December 6, 2022
6 Best Email Hosting Providers for Small Businesses in 2023
The best email hosting options for small businesses provide ample email storage, strong security, and an easy-to-use dashboard at affordable prices. Some even offer extras like bundled web and email packages and free domains. We reviewed more than a dozen options based on price, features, storage limits, reliability, and user ratings, and narrowed it down to the six best to help you choose the right one for your small business. Best email hosting for small businesses overall: Best bundled email and web hosting: Most advanced features and automations: Best privacy and security features: Top choice for startups needing free email hosting: Most affordable for unlimited email addresses: Best Email Hosting for Small Businesses at a Glance *Billed annually; some providers also offer monthly billing at a higher cost Google Workspace & Gmail: Best Overall (formerly known as G Suite) includes the professional version of Gmail that allows businesses to use a custom email address. With Google Workspace, you get not only reliable and user-friendly Gmail for business email, but also an entire suite of organizational tools such as Calendars, Sheets, Slides, Docs, Meet, and Drive, to name a few—all for $6 per user, per month. Learn how to use Gmail for business email in just a few steps. The value included is high, but if your business already has productivity software, adding the whole suite of Google Workspace apps could be overkill. Some alternatives to consider are , which offers dedicated email web hosting for $1 a month ($12 per year) and includes a free domain, or , especially if you need web hosting. All Bluehost plans include WordPress web hosting, a no-code WordPress website builder, a free domain, and SSL to help you build your brand’s online presence. Features Google Workspace has some of the most helpful email web hosting, collaboration, and productivity tools—in fact, they’re some of the most used worldwide. Besides having a custom business email address, you also get video conferencing, shared calendars, cloud storage, and content tools like online documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. Google Workspace also offers security features such as two-step verification and protection programs. Here’s what you can expect with Google Workspace: Email hosting with a custom email address for your business (domain purchase required) Video conferencing with the option to record meetings High-limit individual and shared cloud storage Chat messaging for team collaboration Shared calendars with the ability to book appointments and meetings Online shared documents, spreadsheets, and presentations App integrations for business telephone and app development Security tools like two-factor authentication and group-based protection controls Gmail Business Email Pricing Customer Service Google Workspace customer service is available 24/7 via live chat, phone, and email. This is one of the most comprehensive customer service providers, as most do not offer support by phone (except for ). This enables users to resolve issues quickly, unlike providers only offering customer service through an online support form. Our Expert Opinion Google Workspace is not the cheapest email web hosting solution, but it’s worth using its added productivity and organizational tools. It has higher-than-average storage on its Starter plan, and while no plans include unlimited storage, its storage limits are enough for most businesses. Its storage limits, ease of use, extra features, and security make it great for your small business email web hosting needs. Bluehost: Best Bundled Email & Web Hosting is an industry-leading email and web hosting service provider noted for its exceptional value. It has standalone email plans (via Microsoft 365), but we highly recommend purchasing a web hosting plan, especially if you haven’t built your small business website yet, as all hosting plans include multiple email addresses. Higher-tier plans even include unlimited emails and storage. Not only are Bluehost’s plans affordable, starting at $2.95 a month, but they also include multiple free email addresses, a free domain for the first year, a free SSL certificate, reliable web hosting, and access to additional features. For example, you can get Google Workspace integration and domain privacy for a minimal extra cost. It is the best solution for those needing unlimited storage in their business emails and reliable business website hosting from an industry leader. Its hosting is recommended by , and site builder plans include an intuitive drag-and-drop WordPress website builder. Features Bluehost’s primary service is web hosting, but they include free business email hosting in web hosting plans. This makes it a great choice for small businesses looking to build a website and have a custom email address under the same provider. Here’s what you get with Bluehost: A free domain for one year Email hosting with a custom email address Intuitive dashboard for creating email addresses Free SSL certificate for data encryption security Security tools like malware scanning and regular website backups (depending on the plan) 24/7 customer support WordPress website hosting and WordPress installation and updates A no-code website builder for WordPress Google My Business verification Bluehost Business Email Pricing *On an annual billing