For small Edinburgh businesses looking to improve their digital marketing strategies in 2023, email marketing has got to be near the top of the list of priorities. Email marketing campaigns are hugely important for small businesses to secure return customers, get a great return on their investment, and grow their reputation in their local area.
As far as both inbound marketing and digital marketing are concerned, email marketing is a key aspect. It offers the chance to keep clients engaged with your business with valuable content, promotions, important information and so much more. This makes for more personal relationships that earn the trust of clients, improve website traffic and leads, and increase your sales.
With the value that email marketing has to offer, there are numerous sites and software that businesses can turn to. These allow marketing teams to create templates and mailing lists, schedule emails, and track things like opens, link clicks and unsubscribers. What are the different options available for your business to use? And what would be best for you?
Mailchimp is one of the most widely used email marketing platforms. Its user-friendly interface and free to use email marketing service plan make it a very attractive option for those who are inexperienced with email marketing.
When building templates, Mailchimp allows you to drag and rearrange various blocks (text, images, logos, etc.) which makes customising and experimenting easy to do! It also offers analytics related to responsive recipients, location (is your audience local to Edinburgh or not?), click-through rate and other simple measures.
Planning and scheduling emails is also a breeze, and you can even schedule emails to be delivered according to different time zones. So you won’t be sending emails at 9 am to UK-based recipients whilst those in Australia get theirs late at night!
Unfortunately, though, Mailchimp is fairly limited in the automation features it’s able to offer. It is also a fair deal more expensive if you want additional features like unlimited audiences, advanced segmentation of audiences, multivariate testing and comparative reporting.
Price: Standard starts at £14.96 per month
HubSpot is a well-known CRM platform and offers email marketing as part of this. Much like Mailchimp, it is user-friendly and has a free introductory package, so you can dip your toes in before investing fully.
Building email templates is easy to do, with drag and drop blocks that can be rearranged. Being fully integrated with the CRM, you are able to create a variety of different templates that already have your branding in place. It also allows you to tailor emails to individual subscribers based on type of device, location, the lists they are included on and any other data you have for recipients.
Along with features such as time optimisation, A/B testing (i.e. split testing, which allows you to send variations of the same email to different groups to judge things like opens and clicks), and in-depth performance analytics, the fact that HubSpot has so many uses makes it a very appealing option for SMEs. It offers so many things like email, CRM, website builders, and so on, which make it a great package for businesses who want to keep it all in one place. This makes managing things far easier, and means you don’t have to learn new platforms for every different task!
However, HubSpot can be more expensive than alternatives. It offers a lot - but maybe your business won’t need everything! There is a Starter package, but this is fairly limited in comparison to the far more expensive Professional or Enterprise packages. So, think about how much you will use the various features before committing.
Price: ~£18 per month is the lowest price for the Starter package.
Like HubSpot, Sendinblue offers a multitude of tools. CRM, email and social media can all be managed through this platform. It is growing in popularity through its great automations and ease of use.
As with both HubSpot and Mailchimp, the email builder is great. You can drag and drop, shuffle and personalise templates for your needs. For beginners, this type of builder is perfect.
Its automations include follow-up emails, transactional communications and segmentation of recipients. The AI algorithms are also fantastic, helping you to optimise the sending of emails at the best possible time for open and click-through rates.
The starter package is slightly more expensive than the equivalents on HubSpot and Mailchimp, but their premium package has been recently improved. It now includes a landing page builder, live chat, sales CRM and Facebook ads integration. Like HubSpot, the appeal is clear for SMEs who want to manage their marketing campaigns from one place.
Price: Lite plan starts at ~£20
Constant Contact’s user-friendly layout means it is a popular option for beginners, and this has seen it become possibly the largest email marketing platform.
Management of accounts couldn’t be easier. You can easily tinker with lists, templates, your calendar and various other components. You also have access to unlimited emails (something not offered with the standard packages for Constant Contact’s competitors), tracking and reports, tools for sharing on your social media pages, an image library for basic graphics, segmentation of mailing lists, and more. The plethora of tools that come with each account are a big up-side of this platform!
The Email Plus package comes with additional features: automation, drip campaigns and surveys to name just a few. For marketers who are wanting a helping hand with targeting the right audience and improving open and click-through rates these tools are a massive help.
It might not offer the variety of different platforms that SendinBlue and HubSpot do, but the tools available at a great price that are specific for email marketing should not be sniffed at! For email alone this is the best option for SMEs.
Price: There is a 60-day free trial, followed by packages that start at ~£8
If you’re looking for an email marketing platform that fulfils all of your automation-related needs, then look no further than ActiveCampaign.
Automations are great for businesses who might not have all the time in the world to focus on email marketing, but still want it to be an important part of their marketing. This simplifies interactions with customers, saving you time but providing the benefits of customer interaction.
With ActiveCampaign you can personalise each of the many automations to individual recipients, with helpful tutorials and tips to help you pick up the skills.
Having said this, learning automations isn’t easy! So this is by no means a quick-fix if you’re looking to save time. It will take a while to learn how to use the automations in the best ways for your business.
You also have to weigh up the cost. The Lite package is quite limited and comes with the ActiveCampaign branding which many businesses won’t be keen on. You can upgrade to better packages, but the price tends to rise sharply as your contact list grows.
Price: The lite package is ~£12 per month
So, that’s a quick guide to 5 of the best email marketing platforms available for SMEs in Edinburgh and beyond in 2023. We hope you’ve found it useful in your search for the best platform for your business and will be able to wow your contact lists with great, personal emails and a great new string to your digital marketing bow!