Updated May 23 at 11:16am

Thinking inside the (in)box

Despite all of the attention on social media these days, email remains one of the most preferred and effective marketing methods for many small businesses. It’s a fast, efficient and inexpensive way to communicate with clients and prospects, or to generate traffic for your website. More

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Thinking inside the (in)box

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Despite all of the attention on social media these days, email remains one of the most preferred and effective marketing methods for many small businesses. It’s a fast, efficient and inexpensive way to communicate with clients and prospects, or to generate traffic for your website.

If you send just a few emails, you can probably make do with whatever regular email service you use. But if your list is growing, you want your emails to look great, and you also want to track the effectiveness of your efforts, using an outside provider offers many advantages.

Email marketing services offer customized designs and newsletter signup forms, list management tools and the ability to see who’s opening your emails and what they are clicking on.

But with numerous email providers catering to small business, it’s hard to know which one is right for your particular business. NextAdvisor (www.nextadvisor.com), an independent research firm that reviews and compares small-business products and services across multiple categories, recently tested eight of the top services to determine the best value and what users can expect from each one.

To review the different services, NextAdvisor editors signed up for each one and used it as a small business would.

Here’s some of what NextAdvisor had to say about the email services:

• GetResponse is a well-laid-out and easy-to-use email marketing solution that won us over with their new email creator. This service allows you to easily create and send attractive emails, with a lot of customization. They aren’t the cheapest service, starting at $12.30/month (with annual plan) for a 1,000 contact allowance. Visit GetResponse.com

• Benchmark Email may seem a bit pricey but it is actually a good value thanks to its comprehensive email creation tools and extensive template options. Their contact plans start with an allowance of 600 subscribers for $11.95 per month, and all of their contact plans let you send an unlimited number of emails. Visit BenchmarkEmail.com

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