cycle Customer Service Bluehost’s customer service is available 24/7 via phone and live chat. This means access to assistance whenever you’re working instead of waiting for a response. It also has three different technical support lines, depending on which type of help you are looking for. This ensures you will talk to the experts best-suited to solving your problem or answering your question. Our Expert Opinion Bluehost is a fantastic option for businesses looking to build an online brand presence from scratch. Its plans are affordable and include a site builder, landing it on our list of the best drag-and-drop website builders. Hosting plans include unlimited email addresses and storage in all but the entry tier, making it the perfect solution for businesses that need lots of addresses and unlimited storage. Microsoft 365 & Outlook: Most Advanced Features is the upgraded version of Office 365. It includes the full suite of Microsoft products, including Outlook for business email as well as Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Teams, and more. It also comes with productivity and collaboration add-ons like video conferencing tools, online storage, and shared calendars, making it one of the most advanced business email domain hosting providers. Features Microsoft 365 offers reliable email web hosting with a custom email for your business via Outlook. It also has web-based productivity and collaboration features modeled after the original Microsoft Office Suite, including Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and OneNote. For collaboration, Microsoft 365 also offers video conferencing tools, extensive cloud storage, shared calendars, and security tools. Here’s a breakdown of what you’ll get with Microsoft 365: Email hosting with a custom email for your business via Outlook Ability to save emails as templates to streamline Easily share calendars with other users and allow other users to manage your calendar Advanced email management rules, including multi-step processes Integrates with just about any business app in the ecosphere High individual and shared cloud storage limits High sending and receiving file size attachment limits Productivity management tools like planners and to-do lists, plus productivity analytics Security tools including access management, antivirus software, and data protection Teams for video and audio conferencing Full suite of Microsoft Apps, including Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and more For a complete picture of the advantages of choosing Microsoft 365 (and Outlook) for business email, read up on the Outlook features that make it an excellent option for small businesses. Outlook Business Email Pricing *An annual subscription that is billed monthly Customer Service Microsoft 365 offers 24/7 support via online ticketing and phone calls across all plans. This includes technical support for any issues from installation to configuration and others. Besides one-on-one support, Microsoft 365 also offers a comprehensive library of helpful resources, including articles, videos, and forums that are accessible anytime. Our Expert Opinion Microsoft 365 (and Outlook) is reliable for email web hosting, and we like its extensive cloud storage and security features. Advanced software features also make it an excellent choice for bigger businesses that need more advanced tools or want automations to speed up workflows. See how Gmail vs Outlook compare to get more information about both providers and determine if one is better for your small business. IONOS: Best Privacy & Security Features is a web hosting company that also provides standalone email domain hosting services. It boasts secure servers with spam filters, antivirus protection, and a free domain and SSL certificate. You’ll need to upgrade to their top-tier plan for a low price of $5 a month to get advanced virus protection. This makes it the best email hosting provider for businesses needing affordable ways to deal with private or sensitive documents. Features Like Bluehost, IONOS is a top web domain name registrar and web host. It offers standalone low-cost business email web hosting plans with a free domain, saving you even more money. Its email hosting plans are also scalable, making it a great choice for steadily growing businesses. Here are the features IONOS offers: Email hosting with a custom business email address Free top-level domain extensions (.com, .us, .online, or .net) Shared calendars and contacts with the ability to schedule meetings on higher plans Email synchronization across devices Ability to expand any plan with more storage Multi-user business email hosting plans as low as $2.50 per user (up to 10 users) Antivirus and anti-spam software, data privacy center, and free SSL encryption In addition to standalone plans, you can also get free business email through IONOS with a subscription to any of its web hosting or website builder plans. Alternatively, you can purchase a domain through IONOS for $1 for the first year (two-year commitment required) and get a free email account along with the domain. IONOS Pricing *Billed annually **As low as $2.50 per user with 10 users Customer Service IONOS provides 24/7 customer support for all of its email hosting plans, and users rate their services as highly knowledgeable and quick. They offer live chat, phone support in many countries, and a Help Center with tons of helpful information