If you want to build a successful blog in 2016 you need an email list. Time and time again, marketing studies have proven that your list is one best ways to make money and increase engagement with your audience.
Put simply… you can’t ignore your email list.
Fortunately, over the years several companies have stepped up and helped bloggers just like you maintain and grow their email list. And because the email list space is so competitive, many companies are doing everything they can to continue to innovate and make your experience the best it can be.
Which is great news for you and me!
But… if you’re just starting your email list there are a ton of options to choose from. We decided to test some of the top players out and let you know which one we recommend.
Keep in mind, here is some of the criteria we were looking at when making our pick.
Reliability: Does your audience receive your emails without any problem/delay? Does the email service go down often? Does the service engage in any ” shady internet marketing” practices that could put your reputation at risk?
Ease of Use – How easy is it to create + send beautiful looking emails? Are there preloaded templates to make sending emails a breeze? Can a beginner learn to setup and send out emails?
Support Is there good support when you have issues? Can you get you answers to your questions in a timely manner? Is the support team knowledgeable / empathic?
Price – Can you get started without breaking the bank? Is the pricing simple with no hidden tricks? Is it easy to change the package you choose if/when you grow?
Additional Features – Do they play nicely with other 3rd party integrations? Do they offer support with other commonly used applications? Can you create advanced marketing funnels to grow your business?
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TIE Mailchimp & Convertkit
If you’re completely new to the online space, our recommendation is Mailchimp. Why?
They are SUPER user friendly and are free to use up until your first 1,000 subscribers. While some of the others we looked at have reasonable introduction plans — you can’t beat free when first starting out, especially if you often fall back on your ‘budget’ as an excuse.
That isn’t to say you shouldn’t look at the other options, but Mailchimp is a great starting point for the bulk of people just starting their blog. It doesn’t hurt they have an incredible brand that is known for their personality and treating their customers right.
We’ve used Mailchimp for a variety of different sites, and they have always done a great job of doing what they are designed to do, sending emails to your list.
While they are easy to use (even for a true beginner) they aren’t nearly as customizable as some of the other providers. But when getting started you’re not going to be using all the advanced features you’ll need as you grow your list. They also tend to get a little pricey as your list grows.
In our experience, Mailchimp also has a top notch support team. In our few interactions, they’ve always been extremely friendly and knowledgeable about any of the issues we had.
Their design is also top notch. Their product just works. Whether you’re looking to send a simple email to your list, or want it to be a little more professional they have you covered with dozens of high converting opt pages as well.
You can check out our getting started with Mailchimp tutorial here.
Despite being one of the newer kids to the block when it comes to email marketing providers, Convertkit has really done an amazing job at building a fantastic product that meets the needs of bloggers both new and seasoned alike.
Their pricing is dead simple and straight to the point. No complicated packages that leave you confused when you get your bill.
Their CEO Nathan Berry, took what he learned from building a successful online business and created a product with features he wanted to see himself.
Convertkit makes sending emails a breeze, with an intuitive way to segment your list to make sure the right people get the right message. They have also done a great job of educating their customers of the power of automation sequences, something that is important as you grow your list.
While they don’t have nearly as many 3rd party integrations as some other seasoned email providers, they continue to add support for dozens of other popular apps and tools.
In our experience their support has also been fantastic. Take a quick look at their interactions on Twitter and you’ll notice they go above and beyond to deliver an incredible experience.
Campaign Monitor (24/7 support)
One thing that really sets Campaign Monitor a part is their 24/7 support. This can be crucial for when you need them most. You can also talk with “deliverability experts” to help you make sure your emails are getting to the inbox of your readers. As far as support goes, you won’t be disappointed.
They also excel in ease of use. From the moment you sign up to the time you send your first email the whole process is intuitive and looks great. Their drag and drop interface is a huge plus.
Their biggest downside is they tend to be more on the expensive side compared to other providers and their template options are somewhat lacking.
Keep an eye on them for now.
Active Campaign (14 Day Free Trial No Credit Card Required)
Active Campaign does have a 14 try (though limited) which is great if you want to give it a test run yourself. That being said, their basic plan starting at 9 dollars a month does place send limits which isn’t ideal.
When it comes to automation, they do this very well. Setting up an automation sequence for new subscribers is incredibly easy and intuitive. However, they do not have phone support at the time of this writing.
Their biggest downside is lack of integrations with other 3rd party apps and services, which is a deal breaker especially when your blog grows. To their credit, they have acknowledged this issue and are doing their best to continue to integrate with other products you love.
Think Twice: Aweber
Aweber was once considered the go to email list provider for many professional bloggers. However, it has slowly lost its standing as the email king.
While their product remains competitive, they have been a bit slow to innovate, and their support has seen decline over the years. Their pricing is fair for most use cases, and they do have a ton of integrations with dozens of 3rd party apps.
We have seen some progress recently when it comes to them taking support seriously. But they are no longer in contention for a top recommendation.
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