How We Scored The Email Marketing Services

Overview

For each email marketing service reviewed, we rolled up our sleeves, signed-up for, clicked around, created and sent emails to give the best insight possible for every service. Just so you don’t think that we’re blindly coming up with some magic score.

Each email marketing service is divided into 5 Sections (Templates, Features, User Friendly, Pricing & Support), and scored each on a scale of 10, 1 being extremely poor and 10 being as good as humanly possible. The final score you see at the top of each review is the average of these 5 section scores.

Each section is outlined below with in-depth explanations on exactly what criteria we based our scoring system off of.

Templates/ Designs

When scoring the templates for each email marketing service, there were 3 main criteria we had in mind;

Template Variety

1) Are there a wide variety of email templates and are they easily customizable? Whether you’re promoting a huge sale for a clothing store or you’re a rock band getting ready to go on tour, can you find the perfect email template to get the word out to the world?

Template Customization

2) Can you customize the email capture form and thank you page for your website or social network pages? Being able to customize the email capture form to match the theme of your website and build a big list of contacts, is just as critical as having a great email template and campaign, which is why points will be docked for limited template features or designs.

Sign Up Form Selection & Customization

3) Ease of adding the signup form to your website, Facebook fan page, blog or other social integration. Were you able to create, customize and incorporate your signup form or email template efficiently and easily?

User Friendly

We wanted to give an impression of how comfortable your building experience will be from start to finish.

  • Is everything you need easily accessible from the homepage?
  • How easy is it to customize and organize your your lists, contacts and emails?
  • Are the reports and widget add ons easy to understand and navigate?

High marks in user friendliness mean that working with the interface comes largely intuitively and doesn’t require hours of learning.

Features

We compiled a list of features that most users would like or need for their site.  We marked this section on whether each given feature was available, and if so, how well done/how functional it is.

  1. Social Media – Are Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets easily integrated into your email marketing campaigns? Can you integrate custom sign up forms on your social networks to increase reach of your newsletters and campaigns?
  2. Widgets – What kind of add-ons are available for your emails, and whether or not the email marketing service allows you to freely use any external widgets.
  3. Reporting & Statistics – Can you track user activity?  How detailed is the tracking?  Is there tracking on your social network sign up pages?
  4. Surveys & Polls – Can you create custom surveys to gauge their opinions and overall experience from your emails and newsletters?
  5. Archive – instead of deleting old lists, contact groups or emails, can you clean out your homepage and archive this information to access later?
  6. Any Special Features – Bonus points are awarded to email marketing services that provide extra components, unique features or give your emails that extra something to stand out from the rest.
  7. Autoresponders – If you have a huge concert or sale coming up, you would want to send out a few emails leading up to the big event. This feature allows you to write, format and set your emails to go out automatically based on the time you select. This feature will make managing your campaign significantly easier.
  8. RSS to email lists/ contacts – If people are signing to get your blog hot off the digital press, this feature will cover just that need. As soon as you hit publish, your blog will end up in the inboxes of all your subscribers who asked to be updated.
  9. Mobile integrations – Mobile features include, being able to check on your campaigns and view reports comfortably from your mobile device and on the flip side, that subscribers will have emails formatted for their mobile. We checked to make sure that this was a basic feature included in all pricing packages.
  10. Template Language – If you’re skilled at HTML or CSS and want to make a few tweaks to your template, no problem, code away.
  11. A/B testing – To send the most target emails possible, we wanted to make sure that you could perform a splint testing on control lists before the big debut. Test headlines, content, image, or the layout of the email, see which performs better and then send it to the rest of the subscribers for the best reaction.
  12. Contact Management – If you are managing several lists and thousands of subscribers, it is important that you have the tools necessary to manage these lists to keep everything organized. Also, we wanted to make sure that you had the ability to see analytics on subscribers either thru analytics or other tracking tools.

PRICING PLANS / TRIAL PERIOD

Whether you’re a large organization sending a dozen emails a month to thousands of your valued customers or an up and coming startup striving to grow your reach with a hand full of emails, it is important to have the right pricing package to fit your needs. When reviewing the email marketing services on their pricing packages, we ranked the services based on these criteria:

  • What features are included in the signup period?
  • How many emails can you send and to how many contacts?
  • Is there a wide range of pricing packages to fit your marketing needs?
  • What features are included in each packages, are there hidden fees or sign up costs?
  • What is the cancellation policy and are you able to change packages at any time without an extra fees?

Points were deducted for packages that offered less features to smaller contact list sizes or emails sent. We want to make sure that you get the most bang for your buck!

Support

Support was measured on 3 main tiers:

  1. How accessible the support is (which we measured through the presence of Phone Support, Live Chat, Email Support, Forums, Help Articles, Video Tutorials, and a Blog)
  2. How was the quality of the support (Will your question be answered satisfactorily?)
  3. Can you find the answer to your query in a reasonable time and easily?

Customer support is of high importance which is why brownie points are awarded for exceptional tutorial videos, FAQ sections, and efficiently having your questions answered by a human on the other end.

Summary

We hope you’ll find our reviews useful, we work hard to get you the most relevant and useful reviews possible.
Click here view our comparison of the best email marketing services.

The summary section will highlight and summarize the pro’s & con’s of each email marketing service. So now the numbers are more than just numbers, they’re representations of actual meaning.

Now you can review the email marketing services we’ve scored, find the right service for your business and get started on your email campaigns and newsletters!

Share with us your thoughts about each review and we will incorporate it into our ranking system. If you think there is something we missed

SCORED EMAIL MARKETING SERVICES

  1. MailChimp
  2. Get Response
  3. Benchmark
  4. Aweber Communications
  5. Active Campaign
  6. Constant Contact
  7. Stream Send
  8. Express Pigeon
  9. Vertical Response
  10. Elite Email