Top 6 Enterprise Email Marketing Platforms In 2020
by Mike Khorev
Nowadays, there are various email marketing software available with various price ranges—a lot of them are free—. However, not all of them can make the cut as “enterprise-grade” to cater to the needs of enterprise email marketing.
In this guide, we will help you determine the best enterprise-grade email marketing solutions that can fit your organization’s current needs—and available budgets.
First, however, let us discuss one of the most frequently asked questions:
What Qualifies An Enterprise Email Marketing Solutions From Ordinary Ones?
Before we begin our discussion for the best enterprise email marketing solution available in the market, here are some important criteria we used to differentiate between enterprise email marketing tools and mid-sized ones:
- Contact Database Capacity: Obviously, bigger enterprises engage to a lot more leads and prospects, that can often reach hundreds of thousands if not millions. We mainly look for email marketing solutions that are offering huge contact database/lead storage capacity and are reliable enough (in terms of processing power, bandwidth, and overall stability) to handle the size of the data.
- Deliverability: A very important aspect to consider for any email marketing software. There’s nothing worse than realizing that only half of the people in your email list are actually receiving the email. Different email marketing solutions might offer different approaches to maximizing the deliverability. For instance, some might automatically blacklist addresses that trigger a bounce, and some might be able to automatically sort the contacts based on open rate.
- Advanced Audience Segmentation: The large quantity of leads/prospects that are engaged by the enterprise will have different “readiness” level. One prospect, —or group of prospects— might be more ready to make a purchase than others, depending on many different factors from demographics data to different urgency. Thus, proper segmentation solutions to differentiate between these readiness levels are necessary, so the enterprise can properly implement hyper-targeted email campaigns for each.
- Analytics, Testing, and Reporting Tools: Enterprises rely on data, not gut feeling, and various analytics tools from A/B testing to heat mapping to the analytics of various engagement metrics are necessary for an enterprise environment. The email marketing solution must be able to deliver reliable and intuitive reporting so executives and managers in the enterprise can readily use and analyze the reported data.
- Flexible and Advanced Email Builder: Content and how we present it are still the main cores of email marketing. An email builder capable of dynamic content is required so we can better cater to the needs of different user segments (as discussed above), so it can dynamically adjust content depending on different segments (age, previously triggered actions, etc.) The more flexible the email builder is, with more advanced features, the better. However, ease of use is still an important factor to consider.
- Lead Scoring: With the quantity of generated leads, a lead scoring solution—or even better, automated lead scoring solution— is required so the enterprise can properly allocate time and resources only on prospects with the highest likelihood of converting. The email marketing solution should provide the ability to establish different scoring criteria according to the business’s preferences, needs, and goals.
- Integration: In an enterprise environment, it’s more common to have many different
- Customer Support:Reliability is a very important factor to consider, but no software will be 100% free of technical and non-technical issues. Reliable customer support—or even better, dedicated customer support—, is an important factor to consider when choosing between different enterprise-grade email marketing solutions.
Top 6 Enterprise Email Marketing Solutions 2020
|Product||HubSpot Sales Hub||Pardot||Drip||ActiveCampaign||SendinBlue||ConstantContact|
|Ease of Use||5/5||5/5||5/5||4/5||4/5||4/5|
|Price||Expensive||Very Expensive||Moderate to Expensive||Affordable||Affordable||Affordable|
1. HubSpot Sales Hub
HubSpot is certainly one of the most prominent names in the world of digital marketing today, especially thanks to its marketing blog and HubSpot academy, positioning HubSpot as the go-to resource for anything digital marketing.
First, it’s important to note that HubSpot offers five different “products”: CRM tool (which is free, forever), Marketing Hub, Sales Hub, Service Hub, and finally, HubSpot CMS.
It’s easy to mistake the HubSpot Marketing Hub as HubSpot’s enterprise email marketing solution due to its name. While the Marketing Hub does offer basic email marketing features and a little email automation, it’s the Sales Hub that actually offers a full-blown email marketing and automation service.
