25 Tools for Email Marketers Who Want an Unfair Advantage
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Do you struggle with staying up to date with email marketing technology and email marketing tools? If you do, you’re definitely not alone. In fact, “remaining up to date with current marketing technology” is the #1 most pressing business challenge for B2C marketers according to Salesforce’s 2015 State of Marketing Report. It beats out even new business development (#2) and customer acquisition (#3).
To help you stay ahead of the curve and get an edge on your competitors, we’ve compiled a list of our 25 favorite email marketing tools. This is not a list of general marketing tools, or social media marketing tools. These are specifically for email marketers. And while there are a few widely-known favorites listed below, we’ve also found a few gems you’ve probably never heard of. So take a look, and try out just a few. Your email marketing is about to get better.
Analytics, testing & optimization tools for an email coordinator/analyst
You already know how important subject lines are. You probably test them. But would you like a tool that might show you which subject line will perform better, before a test is ever run? That’s what Touchstone is for.
The smart people are Alchemy Worx pooled all the data about email subject lies performance they could get their hands on. Then they created this tool to show us how to optimize our email subject lines. Wasn’t that nice?
The title of this blog post mentions getting an unfair advantage. This tool will definitely give you that. Though Return Path’s Inbox Insight is really more of a service than a tool, it will give you detailed and highly actionable information about not just how your emails perform, but how your competitors’ emails perform, too.
Inbox Insight can show how your emails compare to your competitors, to your industry in general, and to other industries too. They break all the stats and metrics down so you have actionable information to optimize your emails with. So if you really do want to be sending best in class emails, it’s time to cheat – I mean – it’s time to get an advantage.
Landing pages are so essential to email marketing that we had to include a landing page tool in this list. Fortunately, we’ve got a great one. LeadPages is pretty much the 800-pound gorilla of squeeze pages, landing pages and any kind of lead generation. It’s also got an array of other list building tools and widgets.
More than 50% of emails are now opened on mobile devices. That can mean big headaches for email marketers and designers. There are dozens of different mobile devices, and thus dozens of different ways an email can render. Fortunately, Email on Acid can show you what your email will look like on all those devices. Just to make things even better, it’s integrated into your MailUp account.
It’s the go-to analytics tool across the web. Chances are you’ve got it installed already. So why not hook Google Analytics up with MailUp and see how your email subscribers behave once they get to your site?
I’m sure you know it already: SenderScore is the magic number for email deliverability. If you’re having trouble with deliverability, or if you just want to check in on it periodically, this is the best tool.
Bonus: This tool will also let you know if you’re on an email blacklist, or if you’ve got a spam trap in your list.
Inbox productivity tools
Do you know how many email lists you’re signed up for? Could you guess? We email marketers tend to like email, and so we often end up on hundreds of email lists. When I first checked my primary inbox with this tool, I discovered I was on 718 email lists.
Fortunately, right after Unroll.me showed me that count, they also listed all the email lists I’m on, and let me unsubscribe from those lists with just one click for each list.
Have you been meaning to reduce the glut in your inbox? This is a great way to save yourself a few hours of very tedious work.
Ever wonder if someone received your email message? Would you like to know if they opened it once, much less 24 times? Then HubSpot Sales is for you. Especially if you’re in sales, or if you pitch people, it can be heartening to know if someone ever opened your email.
This is one of my favorite tools for sending cold emails. It helps me know if I at least got close to getting someone to reply to my pitch.
It’s been hailed by some as the next evolution in email. And it’s been hailed by others as the destroyer of email marketing. Inbox is a nice upgrade for a lot of email functions and tasks, and it’s definitely got a nicer design than Gmail, but that’s about it. My favorite feature is that I get an alert on my phone when there’s a new email from someone Inbox recognizes as important.
List building tools
PadiAct is basically pop-ups 2.0. It uses behavioral targeting to optimize when website visitors see the opt-in prompt. Then it maximizes that ideal moment by offering a customized the opt-in message based on how a user has been behaving on your site.
You can set up to 20 different user actions to trigger a variety of different opt-in messages, and you can split-test everything. The result is far more leads and subscribers. And, it’s integrated with MailUp.
11) Opt-in Monster
There are dozens, maybe hundreds of different list-building plugins and apps. If I had to pick one solution to make your website a subscriber-generating powerhouse, Opt-in Monster would be a good choice. Hybrid-Connect might be a good runner up, and Leadpages is worth knowing about, too.
Opt-in Monster will let you add opt-in boxes below blog posts, in the footer of your site, in a Hello-Bar like top navigation bar and elsewhere. You’ll be able to split-test everything.
Tools to remove invalid addresses from old lists
If you’ve collected email addresses over time at offline events (e.g. trade shows) or you have an opt-in email list that you have not used in a while, chances are that there could be a good number of email addresses that are no longer valid. If you email to that list, the number of bounces (i.e. undeliverable messages) could be quite high and hurt your sender reputation.
BriteVerify works by checking your list for addresses that will bounce before you send your emails. It removes those pre-bounced email addresses for you. The result is nearly zero bounces and a more perfect SenderScore.
