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The Basics

An email marketing solution or platform is a software or web-based service that enables businesses to create, send, and track email campaigns to their subscribers or customers. These platforms provide tools to create email templates, manage mailing lists, segment audiences, and automate email campaigns. Email marketing platforms also typically offer analytics and reporting features that allow businesses to track the success of their campaigns and optimize their email marketing strategies.

The Real

Deliverability – It’s the one word that matters. Will your emails actually land in your recipient’s inbox? This is something few email services providers are comfortable speaking about. Why? Because everyday email companies that most of us use are creating ways to make email marketing more difficult.

If you are a Gmail, 365, Outlook, Yahoo or Mail user, you know how difficult it is for marketers to cold email you. Just check your spam / junk accounts or think about how much of a marketing email is blocked when you open it, subject to your trust or approval.

Deliverability, your online reputation and the reputations of other customers using your email service all matter. Which means they significantly matter to the Email Service provider that you use. A few bad apples, un related to you using the same service and your deliverability goes down.

Choose one that focuses on deliverability because they generally find and dismiss spammers/bad actors quickly.

The Rise of Social Media – It may seem like marketing has gone social media and left email in the dust. Social Media is a B2B component, but we’d disagree that it’s #1 in business B2B communication and marketing. Email remains king in the B2B world. Just look at these stats from 99firms.com and Techjury.net

Stay focused. It takes time and patience to build a productive B2B email list. You’ll hear a lot about engagement, segments,  opens, and clicks.  You know your current B2B customers, you know what they value. Think about that when you begin driving leads with email. What do your current customers want and need? What do your current customers value?

SMS is a newer feature with real value. Need to reach a customer quickly? There is no better way. Just do not over use it or you will be blocked at the user device level.

Important Warning: Understand that most email services providers are subscription based and so their near term goals are to get you beyond the trial period or free services level. They can also be tricky with their promises and your data results. Determine your own KPIs for email and use them as your guide.

What is an Email Marketing Solution?

An email marketing solution or platform is a software or web-based service that enables businesses to create, send, and track email campaigns to their subscribers or customers. These platforms provide tools to create email templates, manage mailing lists, segment audiences, and automate email campaigns. Email marketing platforms also typically offer analytics and reporting features that allow businesses to track the success of their campaigns and optimize their email marketing strategies.

There are many subscription platforms available. Each promises to provide a simple ways to acquire and manage your email communication with customers. By acquire they mean “opt-in”. By manage they mean “segment” or “collate”. Virtually every email marketing solution provides an email builder and any number of templates they claim have been tested and successful in archiving marketing success for their customers. You also have the ability to use fields to “personalize” email communications to individual customers or customers in a particular segment. First Name, Last Name, Company Name are the most common uses for fields.

Our Choice

Best for Most

Best for B2C

Reliable delivery and feature set.  Set up may be challenging for some, but service is patient. This is the pro choice for B2B email. Their primary meter is Reputation. Says it all.

Delivery and a dashboard with honest stats that allows for super quick changes in strategies and similarly quick understanding of the results. Plus top social media integrations that work.

The choice for established companies growing their customer engagement through multi-channel marketing with a focus on email and sms. New superb Enterprise class service.

How does an email marketing service work?

As a B2B company, we focus on the B2B experience where it matters. Here are some basics for new adopters.

Most email services companies have a free service or trial period which enables you to learn the system before beginning your subscription. Customer service varies during ghtis trial period and as wer have written in the past, a dedicated adopter will quickly reach the limitations of the trial feature set and functions.

For any subscription service we would recommend spending the higher month to month fees and determining the services suitability to your business before paying for the discounted full year rates. Until you are using the service in the real world, week to week at scale, you’ll never know.

There are two steps to quickly get up and running with your selected email services provider. The first is to upload your existing client email list and information. Once uploaded most email service providers run your list through a filter to determine any number of factors, but primarily to see which emails are still in use. More on this below.

The next step is to create an email or what is typically referred to as a marketing campaign. This is where the builder and templates come into use. You simply assemble a form, generally by on-screen drag and drop functions, add your own images and language, and then send a test email to yourself or your team members to see what it will look like. When you are satisfied with the results, you start your campaign. At this point your email is sent to every email found in the group or segment that you have selected.  Mailchimp is best known for its builder, but in truth each email service provider has designed a builder that suits their typical client and, by extension, their client’s clients.

Another feature most every email service provider offers is a way to build your client email list through form capture. There are templates for these too. Some are called opt-in forms. They may be embedded into your site in aa number of ways. The most effective will be determined by each company website. We’ve all been asked to sign-up for newsletters or marketing content in the past. We know what this looks like.

CareerNet Recommends

1. SendGrid

SendGrid is at once the best email marketing service, and the most daunting if you do not have a reasonably experienced IT person on your staff. Set up and testing can range from 1 – 3 days based upon your in-house expertise. Next the real fun begins. Upon configuring your email and sending out your first mail be prepared for a reality check. Your mail will be delivered, the stats will be accurate, your campaign performance will immediately reflect in your on-line reputation. You can’t get deliverability without impacting your on-line reputation. Which is why spammers should for sure not select SendGrid.

For the rest of us, SendGrid is one of the few cloud services that does everything it says it will to standards that continue to amaze us month after month. Your email discipline and compliance is maintained. Your email design or over design is kept in check. You almost do not have to A/B test (althoug it’s offered) because it will be obvious immediately whether your latest campaign was effective or not. Plus it’s super simple to add users and monitor their every move in an affiliate or external marketing arrangement. We only have one complaint, and it’s always a big one for us, the pricing scheme gets complex and convuluted quickly. We hope that SendGrid will work on this.