about their products and general questions you may have. Our Expert Opinion IONOS takes security seriously, and its privacy and security features are some of the strongest we’ve seen, especially in such an affordable service. It offers free antivirus protection, spam filters, a domain, and an SSL/TLS certificate on all plans, which is rarely seen in email web hosting plans costing as low as $1 per month. If your business deals with sensitive data, IONOS is the best and most affordable option. Zoho Mail: Best Free Email Hosting Zoho is an online business software suite celebrated for its customer relationship management (CRM). For business email, paid plans start for free or for as little as $1 per month, and there are higher business-appropriate Workplace plans with similar software and features as Google Workspace and Microsoft 365. There is a free-forever plan for startups and entrepreneurs that need a no-cost business email option. This makes Zoho Mail the best email hosting service for businesses looking for free email hosting. However, since its base plan tiers don’t offer the security features businesses need, we recommend opting for one of Zoho Mail’s Workplace plans or upgrading as soon as possible. If you need a free option to start with, read our tutorial on how to use Zoho Mail free for business email. Features Zoho offers standalone email domain hosting, starting for free on a domain you own. In higher tiers, you can use multiple domains for business email, and the Professional Workplace plan comes with a free domain. Plans scale to add business apps, especially in Workplace plans, which are the only plans that provide adequate security and storage for business email. Here’s what you’ll get with Zoho Mail: Email hosting on your domain, plus multiple domains on higher plans Email migration services New SecurePass to send emails with a passcode Ability to recall an email after sending it Security measures like two-factor authentication and data encryption Video calling (all but the Free plan) calling for 10 to 100 participants Productivity apps such as shared calendars, tasks, notes, and bookmarks Cloud storage A unique collaboration tool for easier communication across teams Admin management features If you plan to use Zoho Mail, you’ll need to purchase a domain first. tops our list of the best domain registrars, as you can buy a domain for $1 the first year, but any of the providers on the list would be a good option. Zoho Mail Pricing *On an annual billing cycle Customer Service Zoho Mail’s customer service is available around-the-clock by email, tickets, and phone, with the latter only available to paying customers. There is also a comprehensive help center on the website for those interested in troubleshooting on their own. Our Expert Opinion Zoho Mail’s Free plan and affordable premium pricing make it a great deal for businesses that need tools similar to what Google offers but without the hefty price tag. In fact, Zoho Mail is often cited as a top Google Workspace competitor. We highly recommend testing out Zoho Mail using its Free plan to see whether upgrading to a paid plan would suit your small business. DreamHost: Best Way to Get Unlimited Email Addresses offers web hosting with email as well as a WordPress website builder. DreamHost’s plans are easily scalable, with starter plans solely for email hosting, and higher plans that bundle email and website hosting. While not as feature-rich as the others on this list (it doesn’t offer any marketing and collaboration features, for example), DreamHost offers unlimited email domain hosting on its higher plans. Features DreamHost offers email hosting services as a standalone option and, similar to Bluehost, as a value-add bundled into WordPress website hosting plans. Bundled plans include a free domain, SSL, WordPress install, and site builder. However, unlike IONOS, its standalone business email plans don’t have a free domain for business email. Regardless of which type of plan you choose, each user gets 25GB of storage. Here’s what you can expect with Bluehost: Email hosting as a standalone or in bundled web hosting plans Spam, virus, and phishing filters SSL certificate Cloud storage Unlimited email addresses on higher plans Extensive knowledge base 100% uptime guarantee DreamHost Pricing *Billed annually, or pay month-to-month at a higher rate Customer Service DreamHost offers customer service 24/7 through online ticketing or via each user’s control panel, and they have dedicated staff for assistance on tech support, sales, billing, or other issues. They also have an extensive knowledge base with resources on everything from WordPress setup to domain registrations, plus an online academy where you can get guided tutorials on optimizing your online presence. Our Expert Opinion While DreamHost offers email web hosting services with a custom business email, its main strength is in web hosting, particularly for WordPress websites. Its extensive knowledge base and easily scalable pricing plans are a plus, especially its unlimited email hosting feature on its higher plans. This makes DreamHost a good choice for businesses that need many unique business email addresses. How We Evaluated the Best Email Hosting Services Researching the best email hosting providers can be time-consuming and challenging, especially when finding affordable solutions without sacrificing features. To save you time, we compared dozens of providers and narrowed them down to the best options. We based our list on affordability, amount of storage, reliability, number of email accounts included, extra features, and user reviews. Click on the tabs for more details about how we evaluated each provider. Based on our criteria, the best email hosting for small businesses is . With high storage limits on all plans, good email security, and a slew of productivity and organizational tools integrated, Google Workspace is the best. It’s also the most beginner-friendly way to set up professional email accounts for your business. