Top 5 ESPs: Great Platforms to Drive Your Email Marketing Campaigns

Posted by Philip Storey on 18/10/17 22:31
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Top email marketing platforms for effective campaigns

Selecting an email service provider (ESP) is no easy task. Suitability, price, usability and automation capabilities are just a few of the variables to consider when assessing which email marketing platform is right for your business. We've stepped in to give you a rundown of our five favourite ESPs, including the key benefits and reasons why they're our favourite email providers.

Many ESPs offer similar benefits, functionality and capabilities to help your business deliver successful email marketing campaigns. So how do you differentiate and decide which platforms are suitable for your brand?

Before we go any further, if you are looking to improve your email marketing quickly, grab one of these handy free guides: 

Learn the secret email strategies from top retailers
Free reactivation and reengagement email marketing guide
Use this free A/B split testing planner for email
Plan your email strategy with this useful strategic planning document

Every business has unique requirements, so there's no right or wrong answers, but there are key considerations and ways to assess suitability, according to business type, industry, size and budget. Our experienced email experts selected 5 top ESPs. Here’s the rundown, in no particular order:

1. dotmailer (now dotdigital)

dotmailer top email marketing platform

We love dotmailer. The platform is easy to use and great for retailers, especially as it's so well integrated with Magento and Magento 2. We are big fans of dotmailer's EasyEditor tool, as it enables marketers to create HTML templates they can use again and again – with no need for additional coding. It renders really well too.

Here's just a few of the great benefits and features available with dotmailer:

Key benefits:

  • Simple email campaign set-up process
  • Program Builder allows users to create simple or intricate marketing automation workflows
  • Good source data and behavioural insights to analyse campaign success
  • Easy-to-implement personalisation to create relevant experiences and effective targeting
  • Ability to create forms, surveys and landing pages from the editor

This is one of the simplest tools on the market, when it comes to ESPs, but this doesn't limit its impact. Is it the right email marketing platform for you? Well, it's always down to what's right for each individual business. However, if you haven’t got the luxury of much time to shop around or go through a long RFP tender process, dotmailer is your go-to tool.

2. Sailthru

Sailthru email marketing platform for nurturing customers

Sailthru created waves in the industry in 2014. They shook up the market and showed up the existing platforms. It revolutionised thinking and enabled brands to integrate effectively with other channels and deliver great automation and personalised messages.

Key benefits:

  • Enables brands to create and sent highly-personalised emails
  • Capabilities to integrate email with social media and websites to boost customer acquisition
  • Intricate segmentation for targeted email campaigns, using behavioural triggers
  • Reengagement tactics and tools to reduce unsubscribes and improve list health

Here are Sailthru's 4 pillars of retention that outline their vision for helping brands deliver emails that delight subscribers and nurture customer relationships:

Sailthru pillars of retention for email marketing

They are dedicated to delivering segmentation and personalised emails, tailored to subscriber needs according to analytics and driven by automation. It's an all-in-one service for brands looking to align their email marketing activities.

The clever kids at Sailthru created an ESP that enables marketers to create amazing experiences across the whole customer lifecycle with complex email workflow recipes and smart tools. It was so far advanced from what was about at the time. The rest of the market is catching up, but Sailthru is still a great platform for most industries, such as not-for-profit, travel and retail.

3. MailChimp

Mailchimp best email marketing automation platforms

Perhaps the best-known email marketing platform to the masses, MailChimp is the everyman of ESPs. However, don't think of it as a simplistic solution, as MailChimp actually offers powerful email automation capabilities. In fact, if you head to their website you'll see they even brand themselves as a marketing automation platform these days.

