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Best website builder for 2021: Squarespace, Wix and more compared

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Whether you’re a small business owner, artist, photographer, writer or consultant, there’s a website builder out there for you — even if you don’t know how to code.

Well-known website builders such as WixWeebly and Squarespace make it easy for even a newbie to put together something polished in a relatively short time, even when they need advanced features like an e-commerce platform or email marketing. Gone are the days of needing to be a web developer with a lot of money, time and coding skills to create a simple website that looks professional.

Finding the best website builder depends on the website owners’ particular needs — the process can be overwhelming because there are so many choices from free website builder options for a simple website to e-commerce website builder platforms for a more complex business website. But the growth and complexity of the website building industry also means you have more choices than ever before, and you can easily find the best website builder tailored to your wants and needs.

It’s true that a few favorites have emerged — and those top website builder options are usually a good place to start — but even the front-runners aren’t ideally suited for every scenario. To make it simple for you, we’ve compiled all the information you need to make a good decision on the best website builder and get to the fun part of designing your own website. We took into consideration factors including if the builder offers an SEO tool, a solid customization option and the strength of the company’s customer support.

Free trial? Starting price*
Best overall website builder (and best for free) Wix ”unlimited” w/ ads $13/month
Best prepackaged design Squarespace 14 days $12/month
Easiest to use Weebly ”unlimited” w/ ads $12/month
Most customizable Duda 30 days $14/month
Best no-frills option GoDaddy 30 days $10/month
Best for writers and bloggers WordPress ”unlimited” w/ ads $5/month
Best for basic e-commerce Shopify 14 days $29/month
Best for bigger stores BigCommerce 15 days $29/month

*Starting price doesn’t include cheaper plans if they are ad-supported. Some vendors offer free domain hosting for the first year on some plans as well.

To compile this list, we researched the prices, plans and features of over 12 different website builders and scoured reviews from several sites (including PCMag, Wirecutter, WebsiteToolTester, SiteBuilderReport, WPBeginner and more) to see where there might be any consensus. We also surveyed the CNET staff, and ultimately spent time building some test sites using the tools below (if we weren’t already members). We paid particular attention to the categories that not only differentiate one site from another, but that actually matter to business owners, artists and creators such as SEO features, mobile-friendly website builders, live chat options, available plugins and customer support.

If, by the end of the list, you’re still not sure which direction to go with your website building, we’ve included a guide at the bottom, including key questions you should be asking yourself as you start your online venture. Finally, if you already have a website and just need a host or you’re interested in building a WordPress site, check out our list of best web hosting services.

Best website builder overall

http://www.google.com/

Wix

Wix is the clear front-runner in the race for website builder dominance. It’s the biggest player with over 110 million websites built and boasts the greatest quantity of tools, capabilities, and freedom.

Wix covers the full ease-of-use spectrum by offering an AI-fueled automatic website creator on one end (“Wix ADI”) that requires minimal effort from the user, all the way to Wix Corvid, an open development platform for advanced applications like Javascript, databases and data-driven dynamic pages. To maximize the experience, we do recommend choosing one lane (e.g., Wix ADI, specific templates or design-from-scratch), since it can be difficult to maintain consistency across your website design if, for example, you start with a template but then decide you want to totally customize it.

Like many competitors in this space, Wix offers a basic free website builder plan that lets you create a free website starter site with ads. If you like what you see with the free website builder, you can spend up for a premium, ad-free site. Pricing falls within industry standards with a $13-per-month “Combo” plan that covers most needs for a personal website. If you need an ecommerce website builder for your ecommerce store,  Wix offers a $49-per-month “Business VIP” ecommerce website plan for your online store. Those prices do not include a domain, so you’ll need to account for that separately. And if you’re interested in stats and analytics, you’ll either need to get a Google Analytics paid plan or another third-party tool, as Wix doesn’t have its own.

Despite being the clear favorite among most reviewers, Wix does have a few drawbacks. Wix was one of the few builders that has data limitations for each of its plan tiers, so if you want to upload endless photos and videos, or expect more than 5,000 visitors a month to your site, make sure you do the math before choosing a plan.

Also, the editor’s freedom and range of options can be overwhelming for folks who don’t have the time or inclination to make lots of little decisions and the web design flexibility means you’ll need to be more hands-on with the format and layout, as opposed to more structured or limited editors where you can’t draw too far outside the lines.

Best prepackaged design

http://www.google.com/

Squarespace

Squarespace strikes us as being the cool kid in high school — flashy and hip on the surface but lacking substance underneath. We found it to be in between Wix and Weebly in terms of ease of use, though it did get consistently positive marks from reviewers for the quality of design. Where we think it really might shine is for small- to medium-size businesses who want a nicely designed page and room for e-commerce growth with lower transaction fees.

The Squarespace editor isn’t as intuitive as Wix and Weebly, requiring a little bit of work until you get the hang of it. It has a fair amount of add-ons, website templates and tools, and the universal style editor and strong photo editing are helpful. The responsive website editor means that your site will always look good on a mobile device, but you won’t be able to make mobile-specific edits like with Wix or Duda. We also found consistent high marks for helpful and responsive customer support, which should put business owners’ minds at ease.

