As mentioned in yesterday’s post, this is a big week for us. The new edition of How to Make Money with Social Media is now in stores and we’re getting a lot of great feedback about the book. Comments range from “This is a great read!” from Zachary Ferguson on Amazon to “This is better than Shakespeare!” from my mom.
One of the things that seems to be working is that we provide real insights from real case studies in real language. By “real language” I mean that we don’t use dense, stuffy words that get in the way of the concepts. Instead, we use plain English so that it sounds as if you’re having a conversation with two marketing experts at Starbucks.
We cover a lot of topics in the book, ranging from how to calculate the ROI of a social media campaign to understanding the conversion rates you can expect from your landing pages.
Here’s an excerpt from the book that discusses the benchmarks for conversion rates for an e-book vs. the benchmarks for conversion rates for a product or service:
That excerpt comes from a chapter we wrote called “Closing the Loop with Email and Marketing Automation.” In that chapter, we discuss how most effective social media campaigns will use email or marketing automation in order to convert a prospect into a customer.
All that begs an important question:
What Are the Top Email and Marketing Automation Tools You Should Know About?
Here’s the list of some of the email and marketing automation tools we discuss in How to Make Money with Social Media. (For the complete list, along with hundreds of other insights and resources, feel free to mosey on down to your local bookstore and grab yourself a copy.)
Email Marketing Platforms:
- AWeber: These guys have strict guidelines in place for their customers that are designed to keep them whitelisted and off the dreaded SPAM blacklists.
- Emma: Do you take great pride in your design and creative skills? Then Emma (found at MyEmma.com) might be right for you. Well-designed templates and a creative flair are what differentiate Emma from other e-mail service providers.
- iContact: If you’re looking for a lot of bells and whistles without the added expense of marketing automation, then iContact may be just what you’re looking for.
- MailChimp: How can you not love an e-mail service provider that uses a chimp as its mascot? Their clean, uncluttered web interface and their devotion to customer service are just two of the many reasons so many people put MailChimp high on the list of top e-mail service providers.
Marketing Automation Platforms:
- Act-On: These guys focus on the “Fortune 5,000,000,” which means they’re perfect for the 99.99 percent of all businesses that aren’t members of the Fortune 500. They’re well respected and offer a simple-to-use platform that has everything most businesses need.
- Eloqua: Now part of the Oracle Marketing Cloud, Eloqua is one of the original members of the marketing automation industry. It’s a clean, well-run platform that delivers the goods for many well-known brands around the globe.
- ExactTarget: Now part of Salesforce.com, ExactTarget is one of the best-known members of the marketing automation industry. They started out as an e-mail service provider and have buffed-up their offerings to the point where they’re one of the more prominent members of the marketing automation space.
- HubSpot: Think of HubSpot as marketing automation software,plus a blogging platform, plus an analytics platform—all on steroids. HubSpot has done a great job updating their platform so that it continuously offers more and more options without becoming so complex as to be unusable.
- InfusionSoft: Best known for a visual campaign manager that lets you drag and drop your next campaign quickly and easily, InfusionSoft is used by more than 72,000 people around the globe. They have a good reputation and are the favorite of manythought leaders in the marketing industry.
- LeadLife: Founded by Richard Brock, one of the grandfathers of marketing automation, LeadLife is perfect for small- to mid-sized businesses interested in a seamless, easy-to-use platform. They also offer a “white list” version for agencies that want to offer an agency-branded marketing automation platform to their clients.
- Marketo: A very well-known marketing automation platform that provides a lot of bells and whistles at a very competitive cost. Customers include Hyundai, the American Kennel Club, and Curves. Oh, and Harvard Business School uses them, too. Enough said.
- Silverpop: Recently acquired by IBM, this is a robust, full-featured platform that takes behavioral marketing to some new and interesting places.
There are a number of reasonably good options out there for email marketing and marketing automation that aren’t included in this summary list, but the list above should give you the lay of the land to help you get started.
Action Steps for You.
Your first step is to decide whether you simply need an email marketing platform or a more robust marketing automation platform.
Once you’ve made that decision, take a look at the options mentioned above and narrow down your choices. When you get to 2 or 3 different options, it never hurts to call their sales team or their customer service team — a lot of times, you can learn more from talking on the phone than you can by reading the sales materials on their website.
Good luck. And keep me posted on your outcome!
Jamie Turner is the CEO of the 60 Second Marketer and 60 Second Communications, a marketing communications agency that works with national and international brands. He is the co-author of “How to Make Money with Social Media” and “Go Mobile” and is a popular marketing speaker at events, trade shows and corporations around the globe.