Near perfect deliverability

Business class customer service.

Superb email designs for the qualified.

Once configured (see above) anyone in your organization can use it like a pro.


There are no brakes, you send it you own it. Miss use it (spam) and you’ll need to start looking for a new URL.

Don’t know what MX records are or how to manage your DNS settings? Look at our other recommendations.

Confusing pricing.

2. Constant Contact

This is the choice for B2B companies just starting a true email marketing strategy. We think it’s ease of use combined with its feature set and impressive deliverability ratings make it a natural choice for small to midsized businesses. As your segments grow, so will your use of Constant Contact.

Deliverability as discussed above is the primary metric for success. This can only occur through active monitoring, current  knowledge of email servers limitations and proper authentication practices are manged properly by a service provider. That comes with a cost that is a bit higher than its other typical competitors, but really, there are none – For sure we’d recommend Constant Contact for B2C companies.


Among the industry leaders for deliverability

A corporate focus on email compliance which doesn’t impact your marketing

A simple dashboard that gets to the point

Leaders in SMS marketing and communication

Simple subscriber management, segmentation

Social Media integrations that include LinkedIn

Transparent pricing


It’s easy to get lost in data analysis, especially as you grow your email lists.

Massive well integrated feature set will be overload for first time email marketers.

Setup is not as simple as advertised.

Customer service is OK – prepare to go on a learning journey.


3. Sendinblue

Think of Sendinblue as a top notch CRM (Customer Relationship Manager platform) for B2C with a top class marketing design focus. Sendinblue received high marks for usability, time to get up and running, and omnichannel experience. We would rank it equal in performance to Constant Contact. It is not our third choice, it is in fact one of three choices we would recommend. Specifically, Sendinblue is excellent for enterprises who are in the B2C space. Sendinblue excels in user interface, but equally so in maintaining customer feature sets that reflect the latest and greatest UX experience for consumer response. That means the design elements for things like popups, chat, and even SMS work. Customers like to click on designs built with Sendinblue.

In B2C marketing clicks are the key KPI for email marketing.

Finally, Sendinblue is actually passionate about email marketing compliance. They don’t simply maintain internal standards to protect themselves, they do it for the longevity of email as a marketing outlet. This approach is unique and brings nuance to your email marketing that will bring you better results than you may actually deserve.


Compliance without limiting your efforts.

Seeing email marketing from a CRM approach seems natural, not forced.

All the ways and methods to reach that elusive customer KPI, “Clicks”.

Easier than our other choices to get up and running.

Any size business can start with Lite or Premium level, and develop an expertise, with the knowledge that there is an Enterprise Class ready and waiting.


Sendinblue is not a blunt force email delivery service. Do not use it as such.

Use the templates, creating your own designs requires lots of trial and error or an in-house design professional. You already have one right? If not, use the templates.

Patience is a virtue in email marketing. Sendinblue rewards it.

What we have learned

What really matters, deliverability and internet reputation as determined by both email servers and recipients of your emails.

By using a number of services, encountering disappointing results, and speaking at length with the providers of these services, we learned that certain providers are focused on deliverability and certain are focused on providing a platform while protecting their own reputations with email server hosts. Which means as a user of these services, you are in effect, renting their reputation, not developing your own.

It may seem that using an email marketing service provider that focuses on its reputation first is a good way to establish your own. After all, it’s easy to be looked upon as a spammer. We’ve found that when using these types of service providers, your company is drastically limiting its audience.

Take an example we discovered. Using a known premier service for 2 months, a few emails to our current customers weekly, we found that many were not seeing our emails at all. Their servers identified our emails as emails sent from the service provider, regardless of our email address appearing in the From line. Worse, when we uploaded our full customer list, and agreed to pay the additional costs per month, our account was locked up. Then we began to receive inquiries from this service provider as to the origination of our email list. It was acquired over 20 years of business. That didn’t seem reasonable to the service provider.

So we started doing our homework. Speaking to experts in the email deliverability field and found that enterprise class solutions when you are marketing legitimately, are not only more effective, but understand enterprise marketing practices.

Warning: If you chose to use enterprise class email marketing services, and you spam, the reputation of your email extension, @yourURL.com, will implode quickly. So don’t do it.

Enterprise class email services systems are more expensive and require certain network and server language knowledge. They expect that you have it and as such, don’t expect highly responsive level one customer service.

But they actually work where it matters, deliverability to an inbox.

How we make our recommendations

In truth our marketing group has used more than 6 email marketing services in the last 5 years. Some were long term relationships, some short. We trialed another dozen or more and spent weeks reviewing alternatives in between.

Again, our contacts and customers are businesses. This comes with a special set of security and fire walls designed to prevent questionable or unsolicited emails through corporate servers and into email boxes.  Most any email services provider will deliver email to gmail accounts and, based upon the number of emails sent and the interaction (openings or clicks) of these emails will determine the importance of your emails quickly.  Servers it seems determine the viability of your email campaigns.

An easy example, and perhaps the most extreme, is emails with @yahoo.com extensions. Marketing to users with an @yahoo.com extension is like not marketing at all. Unless you have a history of exchanges with @yahoo.com email users, your cold email will likely go into a spam folder, if it even makes it through the servers. See our forthcoming article on 5 Best email practices for B2B.

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