“What are some tools I can use to make my email marketing initiative more successful?” This is a common question that we are often asked by clients who are looking to take their email marketing strategy to the next level. Trust us, we’ve been there too!
Below, we have compiled a list of what we believe to be the definitive list of free email marketing tools. From beginners to experts, we believe that anyone can use the free tools listed below to become a better, more efficient email marketer. With that said, take a look. We hope you find something you love!
Copy Writing Tools
We all make spelling and grammatical errors (some of us more than others). The free version of Grammarly is an essential tool for copy writers of all levels. Basically, Grammarly is Microsoft Word Autocorrect on steroids. However, looking at Grammarly solely this way doesn’t do it complete justice.
In paid form Grammarly will address advanced grammatical errors through a software that only the truest of English Literature Majors can enjoy. For the majority of us, the free version works just fine.
On top of being a high quality autocorrect program, Grammarly offers high-level thesaurus capabilities, ensuring that your content never goes stale. One essential capability of Grammarly is synonym recommendations. This allows you to find the perfect words whenever you are looking for them.
Contextual understanding is where Grammarly shines over its competition, as it seems to understand the writers flow and uses this as a basis to make grammatical suggestions.
Hemingway is an awesome app that teaches you how to communicate with your customers. We spend so much time involved with our products and services that we understand them to the nth degree. When you talk at such a technical level, you isolate your buyers and prevent them from engaging in an effective and productive conversation.
Hemingway solves this problem by helping you communicate your product, service, and message using common language. The app will read your message and highlight what sentences could use revisions. It will track complicated phrases and provide simpler alternatives.
In addition, it will show you where to remove passive voice. Utilizing common language in your marketing efforts will help humanize your brand and inspire true 1:1 conversation with your customers and leads.
CoSchedule was built initially as a marketing planner software. But somewhere down the line, they created an amazing free headline analysis tool that gives you the ability to create powerful and impactful blog headlines, email subject lines, Adwords headlines, and more. The headline analyzer allows you to submit content headlines, then rates them based on a simple yet effective “word balance” scale. By meshing the proper common, uncommon, emotional, and powerful words, you’ll be writing jaw-dropping headlines in no time.
If you are struggling with a case of writer’s block, CoSchedule also offers a free tear-sheet with “power words” that will help spur your inner creative genius. These “power words” will guide you to more effective headlines, increasing click through rates with the power of compelling copy!
The work of Email design and code can be daunting. This is especially true for smaller businesses where dedicated design and code teams are few and far between.
Litmus Scope lets you pick up the slack by giving you an x-ray view at what the competition and industry leaders are sending out. More specifically, Litmus Scope allows you to view the HTML source code of any email you receive in your inbox through its simple yet effective integration with Gmail’s web client and your browsers bookmark bar. Simply open any email you wish to view in your inbox and hit the dedicated Litmus Scope tab in your bookmarks.
Scope gives you the knowledge you need to create emails on the same level as your inbox competition. Perhaps one of the best things about Litmus Scope is that it removes the “nonsense” from the sent message source code of an email. It trims the code from the origin message and removes any errors resulting in a clean HTML design. Not only will Scope show you how an email appears to a desktop client, it will also give you a preview of both text-based and mobile version.
PutsMail is a tool that is simple in theory and application. It offers a mail system that will deliver your coded and text (if you so desire) emails to any email address. After writing that uninspiring summary on the service, I can imagine the collective sigh of my audience, but hang with me. What makes PutsMail so great is that it’s accessible outside of an ESP environment (which is good for upstart developers) and it is a limited version of Litmus’ previewer at no cost.
For an early stage entrepreneurial venture or small business where every email credit with an ESP matters, PutsMail allows you to code and test properly for the most popular email clients. PutsMail provides the best possible reach with as little monetary investment possible.
The hardest part about email marketing is tracking conversions from the source. General open and click tagging from an ESP is not significant enough to track real ROI because the general open and click tagging doesn’t follow contacts through to your site. UTMs, on the other hand, will allow you to create campaigns that are trackable through google analytics and other compatible analytics software such as Adobe Analytics. This will allow you to measure the most important conversion metrics such as time on page, bounce rate, and shopping cart & thank you page visits. These metrics will give you a clear view path of your conversion funnel and will be especially powerful for companies looking to optimize their e-commerce strategy.
UTMs allow you to customize by campaign as well, so by utilizing them, you will know which sales came from which individual campaigns. If you aren’t currently using UTMs to track your email campaigns, it is definitely time to consider implementing them.
If you are looking to become a tech savvy email marketer with little effort, MX Toolbox is the perfect tool for you. A simple free account provides insight into blacklist status for any domains or IPs affiliated with you or your client’s email marketing strategies.
If you have been plagued by deliverability issues, MX Toolbox may provide you with the missing information you have been looking for. Blacklists have long been misunderstood as punishments for spammers and while on a fundamental level that is true, many innocent but uninformed senders will end up blacklisted within their email tenure. Unfortunately, blacklists are guided by a set of programmed functions and because of that, they do not distinguish between spammers and opt-in senders. What many people don’t realize is that spam traps can develop within their own opt-in database. If you are not regularly cleaning your email database you are subject to blacklistings on the same level as someone who sends to an outdated or purchased list.
We employ strict validation standards on all of our internal and client campaigns while constantly checking in with MX Toolbox to make sure our domain and IP infrastructure are functioning optimally.
There has been some back and forth on the importance of IP and domain reputation and its effect on deliverability in the past. Despite the naysayers, in an ever-changing environment such as email marketing, it is always good to manage your strategy on every possible front and that includes sender reputation. Your sender reputation is an amalgamation (that’s right, I said it) of multiple different metrics including complaint volume, send volume, and spam traps hit. Your sender score is typically based on a rolling, 30-day average and is used to show where you IP stands in comparison to other IP addresses, and the closer you score to 100 the better your deliverability will be. Return Path lets you manage your domain and IP reputation on a visual level while offering enough information to run diagnostic and analytic research on your past campaigns.
Sender Score becomes especially helpful when evaluating the quality of your ESP and the other senders on your shared pool. Unfortunately, not every business has the opportunity to work off of a dedicated IP setup that will route their mail only. Due to certain circumstances, many companies are forced to jump into shared IP pools with other senders creating more opportunity for deliverability variance. If you ever get stuck on a shared pool with poor quality senders your deliverability will eventually take a hit and when that happens, Sender Score will be your wingman when addressing the issue with your ESP.