VerticalResponse Review: Email Marketing
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|Good value service for under 500 contacts and great email creation; however, analytics fall short with reporting lag|
VerticalResponse is a good value for users with less than 500 contacts. This service excels in email creation, giving users a variety of design options whether they want to use ready-made templates or play with their own HTML. While their email analytics are basic, we weren't too fond of the slight reporting lag. Overall this is an average service, though if email customization and tools are important to you, VerticalResponse's generous 30-day free trial of 500 contacts is worth a shot.
Though the appearance of the site is a little outdated, navigating is pretty intuitive. We like how all of your sent emails and reports are laid out together on the homepage once you sign on. Adding contacts is easy through the "Lists" tab. There you can create lists, segments for testing and custom signup forms for your website. You will notice some other features like Surveys and Postcards. These must be purchased separately, but you can sign up for a free trial through your email marketing plan. If you're curious about what the Postcards are, these are print products for direct mail, and one sample postcard comes with your VerticalResponse email marketing subscription so you can test it out. You can create and design your one sample Postcard for free and it will be sent to you.
Go to the "Emails" tab to start creating your messages. Fill out all necessary information like the email name, subject line and company information. You can then move on to the design portion. We appreciate the different email creation options provided. The Email Wizard, which VerticalResponse points out is the recommended choice, allows you to choose from a variety of templates and then use their customization features. It is very user-friendly, allowing you to add your logo and color scheme, and has great drag and drop capabilities for the body of the email.
The Email Canvas option features WYSIWYG functionality and is similar to the Email Wizard option. The only difference is if you choose one of their templates, you cannot drag and drop different elements and must edit them directly on the page. In this editing option, you can switch back and forth from HTML, so you can edit both the design and the code itself. The Free Form HTML option just allows you to enter your own code and toggle between viewing the HTML version and the text version that your readers will receive. Lastly, there is a text-only version for users who want to create basic emails without pictures or logos.
VerticalResponse takes you through multiple steps to make sure you thoroughly review your email. You are required to preview the HTML version and the text-only version and you must send at least one test email to see how it shows up in the browser. When you click send, the staff first reviews your email to make sure it passes any anti-spam requirements. According to customer service, this should usually only take a couple of minutes; however, our first email took an hour to be sent, and our second one took 10 minutes. Once you build up an email history however, you can contact customer service so that they start pre-approving your emails right when you schedule them for a further date. That said. it is best to use this service if you want to schedule your emails in advance, not if you want to send them precisely on time.
The reports function is pretty basic, showing opens, clicks, unsubscribes, bounces, forwards and social media shares. One downfall we found in VerticalResponse's analytics compared to other services is a slight lag in reporting. Clicks and Opens take several minutes to show up in the reports. This shouldn't be a major issue for most users, but if you want to see results right away, look for another email marketing service with a higher analytics rating. Note that you can also set up Google Analytics with your VerticalResponse account. Lastly, there is a nice comparison function in the reports section where you can compare and contrast emails to one another.
VerticalResponse doesn't have the most available customer service hours: phone support is available Monday through Friday 6:00 AM to 5:00 PM PST and live chat as well as email are available at those same hours plus Saturday and Sunday 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM PST. If you do need to contact them, the best way is through live chat. The chat representative was quick to respond and knowledgeable. They also have an extensive list of online tutorials taking you through the steps of using many of the features.
There are two ways to pay for VerticalResponse. You can choose the pay-as-you-go option or a monthly plan. For pay-as-you-go, you can buy email credits based on the number of contacts you want to send emails to. This can get pretty expensive but incidentally the more contacts you have, the cheaper the price is per contact. For example, if you have 1,000 contacts the price for each comes out to 1.5¢ per contact, but if you have 100,000 contacts it comes out to .85¢ per contact.
Like most of these services, longer subscriptions will give you a discounted price per month. For 500 contacts the month to month cost is $10.00/month, if you pay 6 months up front it comes out to $9.00/month and if you pay for a year up front it costs $8.50/month. We noticed that VerticalResponse has a fairly large hike in price when you want to pay for 2,000 contacts at $28.00/month, 6 months at $25.20/month and a year at $23.80/month. Thus, we suggest other services if you plan to send to more than 500 contacts per month.
As we mentioned in the pricing section, this service isn't worth the cash if you want to send to over 500 contacts. And if precise and timely email reporting is important to you, we recommend looking elsewhere as well. On the other hand, if you like to be presented with a variety of email creation options, definitely check out the 30-day free trial to get a feel for VerticalResponse's comprehensive email design.
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VerticalResponse Forum Posts
- VerticalResponse Email Marketing
Here is NextAdvisor's review of VerticalResponse: http://www.nextadvisor.com/email_market ... review.php