Squarespace starts off with a $12-a-month Personal plan, which includes unlimited storage, bandwidth and a domain, and offers an $18 Business website plan that includes unlimited contributors, a Gmail pro account, and e-commerce store builder capabilities. If you go for an “Online Store” plan, you can choose between $26 and $40 a month, the latter of which includes a few final touches like abandoned shopping cart recovery and gift cards. It’s important to note that the $26 online store plan, while maybe slightly above the market rate for an e-commerce site, comes with no transaction fees. So depending on your sales volume on a given month, those savings for our online store could really add up.

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Overall, Squarespace’s website is a good analog for what you get with its products: clean, professional and inviting design, but without the layers of design power or freedom you get from other builders.

Easiest to use

http://www.google.com/

Weebly

Weebly flies under the radar relative to Wix with 50 million websites created, but offers some excellent options depending on your needs. If you want a simple and easy-to-use do-it-yourself website editor, a large site (more than 25 to 30 pages), unlimited storage, site portability and affordable yet powerful online store capabilities, Weebly plays a good David to Wix’s Goliath.

The editor is one of the easiest website builder options to use and the low learning curve still nets great-looking sites. That ease-of-use means the editor is more limited in terms of add-ons and design flexibility and it doesn’t have the range of options or mobile customization that a builder like Wix has. Still, in our testing, we never came to a point where we found those constraints to be limiting. For a high-octane web designer, though, it could come up.

Weebly’s prices are similar to competitors like Wix or Squarespace, but its free plan option is one of the most generous among free website builders and for just $5 a month you can get up and running with your own domain name (albeit with Weebly ads). Its $12-per-month plan will give you an ad-free site with analytics and commerce capabilities, while the $25 plan gets you more store tools, like tax and shipping calculators, inventory management and discounts.

Weebly is a good option for those who may be more limited in terms of their time investment and its commerce options outshine competitors like Wix and Squarespace. For those who are wary of committing to a website builder knowing that you won’t be able to pick up and leave later on, Weebly also offers the ability to download site files so you can move to another host, a rarity in the site builder landscape.

Best for building a customized experience

http://www.google.com/

Duda

Duda is a smaller player compared to the other builders above with around 15 million websites built and it focuses on a specific market segment: designers and design agencies. It caters to individuals and groups that make a lot of sites, but with a powerful and easy-to-use builder and a number of differentiated offerings, it’s emerged as a good option for anyone looking to develop an online presence.

Duda’s builder boasts a number of features that set it apart, including mobile site customization, detailed data analytics (e.g. advanced metrics like form submissions, time on page and bounce rate) and user personalization so you can easily display specific messages or offers to users based on the time of day, their location or their browsing history. It’s also known for its multilanguage support and a free e-commerce add-on that allows you to sell up to 10 products.

Duda’s pricing is a little bit higher than its main competitors like Wix and Weebly, starting off at $14 per month for the Basic plan. At $22, you can add up to four editors for your site (instead of only one with Basic), access advanced analytics and begin using Duda as a white-label/custom-branded builder, another one of Duda’s selling points. Its “Agency” plan at $74 per month is geared toward web designers who are building pages for multiple clients and includes eight websites and the ability to download site files for portability.

Duda is a little expensive, but fills some of the voids that the main players have, like analytics, multilingual capabilities and better personalization and mobile customization.

Best For basic, no-frills websites

http://www.google.com/

GoDaddy

GoDaddy is best known for its custom domain names and web hosting services, so it makes sense that it also offers website builder software. The name is a mouthful — “Websites + Marketing” — but it’s a similar templatized experience like the other options on this list, designed to get a basic site up and running in under an hour.

The free tier includes such niceties as email and social media marketing, PayPal payments and an SSL certificate. The $10 monthly plan is straight-up basic; $15 adds an SEO tool; $20 tacks on extended support for appointments and its $25-per-month Ecommerce plan is for online store capabilities, including some impressive product listing and shipping options for your ecommerce website.

Despite the fact that GoDaddy is better known as a domain seller, a domain isn’t included in those prices — you’ll need to add that separately. But all in all, GoDaddy’s current website creator is a nice step up from its now-discontinued GoCentral product. Likewise, by switching to a free tier, there’s no longer a 30-day timer on your experience, so you can take your time kicking the tires to see if GoDaddy is right for you.

Best for writers and bloggers

http://www.google.com/

WordPress

When most people talk about WordPress, they’re usually referring to the free open-source software available through WordPress.org. That’s very powerful, but it takes some time to learn and still requires that you find a website host and domain name. If you’re interested in going the advanced route of WordPress.org, we recommend you check out a tutorial or guide such as those you can find on WPBeginner or WebsiteToolTester to learn how it works.

The WordPress.com website builder is something else. It’s similar to the other builders listed above and is primarily geared toward bloggers and writers. The WordPress website editor is fairly limited compared to other services, but is easy to set up and has everything you need for blogging. We should also note that it’s not an intuitive drag-and-drop website builder like Wix or Weebly.

Its pricing is fairly cheap, starting off at $5 per month to remove WordPress ads and giving you 6GB of storage. From there it goes to $8 for 13GB of storage and online selling capabilities, and finally a $25 option that allows you to use custom WordPress theme options and add-ons. The $8 option seems like the best deal if you’re setting up a blog and thinking about monetizing it at some point.