It’s worth noting, however, that the email automation features are only available in the Professional and Enterprise plan, which will cost you at least $500/month and $1,200/month, respectively. Marketing Hub’s Professional Plan will cost you $800/month, so it’s important to consider that the Sales Hub is also more ‘affordable’.
With that being said, there are three key highlights of HubSpot Sales Hub as an enterprise email marketing hub:
- Ease of use: HubSpot is famous for its very intuitive, easy to use interface. A drag-and-drop visual email builder that is easy enough to learn even for absolute beginners.
- Integration: HubSpot offers a wide range of integrations with various third-party apps and integration with its own free HubSpot CRM. This is probably one of the main selling points of using any HubSpot products.
- Reliability: HubSpot offers a very stable ecosystem with trustworthy data, and you can control almost every aspect of your sales and marketing campaigns in just one single dashboard.
Conclusion: Not exactly the most affordable, and not exactly offering truly unique features. It’s the whole package that made HubSpot Sales Hub a really popular and powerful solution. Definitely worth it if you do have the budget.
- Free plan (similar to the HubSpot free CRM)
- Starter, starts from $50/month
- All features of the free CRM plan
- Deal pipeline
- Email tracking
- Email scheduling
- Meeting scheduling
- Live chat
- Ref productivity performance
- Professional, starts from $500/month
- All features of the Starter plan
- Automation for deal stage, task, and lead rotation
- Workflow extensions
- Personalized video creation
- Personalized quotes
- Data organization (products, teams, currencies, etc.)
- Enterprise, starts from $1,200 a month
- All features of the Professional plan
- Automation playbooks
- Call transcriptions
- Predictive lead scoring
- Calculated properties
- Quote-based workflows
- Electronic signature
- Recurring revenue tracking and analytics
- Team management features
First things first, Pardot is even more expensive than HubSpot Sales Hub, with the most “affordable” plan starts from a whopping $1,250/month, and you’ll need to pay more if you have more than 10,000 contacts in your email database.
With that being said, what’s so special about Pardot? First, Pardot is not only an email marketing tool, but a full-fledged marketing automation tools covering various powerful features.
For instance, there up to 50 automation workflow rules with the basic plan, lead scoring features, SEO analytics features, and even marketing attribution.
Pardot is owned by SalesForce (possible affiliate), one of—if not the—most prominent names in the sales CRM industry, so there’s no doubt about its overall quality. Also, obviously it also offers seamless integration with SalesForce.
- Features: simply put, probably the richest, most advanced set of features available today.
- Customer Service: also one of the best. Very fast, responsive, and helpful, as expected for what you pay for the service.
- Resources: with Pardot membership, you also get access to various resources from written guides to webinars to accessing certified consulting services.
Totally worth it if you do have the budget and also in need of a well-rounded digital marketing solution. If you only want a dedicated email marketing software however, HubSpot is arguably a more cost-efficient investment.
- Growth: starts from $1,250/month for 10,000 contacts
- Basic automation features
- Basic lead capturing features
- 50 automation rules
- Variable tags
- Engagement features
- Lead nurturing
- Basic lead scoring
- Basic analytics for 100 SEO keywords and 10 competitors
- Basic data management
- Basic marketing training and guides
- Basic integrations
- Basic domain setup
- Plus: starts from $2,500/month for 10,000 contacts
- All from the Growth plan
- Advanced automation with dynamic content and 100 automation rules
- Advanced lead scoring
- Advanced analytics for 250 SEO keywords and 25 competitors
- Multi-touch marketing attribution
- Advanced integrations
- Advanced marketing training and guides
- Advanced: starts from $4,0000/month for 10,000 contacts
- All from the Plus plan
- Advanced data management for 100K calls per day and 10GB file hosting
- Advanced analytics for 1,000 SEO keywords and 100 competitors
- AI-assisted analytics and lead scoring
- Advanced automation with 150 automation rules
- Growth: starts from $1,250/month for 10,000 contacts
Drip is a relatively new brand compared to others in this list, has only entered the email marketing solutions market in 2013.
