email marketing

Guide to Building List, Email Marketing Automation and Top 7 Autoresponders

To succeed in this present competitive business age, every business ought to have not just a list but segmented email lists of its customers, who they constantly engage with and share information about their business values and offers. Maintaining List is vital for every business entity. It is the life-blood that ensures a business’s continuous existence. Like a quote that I read from Robert Kiyosaki, the author of Rich Dad Poor Dad: “a business without a list is not yet a business, it’s only a logo.”

What is a List?

List are real people. It is data and information you have about respective individuals who are interested or loyal to your product, service or brand. List is basically the names and email addresses of your subscribers and customers. It can also include their phone numbers, region of residence and what product or services of yours they have subscribed to. Your list include your data about your prospects, customers and loyalists.

“Every business lives and dies by their list.” – Brian Kurtz, author Overdeliver.

Until you’re able to create and manage your list effectively, providing value and quality service, you won’t be able to grip your business and grow as you should in this era. List is the most valuable asset any business can have. If you have a list that is carefully selected and properly segmented, you can drive sales and promote your business as much as you want. The benefits are much.

What are List used for?

  • The ultimate need for a list is to make sales.
  • You promote your brand awareness through your list by sending out emails or newsletters of your business value propositions, products and services to your subscribers.
  • You use your list to pass important information on vital business changes and updates.
  • You can use your list to improve your relationship with your audience and customers.
  • Send promotional offers, coupons, freebies, etc.

Simple ways to Generate List

Generating list for your business is a form of marketing. It is a method of convincing your prospects that there’re much valuable offers or contents for their gain if they would enlist with you or subscribe to your offers and newsletters. Your prospects should voluntarily subscribe to your list.

Many methods used for getting your audience to join your email lists are called Lead magnets. These methods include:

  • Content creation

Contents in a form of valuable information that your audience would consume and appreciate is a solid way to gain subscribers. Contents such as blogs, eBooks, exclusive video interviews, infographics, images, audio information, videos, and more.

  • Coupons and Discounted Offers

These are deducted prices of products or services that your audience can enjoy if they subscribe to your list.

  • Social media

Here you can generate list by actively getting involved on social media; curating and sharing your opt-in link.

  • Ads

Ads are advertisement you engage in via different online or offline channels to get prospects to opt-in to your list of customers.

Managing Your List

Ordinarily, it would be cumbersome to manually setup a system to gather and manage your list (comprising emails, phone, and region). Gathering and managing list involve your audience filling and submitting a simple form that comprises their name and email address. You may require them to select topic areas that interest them.

The submitted data is stored and can be segmented based on: when an audience subscribed, what topic interest they indicated, and how you intend to send them your newsletters, downloads, coupons or promotional offers.

All these tasks and functions have been provided by email marketing automation systems called autoresponders. Autoresponders are tools that automate all the processes of acquiring and managing your list.

You can learn in details how marketing automation can benefit your business here.

Top 7 Free Autorsponders

Free software and apps are usually made for those who are just starting out in the system or those who would want to test the product before deciding whether to stick with the platform.


1. MailerLite

MailerLite provides modern email marketing features designed to help you grow subscribers and build strong relationship with your audience or customers. It has an easy drag and drop editor, custom HTML editor, Newsletter templates, Rich text editor and ecommerce campaigns.

It offers landing pages, embedded forms, pop-ups and subscriber management. It helps you deliver the right message through email automation, personalization, segmentation and promotion pop-ups. MailerLite has so many features to help you grow your business.

Best for: eCommerce, bloggers, designers, etc.

Plan & Pricing: MailerLite’s free plan allows you to manage up to 1,000 subscribers, and send up to 12,000 emails per month.

Learn more about MailerLite plans & pricing.

2. MailChimp

Mailchimp is one of the most popular autoresponders out there, and they’ve been in the email marketing game since their launch in 2001. Most reviews from other websites tagged Mailchimp as an all-in-one marketing suite.

Mailchimp provides an easy to use platform for those starting out on email marketing.

Its features include: basic and pre-built templates, site analytics, segmentation, tags, behavioural targeting, campaign engagement, landing pages, Facebook & Instagram ads, Pop-up forms, automations, reports and more.

Best for: Anyone.

Plan & Pricing: Mailchimp’s free plan includes up to 2,000 contacts and 10,000 email sends per month, with a daily send limit of 2,000.

Learn more about Mailchimp plans & pricing.

Read also: A Guide to Screencasting, Top 7 Screencasting Apps.


3. SendInBlue

Apart from its email marketing management features, Sendinblue offers SMS campaign functionality. It provides short message service (SMS) that you can use to push your business campaigns to your audience in a quicker way.

Sendinblue features include: unlimited contacts and contact details for any of its plans, segmentation, customizable signup form, chat, transactional email and SMS sending, workflow editor to help you create advanced marketing automation workflow, page tracking, landing pages, real-time report, Facebook ads, and more.

Best for: SendInBlue is ideal for beginner marketers, designers, and content creators.