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Overall, WordPress caters to bloggers who don’t want or need to spend a lot of time on website design, but it feels very limited for most other use cases. That said, anyone who’s looking for more robust off-the-shelf CMS (content management systems) options should consider Joomla and Drupal. Both are arguably less user-friendly than WordPress, but offer more customization options. At least one CNET editor also felt that Drupal and Joomla also offered faster page loading speeds.

Best for basic e-commerce

http://www.google.com/

Shopify

If Wix is the clear favorite for most website building needs, Shopify fills that role for an e-commerce store. The platform offers an easy and user-friendly way to get an e-commerce website store up and running online, and it supports business owners throughout the process with their e-commerce tools. Shopify is a safe place to start for most “e-tailers,” though similar to Wix, that doesn’t mean it’s perfect for every scenario.

Like most other commerce-focused builders, Shopify’s platform is geared toward your product and sales details. Fortunately for those without a ton of experience setting up a retail operation, Shopify’s process ensures you won’t miss an important step as it guides you through inventory, customer information, and tax and shipping rates. And if you still have a question, Shopify offers 24-7 phone and chat support and an active online community forum.

Given that its user base is fairly defined, Shopify doesn’t offer a plethora of plan options, and its prices come in above the market average. The “Basic Shopify” plan is $29 a month and covers most of the basic needs for an online store, while the $79-a-month plan offers gift cards and more staff accounts. From our perspective, it was hard to rationalize the $50 jump from basic to standard, but if you factor in the reduced transaction fees and shipping discounts, it might make sense. If you’re running a bigger operation, they also offer a $299-a-month plan.

The main drawback of Shopify is probably its pricing model. If you want the support, guidance and a builder that will take care of most of the technical details, the extra costs are worth it. And the many apps available are enticing, but can also add up if you’re using those that cost extra. If after considering the different e-commerce features you’re still on the fence, we recommend you calculate the total cost of additional add-ons and transaction fees based on your sales, and then compare with competitors like BigCommerce, which offers more product variants and combinations and lower fees.

Best for bigger stores

http://www.google.com/

BigCommerce

BigCommerce lives up to its name — it’s best for medium- to large-scale online stores that can cash in on the lack of added transaction fees and unlimited product variants. The store site builder might not be quite as easy to use as Shopify’s, but the amount of time you spend getting used to it could save you a lot of money down the road.

The editor has a lot of features and flexibility when you’re getting set up, but similar to Wix, that can be overwhelming for newcomers. If you have a little experience, however, those features and tools — like product variants and tax rates — will probably come in handy as you grow or if you’re already at scale.

BigCommerce’s price tiers are identical to Shopify’s at $29 (Standard), $79 (Plus), and $249 (Pro), but what you get at each level differs. Even the lowest BigCommerce plan at $29 gives its clients unlimited users, unlimited bandwidth and storage, unlimited products, and no added transaction fees. You can even link your e-commerce site to eBay, Google Shopping and Amazon. Where the pricing gets a little tricky is with the sales thresholds: The Standard plan only supports annual sales of less than $50,000, while Plus supports up to $150,000 and Pro up to $400,000. So basically you save a lot of money on transaction fees the more sales you rack up, but if you have enough sales, you have to upgrade to the next plan tier.

As with all the online store builders, it’ll be worth it to do a little math based on your product inventory and expected sales. No transaction fees — they even have a discount deal worked out with PayPal where you can save an additional 0.5% to 1% — strikes us as a major deal-maker depending on your size, so if you’re a bigger operation, take advantage of the 15-day trial and give BigCommerce a shot.

How to choose the best website builder

screen-shot-2019-05-14-at-3-09-11-pm
Wix

Given the wealth of options and the fact that many website builders don’t allow you to pick up and move later on, it’s important to enter the fray with a clear idea of what you need. By first establishing your priorities and direction, it will be easier to find a match for the best website builder and avoid buyer’s remorse down the road.

In terms of pricing, most builders offer two to four different price tiers, each with a different set of features. This can make comparing services difficult, since they don’t make it easy to line up apples-to-apples, but that’s a big reason why we’ve created this handy guide!

Generally speaking, you can get a good individual website built for around $8 to $10 a month with an annual subscription. Most e-commerce plans range between $20 to $25 per month, and if you need an enterprise-style plan with multiple editors and VIP-level support, prices can go up to $300 per month for a premium plan.

Storage and bandwidth are usually unlimited, but there are exceptions like Wix, which scales its storage capacity according to the plan tier. And even its lowest tier plan has a decent amount (3GB of storage and enough bandwidth to support up to around 5,000 visitors per month).

After the big questions like price and storage, finding the best website builder all comes down to what you’re looking for. Below are some guiding questions to help ensure you’re ready to shop like an expert and find the best website builder for your needs.

What is the purpose of your site?

Your first step should be to determine the primary goal of your web presence. Do you want to sell a product? Attract potential customers for your services? Build a portfolio page?