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Do I need email hosting? Using a custom business email address with your website’s domain name (e.g., email@example.com) is more professional and credible than a generic one like @gmail.com or @yahoo.com. If you’re serious about growing your business, having a custom email address that matches your website is essential. It’s also affordable, with solid options as low as $1 per month that come with a free domain through . Does Google offer free email hosting? While there’s no free Google Workspace plan, email web hosting is free with Google Workspace if you purchase one of its productivity suite plans and own a domain. If your budget doesn’t include money for productivity and collaboration software and you have a business domain name, try Zoho Mail’s Free plan. Alternatively, check out the top ways you can get a free business email address. How much should I pay for email hosting? Email hosting shouldn’t be expensive, especially for small businesses that don’t need tons of accounts. Your costs will vary depending on how many accounts are needed and what kind of storage and security you want. Many email web hosting providers have starter plans at around $5 per user, per month, though cheap email hosting companies like and cost as little as $1 per month. Bottom Line The best business email hosting providers combine affordable prices, ample storage, multiple addresses, and great add-on features to meet the needs of small businesses. Based on our criteria, the best overall is . It’s not only reliable and feature-rich, with email and productivity tools included, but it is also one of the most easy-to-use email platforms. Try it free for 14 days today.
December 6, 2022
7 Best Local SEO Services for Small Businesses in 2023
Local search engine optimization (SEO) companies offer optimization and marketing services designed to help websites rank higher in local searches online. The best local SEO services provide tools and provable strategies that increase your rankings at an affordable cost, ultimately bringing more leads and customers to your business. We compared more than a dozen options based on cost, services, reviews, and more to help you find the right provider for your small business. Best local SEO services overall: Best artificial intelligence (AI)-driven services to boost return on investment (ROI): Best platform for self-managed strategies: Cheapest local SEO services: Most affordable all-in-one solution: Best for boosting organic traffic using SEO content marketing: Best for technical SEO: Best Local SEO Services at a Glance Take our quiz to find out which local SEO service provider works best for you. Hibu: Best Local SEO Services for Small Businesses Overall offers a wide variety of services for local search optimization, from listings and citations to smart website creation and brand reputation management. A dedicated account manager coordinates outreach to help you get more Google reviews and responds when your business gets reviews online. It also offers social media and ad management, making it an all-in-one search engine marketing (SEM) and local search optimization solution for your small business. Click on the tabs below for more details to see if Hibu is the best local SEO company for your small business: Based on our evaluation, provides the best services overall for small business owners who want a comprehensive, personalized solution to establish and maintain an online presence. Its dashboard is easy to use and includes all the information needed to assess and improve local SEO. However, budgeting for Hibu is tricky since there’s no standard pricing on Hibu’s website. For a one-stop solution with capped monthly costs, consider instead. WebFX: Best AI Data-driven Strategies to Continually Improve ROI is a full-service digital marketing agency that provides proprietary technology solutions for search optimization, review management, lead generation, and more. Clients that subscribe to local SEO services get access to MarketingCloudFX, proprietary software that leverages artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning for natural language processing, and data to consolidate reporting and identify ways to improve your return on investment (ROI). Although it stands out for its tech-enabled solutions, the company also takes a hands-on approach to your support. Every account comes with a dedicated agent who, according to reviewers, is well-informed and responsive. In addition, you’ll get access to digital marketing experts specializing in the WebFX services you subscribe to. Click on the tabs to explore WebFX’s services, features, and costs for local optimization: is an affordable solution and a good fit for companies wanting a tech-enabled solution with guidance from hands-on, local SEO