I'm finally tackling the answer that I get all the time - what system should I use for my email marketing?
As someone who has written hundreds of marketing emails in almost a dozen different email platforms, I have a ton of experience when it comes to email marketing...and a lot of preferences about what I do and don't like in an email marketing system.
And thus...the best email marketing systems for Catholic organizations was born!
An important note: I am only including email systems I've personally used and leaving off any that I've used that I don't recommend, so comment if there's one you're considering that's not on this list and I can tell you if I just haven't used it or don't recommend it. :)
Affiliate Disclosure: Many of the links below are affiliate links, which means if you purchase through my link, I receive a commission at no extra cost to you. I am only affiliated with companies I have actually utilized personally or for clients and can honestly recommend.
For all those starting out and looking for an inexpensive option
I'll cut right to the chase: MailerLite is going to be the best option for 99% of people reading this list.
Why? Because if you're a Catholic organization or solopreneur, you most likely have a tight budget, and MailerLite has the most generous and comprehensive free plan I've seen. And their paid plans are not nearly as expensive as their competitors.
It's easier to say who MailerLite ISN'T for - if you are looking for advanced automation or integrations, unique email templates, thousands of email subscribers, or a more professional, upscale feel, MailerLite may not be for you. If you're a creative or a church, scroll down for my other suggestions.
Other than that, this is probably the system you want, especially if you're just starting out.
I honestly can't say enough good things about MailerLite: their templates are fresh and modern (you do have to have a paid plan to access the templates), they include landing pages and unlimited marketing automation for free, and they have a lot of fun features integrated like countdown timers and polls.
I also love that they have dynamic content available, which means you can have different parts of your email show to different people on your list depending on how you've segmented them.
My one pet peeve with MailerLite is that the space between paragraphs is obnoxiously short, and you can't adjust it. However, I've been able to fake the effect I want by hitting shift + return twice at the end of each paragraph.
Interested in trying out MailerLite? You can sign up for a free or paid plan using my affiliate link here.
For the creative or long-term planner
Hands-down, Flodesk's emails are the most beautifully-designed I've ever come across. They have unique layouts you won't find elsewhere, and their email editor is fairly straightforward. I love their use of whitespace, and the built-in templates are dreamy.
They do not have long-form landing page templates built in, but their forms are also beautifully designed and you can always supplement with an inexpensive landing page builder like Carrd. *Affiliate link Flodesk did recently launch Checkout, which does include the ability to have sales pages.
Another thing I love about Flodesk for any email marketer is their standard pricing. While it is a higher monthly price than most at $35 per month at time of writing, that is a flat rate - you don't get charged more as your list grows. So if you're planning on growing your list without growing the number of advanced features you'll need, Flodesk is an investment in the long-term that ends up paying out.
The main thing to note is that Flodesk is newer to the email marketing sphere, so they are still developing features and don't have as robust automation or integrations as you'll see elsewhere. But it is a great choice for creatives who value strong design and have big plans to grow their list without needing technical bells and whistles.
Plus, if you use my affiliate link, you'll get 50% off Flodesk for your first year!
For musicians, artists, and organizations needing advanced automation
While ConvertKit markets itself as an email platform dedicated to creators (and does have some really cool features like integration with BandsInTown), it is an amazing email platform for anyone who is ready to take their email marketing to the next level. This is the email platform I personally use for Gloriam.
My two favorite things about ConvertKit are the amount and types of automation you can do and the fun built-in features like a countdown timer.
There is a little bit of a learning curve in terms of setting up email templates and how automation works (you have to do steps in a couple of different places to make it all flow right) but the email system itself is very user friendly.
The two features I wish they had were the ability to add background colors behind different sections of the email to break them up and dynamic content (see description above under MailerLite). But they make up for it with the gorgeous layouts you can pop right into the email and a generous use of white space in all their templates. The email designs feel less corporate than some other systems I've used too.
The thing that I love love love LOVE about ConvertKit is that it reads the viewer's IP address, which means it only shows GDPR marketing permission settings on sign-up forms if they are applicable to their location. 🎉 Which means cleaner, uncluttered forms while staying compliant!
They have really nice landing page templates built in too, and for the level of automation they provide, really reasonable pricing.
Interested in trying out ConvertKit? You can sign up using my affiliate link here.
I can't have a post about email marketing without shouting out my friends at Flocknote. If you are a church looking to connect with your parishioners, look no further. Outstanding customer service, a Catholic company with an awesome mission, and the ability to text and email - plus super easy segmentation so you can have groups for every ministry at your church - it's seriously a no-brainer. Just go sign up here.
Okay, but can I just use the email system that comes with my website?
Could you? Yes. Should you? Probably not.
Like most things, all-in-one systems tend to do one thing really well and the rest mediocrely. Most email systems that I've encountered that are baked into a website builder are just okay at email design and deliverability. I know it's appealing to have everything connected and in one place, but I'd typically recommend using an integration platform like Zapier to make any connections you need to your website before using the one built in.
Got questions? Want further recommendations?
Leave a comment or shoot me an email at email@example.com! But be prepared, I get very nerdy about email marketing. :)