E-mail marketing is a must for all small businesses but when you’re in e-commerce – it’s what drives the entirety of your business. That means you need an e-mail marketing solution that has been designed with e-commerce in mind and which supports a bit more flexibility than most businesses might need and that’s why SendinBlue is our best e-commerce e-mail marketing software.
Why Did We Choose SendinBlue?
SendinBlue was only formed in 2012 but its expansion has been incredible. They support over 15,00 businesses with teams in Europe, Asia and North America. They deliver more than 30 million e-mails a day. That makes them a reliable and reputable company in our book – even if they’ve only been in the game for a short while compared to some of the more established players.
Value for Money
SendinBlue is perfect to grow your e-commerce business with – they offer a free account to get you started with low volumes of e-mails. As you grow – their pricing scheme scales alongside you and while things can get expensive when you start sending thousands of mails a day; we think that the cost per mailout is very reasonable at every scale. For example if you need to send 15 million e-mails a month – it’s less than $2,000 to do so.
What makes SendinBlue best for e-commerce? It’s the ability to handle e-mail, responsive (or transactional) e-mail as well as SMS. While there are many packages that do one of these things very well – only in SendinBlue does them all well. That’s a big deal for e-commerce where you really don’t want to fire up multiple packages to carry out e-mail transactions and communication transactions constantly throughout the day.
Email marketing is the function which enables the business owner to send mass e-mails to their list in order to create interest for a promotion or service or to explain what’s going on in the industry. Whereas responsive e-mails are those that are triggered in response to a customer taking a particular action – such as signing up to a mailing list or making a purchase on your website.
SMS marketing is very useful too even in these days of e-mail marketing; there are advantages to being able to communicate instantly with all your customers no matter what kind of phone they are using. It’s worth noting that SMS marketing occurs additional charges on top of the standard SendinBlue package – that’s to reflect the fact that it costs money to send each SMS via an SMS gateway on a telecoms network.
Ease of Use and Functionality
SendinBlue is very easy to use. You can import your lists from other packages (in both CSV and TXT files) and integrate it with some of the major existing web packages to auto-populate the list. However, it’s worth noting that there aren’t as many options here as you might like and there are some surprising omissions – namely Joomla.
List management is a doddle in SendinBlue and we liked that you can create multiple lists and create segments within those lists too. That means you should be able to target your e-mail campaigns as precisely as possible.
The analytics side of things is robust too and the level of data relayed about each campaign is very good. For SMS campaigns you can get real time reporting too which is great when you’re trying to build an accurate picture of a campaign’s performance for future reference.
You can also purchase a dedicated IP range for your mailings (at a cost of just under $150 a year) to ensure that you don’t get flagged as spam as often and that more of your mailings hit their target.
The email marketing campaign manager lets you build from templates or create your own unique templates in an HTML editor. Adding social media sharing to your e-mails is as simple as dragging in a network icon. We found that SendinBlue supports more social media outlets than the majority of e-mail marketing tools on the market too.
Responsive/transactional e-mail campaigns require a little more work to set up because you need to define the workflow which triggers the e-mail. This isn’t as difficult as it might be – but you may need to work with your web designer to ensure the right code goes in the right place on your websites.
SMS creation, as you might expect, is the easiest task of the lot. Type the text and then decide who to send it to.
Customer support is limited to Monday to Friday 7.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. PST which isn’t as broad a range of office hours as we’d like but our experience with their representatives was very much a positive one and they were more about support than they were about selling. We also found them to be more thorough and engaged than some of the support reps at other e-mail marketing providers.
There’s a decent array of documentation online to help you through the process of using SendinBlue and they have tutorials and FAQs to get you started. Again, we think this range of support could be supplemented with additional features – it’s not quite as comprehensive as some other providers offer.
Drawbacks to Using SendinBlue
SendinBlue is a relative newcomer to the e-mail marketing market place and it shows in some areas. We think their template e-mails could really use a few more templates; they’re very limited compared to the competition. We’d also like to see the appearance of a mobile app for managing campaigns; something that is going to become increasingly important as e-commerce stores are an ever growing market section.
On the flip side, SendinBlue is the only provider that does the SMS thing and responsive e-mail thing as well as e-mail marketing, so there are bonuses to the trade off.
Our other concern, as we’ve already noted, is the slightly sub-par approach to customer support. There really should be 24 hour support of some form and more documentation would be useful.