5 Best Free (Or Free Trial) Email Marketing Tools

Email has been around for over 40 years now. Even though it’s one of the oldest forms of web-based social connection, email marketing still remains one of the most effective tools for driving inbound leads.

Why is this? It probably has something to do with the fact that out of 7 plus billion people in the world 3.7 billion of them are email users. And that number is only growing. Plus, email is one of the most cost-effective ways to reach leads. For every dollar spent on email marketing, the average ROI is $44.

Long story short, email marketing isn’t going away. If you haven’t invested in it yet, you’re missing a vital component of any kick-butt digital health marketing strategy. The good news is that there are plenty of free tools to get you started. But before we look at those, here are some basic concepts you should know about health tech marketing emails that really work.

Emails that increase ROI

For starters, let me just say that most successful email strategies operate on the basis of permission. That is to say, people have given you their information and have welcomed you into their inbox.

Be polite

Since you’re in their email “house” (so to speak), it’s vital that you convey respect, kindness, consideration - basically all the ways you want to be treated when you invite people into your home. Having said that, humdrum is no way to win the trust of your target audience. You also want to be upbeat, confident, and approachable.

Clear expectations and followthrough

Make sure you’re clear about how often your subscribers will be receiving emails. If they gave you their email address to get your monthly newsletter, nothing’s more frustrating than having an inbox full of unrelated emails.

On the other hand, people who sign up for daily emails with free tips could be frustrated if you only send out weekly or sporadic emails. In short, you need to set expectations and follow through on those to build confidence with your audience.

Automating the experience

If the last point was overwhelming, don’t let it be. With email marketing tools, you can automate many of the tasks that could eat up your time when initially launching a campaign. Because many of these tools offer customized outreach, you can also fit them into your established workflow. Some even offer these capabilities for free, but more on that later.

Emphasize your real upside

The reason people normally sign up for emails is great content. If they think they might miss some valuable free tool or tip that could revolutionize their career, they’ll be more likely to open your emails. So create content that matters to them and will advance their business.

When to sell, and when not to

Everyone has to grapple with the best time is to sell. And while that’s often different for each company, I will say this - if your emails sell more than they try to give, you won’t increase ROI.

People won’t open emails if they feel like you always want something from them. However, that doesn’t mean that you should never use an email to sell. It just means that sales emails should be like sprinkles on a cake - few and far between.

Leverage the metrics

This is one of the best benefits of using an email marketing tool. Almost all of them, free version or otherwise, offer the ability to view analytics that show you how your campaign is going. For instance, they typically show you things like unsubscribe rates and open rates. If these data points are poor, you then know that you need to adjust your strategy, content, or wording.

Divide and conquer

Should every email you send go to everyone? Mmm… probably not. Targeted emails get the best results. One simple way to segment your customers for better customized emails is to consider why they gave you their email in the first place.

Was there a specific blog article or interaction that made them want more? Did they subscribe for a monthly newsletter? Did they give you their information because of a free resource like an ebook? The answers to questions like these can guide your email outreach so that you pinpoint the right people with the right content.

Now that you know the best practices, I want to share some of the best free tools you can use to get started.

Hubspot - free

I want to start with one of my favorites because... well, it’s my favorite. For starters, Hubspot has so many free tools that grow with you. As your needs expand, they have paid versions that morph with your business.

Hubspot also has the capability of integrating with CRMs and other marketing automation tools. For instance, it integrates with other email platforms like Gmail, G Suite, Office 365, and Outlook. In addition, it notifies you when leads open your emails so you can connect with them when they’re most available.

Automation is another game changer available in Hubspot. Like many other platforms, you can schedule emails ahead of time and put them on autopilot. But here’s the cool thing - Hubspot also lets you use machine learning to send emails when people are most likely to engage.

Mailchimp - free

Many people like Mailchimp because its basic, uncomplicated features go along way in creating an organized email campaign. Especially for health tech marketers who are often pulled so many ways at once, an easy-to-use platform like this can really help you decide what matters… and what doesn’t.

For free you can get basic marketing email capabilities. For $15 a month you get even more abilities that allow you to expand to drip campaigns. The free version is limited to 12,000 email sends per month and outreach to 2,000 contacts within any 24 hour period. But for anyone getting started, it’s an affordable, functional option.

With the paid versions, you also have the ability to do A/B testing. By sending two slightly different emails to two different test groups, you can separate the good emails from the stellar ones, allowing you to heighten the effectiveness of the content you send.

Active Campaign - free trial

While Active Campaign doesn’t have a free version, you can test run their platform with their demo version. They include automation for multiple kinds of emails such as:

  • Broadcast emails

  • Trigger emails

  • Targeted emails

  • Autoresponder emails

  • Email funneling

  • Scheduled emails

But one of the features that really sets them apart from other email marketing platforms are their smart features. Their unique design allows some features to show up to one particular audience while not including those components for those who wouldn’t find it compelling.

Like Mailchimp, they also include A/B testing to improve your metrics. Plus, they can help you pinpoint content based on these analytics.

Sendy - free trial

The biggest selling point for Sendy is that it’s super affordable for those with massive audiences. It may require more work upfront, but in the long run you’ll be able to have a cost-effective, efficient tool for email marketing.

Wondering about price comparisons? For every 10,000 emails you send, you’d spend $200 in Mailchimp, $100 in Campaign Monitor, and $1 in Sendy. In addition, you can easily segment your lists with customizable criteria so that your emails are as targeted as possible.

Sendy also integrates with other marketing or automation platforms such as Wordpress and Zapier among others. And just like the other marketing tools we’ve talked about, Sendy includes autorespond capabilities and drip campaign optimization.

Constant Contact - free trial

Constant Contact is a favorite among many people. Because you can import contacts from multiple platforms - Facebook, Excel, Outlook, Salesforce, and the list goes on - it’s a relatively simple way to get all your contacts in one place without doing a lot of manual entry.

Plus, in comparison to the 77% of regular emails that hit customers inboxes, Constant Contact has a success rate of 98%. They also feature real time tracking tools so you can know instantly how your email is performing. Alongside automation features, you can also send and track customer insights through surveys and polls.

In short, email marketing may take a little time to set up. But once you get it running with these marketing automation tools, it’s a relatively cost and time efficient health tech marketing solution for busy digital health startup professionals.

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Whitney is a consultant, speaker, and writer on a mission to help life-saving, life-changing technology break through the noise and achieve mass user adoption. Learn more about her here.