However, Drip quickly gained popularity as one of the market leaders, especially due to its rather unique focus to—as the name suggests—drip marketing or autoresponder. However, it also offers advanced workflow builder and workflow split testing.
All in all, Drip probably offers the richest, most advanced set of features compared to others in this list. For example, there’s the Event Tracking feature where we can easily segment different users by “tagging” them, giving us a more intuitive way to implement segmentation. For example, we can tag users who purchased a product during the last holiday season (so we can send a specialized campaign for the next holiday).
Drip also offers a very intuitive Visual Workflow builder, where we can easily create an email marketing automation campaign with heavy personalizations. If necessary, we can also add specific personalized metrics for different subscribers.
The main philosophy behind Drip is to provide an easy to use email marketing automation and personalization.
So, enterprises who are currently looking to implement email marketing automation, but don’t want it to be too technical, can look to Drip as an interesting option.
Drip, however, isn’t exactly the cheapest option available, with subscription plan starting from $49/month for ‘only’ 2,500 contacts.
Drip’s key highlights:
- Automation Features: the best in this list regarding automation with a modern, unique approach to automation workflows and autoresponders.
- Event Segmentation: a unique feature where you can easily create user segmentations by “tagging” them based on performed events. A very intuitive approach.
- Ease of Use: even with all the advanced and rather unique features, Drip is very easy to use with its sleek, very well-designed interface
Pricing: price is based on the number of contacts.
- Starting from $49/month for 0-2,500 contacts
- $122/month for 2,500-5,000 contacts
- $184/month for 5,000 to 10,000 contacts
- $1740/month for up to 140,000 contacts, or call drip for more.
Conclusion: a unique enterprise email marketing solution designed for better automation and drip campaign.
After we’ve discussed two (really) expensive solutions for enterprise email marketing, this time we have a (very) affordable contender in ActiveCampaign.
The most affordable—Lite— plan starts from a mere $9/month, but you only get basic email marketing features and you can only store 500 email addresses. Since we are mainly talking about enterprise email agency, most probably the better investment is going to be the Professional plan ($129/month, 500 contacts), or at least the Plus plan ($49/month, 500 contacts).
ActiveCampaign charge extras based on the number of contacts, for example, if you have 10,000 contacts, the Professional plan will cost you $270/month—still very affordable compared to the two options above.
While ActiveCampaign is a cost-efficient alternative, it still offers a pretty decent set of features, especially with the Professional and Enterprise plans. The catch? The user interface is fairly obsolete, and the email builder is not very intuitive compared to—for example— Hubspot.
Highlights of ActiveCampaign:
- Not Intimidating Price: for enterprises who don’t want to make the jump to paying thousands of dollars each month in email marketing solution, ActiveCampaign is certainly an interesting alternative
- Great Automation Features: Automation workflows and sequences are really well-designed and very intuitive, you can easily build an automation workflow immediately
- Zapier Integration: while ActiveCampaign doesn’t offer any built-in integrations with third-party software, it can connect to 1500+ apps via Zapier integration.
Conclusion: a great option for enterprises looking for a cost-efficient email marketing software with a decent set of features. Great email automation tools included, especially considering its price.
- Lite: starts from $9/month for 500 contacts
- Basic email marketing features only
- Plus: starts from $49/month for 500 contacts
- Everything from the Lite plan
- CRM and sales automation
- Lead scoring
- Deep Data Integrations
- SMS marketing
- 1 on 1 training
- Up to 25 users
- Custom branding and user permissions
- Conditional content
- Professional: starts from $129/month for 500 contacts
- Enterprise: starts from $229/month for 500 contacts
- Everything from the Professional plan
- Advanced, custom reporting
- Custom domain
- In-depth onboarding
- Free design services, free social data, phone support, dedicated account representative
- Uptime SLA
- Unlimited users
- Lite: starts from $9/month for 500 contacts
Similar to ActiveCampaign, SendinBlue is a relatively affordable email marketing solution, and there is even a free plan—that is actually free forever— for unlimited contacts. You are limited to just 300 emails per day, but that’s probably sufficient for enterprises who are not looking to get too heavy with their email marketing campaign.
