Paid vs Free Email Marketing

Before you select an email marketing provider, it’s important to survey the market place and consider all options that are available to you and your business. One of the most important considerations to face is the decision between a free or a paid option. The biggest difference between the two options is the extent of features that are available.

Here we will analyse the difference:

Free email marketing

A free email marketing solution may be perfect for you if you’re just starting out in the email marketing world, or if you’re a small business with not much disposable cash. But there are benefits and downfalls to using a free option.

The biggest pro is the cost: there isn’t one. This will allow you try different things before you fully commit. A lot of free email marketing solutions offer an auto responder as standard. This will log people who have visited your site, or those who have requested information from your website or blog.

Of course, nothing in this world is free, and it’s the same with email marketing. If you do choose a free email marketing contract or trial, the features or number of subscribers allowed in a list may be capped.

The main drawback to choosing a free email marketing tool is the number of contacts you can enter into the system. This may not pose a problem at first, especially if you’re still getting into email marketing, but it may be a problem later down the line. If you’re looking to stick with email marketing and build your email list, eventually you will have to move providers, or pay to be upgraded. Some free services will only allow one list. Take this into consideration when you’re researching free trials.

Another factor is the functionality that the tool provides. Main features, including customisation options, and social media integration will be provided within a free tool, or a free trial. You may not be able to analyse statistics in great detail, but you should be able to see the basics, such as open rates, and click throughs.

You may find that free services will place ads, or include tag lines featuring their name and possibly a link back to their site, at the bottom of your emails.

Paid email marketing

If you have room for email marketing in your budget, it’s definitely worth the investment. A study by econsultancy found that for every £1 spent on email marketing, the average return was £21.

Using a paid service will boost your deliverability rate (as the email is being sent from a known, reputable sender), which should boost your open rates. Paid tools will allow you to view the full range of statistics, may allow more room for personalisation, and will allow more subscribers to be added to your list.

Not only that, once you have paid for email marketing, more options will open up for you:

-  You can send sequential emails that are sent following specific consumer behaviour.

-  You could split test your contacts and send appropriate emails.

-  You can create different lists based on demographics or behaviour.

-  You are protected against false accusations of spam.

-  More or bespoke email templates.

Overall, paid email marketing is the better option, purely because it gives your company room to grow, and gives you a lot more freedom, but do not discount free email marketing purely on its limitations – it is a great option for those new to email marketing.

Ultimately the choice must be made based on your budget and your predicted outcome.

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