By first establishing your raison d’etre, you’ll be able to prioritize the tools, plugins and capabilities you want in your builder and not get pulled off track by a fancy add-on that isn’t actually helping you achieve your goal. If you’re primarily interested in racking up sales, start by looking at the e-commerce specialists, like Shopify and BigCommerce. If you’re a photographer or web designer who wants a beautiful website or portfolio website, Wix and Squarespace are good places to start. Wix might edge Squarespace if you want more control over the design, while Squarespace might be better if you just want a stylish frame for your work.

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If you just want something easy to use, Weebly and GoDaddy both offer intuitive builders, with Weebly offering more features and design finesse, while GoDaddy is much simpler and more limited. If you’re setting up a site or store and you want to present a customized experience to users or you have something specific in mind for the mobile version of your site, Duda offers the most customization capabilities. And if you’re a wordsmith who can’t be bothered by design decisions and fancy editors, WordPress can help you get your blog up and offers good ways to reach your readers.

How much time do you want to invest in building your website?

This obviously will vary depending on a number of factors, not the least of which is how clear of a design vision you have and whether you have experience building a website. That being said, each site builder has pros and cons when it comes to level of usability or ease-of-use based on the features, flexibility and intuitive design of the editing interface. On one end of the spectrum you have a builder like Wix, which is very easy to use but also comprehensive — the sheer number of options and tools makes it hard to whip up a site quickly. On the other end, you have a builder like WordPress or GoDaddy, each of which doesn’t provide you with a ton of options when building your pages.

Most people will want to devote enough time to their site that it serves its purpose of representing you online in a good light, so we generally recommend you take the time to learn your editor and take advantage of the many options available.

How much design control do you want?

This goes hand-in-hand with time investment, since the more control you have, the more choices you have to make. There are builders like Squarespace that have a fairly rigid design structure, but still let you customize fonts, colors and content, and on the other end of the spectrum you have a site like Wix, that lets you place objects anywhere on your site (at your own risk!), or Duda, which allows you to customize the mobile experience or create custom user experiences based on browsing history.

How big is your site?

Certain editors are more geared toward large site structures (40-plus pages) than others, so it’s important to know whether you will have a ton of pages and sections, or whether it’s more in the realm of a glamorized digital business card or fancy work portfolio.

The number of navigation levels, for example (which you can think of like file folders (or Inception): a page within a directory within another directory would represent three levels of navigation), can be an important consideration. Most pages probably use two levels — sections and the pages within each section, but online stores and other types of sites might need more. Weebly and BigCommerce are probably the best examples of builders that support large site structures, while Squarespace and Wix limit you to two levels of navigation.

How important is e-commerce?

Every builder we researched has an e-commerce option available, but that doesn’t mean that they’re all up to the task. A site like WordPress isn’t really what you want if your plan is to sell products online, while a site like Shopify or BigCommerce is expressly focused on online sales and has lots of e-commerce features. If you really just want to have a clean and easy-to-use online storefront, one of the dedicated e-commerce builders makes the most sense, but if it’s more of an ancillary service or simply nice to have, you can go with the builder that feels the best and sign up for its e-commerce option. There are even builders like Duda, which allow you to sell up to 10 products for free using another plan.

How big is your sales operation?

Transaction fees: While we’re not small business owners, we do like math and this variable struck us as particularly important. If you sell $10,000 of products in a month with a 3% vendor processing fee, you’re spending an extra $300 every month. If you’re paying your website host an extra 1% to 3%, that’s another $100 to $300. Those numbers greatly eclipse the monthly rate you’re paying, and add up even more if you’re selling significantly more. So before you choose a builder, make sure you read the fine print about transaction fees.

Many builders don’t charge on top of the Square or Paypal rate (usually 3%), but some do. Shopify charges extra if you don’t use Shopify Payments, but if you do use its services, you can get a rate below 3%. Then there are sites like BigCommerce, which doesn’t charge extra and even has a PayPal discount, but has sales limits for each plan.

We know you’re a smart and savvy business owner who pays close attention to the books, but we thought it would still help to remind you: do the math before signing up.

How flexible do you want to be with the host?

As we mentioned at the top, many builders lock you into their hosting service, but not all. If you’re afraid of commitment or think you might want to switch as your business or services evolve, go with a service like Weebly or Duda that allows you to download your website files for easy use on another host.

The other big factor here is the free trial period. The industry standard is around 14 days, but some go up to a month, and others don’t have a trial period but will give you your money back within 30 days if you’re not happy.

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EMAIL MARKETING

Best Email Marketing Software for eCommerce that Supercharges Their Sales

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Email marketing is still one of the best ways to reach an exceptional number of customers at a time. So, investing in the right email marketing solutions for your eCommerce business could be the best way to nurture your audience. Our guide will lead you through while choosing the best email marketing software for eCommerce!

Despite the importance of social media seems to have overtaken digital marketing, email marketing continues to deliver strong ROI and value for retailers, online store owners and marketers. According to the survey conducted by Data & Marketing Association, the average ROI for email marketing is 122%, which is more than four times higher than other marketing formats including social media.

What are Email Marketing Services?

As email marketing covers a vast world of techniques and strategies, it is fair that brands can feel a bit confused in choosing the right email marketing platform. 