The most expensive plan (outside the custom Enterprise plan) is ‘only’ $173/month, where you’ll get the ability to send 350,000 emails/month, email and management automation features, and bonus features (outside email marketing scope) like a landing page builder and chatbot, so it’s quite nice to have.
Also, the plans are not based on contacts/subscribers size, but on emails sent per month. This can be a decisive factor if you are an enterprise with a really big contact database since SendinBlue will be, — in most cases—, a more cost-efficient option. SendinBlue was originally designed for eCommerce (transaction-focused) emails, so there are a lot of useful eCommerce related options like transaction-focused autoresponders.
With all those features, SendinBlue is quite easy to use with a pretty comfortable learning curve. The catch? The interface is quite obsolete by today’s standard.
Highlights of SendinBlue:
- Affordability: a cost-efficient option and the plans are not limited to your number of subscribers. This might be an interesting selling point for enterprises with a huge email database.
- Integration: SendinBlue—for its price—, surprisingly includes a massive library of plugins and third-party integration with popular software and tools like OptinMonster, Magento, and WordPress among others.
- Free: 300 emails/day, unlimited contacts
- Lite: $25/month
- 40,000 emails/month
- No daily sending limit
- Essential: $39/month
- All features from Lite
- 60,000 emails/month
- Remove Sendinblue logo/brand
- Advanced statistics
- Premium: $66/month
- All features from Essential
- 120,000 emails/month ($173/month for 350,000 emails/month)
- Facebook ads management
- Landing page builder
- Management automation
- Multi-user access
- Enterprise: custom-tailored plan
Conclusion: If you don’t mind the fairly outdated interface and the pricing model that limits you for email sending per month, SendinBlue is a great, cost-efficient enterprise email marketing solution.
ConstantContact, although relatively unpopular compared to some others in this list, is actually one of the oldest email marketing software we have today, having been around since 1995.
In recent years, however, ConstantContact has grown rapidly in popularity as one of the most reliable email marketing services, including for the enterprise environment.
ConstantContact pricing is fairly simple, with only two different plans available: the basic Email plan starting from $20/month and the Email Plus plan—unlocking the automation features, among others—, starting from $45/month. Both of these prices are for 500 subscribers/contacts and will increase as your contact list grows. For example, if you have 10,000 contacts in your database, the Email Plus plan will cost you $125/month, and the Email plan will be $95/month, still fairly affordable.
A major selling point for ConstantContact is its interface, which is really modern-looking like today’s standard of minimalist, responsive-designed apps. However, it’s fairly basic in the features department, although it does offer all the necessary features for decent enterprise email marketing practices.
Key highlights of ConstantContact:
- Deliverability: Out of the other platforms we have tested here, ConstantContact offers the highest deliverability rate of 97%. Also, fast delivery time and overall, very reliable.
- Interface: Modern-looking, minimalist and sleek interface. Very intuitive and easy to use.
- Affordability: Among the most affordable solutions we have tested, although it doesn’t really offer too many features.
Pricing (price based on the number of contacts, no credit card free-trial available):
- Email Plan (starts from $20/month for 500 contacts)
- Unlimited sent emails
- Basic Pop-up forms features
- Basic Ecommerce features
- Email Plus Plan (starts from $45/month for 500 contacts)
- Advanced eCommerce features
- Customizable pop-up forms
- Automated Email features
- A/B Testing features
- Dynamic Content
Conclusion: Some people value interface and design among other factors, and in such cases, ConstantContact is the best alternative in this list. Fairly affordable, but offers a relatively basic set of features and relatively basic integrations.
