7 Best Email Automation Tools for Marketing
Email marketing might be considered outdated by a few marketers. Nevertheless, the fact remains it’s still one of the most effective channels to engage with customers, new or returning ones. Do you find it hard to believe? Well, numbers never lie:
But that’s when email marketing is done correctly. To achieve that, your brand must send the right message to people at the right time. But that can get time-consuming if performed manually, trying to personalise every email destined to reach different subscribers and later analyse their performance.
And that’s where email automation comes in to help you transform your email marketing efforts once and for all. That way, your message stays relevant and doesn’t end up in every marketer’s nightmare: the spam folder. But first things first, let’s discuss what email marketing automation is all about.
What is Email Marketing Automation?
Email marketing automation creates an automated series of emails sent to recipients based on their actions. Those actions are triggers and could include someone subscribing to a mailing list, an email getting opened or clicked through, or even a special event like a recipient’s birthday.
The very purpose of using automated – or drip – campaigns is to establish a direct way of communicating with subscribers and send them email material that suits their preferences, purchasing behaviour, or demographics.
Email automation also helps nurture their interest in your business by showcasing that you know exactly what they need and that only you can give it to them. This type of tailored content can improve your conversion rate and turn email recipients into loyal customers.
Automated workflows may be basic or more complicated, with several advanced triggers. Marketing automation software enables you to run this type of campaign, whatever level of automation you want to apply or the marketing budget you have at your disposal.
Why Do You Need Email Automation?
Automated email series may include several campaigns set in motion by several recipient actions. Some of them are:
- Welcome emails
- Abandoned cart emails
- Follow-up emails
- Reminder emails
- Birthday emails
- Anniversary emails
- Behavioural automation emails
When it comes to automated emailing, the sky is the limit. But if you’re not convinced yet, here are four reasons you should leverage such a tool.
1 – Segment email recipients
All data gathered through your automation emails help you know and understand your target audience. Then, you can divide your recipients into segments based on their activity or personal information.
List segmentation is one of the most robust ways to craft targeted campaigns and nail your personalisation efforts. Not only that, but it also saves you from the cost of bad data collection. For that reason, segmented campaigns tend to perform better in terms of open and click-through rates.
2 – Improve customer retention rate
Most marketers agree that retaining an existing customer is simpler and more cost-effective than targeting and converting a new one. Automated campaigns offer valuable data regarding your audience’s pain points that you can turn into tailored messages. Those messages are exactly what you need to address their challenges and make an impact.
Even better, you can schedule your automated campaigns to be dispatched at a specific frequency. That way, your subscribers don’t go too long without hearing your brand’s news, and you get to create a long-term relationship with them.
3 – Save time
In email marketing, doing things manually costs you time and money. Indeed, your marketing team members have better things to do than send an email manually every time one of your recipients clicks on a link. That is where automated email series help you track their behaviour and send customised emails based on the actions performed.
With email automation, you get more things done without wasting valuable resources. More importantly, you leave time for your workforce to be productive and focus on things that matter the most, like improving user experience according to the data gathered.
4 – Increase revenue
Collecting and handling important subscriber information, tracking customer behaviour, building buyer personas, or calculating ROI are only some of the benefits email automation offers you. They enable you to improve your revenue through custom fields that make your email message relevant and effective.
Customisation increases recipient engagement, leading to higher conversion rates. It also enhances customer loyalty since recipients can tell you exactly what is needed for their lives to improve.
5 – Get the most out of your sales cycle
Automated emails help you get the most out of different sales cycle stages. Using automation features, you can figure out at which stage of the sales funnel your recipient is. Then, you’ll know when and how to approach subscribers and improve your chances of converting them.
If, for instance, you have recipients signing up for a free trial version of your service, automation offers you the option of sending them a reminder email, mentioning the days left until their subscription expires, and encouraging them to upgrade to a paid version.
Best Email Automation Tools
Now that we’ve covered what email automation is and why you should include it in your email marketing strategy, it’s time to check the best tools and help you find the most suitable for your needs and budget.
1 – Moosend
Moosend is an email marketing automation provider with an automation workflow builder that is intuitive and easy to use, even for entry-level users. You can craft your automation sequence from scratch, adding conditional steps and choosing from several triggers that will set your workflow in motion.
The platform allows you to duplicate parts of your workflow or share them with other team members to save time and trouble. Moosend has made automation a walk in the park through various pre-built automation sequences called recipes that you can use as they come or customise by adding or removing steps.
The analytics provided help you detect highly engaged email recipients more likely to convert and send fully customised emails that match their preferences. You can also take advantage of its top-notch A/B testing capabilities to see what works best for your audience.