Simply, email marketing services help send emails to the sheer number of subscribers in order to inform them about new products, discounts, and other services. These emails can be newsletters or transactional emails. Business owners get help from email marketing software to inform everyone in their contact list, drive sales and build a highly engaged community.

With the recent developments made in technology, email marketing software has been leveled up to a stage that segmentation and customization are at the forefront of email campaigns. In modern email marketing, AI-powered solutions while increasing revenue, on the other hand, significantly reducing costs.

Benefits of Using Email Marketing Software

Email marketing stands on the three key points: conversions, brand awareness and customer loyalty

Businesses using email marketing services will be able to more easily expand their audience and increase their sales, as research shows that by 2023 the number of emails sent and received per day could reach 347 billion.

The key benefits that make an email marketing tool vital for eCommerce businesses;

  • Creates automated email,
  • Generates multiple email templates,
  • Builds targeted profiles based on age, location or past purchases,
  • Reduces marketing costs,
  • Better interacts with customers,
  • Makes sharable content.

Choosing the Right Email Marketing Tool for Your Store

Almost every store owners encounter difficulties when choosing the best email marketing platform for eCommerce. Although some businesses need specific features, the key features include;

  • The built-in monitor to check email deliverability,
  • Automated email journey to nurture campaigns,
  • Personalized email creation easily with drag and drop builder,
  • Detailed email marketing campaign end report,
  • Seamless integration with current tech stack,
  • Easily accessible 24/7 customer support.
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After identifying these key features, the next step is to check out the pricing range. Luckily almost every email marketing tool offers different types of pricing plans to all needs. Additionally, free trials are also provided to experience the tool before fully investing in it. 

If we are all clear on what we expect from email marketing services and how they will add value to your eCommerce business, there is only one step left: finding your best fit!

Top 5 Email Marketing Software for eCommerce

We have bunched up the best email marketing service for eCommerce to help you pick the solution that best meets your needs. Here are our best picks for you:

  • Infobip
  • HubSpot 
  • Plezi
  • BigMailer.io 
  • Constant Contact

Let’s dive into each email marketing software in particular to lead more sales for your eCommerce business!

Infobip

One of the powerful email marketing solutions Infobip is mostly known as a customer communications platform. As email marketing is also a part of this communication, Infobip offers particular solutions in this field as well. 

Regardless of which eCommerce platform you use, eCommerce businesses effortlessly integrate Infobip into their omnichannel strategy. The email marketing tool offers a comprehensive dashboard in order to create and manage email campaigns. By benefiting from the personalization feature, users can create sophisticated and contextualized emails that deliver value to their customers.

Source: Infobip

Infobip helps store owners create highly personalized and well-automated email journeys that drive conversions. With the email validation feature, they can make sure that subscribers’ email addresses are valid or not. It helps get emails delivered to the right inboxes.

More importantly, the success of an email marketing campaign can only be measured if the metrics are analyzed and reported well. Luckily, Infobip provides an in-depth analysis to check how marketing campaigns are going on several platforms.

You can speak with one of their specialists to get the best potential pricing for your eCommerce business.

HubSpot

HubSpot offers various solutions and strategies to grow your eCommerce business through email marketing. Store owners, retailers or marketers can create and design personalized email campaigns without any coding need. As HubSpot provides a diversified amount of services in particular Marketing and Sales, it makes it possible to optimize and improve email marketing campaigns better. For example, the CRM feature helps customer data you are using is valid.

hubspot-email-marketing-solution-for-ecommerce
Source: HubSpot

One of the best email marketing services for eCommerce HubSpot also offers a wide range of goal-based email templates. Users can customize the templates, CTAs and branding with a drag and drop editor easily.

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Since personalized emails get more opens and click-throughs, HubSpot’s email marketing tool allows users to change relevant subject lines, links, attachments and CTAs.

Another point that is worth mentioning about HubSpot’s offerings is A/B testing. This feature will give insights on which subject lines get the most opens or which content drives engagement and sales most.

Good news! HubSpot’s email marketing software is free. For additional functionalities, the price increases.

Plezi

Plezi is a powerful marketing automation solution that helps store owners create fully automated and intelligent email marketing campaigns. They can also build smart campaigns that automatically personalise and segment their audience.

If you are beginning your digital journey and looking for the best email marketing software for eCommerce, Plezi could be a great start. The email marketing tool offers customizable email templates that can be easily edited via the drag and drop builder. 

plezi-email-marketing-solution-for-ecommerce
Source: Plezi

Plezi shines out in analyzing each action of customers. Detecting the buying journey of prospects helps better understand their needs. The comprehensive reports Plezi provides make it easier to gain insight into all of the multi-channel interactions. Email deliverability, open rates, clicks and conversion rates are some of the metrics that reports cover. 

Plezi offers different pricing plans that vary between £299 to £499 per month based on the number of your contacts.

BigMailer.io

BigMailer is a cloud-based email marketing tool that allows users to create and send emails in bulk, auto/drip or transactional. It also provides an extensive contact list that includes a sheer number of subscribers to manage them more effectively in a single dashboard.

bigmailer-email-marketing-solution-for-ecommerce
Source: BigMailer

BigMailer’s built-in brand management platform supports all types of email marketing campaigns and white-label options. Users can use the custom email templates as well as create new ones depending on their desires using the drag and drop editor.

