Expert advice on the business of running a garment decoration company

Email marketing should be one of the main components of your business’s online strategy to engage with both new and existing customers. The average open rate for an email campaign is 20-30% and is five times more likely to be seen by your customers than messages shared on social media platforms. Here are six services that allow you to produce free email campaigns: 

The industry-leading software for email campaigns, Mailchimp is recognised worldwide. Ideal for small businesses, it offers a ‘forever free’ package (up to 2,000 customers/12,000 emails), which includes basic features and drag-and-drop templates. A great choice for small businesses, the free version also allows segmenting, so you can tailor your message for different types of customers and their behaviours. 

Like Mailchimp, the Zoho ‘forever free’ package offers up to 12,000 emails to 2,000 customers and hundreds of templates to customise. Where Zoho stands out is the A/B testing that is included in the free plan: test different subject lines for each campaign and monitor them with Zoho’s concise and in-depth analytics. Recommended for users looking for a more analytical and scientific approach to email campaigns. 

An interesting option, EmailOctopus offers a free of charge ‘Shrimp’ plan where you can send unlimited emails to up to 2,500 customers. It offers plenty of templates and great value for customers looking to produce a larger number of email campaigns. However, there is a compromise: the functionality is basic and there is no automation (it’s for paid customers only), so be prepared to be more ad hoc and produce emails as and when you need to send out a campaign. 

This service offers the most visually pleasing email templates. It has hundreds of simple, elegant designs that are easy to customise. Its functionality is limited with only very basic features, but it just tops Mailchimp and Zoho’s usage with 14,000 emails to 2,000 subscribers. Benchmark is the ideal software to make a striking impression and communicate to your customers in a contemporary way. 

On the surface, FreshMail does not match the heights of other providers with free plans only available for up to 500 subscribers. But where it differs is that emails can be customised and designed using several templates using a mobile/tablet app. Customise on the go and create aesthetically pleasing campaigns anytime, any place. 

MailerLite offers simple drag-and-drop templates for up to 1,000 customers free of charge. As well as unlimited sends, the tools provided in MailerLite are comprehensive compared to the others mentioned in the list: personalising, segmenting, A/B testing and some automation features are all available in the free plan.

Andrew Langridge is from eTrader, one of the industry’s leading suppliers of websites to garment decorators across the UK.