Best Email Marketing Platform

The Best Email Marketing Platform For Small Businesses (And The Ones You Want To Avoid At All Costs!)

What's the best email marketing platform for your small business? Are some better than others? Will any of them do?

Let's find out.

The email marketing platform we use and recommend – Keap

People always ask what the best email marketing platform is. And the one we've been using as a business for more than 10 years is Keap (which used to be called Infusionsoft). They often sponsor our podcast and events, and, as a business, we have a super close relationship with them. We think Keap is the best in class, and we always recommend it to any new business getting started with email.

Keap is also the platform we know most instinctively. When we think about building email automations, for example, we think in the way that Keap builds things. Using a platform that works differently is a bit like thinking in one language and then having to say the words in another one. It’s possible, but thinking and speaking in the same language is a lot easier. 

Before going into the details of what email marketing platforms we think are good, let's mention the ones we think you should stay well clear of! 

Platforms that aren’t good enough for email marketing

Some platforms on the market don't have the basic functionality to do good email marketing. One key thing that an email marketing platform needs to have, for example, is an API that allows it to connect and integrate with other platforms and tools you use in your business. If the platform doesn’t have an API, it's much harder for you to push data into third-party tools to run reports or create email automations. 

With that said, a platform that's great for hosting a course but not good enough for email marketing is Kajabi, which, at the moment, doesn't have any connectivity. It’s a locked box, and that's a deal breaker.

Don't put all your eggs in one basket!

In fact, except for one (GoHighLevel), we have yet to come across any all-in-one platforms that are good enough for email marketing. You can see the appeal of these types of platforms because of having everything in one place. However, putting all your eggs in one basket is never the best plan.

We've heard of platforms that suddenly stop businesses in a particular niche from having an account with them. And if this happens to you, it’s not just your email marketing you have to worry about, but also your landing pages, your affiliate programme, your calendar, etc. Investing in all-in-one platforms is a false economy. And if you're trying to cut corners, it means you're not seeing your email list as an asset – you’re treating it as a liability.

Just like Kajabi, MailChimp isn't good enough for email marketing. Surprised? But it's true. They make simple things extremely difficult. When we first set up our business, we used to build email automations for others, and MailChimp was awful! No wonder people started to think email marketing is complicated. If the tool makes it difficult, you’re going to think it is! Tools should be making things easier, not harder!

In a nutshell, if you’re using either Kajabi or MailChimp for your email marketing, you’re making it tougher than it needs to be. You want to use systems that make it easy to do clever stuff.

If you're going to pick an all-in-one platform, GoHighLevel is the one we'd recommend as it's hosted independently with its dedicated development team. 

Find an email marketing platform that works for you

There are only 4 or 5 world-class email marketing platforms that are worth considering if you’re a small business – i.e. a course creator, membership site owner, or coach. And the way to choose the best email marketing platform for you is based on how you like to think, work, and operate. This means that one isn’t better than the others – but one will be better for the way you work. So if you can, try before you buy.

For example, in our business, we like an email marketing platform that allows you to build email automations in a left-to-right workflow, like Keap. Many other platforms (such as Active Campaign and ConvertKit) are built from the top down. This means that physically, your first action is at the top and the next one is below that. We prefer the way Keap works – from left to right.

This may sound like a small thing, but a platform that's based on the way you think makes a massive difference to how fast you can build an email automation. It’s a bit like being at school and finding a teacher who explains things in a way that makes sense to you because it fits your style of learning. So pick one that suits your style, and you find easier to use.

Check out the price!

Price is always a factor. You'll have a specific budget, and every platform prices differently. Some will price based on a starting package of 500 subscribers, for example, while others may give you 2,500 to start with. If you only have a small list at the moment, you may be tempted to go for a starter package with a lower number and pick the cheapest platform. But if you’re planning on growing your business, you need to think ahead.

Start building the business you intend to have in 6-12 months. Before you know it, your list will have grown, and you’ll have to go through the hassle of moving platforms. When you break a certain subscriber threshold, some of the platforms suddenly become more expensive. And moving your list is a pain!

So, with your budget in mind, pick a platform that’s going to work for you in the long run. Make sure that the platform you choose is going to give you the tools and the ability to do the things you want to do.

