Intro: On Great Emails

By Matthew Guay - Published February 17, 2015 -

You are reading: Chapter 1 of 12

Email's important. It's an essential part of our marketing efforts at Zapier—not to mention the way we communicate directly with our partners and customers. And yet, it can so often be confusing and difficult.

There's dozens if not hundreds of ways to send your marketing email messages, along with innumerable different ways you can word your titles, write and schedule your messages, and followup on replies. There's plenty of great options, but even more ways to mess up your entire marketing strategy with one button click.

That's why we wanted to help simplify email marketing, with a guide to every part of email marketing: the apps, the messages themselves, and the ways you can integrate email marketing into your workflow with automations and more.

email apps

First, though, you'll need to pick out an email marketing app that'll work great for your needs. There's so many ways you could send your marketing emails, it can be incredibly hard to pick the best option for you.

Kale Davis, founder of Hacker Newsletter and MailChimp employee, picked MailChimp for his emails long before he was a MailChimp employee. He's quick, though, to say that the same app isn't the best for everyone.

"There are a lot of apps and integrations out there to help you build newsletters, so find something that works with your workflow and try to make the publishing process as frictionless as possible," advises Kale. "That will give you more time to try experiment and work on growing your list."

To help you pick the perfect apps to send your emails, we've rounded up the 25 best apps to send email newsletters, the 25 best apps to send drip emails, and the 7 best apps to send transactional emails in chapters two, seven, and nine respectively. Those will show you what each app offers, along with their pricing plans, a screenshot, and a link to an in-depth review to give you the info you need to choose an app.

Before you dig into the app roundups, though, here's some pointers from successful email marketers on how they picked their email newsletter app—tips that are well worth keeping in mind as you dig into the rest of this book.

Start with Something Free

Starting with a free app is a great option, since it takes away one of the first things you'd otherwise have to worry about with your email marketing. That's why marketing consultant Claire Pelletreau chose MailChimp.

"When I was first getting started in my business it was difficult to imagine a monthly investment," says Claire. "I liked that I would only need to pay for a plan as my list grew."

And then, MailChimp worked out so well that once she needed to pay for MailChimp, she chose to stay with the app that'd help her start her email marketing. "As I continued to use Mailchimp, however, I got hooked on the incredible customer service and how easy it was to use," Claire continued. "It was a no brainer to upgrade to a paid plan in order to use their more advanced features."

Upgrade for the Feature You Need

As your email needs grows, though, you might end up wanting to switch to another app to grow your marketing efforts. That's why Rebecca Dekker started out with MailChimp, but then switched to Aweber as her lists grew.

Before switching to a new app, she researched her options thoroughly, then picked based on the features she needed for her work. "A big part of that decision was the glowing reviews I read on Aweber's customer service," explains Rebecca. "Another part of my decision was that Aweber has really easy-to-use autoresponders. So when somebody signs up for my email list, I can automatically send them a series of emails welcoming them to the newsletter."

A similar focus on features helped Jeffrey Nichols choose to use Emma for the email marketing efforts at his company, adPharos. "We chose Emma because we liked their simple approach to A/B testing subject lines, and … because of their agency-friendly model," said Jeffrey.

And sometimes, it's a less obvious feature that'll be the best reason for your team to choose a particular app. Whether you're looking for an app that lets you store more info about your contacts, or is ready to send millions of emails a month, think through the features that are crucial to your email lists, and then pick based on that.

Find a Team That Understands You

The app is only one part of the equation. You'll also need to be sure that the team behind your email app is ready to answer any questions you'll need, and that there's documentation and training to help you get started easily. Those are as crucial to your email list's success as the app itself.

Johnny Shelby picked VerticalResponse to send emails for his company, Third Coast Training, after coming across their informative documentation online—and then stayed with them because of their own email marketing efforts. "I found VR through a web search and not only was their newsletter builder easy to use but their informative newsletter as well that keeps me in the loop on how to better use their service," Johnny said.

If your team's based outside of the US, getting support when you need it can often be tricky, so you might want to pick an email marketing app with a global team. That's why the Aspermont team chose Campaign Monitor as their email app. "At first we chose Campaign Monitor as they were an Australian based company which was great for Aspermont, but we stay for the awesome international support and customer service teams, handy for those early morning or late night hiccups," explains Sean Morrison, Aspermont IT Manager.

email icon

Support, features, or price: all are great ways to evaluate the email apps you're considering using. But at the end of the day, what really matters is that you pick an app, integrate it with your workflow, and start sending emails that get read and convert into real sales for you.

That's what the rest of the book is about. Chapter 6 will teach you about the various types of marketing emails you can send, while chapter 11 will walk you through common email marketing mistakes so you can be sure to avoid them.

The remaining chapters will teach you how to grow your email lists, segment your email lists for best results, automatically import, copy, and remove subscribers, and a crash-course on A/B testing your email messages to make sure they're effective. Then, to close it out, you'll get some quick tips from successful email marketers on how to keep your email marketing going, even when it seems you have nothing else to say.

It's a lot to take in and put to action in your work, but email is important and worth the effort. So let's dive right in with an overview of the best apps to send email newsletters in the next chapter, so you can get started sending the best emails you've ever sent.

Go to Chapter 2!


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