Your Platform Matters: What Email Service Provider Are You Using?

It’s no secret email is one of the top digital marketing strategies across sectors. U.S. office workers spend roughly 5 hours per day on email, between work and personal accounts, and receive an average of almost 100 emails per day. Because of that, it’s no small feat to get an email into your clients’ main inbox, catch their attention, and motivate them to engage with your brand. Choosing the right email distribution software and marketing tools can help.

Email service providers (ESPs) send targeted, personalized emails in bulk and make it easy to track and measure client engagement. Today, many ESPs are packaged as part of broader customer relationship management (CRM) platforms, outfitted with myriad features beyond sending a simple email.

Lenders evaluating ESPs should consider the following features:

  1. Marketing automation, or automatically generated emails like after a client signs up for your mailing list
  2. Analytics and tracking capabilities
  3. Deliverability rates, which indicate how likely an email will end up in inboxes versus spam folders
  4. Software integration
  5. Contact list management
  6. The email editor itself.

So, which ESP is right for you?

HubSpot

HubSpot is an “all-in-one” marketing tool, used for inbound marketing, sales, and customer service. Its focus is CRM, and it offers email marketing software as part of that package. The sprawling platform includes landing page creation, marketing automation, lead management, analytics, social media management, SEO content planning, and more. HubSpot is rated one of the top ESPs by PCMag for its marketing automation capabilities and simple email creation tool that offers users thousands of templates.

In addition, HubSpot offers its product for free for users with up to 1,000 email contacts. Pricing is tiered after that, based on features and number of contacts. The “Starter” edition begins at $50/month for 1,000 contacts. HubSpot’s pricing model makes the platform ideal for small businesses interested in testing CRM features and email marketing software without a major investment.

MailChimp

MailChimp was founded as an email marketing service in 2001, and today is one of the most well-known ESPs in the space.  Because MailChimp is an email distribution software first, it offers an intuitive platform, especially for first-time email marketers, with dozens of templates and the ability to code your own design. Last year, it broadened its offerings to include a full marketing platform geared toward small businesses.

MailChimp includes advanced audience segmentation, marketing automation, social media management, and landing page creation. Like HubSpot, it has a tiered pricing system with a free option for up to 2,000 contacts. Paid tiers start at $9.99/month, $14.99/month and $299/month. The platform was hailed as the best ESP for growing businesses by TechRadar and a great choice for small businesses who want to use automation by PCMag.   

Infusionsoft by Keap

Infusionsoft by Keap is a CRM tool with integrated marketing and sales automation. The company rebranded as Keap in 2019 as part of an effort to appeal to smaller businesses. The original Infusionsoft product starts at $200/month for 500 contacts, making it a more expensive option. However, PCMagrecommends Infusionsoft for small businesses with highly integrated sales and marketing functions, and notes it is among the best for managing contact lists. The platform offers an HTML email builder and fewer templates than most other ESPs, so it is best for companies already comfortable in the email marketing space who want more design flexibility.

Salesforce/Pardot

Pardot is a marketing automation tool created by Salesforce. Pardot comes with a steep price tag compared to other platforms — its lowest tier starts at $1,250/month — but it includes detailed analytics features, list-building, audience segmentation, and automation. Its email builder includes dozens of templates and an HTML option. Pardot fully integrates with other Salesforce products, making it ideal for businesses that already use Salesforce or larger organizations seeking detailed insights on customer behavior, according to a PCMag review.

Constant Contact

Constant Contact’s email marketing software is known for its ease of use, making it an ideal option for lenders who are new to email marketing or simply want to send emails. PCMag recommends it to businesses with small contact lists. Features include automation, an SEO tool, landing page creation, social media management, and integration with a variety of other software systems, including Salesforce and Shopify. Constant Contact offers a 60-day free trial for up to 100 contacts, and pricing tiers start at $20/month or $45/month based on features and contact list size.

If you’re not sure which email service provider is right for you, reach out to Geraci Media to discuss your options.

Email Marketing Considerations During COVID-19

We are all being bombarded by COVID-19 emails from supermarkets, pet stores, doctors, restaurants, gyms, and every other business with an email list. For some, this email is an official letter signed by the CEO of your company. For others, it’s a quick update with the latest changes.

As a business owner, you might be wondering if you should send an email of your own. If your email isn’t met with importance, consideration, and an additional value add at best, your message will be ignored. At worst, you’ll get backlash from clients who find your messaging old news.

To help you navigate this tricky landscape, we’ve combed through coronavirus-related emails and comments from clients on social media to pull the top takeaways. You can use these insights to consider how you should – or shouldn’t – be communicating.

When should I send an email about COVID-19?

If your products or services are impacted by COVID-19, you should send an email update. Reasons you might need to send an email include:

  • You have useful, important information to share.
  • Your clients are more sensitive to this crisis; for example, current status of deals with borrowers or supporting clients.
  • Your business has brick-and-mortar locations, or you see customers in person; for example, construction or real estate agents.
  • The Coronavirus impacts or changes your services in some way.
  • You’re offering to help your clients during this time, like providing supplies, offering virtual services, or waiving fees.

When should I not send a COVID-19 email?

For every email with a purpose, there are a dozen that didn’t need to be sent. Ask yourself why you’re sending the COVID-19 email and who really needs to receive the information. Someone who purchased from you or did business with your company five years ago probably doesn’t need to know the same information that current clients and prospects are looking for.