The Top 10 Books To 'Power Up' Your Email Marketing

10 book recommendations that will improve all areas of your email marketing (including some underground treasures that we stumbled upon which have been game-changing for us).

The email marketing platforms our business recommends

Our top recommendation is Keap. You can see we have a huge bias towards Keap because that’s the platform we use and know. And in case you're wondering, we don't have it for free – we pay for the service just like everyone else.

But there are other email marketing platforms we have experience with and recommend, such as:

  • ActiveCampaign. 
  • ConvertKit.
  • Drip.
  • And MailerLite. 

We use ActiveCampaign for one of our businesses, and it's one with the top-down building functionality. It allows you to build email automations vertically with the first action at the top. We find it has a slow user interface, and it doesn't allow you to create personalised paths based on what action someone has taken (such as clicking on a link, for example). This is super easy to do in Keap, where you have the flexibility to send people down more than one path.

In ActiveCampaign and ConvertKit, you have to ask a specific question and get a yes or no answer before you can carry on building the logic. These platforms are built on binary outcomes. And figuring out the logic that allows you to do what you want to do can be frustrating! That said, we know people running very successful businesses in Active Campaign, so it's one to keep in mind.

The other platforms we’d recommend are ConvertKit, Drip, and MailerLite. A lot of people think that MailChimp is the entry-level platform that allows you to start doing professional things with email marketing. But it's not it – MailerLite is that platform. It's more under the radar than MailChimp, but it's not as hard work. MailChimp is a massive platform that only appears to be cheap (but isn't). So watch out for that one!

Check out The Email Hero Blueprint

Regardless of the platform you’re using, it’s all about how you get there. If you put me (Kennedy) in a Ferrari, I'm not going to get anywhere because I can’t drive. So it doesn’t matter how good the tools are if you’re not going to use them. That’s why we want to give you the system you can plug into your email marketing platform of choice. Even if you don’t choose one of the platforms we prefer or recommend, our programme will still work. It might just be a little more difficult to implement. You can find the full system inside The Email Hero Blueprint.


Make More Sales with our cutting-edge Psychology-Based Email Marketing Programme

  • Psychology-based email marketing.
  • 45+ Email Campaigns.
  • Video Campaign Workshops.
  • Growing Library of Video Trainings.

Subject line of the week

This week’s subject line is “Time-sucking vampires”. It's such a different subject line to land in your inbox compared to the conversational, benefit-driven, and more obvious ones that a lot of people send. It's quite weird too because people, largely speaking, don't believe that vampires are real. So it's an interesting thing to have in there and make people sit up and pay attention. 

If you're wondering what the email was all about, it was a story about the people with a clipboard who stop you in the street to ask you survey questions. They're like time-sucking vampires, aren't they? The story then talked about how what we're offering can save you time and make everything easier. So quite the opposite of that. Got it? Check it out! 

FREE list to improve your email marketing

If you want to write better emails, come up with better content, and move your readers to click and buy, here's how. Here's a list of our Top 10 most highly recommended books that will improve all areas of your email marketing (including some underground treasures that we happened upon, which have been game-changing for us). Grab your FREE list here

Join the FREE Facebook group

Do you want to chat about how you can maximise the value of your email list and make more money from every subscriber? There's a way! Every business is different, so come and hang out in our FREE Facebook group, the Email Marketing Show Community for Course Creators and Coaches. You'll find a lot of training and resources, and you can talk about what you're up to.

Try ResponseSuite for $1

This content is sponsored by ResponseSuite.com, the survey quiz and application form tool that we created specifically for small businesses like you to integrate with your marketing systems to segment your subscribers and make more sales. Try it out for 14 days for just $1.

Join The Email Hero Blueprint 

Want more? If you're a course creator, membership site owner, coach, author, or expert and want to learn all about the ethical psychology-based email marketing that turns 60-80% more of your newsletter subscribers into customers (within 60 days), The Email Hero Blueprint is for you. 

This is hands down the most predictable, plug-and-play way to double your earnings per email subscriber. It allows you to generate a consistent flow of sales without having to launch another product, service, or offer. Best news yet? You won't have to rely on copywriting, slimy persuasion, NLP, or ‘better' subject lines.

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