesforce, or other sophisticated platform. However, if you’d like to have business intelligence, website recommendations, automated flows, and much more “ these companies should be on our shortlist.

Recently, Forrester published the Forrester Wave: Cross-Channel Campaign Management report for Q4’2019 and listed all the vendors where you can look for pros and cons for each. You can get this report absolutely for free here.

As you can see, there are quite many choices in the market. And if I were to say, for example: Mailchimp is the best, people from large enterprises would give me a weird look. On the opposite side, if I stated something like everybody, go with Salesforce Marketing Cloud small businesses would not get it either, rightfully so. Therefore, my recommendation is the following: make sure you 100% understand what you need and what your budget is. And by understanding I mean “ literally know every single detail you need based on your current business use cases and future plans. I know companies who would come into discovery meetings unprepared and say: we need reporting. Three months after the deal was closed, they would come back upset and say they needed OLAP style reporting. Who would know? The key to save yourself frustration and to execute your marketing automation successfully is to know what you need without any ambiguity. There is no perfect platform but you should know what you can and cannot sacrifice within your budget. Happy shopping!”


Nathan Prout

Nathan is an Email Developer with over 6 years’ experience in both B2B and B2C. Currently at the UK’s leading Gym he works on multi channel communications with the CRM team. He has worked with platforms such as Braze, MailChimp, YesMail’s 360i, Pure360, Campaign Monitor and some experience in Salesforce. 


“I recommend Braze. It has very similar features to the popular Salesforce but with better technology. Compared to other ESP the platform is so much simpler and easy to work on. Being able create edit the segments easily allows trigger campaigns to continue when having to include specific exclusions.”


Warren Cottis

Warren Cottis is a Specialist in helping businesses release the Trapped Sales Potential in their database. An updated www.360emailmarketing.com  is launching very soon with checklists to improve your results.

“There is no Best Email Platform in my opinion because Email Marketing is constantly evolving.

So the Best Email Platform at any point in time is the one that allows an Email Marketer’s Skill Level to be tested and to grow. Usability is paramount!

What is the Best Email Platform?  is very much a Subjective question that is relative to an Email Marketer’s experience or a Business’s experience with email marketing at a particular point in time.

Technology is very secondary to Copywriting and the Ability to Engage with an Audience. 

After acknowledging the importance of good Copywriting, let me say that Technology plays a valuable role in Segmenting your subscribers either by having them in separate lists or by the newer norm of adding tags to their profile.

So after list segmentation functions, Autoresponder or Triggered Email functions are a must for every platform I would avoid the Free platforms that entice new players and don’t allow these functions. They usually don’t allow a triggered email Welcome message as the first step in the relationship.

No email platform technology will deliver a great result only a marketer dedicated to email marketing will achieve that.”

Author


Avatar

Jeroen Minks

With over 10 years experience in digital marketing, Jeroen helps businesses to get more results out of their online advertising budgets.