If you are an Amazon reseller, BigMailer provides specific solutions only for you. Without connecting your Amazon SES account, you can import your contacts or use its email collection forms. From checking bounces, complaints and unsubscribers to email engagement tracking and reporting, BigMailer meets all your needs.

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BigMailer offers four different pricing plans that charge based on the number of your contacts. Reach out to them to get more information.

Constant Contact

The last mention goes to Constant Contact which is one of the best email marketing software for eCommerce. By using Constant Contact, marketers can create effective email marketing campaigns that meet their business goals. 

Whether running physical stores or digital shops like Shopify stores, email marketing will remain vital. Constant Contact helps users at each stage of their email marketing journey. Creating and designing emails, customizing, segmenting customers, analyzing and reporting email marketing campaign metrics are just some of the benefits the email marketing software offers. 

constant-contact-email-marketing-solution-for-ecommerce
Source: Constant Contact

Constant Contact allows marketers to target new audiences and generate brand awareness by conducting substantial email marketing campaigns. Especially, social media ads, landing pages and website sign-up forms are great ways to seek new customers. Social media ads, particularly Facebook ads is one of the most effective lead generation channels as it targets extremely narrow audiences.

Last but not least, Constant Contact integrates numerous eCommerce platforms to grow your online store better.

Constant Contact provides two different pricing plans that vary between $20 to $45 per month based on the number of contacts.

Wrapping Up: Which is the Best Email Marketing Platform for eCommerce Business Owners?

Every business is unique. So, it will not be fair to point out only one email marketing platform that suits each marketer’s needs. 

We have discussed above the tools that we believe could be the best solution for eCommerce store owners for easing their jobs. Depending on your business core needs and of course budget, you will be the one who has the final say. 

If you are still undecided about which email marketing service best suits your needs, there are more solutions here to unleash the power of your eCommerce business!



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EMAIL MARKETING

10 Things You Need to Stop Doing in Your Marketing Emails

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10 Things You Need to Stop Doing in Your Marketing Emails


Did you know that roughly 45% of emails sent are considered spam?

Yes, that number sounds bad.

Maybe your marketing emails aren’t spam, they can be treated as one by your recipient.

Note: This post was originally published in June 2015, and updated in November 2021 to include new tips and data.

For some people, email marketing is the best way to go, but others commit huge mistakes in their marketing emails and think that it doesn’t work.

So before you leave email marketing behind, why don’t you analyze your marketing emails first? Maybe there are things you can improve that you haven’t seen yet that’s why your efforts are failing miserably.

So, without further ado, here are the top 10 things you should stop doing in your marketing emails to increase open rates and conversions.

1. Generic subject lines

Serious question. How many emails do you receive every day? Maybe too much that you can’t read every single one of them.

According to TechJury, the average office worker receives around 120 emails per day.

What are the odds that your email will be one of the few opened? Or even just noticed?

Too low if your subject line is not as brilliant as Buzzfeed’s email subject lines.

Buzzfeed Marketing Emails Subject Line

Subject lines are one of the most crucial parts of an email, that’s why you have to be very careful when creating one.
Good thing there are ways you can follow to make sure that your emails will go directly to your recipients inbox – meaning higher chances of being opened!

  1. Avoid spammy words like “free,” “limited time,” “buy,” and using all caps, such as “REMINDER,” and “CLICK.”
  2. Be clear. Being witty or super creative with the subject line is fine, but be sure that you’re not compromising clarity. Be clear with your message and intention, and avoid disappointing your recipients by putting up a subject line that will not be further explained in the content.
  3. Be concise. Subject lines that work have 50 characters or fewer. Concise subject lines are recommended if you want it to be fully displayed in the email pane – especially for mobile devices.

A good subject line is not too generic that it doesn’t really speak with your recipients, rather, it should urge them to do something or show that they will benefit from reading your email.

Tip: A/B test your subject lines

A/B testing is when you change certain parts of your email, whether it be the subject line or body copy, to see how the changes impact your results.

By A/B testing, you get to see what works with your audience and what doesn’t. For example, if your subject lines with puns get consistently higher open rates, then moving forward you know it’s better to have punny subject lines.

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2. Images that don’t display properly

We’ve all experienced receiving marketing emails with broken images.

I know… that’s frustrating.

Although you can’t always blame yourself or your email marketers for instances like this, because not all recipients can receive visual elements – some can only receive in plain text.

What you can do instead is to limit the usage of images, and make sure that you have proper alt text for all your images to keep your readers away from being clueless on what your images are all about.

Buzzfeed Marketing Emails ALT Text

3. Usage of “noreply” emails

 

Lomography No-reply marketing emails

Generic addresses, especially ‘no-reply’ ones prevent your readers from engaging with your business. And we don’t want that.

We want to receive emails with email addresses that we can reply to – where we can ask questions or give feedback.

‘No-reply’ email addresses have also been proven to decrease open rates, and increase unsubscribe and complaint rates.

If you’re not yet convinced that you should give up using ‘no-reply’ email, perhaps this guideline will finally persuade you.

The CAN-SPAM Act: A Compliance Guide for Business

According to the first item in the CAN-SPAM Act, “Your “From,” “To,” “Reply-To,” and routing information – including the originating domain name and email address – must be accurate and identify the person or business who initiated the message.”