Plan & pricing: Free plan gives you access to unlimited contacts and send up to 300 emails per day, but access to landing page builder, retargeting ads and other features are restricted, and only allowed for paid plan. Paid plan starts from $25 per month.

Learn more about SendInBlue plans & pricing.



4. Omnisend

Omnisend is well accepted among the ecommerce community as one of the best email marketing tool for ecommerce business. Reviews from Shopify and G2 give it rating of 4.59 out of 5.

Omnisend has robust features that make it easy for you to launch email marketing campaigns and win sales. Its multi-channel automation approach allows you to drive sales on autopilot with ease and helps you reach your customers via email, SMS, push notifications and more channels.

With its pre-built automation workflows ready in your account, it saves you time to launch your cart abandonment or welcome series and start driving orders on autopilot.

Omnisend’s free plan offers up to 15,000 emails per month and provides enough features for a beginner to start an email marketing project. Features such as signup forms, email campaigns, boxes and popups, segmentation, Zapier and Tidio live chat integration, discount coupon code, email templates, image editor, product content block editor, landing pages and more are included in the free plan.

The paid plan has even more features.

Best for: ecommerce, services marketers, etc.

Plan & pricing: robust free plan. Paid plan start from $16 per month.

Learn more about Omnisend plans and pricing.



5. SendPulse

One feature that sets Sendpulse apart from other autoresponders is its web push notification, which it offers for free for up to 10,000 subscribers.

Web or browser push notifications are messages from a website you receive in your browser. It’s a hard to miss feature which notify users about sales, important updates, or new content on the website. It’s supported in all popularbrowsers.

Features in SendPulse include easy and convenient drag and drop email editor, stylish and colourful subscription forms, and over 130 adaptive templates. It also provides automation 360 that allows you to set up email send-out, web push notifications, and SMS flows depending on variables, events and actions your users take.

Other features are: resend to unopened email, segmentation, A/B testing, integration of your emails to your CRM or CMS system, SMS service, viber messages, chatbots, SMTP service and more.

Best for: general email campaigns and web push notifications.

Plan & pricing: free plan allows you to have up to 500 subscribers and send up to 15,000 emails per month, unlimited subscribers for chat messenger and up to 10,000 messages per month.

Learn more about Sendpulse plans & pricing.



6. Sender

Sender is another autoresponder with spectacular features that can help you grow your subscription base and run your email marketing effectively. Sender servers are based in EU and they affirm to be GDPR compliant.

Sender’s key strength is their email deliverability according to reviews from top review websites. Like SendPulse, Sender offers free web-push notifications for everyone.

Other features of Sender include; responsive email templates, subscription forms, intuitive newsletter editor, free newsletter editor, smart product handling for your web store, built-in image editor, segmentation, content management system (CMS) plugins for WordPress and Magento, bounce email tracking, dedicated IP address, rapid email delivery, open and click tracking, click map, Google analytics integration and more. It also allows you to insert video in your emails.

Best for: ecommerce, bloggers, Vloggers, etc.

Plan & pricing: free plan offers up to 2,500 subscribers and up to 15,000 emails per month, with all features included.

Learn more about Sender plans & pricing.



7. ConvertKit

Many bloggers, Vloggers, Image and video content creators find Convertkit a more comfortable email marketing platform to help them grow and manage their list. Convertkit has a more robust segmentation to help you tag your subscribers based on their interest, activity, region and criteria. This autoresponder has a wide integration with many platforms and plugins.

Other features of Convertkit include; easy –to-embed and customizable opt-in forms, landing page templates, email marketing automation, email designer, reporting, and integrations to platforms like teachable, crowdcast, shopify, stipe, bouncer Zapier and much more. Convertkit offers up-to 80 integrations and it has good email deliverability.

Best for: bloggers, publishers, YouTubers, podcasters, and other online creators.

Plan & pricing: free account offers up to 500 subscribers. Complete plan starts at $29 per month.

Learn more about ConvertKit plans and pricing.


Top 6 Paid Autoresponders

  1. GetResponse
  2. ActiveCampaign
  3. Mailchimp
  4. ConvertKit
  5. Constant Contact
  6. Aweber

Final Notes

Like most paid products and services, paid autoresponders offer more features that are not in free plans. Most users who started with free plan would want to continue with the platform to build more subscribers. This means they would have to accept the upgrade prices or face the challenge of moving their list to a new and affordable autoresponder, and this may come with some setbacks.

So, once you choose the autoresponder that best suits your needs, you can follow the link I provided to go to their website and check their other plans and prices. This way, you have an idea what you’d pay as your list increases.

That’s it!

If you find this article resourceful, kindly share. Also drop your comments below.

Read: Top 9 Video Meeting and Conferencing Apps

Also read: Marketing – 4 Most Innovative Channels to Get Your Business to the Right Audience

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Article written by Ifeanyi Okey

Ifeanyi creates content that help individuals develop their tech skills and be more resourceful and productive in their businesses. He's a web Designer and a WordPress Technical Expert.

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