Apart from automation options, Moosend offers everything you need to successfully dispatch any type of email, including a drag-and-drop newsletter editor, real-time reporting, a landing page and subscription form builder, responsive templates, and more. Also, this ESP guarantees high deliverability for your email campaigns.
Who is it for:
Moosend is popular with small businesses, agencies, and even large corporations due to its user-friendly interface, flexible editor, customisable templates, and the ability to send unlimited emails regardless of the subscription plan. Also, e-commerces tend to opt for it due to its AI product recommendation and cart abandonment campaigns.
Moosend’s pricing is $7/month (paid yearly), offering features such as ready-made automation workflows, CRM and email marketing options combined, and advanced analytics. Moosend allows you to check its capabilities through a 30-day free trial, including many features and unlimited emails.
2 – HubSpot
HubSpot is considered a leader in CRM and is generally associated with contact management, lead capture, and sales tracking capabilities. It also ranks high in email automation, given that you can build automated sequences while monitoring campaign performance and tracking recipient activity. You can also customise the buyer experience based on their history and interactions.
HubSpot has various automation workflows, ranging from notifications on your leads to task automation. It’s an all-in-one platform that helps you automate different marketing parts, keeping your CRM, email marketing automation, and landing page builder under one roof. Its analytics offer a competitive advantage since they help you track your email campaigns easily.
You should consider HubSpot, which is less affordable than other email automation options. The Marketing Starter plan starts at $41/month, but its features are pretty limited. If you need more, the pricing tends to get complicated and over the top.
Who is it for:
HubSpot is ideal for established companies serious about taking an omnichannel marketing approach. If you have a big budget, you can benefit from its advanced features and a tool that integrates all your business needs.
HubSpot’s starter plan comes at $41/month (billed annually) with up to 10 automated actions and 1,000 contacts. The Professional package starts at $740/month, offering up to 300 workflows and 2,000 contacts. A free plan lets you take one automation action and send up to 2,000 emails per month.
3 – ActiveCampaign
ActiveCampaign is a solid solution for your marketing automation, sales, and SMS marketing efforts. It allows marketing teams to craft drip campaigns according to recipient interactions, preferences, and demographics. Those data help you create personalised messages and automate the entire user cycle.
Its professional automation offers powerful capabilities like dynamic content creation, web analytics, and lead scoring. It also features a built-in CRM system with multi-channel options that enable you to integrate your marketing and sales data. You can even set up automated follow-up emails to engage buyers further and turn them into loyal customers.
ActiveCampaign is a versatile tool to fine-tune your email marketing automation strategy. But it goes beyond that, giving you access to list segmentation, performance analytics, and split testing options. And it does so at a fairly reasonable price.
Who is it for:
ActiveCampaign is affordable for every business looking for personalised campaigns and enterprise-grade automation solutions. Its robust API makes it a good choice for SaaS companies that need customisable email campaigns triggered by several recipient actions. However, its complex automation requires some time to get used to, so it’s not precisely beginner-friendly software.
The Lite plan starts at $29/month (paid annually) for 500 contacts and basic automation options. Prices increase according to the subscribers’ number, while features like landing pages and its CRM system are only available on the Plus plan ($49/month, paid annually) and above. There’s a 14-day free trial to test some of the platform’s capabilities.
4 – Drip
Drip is a robust email automation service that offers solutions for your email and SMS efforts and processing automation workflows. It is equipped with a wide range of triggers and actions for building sophisticated sequences that include anything from simple actions like product views to complicated campaigns like upsell or reactivation emails.
Drip’s automation editor is flexible, with a user-friendly interface and many customisation options to target subscribers with personalised content. Also, you’ll find a library of pre-built automated sequences to import and use or set up workflows without spending too much time through the platform’s ‘Rules’ feature.
Several events can become a trigger, depending on their source. The sources vary from anything happening on your website to PayPal or Facebook activity. Drip’s list management is considered exceptional, allowing you to create segments and move around recipients based on their actions. It goes beyond synchronising contact segmentation with Facebook Custom Audiences data to build more detailed customer personas.
Who is it for:
With its native integrations with some of the biggest eCommerce platforms, such as Magento, WooCommerce, and Shopify, Drip does the trick for online businesses. Or practically anyone who wants to handle an overload of recipient data or manage automation through a straightforward interface. However, if you are after advanced reporting, Drip probably isn’t a good fit.
Drip has a transparent pricing structure that goes up based on the contact number. Its plans start at $39/month with a 2,500 contacts limit and unlimited emails. Be careful: if you exceed the contact limit, the platform will automatically upgrade your plan without a previous warning. You can try it out through its 14-day trial to see if it suits your business needs.
5 – MailerLite
MailerLite is a relatively new player in the email marketing automation game and takes pride in being one of the most accessible tools. Designed with ease of use, its automation workflows are simple to set up using its straightforward editor. There are various triggers, like new sign-ups or email clicks, that you can use to create multi-step automated campaigns.