Email Marketing Best Practices and FAQ
Email marketing is, on the one hand, a very effective marketing channel with the highest ROI. Yet, on the other hand, executing effective email marketing can be quite difficult with all the saturation and competition.
It’s important to actually have an email marketing plan, and execute the strategy flawlessly so that your email(s) won’t end up in the dreaded spam folder.
Below, we will discuss some important things when planning and executing your email marketing strategy.
Elements of a Successful Marketing/Promotional Email
Content body: often called “copy”. The body of your email, the core of your message. Should focus on only one topic, and should be consistent with your brand message and identity.
CTA: since this is a marketing email with the intention to convert in one way or another, call-to-action (CTA) is very important. It should be well-placed and should be designed to stand out. The offer tied to the CTA must be relevant to the email’s content.
Images/photos/infographics/video/gifs: you can use any kind of media in an email nowadays. The main principles are that it should load properly and quickly on all devices, engaging (immediately eye-catching), and relevant.
Timing: it’s about sending the right message to the right people at the right time. It will vary depending on your audience, so you must conduct proper research to find the best possible timing for your ideal audience.
Personalization: as mentioned, it’s about sending the right message to specific people. Email personalization today is more than using the receiver’s first name in the subject line. With various AI tools and platforms available today, we have more ways to hyper personalize our emails.
Mobile-friendliness/responsiveness: more than half of all business emails today are opened on mobile devices. Your email should be optimized for any devices, and the best way to achieve this is to adopt a mobile-responsive design (or use an email builder that supports responsive templates).
Email Personalization Basics
The key to successful email personalization is to really understand your (ideal) audience: their behaviors, their needs, and their pain points.
Why is personalization important?
Simply put, our email inboxes are getting saturated with each and every year. Studies suggested that an average office employee receives more than 120 emails each day. How many of them are actually opened? How many went straight to the spam folder?
According to campaign monitor, emails with personalized subject lines have a 26% higher open rate, while personalized message (body) can improve click-through rate from a mere 0.4% to 2.1%, 5 times higher.
As briefly mentioned above, various tools and solutions have now allowed us to bring more hyper-personalizations to our emails beyond simply using the email receiver’s first name in the subject line and in email greetings.
Here are some personalizations you can implement:
- Include location-specific or time-specific information when appropriate, i.e. unique holidays in some countries/regions
- Send content according to the prospect’s current stage in the marketing funnel, for example, by sending a specific email to people who recently abandoned a shopping cart or have consumed a specific content
- Including relevant and personal events in the email (i.e. a trending movie or tv series, etc.)
- End your emails with a personal signature with a human’s name. Very simple and very important, yet often overlooked.
- Relevant call-to-action that is interesting and valuable for the specific reader
What Is Email Segmentation
Segmentation, in a nutshell, is dividing your (large) email list or database into smaller “segments”.
We can use many different approaches to segment our email list, for example, based on demographics data (unique interests or characteristics), based on their stage in the marketing/sales funnel, and so on.
Email segmentation is closely tied to personalization (discussed above), and the main idea behind it is that different email receivers will have a different level of “readiness” to convert into actual customers—which should be your end goal.
For example, a free trial or discount offer might be effective for the audience who already recognize their own problems/pain points and started to recognize that your brand is a possible solution. However, it might not be as effective for customers who don’t even know what their actual problem is.
So, we put them into different segments and send different personalized emails to each segment accordingly.
The better we can target—and segment— our ideal customers, the better we can build trust and credibility with each segment, and thus the higher the chance to convert them.
How Can We Segment our Email List
The most efficient approach in segmenting our email list is to create several different opt-in (sign-up) forms with different lead magnets, specifically tailored according to each stage of the buyer’s journey or marketing funnel.