Here are COVID-19 emails that could upset your subscribers:

  • Your messaging is empty. You want to look like you’re doing something, but there’s no substance, and nothing is planned.
  • You want to tell people that COVID-19 isn’t going to impact your business.
  • You’re telling your email subscribers that your staff is working from home.
  • You’re just restating information from other sources.

All of these will only prompt your subscribers to hit that “unsubscribe” button, which is something you want to be extra cautious with during this time. People are taking advantage of their time, which means learning and cleaning. The last thing you want to do is prompt someone to unsubscribe from your emails as they’re cleaning up their inbox.

5 ways to make your COVID-19 emails more effective

Since most people don’t have time to go through all the COVID-19 emails they’ve been receiving, go through the considerations above and make every message one that your subscribers will engage with. If you’ve decided to send something, it should be purposeful. Here are some tips for effective messaging.

Only include useful content.

Don’t send an email just because everyone else is. Send it because you have something to say. Think about your clients first. What information are they looking for? This can be a reminder of virtual services or an update on one of your policies.

Make emails easy to read.

A lot of COVID-19 emails contain large blocks of text, making it hard to skim and find the important key points. This example from Lyft, with large titles and bullets, is very easy to digest. Also note that Lyft’s entire business is based on person-to-person interaction, so their customers will have big questions about service changes.

Keep it short.

Your COVID-19 email shouldn’t feature an excess amount of information and jargon. Your subscribers are busy and overwhelmed, and they’d prefer a concise, easy-to-read message.

Include a note about the virus in your newsletter.

You don’t necessarily need to send a dedicated COVID-19 email. Oftentimes just a note at the top of your regular newsletter is more than enough.

Ask subscribers for their input.

Some brands are sending their COVID-19 email and then conducting business as usual. Instead, ask clients what they want from your brand in these uncertain times. Don’t be afraid to ask.

Other considerations considering COVID-19

Don’t forget about your automated emails. Spirit Airlines learned this lesson the hard way when a scheduled email blast saying “Never A Better Time To Fly” was sent as COVID-19 was upgraded to pandemic status.

COVID-19 isn’t something to take lightly. People around the world are worried about their health and their livelihood. Make sure you’re giving it the right amount of concern and that your messages are appropriate. Think about how your brand can be helpful and supportive.

As always, we are here for you and the private lending industry at Geraci. We would love to learn about the current marketing initiatives you are facing and advise you on the best next steps to take. Reach out to us here.

Generating Leads with Email Marketing

Whether you started your career in marketing before the email boom or in the internet era, you are sure to remember a time when emails were the top marketing platform. It’s no secret that consumers’ inboxed are proliferated with the latest and greatest offers. As email campaigns grew, laws were passed to limit them and give customers more control over what lands in their inboxes.

This shift is great news for marketers, who now have added assurance that their email audience is interested in their content – or at least interested enough to not hit the unsubscribe button. Email marketing is a proven method for generating leads. In fact, email generates $38 for every $1 spent, which is a staggering 3,800% ROI, making it incredibly effective. (HubSpot)

In this post, we’ll discuss how Geraci Media can help you get a slice of the pie and craft email campaigns that help you meet your business goals.

Write for results

Think deeply about how your customer will perceive every component of your email. A good subject line is like a news headline – it grabs your attention and makes you want to read more. Stick to a simple design. A crisp, uncluttered email lets subscribers know how professional you are. Most email campaign platforms offer well-designed templates to help you get started.

Follow the inverted pyramid style of writing that journalists use. Give readers the most important information first, and then follow up with supporting details. Most people read email while they’re commuting or at work, so give them content that is easy to digest.

Write with a purpose, and keep content concise. Each email should have a goal, whether it’s to drive web traffic, educate, or generate leads. Reveal your purpose upfront, direct copy towards the call-to-action and make your emails easy for busy readers to scan. Choose large fonts that are easy to read at any size,. Make sure your readers have the experience your content in the same way, regardless of whether it is on their phones or on a desktop.

Customize your Campaigns

You probably get leads from an array of sources, including, blogs, events, salespeople, and referrals. Categorize your leads and build custom campaigns based on what they’re looking for. Many platforms allow you to build automated email chains that help move contacts through the sales funnel.

Use blogs to generate leads

A great blog positions you as an industry leader in your prospects’ eyes. Send your leads relevant articles to guide the conversation forward and prep them for sales calls.

Move leads through the sales funnel

Nurture your warm leads as much as your cold ones. Develop a special email to share when you’re moving emails from the cold to the warm list. Include a thoughtful touch like a testimonial to establish credibility.  Follow the warm email up with a second email asking if they’re still interested in what you have to offer. Often times, including a sales offer or coupon can help give the lead a little push to a sale.

Test, analyze, and try again

Don’t underestimate the power of A/B split testing. By testing your email campaigns, you can lower bounce rates, learn more about your customers, increase conversions, and reduce cost. The average email open rate is around 21%, while the average click rate hovers around 2.48% (MailChimp).

While it’s great to have these benchmarks, adjust your expectations based on your industry’s standard and your previous emails’ performance – don’t expect to see staggering results right away. Building an effective email marketing strategy takes time, combining proven methods with new ideas. Geraci Media can work with you to figure out what combination works best for you for maximum results.

Book a call with us to discover how we can help your company thrive!