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It’s 5:00 p.m. on a Friday, the quarterly meeting has just wrapped up, and hype is building throughout the office. There’s exciting news and you just can’t wait to share it. It’s gonna be huge!
But you’re faced with the dilemma of determining the best way to let all your customers know. Instead of screaming at the top of your lungs, you turn to your handy dandy email marketing system to spread the word efficiently and effectively.
Email marketing software helps organizations of all types, from retailers to nonprofits, strategically manage outreach to and engagement with targeted audiences through mass email. It also allows organizations to create and design campaigns, while tracking their performance with key metrics such as open and click-through rates.
Even though it’s the close of business on Friday, our friend with the awesome news can hop on the computer, create a promotional campaign using one of his custom templates, choose the list of recipients, and schedule the email blast for first thing Monday morning. In a perfect world, this would be the case. However, before he can create and launch that campaign, an easy to use email marketing solution is needed.
Luckily for our friend, management kept his Friday afternoons in mind by using Capterra’s new Top 20 Most User-Friendly Email Marketing Software report to help find a user-friendly system that was the best fit for their organization’s needs.
This research is part of our series of Top 20 reports. When ranking solutions, we consider usability (how easy a system is to use), available customer services (for when you’re stumped), and reviews from actual users of the different solutions in our report.
Usability is calculated through direct user testing. We determine common tasks that are representative of how most organizations would use a system to manage and track email outreach. We then measure how many seconds and clicks it takes our team, on average, to complete these tasks in an email marketing system.
- Upload contacts
- Create contact list
- Create email template
- Create and send campaign
- Unsubscribe contact
- Generate report
We tested all email marketing solutions made available to us, performing each task two times in every system. In the first round, we completed the task without accessing any training, testing intuitiveness. In the second round, we followed training materials provided by the software company, testing learnability.
Here’s how fast the Top 20 email marketing systems stack up:
The average task completion time for all the email marketing systems we tested was 41 seconds. That’s pretty quick…however, you ain’t seen nothing yet! Out of our Top 20 Most User-Friendly solutions, the average task completion time was 30 seconds. That precious time saved could be devoted to higher priority items.
However, there’s one caveat to this observation – just because a system has a faster task completion time, doesn’t necessarily mean it got the job done to it’s full potential. For example, some systems we tested offered robust functionality when creating email templates (ie. advanced design capabilities); it may have taken more time to complete the task, but offered room for elaboration, which may be an important aspect for some buyers.
In addition to usability, we wanted to address another very important question: If there’s something weird, and it don’t look good, who you gonna call?. Customer service. That’s right, customer service is crucial when setting up and learning how to use a brand new system. To calculate this metric, we tracked available implementation resources, what kind of training software vendors offered, and how many different methods a user could get in touch with a company if they had questions or ran into errors. The factors we tracked are listed below:
- Ability to upload contacts
- API access
- CRM integration
- Mobile access
- Social media integration
- CMS integration
- iOS and Android apps
- Articles or training documents
- Free demo
- Training webinars
- Free trials
- Via email or help desk
- Through links to a knowledge base or FAQ page
- Over the phone
- Through live chat
Another important metric we wanted to incorporate were customer reviews, specifically regarding “ease of use” and “customer service”. The voice of actual customers provides firsthand insight into a software product’s performance and the resources provided to customers by the software company. Reviews data was gathered from Capterra’s website and our sister companies, Software Advice’s and GetApp’s, sites. We factored in the total numbers of reviews a system had and their customers’ average star ratings across all three websites.
This report was designed to help you, the buyer, get started narrowing down the immense list of email marketing solutions. However, we can’t do all of the work for you. The best way to find the perfect system for your organization is by signing up for free trials, sitting in on live demos, and discussing your specific needs with software vendors.
Another thing to remember: “easy to use” isn’t the be-all and end-all. There are several other factors that play a role in the decision making process. After all, you don’t want to purchase a solution that no one else uses or a system that will break the bank. Take a look at our Top 20 Most Popular and Top 20 Most Affordable Email Marketing Software reports. You can use all three reports to compare the pros and cons of each system and ultimately end up with a short list of your top picks!
What do you think? Did we miss anyone? Let us know! We plan on updating this research annually.
Looking for Email Marketing software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Email Marketing software solutions.