MailChimp features great recipes for marketers and retailers on shoestring budget, for setting up effective email campaign workflows. You can get all the automated marketing you need for a pinch of the budget. You don't need a designer either, as the emails are easy to create

Key benefits:

  • Extensive automated workflow recipes
  • Three levels of pricing packages, from New Business (free), Growing Business and Pro
  • Great integration capabilities for ecommerce platforms, such as Magento and Shopify
  • The ability create retargeting ad campaigns for Facebook, Instagram and Google

The ESP has made big strides in convincing marketers that this isn't just a budget option. Bigger brands are going to MailChimp, as their tools can now compete with the more expensive platforms on the market. Account management is the only thing holding it back, but most marketers don’t expect their ESP to revolutionise their strategy, in terms of account management, this with where an email marketing agency comes in. MailChimp gets you up and running.

4. HubSpot

Hubspot B2B email marketing automation and email workflows

HubSpot is a B2B marketer's dream but it's also a great choice for retailers who are running their stores on Shopify. It's simply the best CRM platform there is. It's a very strong platform for automation and certainly the best option for B2B businesses. When it comes to email, they have a large range of templates and themes, but it's the automation and analytics where they excel.   

Key benefits:

  • Intricate and effective lead workflows and recipes
  • Almost endless customisation for implementing rules and triggers to target leads, prospects and customers, according to behaviours, personas, demographics and buyer's journey stage
  • Great list-building and segmentation
  • Extensive analytics and reporting features

The great thing about Hubspot is that it's constantly evolving, according to testing and feedback from within the HubSpot community. It doesn't need to do big launches, the team are dedicated to learning, innovation and continuous improvement, and add new features all the time.

5. Adobe Campaign

Adobe marketing cloud adobe campaign top email marketing platforms

Adobe Campaign is the mothership platform! It's super deep, great for workflows and easy to integrate with other apps and third-party solutions. This is really the high-end ESP option for big and ambitious brands. 

Key benefits:

  • Extensive personalisation capabilities 
  • The Adobe Target feature allows you to deliver real-time email content, automatically adjusting when users open emails, according to location, date, etc
  • Adobe Experience Manager enables businesses to pool together all of their assets in one place and add any content directly into emails
  • Deep analytics, with Adobe Analytics pulling data and customer insights from all sources
  • A large framework of support services

Adobe campaign email marketing platform analytics tool

Adobe Campaign is a leader and visionary in the business. Its synchronised and sophisticated multichannel customer experiences has seen Adobe Campaign rated as a leader in Gartner's prestigious Magic Quadrant report for multichannel campaign management.

If you’re an enterprise business and you want to integrate your email with any other experience, this is the platform for you.


Wrap Up

Any of these ESPs sound like a good fit for your brand? We hope so, as they're all great options to help you create and deliver high-effective email campaigns. As we mentioned, every business has its own set of goals, visions and requirements, but this should help your selection process!

Need some great email tools to work alongside you ESPs, to take your email marketing to the next level? Grab our guide to 10 Awesome Tools to Revolutionise Your Email Marketing now and start making waves with email!

Get Enchant's Guide Awesome Email Marketing Tools

Looking to improve your email marketing quickly? Grab one of these free guides: 

Learn the secret email strategies from top retailers
Free reactivation and reengagement email marketing guide
Use this free A/B split testing planner for email
Plan your email strategy with this useful strategic planning document

Enchant Agency is a customer lifecycle marketing agency, specialising in email marketing consulting services. We help brands to reach their full potential and create a big impact with customer-centric marketing strategies. If you need help with your email marketing, why not arrange a call with one of our email experts and see how we can help you improve performance fast?


Topics: Analytics, Automated marketing, automation, B2B, Brands, customer lifecycle, Email automation, Email design, email marketers, Email Marketing, Email marketing automation, Email marketing campaigns, Email marketing strategy, Marketing Automation, Personalisation, Platforms, Segmentation, Targeting, ESP, email marketing platforms, ESPs, email campaigns, workflows

Philip Storey

Written by Philip Storey

Philip Storey is the Founder and CEO at Enchant Agency. Philip is an email marketing specialist in London, UK. He has enabled hundreds of brands to improve their email marketing. Beyond marketing, Philip is a business coach, personal and professional development coach and mentor to business leaders and senior marketers.

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