4. Generic salutations

Personalization is a very important part of email creation. We give value and attention to emails that we know is made especially for us. And how do we know it’s for us?

When it’s addressed to us – when names are mentioned.

So stop that “To whom it may concern,” “Dear Sir,” or worse, “{INSERTFIRSTNAME}” salutation and start using actual names.

“…years and years of sifting through emails has conditioned people to discard anything that doesn’t come from a recognizable friend or family member and/or doesn’t open with a personalized greeting. Any message that doesn’t refer to the recipient by name is getting discarded—period—never to be pondered again. You have to be on a first-name basis with your recipient. That’ll get you in the door, so to speak, and leave the recipient open to reading your message.” -Dan Forootan (How Important Is Personalization To Your Email Marketing Campaign?)

If you’re using an email marketing software, check if you’re typing the correct personalization shortcodes. You wouldn’t want your subscriber to end up with a “Dear    ,” or again, {INSERTFIRSTNAME}.

5. Misleading content in marketing emails

You promised something good in your subject line. Now you make sure that the content justifies it.

I’ve been subscribed to HubSpot for quite sometime now, and they never fail to keep their promises. When they say that a free guide or eBook is included, expect that a download link is included in that email – and expect that it’s really free.

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HubSpot Email Content

Just like the subject, avoid using spam trigger words like “prize,” “free,” “bonus,” “buy,” and “order.” Instead, use persuasive words like “because,” “you,” and “imagine.”

You can use HubSpot’s The Ultimate List of Email Spam Trigger Words to know what to avoid.

6. No call-to-action

Unless you’re doing a personal email and just want to say hi, you need a call-to-action.

The very reason why you’re marketing through email is because you want to sell something, or perhaps you want your readers to benefit from you. The point is you either want to give, or you need something – usually both.

Make your intentions clear by putting call-to-action. And guide your audience on what to do – until the very last step.

“Be clear and direct with your users, telling them exactly what you’d like them to do.”Conversion Rate Experts

KISSmetrics has always been generous with giving steps and options. Just take this example below:

KISSmetrics Call-to-Action

Including a short explanation or bullets of your product’s features with call-to-action button is also a good way to convert.

Evernote Call-to-Action

7. Multiple marketing emails with the same content

Weeks ago, I committed a mistake that nobody should ever follow.

I published a post in SEO Hacker, and later on decided to modify the headline and slugs. There’s nothing wrong with that – you can always change your title and slugs if you feel that it’s necessary to do so. However, when your published post is automatically being sent to thousands of subscribers, then you have to be careful.

I use an email marketing software called AWeber, and every time we publish an article, it automatically sends an update to our subscribers like this:

SEO Hacker Email Marketing

Once it’s sent, and you modified the slugs of your post, it will generate a new email – regardless if it’s the same post or not. That’s what I did, and that’s the dangerous part.

Just by modifying the slugs, I have sent two emails (in the same day) containing two different titles but the same content and is directed to the same article.

SEO Hacker Email Marketing Mistake

Not a very nice move!

It can confuse your readers, or they may not give importance to your emails at all, because really, who wants to be bombarded with multiple emails with the same content?

8. No option to unsubscribe from marketing emails

Admit it, even if you have compelling content, there will always be people who won’t like (or will stop liking) receiving marketing emails. That’s why you need to give them the option to unsubscribe – and make it visible.

A while back, Gmail started displaying the unsubscribe links at the top of messages.

Unsubscribe Google Feature

But you should still include an ‘unsubscribe’ button. For example, my Leadership Stack Podcast emails have this option at the footer.

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Unsubscribe button

9. Not segmenting the customers for marketing emails

Another major mistake that you may be committing is forgetting to segment your customers. Customer segmentation is the process of grouping customers based on various factors such as age, gender, industry, and others.

It’s important to ensure your customers are segmented properly so that the emails they get are personalized. For example, some of my customers work in marketing, some work in SEO, and others are entrepreneurs. If the emails they get don’t fit their demographic, they would just unsubscribe because I’m not adding value to their life.

Besides, receiving the kind of content everyone else receives doesn’t feel good. As a customer, you want to be spoken to. Segmenting customers helps with that.

10. Having generic content

I already touched on it a little earlier: Having generic content doesn’t do anyone any favors. Your customers don’t want to receive the same content as everyone else. They want you to speak to them.

Let’s say you’re asking for a donation, and you’re just asking the same amount from everyone. What if a third of the people you sent that email to are living paycheck-to-paycheck, the other third are living comfortably, and the final third are rich? Expecting all of them to give $50 will be unreasonable, and your email will show them that you don’t care about their situation.

You can avoid that by personalizing your email using dynamic content, where certain parts of your email are filled in by the data your customers provide you. This makes the email – you guessed it – personal for the customer. According to Keela, “When compared to non-personalized email campaigns, personalized emails yield 29% higher unique open rates and 41% unique click rates.”

Key takeaway

Sometimes we get so excited, we want to jump right in and just do things for marketing’s sake, leaving no chance for proper planning and execution.

But, that’s not how it should be – even in email marketing.