MailerLite lacks the level of depth other services in this list provide to build a sophisticated workflow, such as product recommendations based on customer purchasing history. However, getting a comprehensive set of features and an easy-to-grasp tool at a low price – or for free – makes it a hard-to-ignore option.
Who is it for:
MailerLite’s user-friendly interface and website-building capabilities make it an excellent choice for entry-level email automation users and bloggers. Its free version allows digital creators and small businesses to manage their marketing efforts in one place. Remember that this version doesn’t include templates, only the option to create your email campaigns using the platform’s editor.
MailerLite’s free version allows you up to 1,000 email subscribers and access to its automation workflows. Its paid plans start at $9/month (paid annually), providing landing pages, integrations, and unlimited emails. You’ll have to upgrade to higher plans if you need a custom HTML editor or multiple triggers within an automated sequence.
6 – Omnisend
Omnisend is a marketing automation platform designed to handle email marketing, automation, and SMS for e-Commerce businesses that seek to improve their revenue. Its proposition includes various automation workflows dedicated to online stores, from simple autoresponders to more complex workflows.
Omnisend offers unique features like scratch cards, gift boxes, push notifications, and integration with Facebook and Google ads. Its intuitive automation editor and innovative templates – most of them e-commerce specific – help drive returning customers and decrease cart abandonment rates.
Omnisend allows you to combine buyer purchasing history and social media interactions through its ad retargeting option on Facebook and Google. You can use the data generated from this process and its intelligent segmentation options to create personalised email campaigns. You can integrate this ESP with popular e-commerce platforms like Shopify or Bigcommerce.
Who is it for:
As already mentioned, Omnisend is an excellent pick for e-commerce brands that care about optimising their online marketing efforts. Since its low-tier plans are limited in contacts and emails, more giant corporations probably have more to gain by choosing this platform than small businesses.
Omnisend offers a free plan, allowing you to have up to 250 contacts and send up to 500 emails with its automation features. For $16/month, the recipient limit reaches 500 contacts and 6,000 emails monthly. The Pro plan comes at $59/month and gets unlimited emails and access to its advanced reporting.
7 – Benchmark Email
Benchmark is ideal for marketers and business owners who want to run primary drip campaigns. Setting up your automation sequences becomes a simple and quick process because it has a straightforward workflow editor, a user-friendly interface, and editable templates.
Its easy-to-navigate dashboard and drag-and-drop capability require minimum effort and time to learn and manage. You get simple autoresponders on its free versions, such as people signing up to a list or date-based triggers like birthdays.
More trigger options are available on its paid plans, like page views or email clicks, allowing you to build more targeted messages for your subscribers. The service is also known for having excellent customer support.
Who is it for:
For businesses on a limited budget and marketers with little to no technical skills, Benchmark Email is a pretty good fit. You should consider selecting a more powerful email automation service to build multi-step automated sequences based on a broader range of user actions.
A free plan is available with up to 3,500 emails per month and basic automation and reporting options. Paid plans start at $13/month (billed annually), including unlimited emails and more automation capabilities.
What to Ask For in Your Email Automation Service
If you are still indecisive, let us shed some light on the essential elements your preferred email automation service should have.
- Flexible and intuitive interface with drag and drop elements to build your workflow from scratch, as well as ready-made automation workflows that you can customise to your needs
- Sophisticated automation sequences that contain several triggers, conditional steps, and several actions based on the user's behaviour
- List management options, including advanced segmentation, to successfully target recipients with personalised messages
- Integration with third-party platforms, especially those involved in e-commerce, to take advantage of actions like users viewing or purchasing certain products or abandoning their cart
- A pricing model that fits your budget and requirements. The subscription plans of such tools increase in pricing based either on the subscriber number or the email sent. So, online store owners are likelier to go for an ESP providing unlimited contacts since they usually have an extensive client database.
- Advanced reporting doesn’t just check click-through rates but also monitors the effectiveness of the entire workflow. That way, you can detect potential bottlenecks and use data analytics to enhance user experience and build solid buyer personas.
Until quite recently, the majority of small and medium-sized companies weren’t able to have access to advanced email automation features. Luckily, things have changed. With email automation tools showing a wide price range, you can use advanced automation in your emails without spending a fortune.
This article presented the best email automation services to guide you through your email marketing automation efforts. Whichever the final winner, make sure to give it a try to see if it is the perfect match for your business requirements and resources. Then, get out there and make some magic happen!
Author Bio: Maria Fintanidou works as a Copywriter for email marketing automation software Moosend, creating the Help Articles (FAQs) and overseeing the platform’s translations in Greek and Spanish. She loves exploring new cultures and ways of thinking through travelling, reading, and language learning.