5 Best Email Marketing Services

Email marketing is one of the best, and fastest, ways to connect with current and potential customers. The best email marketing service comes with stunning templates, easy to use editing tools and useful reports so you can get the most from your campaigns.

Connecting with people through their inbox isn't easy, but these services will give you everything you need to start reaching your audience.

1. MailChimp

One of the most popular solutions on the market is MailChimp. They specialize in creating, sending and reporting on email marketing campaigns. And, well, not much else. But what they do, they do extremely well. This is one of the easiest email systems to use with an incredibly intuitive user interface. There is a gallery of great looking templates to use and an even more impressive editing tool to create a campaign from scratch. Another great feature is the MailChimp mobile app. Reports, lists, campaigns and account settings are at your fingertips no matter where you're headed.

2. Campaigner

The best all-in-one package at one of the lowest prices is Campaigner. They offer almost twice the number of contacts allowed on their basic package than any of the other competitors. Starting at $10/month for 1000 contacts is pretty hard to beat. But you get what you pay for and Campaigner lacks the wow factor and ease of use that others can bring to the table. For a small business or organization this is a great solution when the budget is tight. Anyone else may want to spring for an option with more features and better reporting.

3. Constant Contact

The other most popular solution for email marketing is Constant Contact. They have all of the standard tools, hundreds of pre-designed email templates and a user interface that is clean and easy to navigate. One differentiating factor with Constant Contact, as you can probably guess by their name, is the suite of tools available to grow and optimize a mailing list. While other providers focus on sending great emails to the existing list, Constant Contact provides a lot of options for obtaining more leads and knowing where and how those leads were gained. With a service representative assigned to every account, their customer service is also a major selling point. With so many features and tools, the system can seem confusing to the average user. They have a lot to offer which creates a bit of noise in an otherwise useful platform.

4. ExactTarget

A service used by many large companies, and recently purchased by business giant Salesforce, is ExactTarget. They have an extremely powerful platform backed by an entire suite of mobile, social and web optimization tools. All of the reporting and automation features are designed to integrate complex marketing communication strategies into one place. It takes a team of people to really understand all of the tools available with ExactTarget so this solution is really designed for the mid- to large-size operation. Smaller companies looking for a system they can grow into and who want to avoid the painful process of switching between services will also have a lot to love about ExactTarget.

5. Benchmark

Lesser known to the market and a company that is rapidly developing is Benchmark. They also have an entire suite of mobile and social tools, as well as survey functionality, but everything is scaled down and easier to use for the typical customer. Their basic service plan ($9.95) is in line with many of the other competitors, but with a few additional perks such as Google Analytics Integration and list segmentation. However, all plans lack A/B testing which may impact users who are looking to really optimize their campaigns. My favorite part of the Benchmark suite is their wonderfully organized template selection that is broken down into promotion type and industry. They do not have as many templates, but theirs are easy to find and having them put into categories really helps users pick the right one for their messaging.

There are many more paid and free options online worth looking at. This list is simply a look at the industry's best solutions that everyone should consider before making a decision. Ultimately, the best email marketing service is the one that matches your business or organization's needs and abilities.


Social Media Use Growing Among Seniors

Social media adoption rates among seniors has tripled in the last four years, according to a new report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

43% of individuals over the age of 65 now use social media. This is up from only 13% in the spring of 2009. What's more surprising is that 73% of all U.S. adults use some form of social media. Contrary to popular belief, all adult age groups saw an increase in the number of users. While the 18-29 age group has the largest percentage of users, the 50-64 and the 65+ age groups had the largest increases in their adoption rates since December of 2012. 

Social networking site use by age group

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Aaron Smith from Pew Research said that seniors are using social media to maintain relationships with family and friends. Facebook, the most used platform among older adults, is widely used to share photos of the grandchildren, connect with old friends, and socialize with those who have similar hobbies. 

Adult use of social media graph

The survey began asking participants about their Twitter usage in 2010. Since that time the number of adult users has more than doubled to 18%.

Source: http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2013/social...