Marketing automation tools for email marketers
13) Right Inbox
Depending on your company culture, it may either be cool or not cool to send emails at 2 am. But now you can make it look like you’ve sent an email at any time you want by using this cool Gmail plug-in.
Right Inbox has other features, too, like sending you a reminder at a time you specify so you won’t forget to follow up with someone. It can also send you a reminder to reply to a specific email on a specific date.
Marketing automation is a hot topic. Unfortunately, marketing automation systems can become way too complex and expensive. Enter Zapier. It is a way for non-programmers to get different tools, apps and services to talk to each other.
And they don’t just talk. Zapier can do if/then logic, so it is smart enough to, say, add someone to a specific email list based on how they fill out a form. If you haven’t heard of Zapier before, or tried it out, you could be wasting thousands of dollars a month. Check out a few examples of zaps with MailUp. And, if you’ve already heard of Zapier, have you heard of IFTTT? It’s a equally brilliant.
Copywriting tools for email copywriters
15) Hemingway App
Clear copy sells. Hemingway can help. It shows you how to make your writing clearer. Sentences that are hard to read will be highlighted in red. The grade level score is also very helpful. I aim for copy that hits about a sixth grade level.
This is far more than a spell checker. The online version of Grammarly is $30 per month, but the Chrome plugin is free. Grammarly will catch typos, usage errors, clunky sentences and more. Most marketers have had the experience of just one typo destroying a campaign. That’s why we should all be using this.
This is similar to the subject line checker from Alchemy Worx, but it’s for headlines more than subject lines. Still – you know how similar headlines and subject lines are. And you definitely want the articles in your emails to be as clickable as possible.
Headlines are so critical to the success of a piece of writing that old-time copywriters used to spend half their writing time on just the headline. Upworthy’s writers will pen 25 different headlines to ensure they find a winner. Maybe you don’t have to go that far, but try to come up with at least five headlines, then tweak them until one scores better than a 70 with this tool.
Tools for email designers
Need a free way to easily craft beautiful emails that look good on all devices? Then check out BeeFree. It’s a drag and drop editor designed with email marketing best practices in mind. See our recent post about how to use BeeFree for more information about how to apply today’s email design trends to your messages.
Animated gifs are one of the more interesting and most underused features of email. I think some marketers may be avoiding animated gifs because they think they’re high-tech, or might cause deliverability issues. They don’t. They’re just simple gif images, and they can be made with this tool in less than 5 minutes.
Gifmaker.me probably won’t win any design awards, but I’ve tried about six other animated gif tools, and this is the easiest to use. It has the most controls for animation speed and size. You can also use animated gifs in your landing pages and blog posts, too.
Full-width images in emails are very popular now. They look great. But you don’t want to hurt your deliverability rates with an email file size that’s too large. That’s why you need these tools.
Reducing file size can require a bit of skill. While you can do it in applications like Photoshop, these two tools are used by the pros because they can reduce files so effectively without compromising on image quality.
Afraid you can’t design a nice-looking email? You do have the option of hiring someone, but sometimes it’s hard to find a good freelancer. 99Designs makes it all much easier. For a$299 starter package you submit your specifications, then 20 designers will create an email to suit. All you have to do is to pick the design you like best.
Even with the help of an email design tool like BeeFree, you’ll still need to pick a color palette that’s pleasing. Otherwise your email will never look quite right.
Paletton makes this a snap. You can choose from a monochromatic color scheme with different shades of the same color, or use an adjacent colorscheme or a triad colorscheme. Paletton will show you exactly which colors to use, including their HTML or hexademical colors.
Project and Task Management
23) Trello with Google Calendar as an editorial calendar
Need an elegant way to manage your email production schedule? Try out Trello. This free project management tool is widely used in content development as an idea storage and sorting system. It’s also fantastic at managing and tracking content as it moves through production.
You can also hook Google Calendar up with Trello and make yourself a sophisticated editorial calendar. And, as you may know, Google calendar can in turn be hooked up with Apple’s iCal and other operating system calendars.
Suddenly, you’ll have every phase of your email development assigned, tracked and scheduled. It’s so good you might even start working ahead of deadlines.
Want to monetize your email list without resorting to spammy solo ads or spending half your time chasing down advertisers? Then you need Live Intent. This company pairs up email marketers and advertisers. It helps you earn a little more money from each email message you send.
What if you could let people place an order and checkout from within an email? That’s what @Pay promises, and what it has been delivering for it’s customers. The mobile payment system is especially good for repeated payments. That’s because the first time you check out with an @Pay-enabled site you will have to fill out a typical checkout process. But after that, you’ve got true mobile payments.
For an alternative to @Pay, don’t forget the payment icon in the bottom of every Gmail email.
So that’s our rundown of twenty five tools every email marketer should know of. Whether you use them or not is your call, but we do recommend you at least try a few. You’ll like them way more than broccoli.
How about you? Which tools do you use to create great emails? Leave a comment and tell us about them.