Also, various email marketing solutions (including the ones we’ve reviewed above) offer the feature to segment your email database based on demographic data and/or behavioral data such as:
- Stage in the marketing funnel (might be called differently with different platforms. Hubspot, for example, used the term “lifecycle stage”.
- Geographical location—might dictate different holidays, regional events, etc. that we can use in personalizations.
- Industry/niche they work in, especially for B2B businesses.
- Previous engagements with your brand—i.e. If they have bought your product in the past during the holiday season, so you can target them with a personalized message this next holiday season.
- Specific job title/role in a company. Again, particularly useful in B2B email marketing.
- Preferred language.
There are, however, no set rules on how we should segment our email list, and you can certainly as many different categories and segments as you want. There is only one rule: each segment must be as exclusive as possible so you cant hit them with a more targeted personalization.
Implementing Marketing Automation
Automation is how we can use both segmentation and personalization to good use, in order to maximize the results of our email marketing campaign.
Remember that the main idea of email marketing comprises of three things:
- Sending email to the right people (segmentation)
- With the right message (personalization)
- At the best possible time (automation)
Nowadays, various email marketing software or platform can help us in implementing automation—including the ones we’ve reviewed in this guide—, but in practice, there are several different approaches to implement email automation:
- Email Autoresponders/Drip Campaign
As the name suggests, the autoresponder works by sending “response” to a specific audience who has triggered a specific action and then sends follow-up messages on a regular interval until another action is triggered.
For example, when someone downloads your ebook lead magnet, the autoresponder will send a custom-tailored, personalized “response” automatically.
The autoresponder approaches require us to prepare a set of different emails according to these different “triggers”, these emails are often referred to as drip emails, and thus autoresponder campaign is often called “drip campaign” or “drip marketing”. We can then decide on a schedule to define how far apart these emails are going to be sent—- every few days, every week, etc. —
The main benefit of an autoresponder campaign is that when you’ve set it up properly, you can basically forget it and let the campaign work automatically, just as intended. You only need to update the drip campaign periodically when you need to add or change the triggers—or the responding messages.
- Automation Workflows
We can think of email workflows as an “enhanced” autoresponder. While autoresponder can only send messages at a regular interval until the receiver took a certain action (or unsubscribe from your list), workflows can execute different actions based on different yes/no criteria.
There are two key elements of email automation workflow:
- The goal(s), that is, the desired action of the user after a specific step on the workflow
- Criteria: the action that would qualify a user for a specific workflow (yes), or another workflow then the action is not taken (no).
So, workflows—as opposed to autoresponders—-, can change the course of action depending on the actions taken by the user. For example, the workflow can send a different email for a user who’ve abandoned the cart the 2nd time than another user who’ve just abandoned the cart for the very first time.
Remember that the more accurate and personalized your sent email is, the higher the chance of conversions.
Email marketing solutions that offer workflow functionalities tend to be more expensive, but generally will provide justified, additional value compared to those offering traditional autoresponders.
End Words: Our Final Choice(s)
The six enterprise email marketing solutions we have tested above are very different from each other, and each of them offers their own unique set of features and selling points.
With that being said, choosing just one between them as our ultimate recommendation is going to be very difficult.
However, for the sake of this guide, here are our final recommendations:
- Best For Automation: Drip
With automation and personalization being very important in today’s very saturated email marketing environment, Drip offers the best features in those aspects with advanced and unique automation builders and advanced event-based segmentation.
- Best All-In-One: HubSpot Sales Hub
HubSpot is still the best choice if you already possess an existing ecosystem of marketing/sales tools with its huge library of third-party integration (and integration with HubSpot’s other products). If you are looking for seamless integration, overall ease of use, and great set of features, HubSpot is your best bet.
- Best Affordable Choice: SendinBlue
We covered several affordable options in this list, but SendinBlue offers more flexibility in its prices because you are not charged a higher price based on yo ur contact size. A decent set of features, and quite reliable.
April 6, 2020