December 10, 2018
Jack Welch, a well-known business executive once said “Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others. “ Here at Birdseed, we are a leader in helping our clients convert website visitors into leads, into sales, and we do it well. We work hard to establish relationships with our clients, and learn what tools they need to help their business grow. Since we are communication-based, we want to help our clients grow by utilizing the best technology that is on the market. And by best, we don’t mean most expensive. Sometimes what you and your business needs, is free.
Our users are amazed at what our product does and they ask if there is a FREE or low-cost email marketing platform that we recommend. BirdSeed doesn’t offer our own custom built email marketing service since our tool can integrate with almost ANY email service through our Zapier integration. (Zapier is the industry standard tool that allows you to connect apps you use). However, given our experience with using various email platforms in the past and our expertise in technology we feel qualified to give our perspective on this topic.
3 Free Email Platforms You May Want To Consider
The right email platform software can help your business by staying connected to your clients, and can significantly impact the success of your next campaign. A great platform can help manage your email lists, contacts, email templates, tracking, and built-in sharing tools. Having metrics available from each campaign you send helps you to better understand your client base and their wants and needs. Three free platforms really stand out to us, ZOHO, Mail Chimp, and Benchmark. They each have premium features you can upgrade to, but the free versions may be all your company needs, especially if you are just starting out. For each, we will give you a quick overview, pros, and cons, and anything else we come across that might be important.
Mailchimp is my pick for best free email marketing platform, but it has a couple of notable drawbacks. Like our other two picks, this is a free service for businesses with 2000 or fewer on their subscriber list. On the positive side, it has by far the easiest to use interface and variety of templates, with integration to CRM software and social media. The biggest drawback is their free plan does not include ongoing live customer service, and although their knowledge base section is extensive, nothing replaces great customer service. Also, emails to Gmail accounts tend to be sent to the promotions tab, meaning Gmail users aren’t as likely to see your emails. However, if you are new to sending email campaigns, this is a great service to start with.
Overview: Great designs available, but not all of your customers may see your emails, due to restrictions in spam folders (most often in Outlook and gmail)
Price: Free version can send up to 200o subscribers, but after 30 days you lose customer service, plus it includes a MailChimp footer. Paid version starts at $10, and Pro version at $199 a month. Compare their pricing plans here: https://mailchimp.com/pricing/
Benchmark is a great email marketing service for small business because it has just about every feature small businesses need to create successful email marketing campaigns, plus it has free and affordable plans and the best customer service we have reviewed. But really sets Benchmark apart is its easy-to-use interface, drag-and-drop email editor and automation tools,. They make it easy to create professional and personalized emails, really easy. They have support every step of the way, including chat, phone and email options, along with links to videos on the step you are on. However, like MailChimp, sometimes emails land in spam folders.
Overview: Best free email service due to the customer service provided. Templates could use some updating.
Price: Free version can send up to 2000 subscribers, but missing some key automation and it includes a benchmark logo at the bottom of your email. Paid packages start at 13.99 a month for 600 subscribers, and scale up from there. You can compare plans here: Benchmark Pricing
With pre-designed templates, a drag and drop editor and easy list management, Zoho is an easy platform to work with. Our CEO thinks Zoho is the best free email platform he has used. Their templates are a bit outdated looking, and the user interface can be difficult to navigate. But if you don’t need a snazzy template, and don’t mind figuring out how to use the software, this might be right for you. Also, if you use the Zoho CRM software we talked about last month, you can easily import information from the CRM to send your emails, and see the results of your campaign in the CRM. This is a robust email-marketing tool that is great for following up with your clients as well.
Overview: Outdated design, but great integration with sales tools and solid metrics on your campaigns.
Price: Free version can send to 2000 contacts, but no image editor, and it includes a tagline “Powered by Zoho Campaigns. For $5 a month, you can get their premium features up to 500 subscribers. Pricing goes up based on subscribers after that. Learn about their plan comparisons here: Zoho Comparison
So Which One Is Best?
Each of these three email platforms is our tops three picks of the hundreds of platforms out there for various reasons, so what matters is what your business needs are. They each have pros and cons, If the appearance of your email template and the ease of use makes a difference to you, then mail chip is the way to go. If you prefer tracking and automation tools, with decent design tools, but great for your sales force, Zoho is perfect for you. Benchmark is a solid middle of the road option, with good design, ease of use, and amazing customer service.
I suggest trying each of the three out, testing their templates and interface out, and see which one appeals to you.
Thanks for reading! If you have a favorite email software, reach out and let me know what you love about it.
Until Next Time,
Robert Urban – CMO of BirdSeed
Current CMO of BirdSeed and best-selling author, Marine veteran and PhD. Offers expert-level strategy and execution for SAAS and technology business through relationship driven marketing, content and sales while leading and managing people from all different backgrounds. BirdSeed is headquartered in Orlando, Florida.