Once in a while, you need to do an audit of your email marketing. Ask yourself, “How is it working for me?” and “What are the things I need to improve?” Then you can try different styles, different approaches, perhaps different tones, but never ever commit these 10 email marketing sins. Unless you want to end up in the spam folder of your recipients.

And of course, if you want to be absolutely sure that these 10 deadly sins won’t be committed, we have an email marketing service you can check out.

Happy email marketing, and let me know what you think!



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What is Phygital, and How Does it Apply to Email Marketing?

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what-is-phygital,-and-how-does-it-apply-to-email-marketing?

Have you ever imagined a hybrid of physical and online worlds where buyers can shop both in-person and online? It sounds like a peripheral concept, right? Well, brands like Amazon, Nike, Magik Book, and Pokemon Go have made the blended environment a reality. 

Your brand can be a front-runner, too, in implementing the phygital approach. But what exactly is phygital, and how does it apply to a memorable customer experience? Read on to learn the nitty-gritty details about this new and trendy marketing term. 

What is Phygital?

Let’s begin at the top. Phygital is a compound term that combines two words: Physical and digital. It’s a relatively new term that probably caught on in the marketing world during the COVID19 pandemic.

In the marketing realm, phygital refers to using technology to blend the physical and digital customer experiences. 

Over the last few years, companies have strived to deliver an omnichannel marketing experience that removes customers’ frustration, friction, and churn. A lot of that has been happening online, with brands seeking to provide a personalized experience on online channels that customers use. 

It’s easy to understand why. According to Google statistics, about 63% of shopping begins online. However, 52% of Americans aren’t ready to abandon their in-person shopping habits, with 31% indicating they will continue to shop in-store.  As a result, focusing on online channels only would mean sidelining those customers that still value in-store shopping. 

Phygital offers the best option to draw from the best of both worlds. It enables you to deliver a unique interactive experience for each user, whether they shop online or in person. 

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What is Phygital Marketing?

As the name suggests, phygital marketing is any marketing effort that seeks to merge physical and digital experiences. It entails using digital tools to enhance the customer experience in physical stores. 

A good example of phygital marketing is the Buy Online, Pick-Up In-Store (BOPIS) strategy. BOPIS combines online and in-store experiences to offer customers a more convenient way to shop. They can enjoy the convenience of buying goods online and pick them up in an hour from the brick-and-mortar store rather than wait three days or longer for an Amazon delivery. 

How Does it Apply to the Customer Experience?

The truth is, even though in-store shopping is losing the battle to online shopping, some of its aspects remain appealing to customers. With the emergence of concepts like BOPIS, Buy Online, Return In-Store (BORIS), and Reserve Online, Pick Up In-Store (ROPIS), phygital will only get more influential on customer experiences. 

Phygital is key to customization of the retail experience. It brings the benefits of omnichannel customer experience to the brick-and-mortar store. 

Brands like Nike and Amazon are aware of the growing influence and are now the front-runners in embedding phygital to their retail experience. Amazon Go is quintessential of how brands can apply phygital. 

The convenience stores give customers the customary brick-and-mortar feel. However, Amazon has used digitization to remove registration, cashiers, or store attendants. Instead, when you scan a QR code, the systems let you into the store. 

Here’s the most exciting thing. Usually, you would pick out an item and place it in a physical shopping cart — it’s still happening at Amazon Go. In addition, Amazon uses intricate systems that add an item to a virtual cart (such as the one you find online) each time you pick the item from the shelf. 

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Since there are no attendants, you pick the items you want and walk out. The Amazon Go app charges your linked bank account and sends you a digital receipt in minutes. No queues to eat up your time. 

Amazon has brought the convenience of online shopping to real-life — and it’s working magic. The only hint of in-store shopping is that you have to walk into the convenience store and pick out stuff from the shelf. Everything else is reminiscent of shopping online from the comfort of your couch. 

Going forward, more brands will jump that bandwagon in a bid to improve customer experience. 

How Can it Be Used in Email Marketing?

Let’s take Amazon Go, for example. When you pick out an item from the shelf, the trackers send signals to the system to automatically add that item to your virtual cart. The reverse happens when you return the item to the shelf. 

That alone can provide Amazon with plenty of data that can be used for email marketing. For example, if a customer repeatedly picks a product but returns it to the shelf before walking out of the store, it means the customer wants that particular product but is hesitant to buy for some reason. Perhaps it’s unexpected costs, which is one of the top reasons people abandon carts

Using email marketing, you could send that customer personalized discounts or cheaper alternatives for that product. That could persuade the customer to buy the product the next time they visit the convenience store. 

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In other words, a phygital approach can provide access to customer insights that email marketers can leverage, resulting in smarter email campaigns and increased ROI. However, note that the technology is still in its inception stage, so more benefits for email marketers will emerge as it evolves. 

Make the Most Out of Phygital

Phygital could be the solution to the problems customers encounter when shopping online. For example, your customers might buy the idea of BOPIS because it saves them time and money. On your side, you’ll get more data that you can analyze to tweak your process to unlock more sales via email marketing.  

What are you waiting for? Implement a phygital strategy and arm yourself with a great email marketing software solution to make the most of the new retail experience. 

Seen at: Benchmarkemail.com

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