One of the most popular services in the email marketing world, iContact, has earned is good reputation by making easy to create and track effective newsletter campaigns. With its user-friendly interface, its complete social media tools and its great email creation and stats features is a safe and reliable choice both for small business and larger ones.
The sign-up process is quite straightforward and redirects you to a well laid out dashboard that helps you getting started step by step once you choose one of the many tabs displayed on the bottom of the UI. Here you also find the links that let you integrate the app with some of the most popular social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn allowing you to create newsletter sign-up forms, publish notifications to your wall and post tweets to “make viral” your marketing campaigns.
Of course, before to create your newsletter, you have to upload your email addresses lists, and iContact makes it very easy, offering you many ways to do it: traditional copying and pasting or manual entry, via sign-up forms or uploading a file (.CSV, .XLS, .XLSX). After settling your list, it’s time to define your market target and here is where you will discover the excellent tools iContact provides you to manage mass contacts, unsubscribe them or add them to a separate list. Of course, you can also count on numerous email segmentation tools to target your newsletter subscribers based on their interest, location, language, email domain, demographics and receive the response rates for each of them.
When it comes to creating a newsletter you can do it in several ways: with the very user-friendly iContact drag & drop email creator (Message Builder), with its HTML editor (Message Coder), with a text-only editor or you can import an existing page from a website. One of the first thing you will love about the iContact email creator is the plus 600 number of well-designed templates that will help you to communicate your brand, customizing colors, links, photos and so on. There is also an image library to store your visual elements, but frankly is quite limited (only 5 MB of space).
Once your email is ready you can easily preview it, run a spam check, send or schedule it and, when you’ll need, you can be sure with iContact you’ll can send effective autoresponders at predetermined times too (for example, you can set a welcome email when a new subscriber sign up or send them coupons on their birthday).
In addition to all the functional features iContact provides o build a great email marketing campaign, you have to consider this service has very strong analytics and real-time tracking tools that allow you to follow your campaigns and surveys performances (opened, bounced, no-response, clicked) and the social media reach too.
If you are running a premium plan, iContact offers the basic features plus some additional ones – you have to contact them for pricing – like dedicated strategic advisor researches your competitors and industry, large sender services (including a reliable sending infrastructure), professional designers help. Otherwise, if you are running a basic plan, iContact doesn’t provide you Google Analytics integration, split A/B testing and advanced ROI reporting.
iContact customer support is available through phone, email and online live chat, from Monday to Friday (4 a.m. to 10 p.m.) but if you need some advice or explanation you’ll find a comprehensive help area including live (and not) webinars, a knowledgebase, video tutorials, articles, a user manual, an email marketing guide created by iContact’s specialists, an up-to-date company blog.
A very noteworthy thing of iContact is its very live user community in which you can post questions, contents, tips and tricks about email marketing.
iContact offers different solutions for your email marketing, depending mostly on the number of contacts in your database. You can choose among three plans: Basic (for small business and beginners), Pro (an advanced service for growing business); Salesforce oriented (to get more from the popular CRM) or Premier (for large senders).
All plans are available month-to-month (but you have a 15 percent discount if you sign up for an annual account), and you can cancel at any time, but there isn’t a way to do it through the site, so you have to call the support.
iContact is an excellent email marketing service if you want to create and track an effective newsletter campaign without complications, taking advantage of a plenty of great features and a good customer support. Quite easy to use, iContact makes easy to manage your subscribers list – also offering interesting tools to engage with customers, such as surveys – and create winning campaigns, so it’s recommended for beginner marketers and small business but larger ones.
|Usability: 8 /10||Speed: 7 /10||Features: 7.5 /10||Support: 8 /10||Pricing: 7 /10|