experts. As a full-service agency, WebFX offers a wide range of assistance, making it easy to add PPC or ecommerce SEO services as your company grows. Although less expensive than Hibu for citation management, self-managed solution has a few more perks than WebFX’s self-managed citation tool. BrightLocal: Best for Self-managed Local SEO Services Local SEO is at the heart of the platform. Unlike the agencies on this list that will do the work for you, BrightLocal provides local SEO tools and monitoring, enabling you to create citations and manage your online listings and reviews. BrightLocal is easy to use and includes reporting options, so you can see whether your efforts are paying off. It’s ideal for agencies and digital marketers but also makes sense for multi-location businesses that need to manage multiple local SEO plans. Click on the tabs below to learn more about BrightLocal: platform has tools for local business SEO, but you’ll need to complete optimization tasks yourself. It puts all tools and reporting functions in one place, making it easy and affordable for small businesses to manage an optimization strategy. Plus, the highest-tier plan is a great choice for marketing agencies managing SEO for multiple clients. If you need an all-in-one solution that includes execution, however, consider or . Fiverr: Cheapest Local SEO Services offers the cheapest local SEO services, although it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison to the managed services of , , or others on this list. Services start as low as $5 for one-time outsourcing of citation building, for example, but don’t include ongoing services, reporting, or coverage of other aspects of local optimization like reviews management and website SEO. For this reason, the best way to use Fiverr is to build on your in-house efforts or fill gaps in your strategy. Citation building and updating can be very time-consuming, so this is a good example of a local SEO tactic well-suited for a freelance professional from Fiverr vs tactics you prefer to self-manage, such as writing local search-optimized content for your website. Services relating to local SEO on Fiverr can also be filtered by specific inclusions, such as: Listing submissions Near me optimizations Regional keyword research Citation and directories review Local search ads management Competitor analysis Aggregate directory submissions Account set-up services In addition, you can find freelance professionals on Fiverr for reputation and reviews management as well as link building and website optimization. Pricing for any of these services may start as low as $5, and there are also options for ongoing services from around $45 per month. Keep in mind that each freelance professional on the platform offers a different range of services, so vetting to find the best service for your business will take some time. Reviews are available for each provider, and pricing is transparent, which is a big plus for startups and small businesses on a budget that want a good return on investment. 1SEO: Most Affordable All-in-One Solution At Digital Agency, you can get a comprehensive yet affordable all-in-one solution for local SEO, from technical on-page SEO on your small business website to social media management. It covers citations, listings, backlinks, and reputation management. There’s no published pricing, but an account manager will work with your budget to create a custom quote that fits your needs. Click on the drop-down tabs below for more information about 1SEO: Small businesses that need help showing up in local search results would do well with . With no long-term commitments, your small business can give 1SEO a try without worrying about expensive cancellation fees. You can also choose a la carte services, like SEO-driven content, so you aren’t paying for something your site or business may not need. SmartSites: Best for Boosting Web Traffic With Organic SEO Digital marketing agency offers citation building, content marketing, and listing management. It isn't quite a full-service local SEO agency, as it doesn't include reviews or social media management. Still, it's a good choice for local businesses that want to avoid a lengthy commitment and only want to bundle services a la carte. Click on the drop-down menu tabs below for more information about SmartSites: is a good choice for local SEO—especially if you don’t have time to write content for your website regularly. However, it lacks services for reviews and social media management like includes. Alternatively, you can consider a more affordable tool like for listing and citation management and outsource content creation to a freelance SEO copywriter on . Searchbloom: Best for Technical SEO is an SEO and pay-per-click (PPC) digital marketing agency that doesn’t try to be a jack-of-all-trades within the industry. Instead, it offers laser-focused audits of your website, citations, and listings, and then creates a custom plan that includes technical optimization and website schema. Unfortunately, it doesn’t offer management services for social media, reviews, or online reputation. However, with your free consultation comes a marketing plan that you can use to gauge whether Searchbloom is the best option to help your business rank higher in local online searches. Click on the tabs below to see if Searchbloom is the best local SEO management service for your small business: takes a targeted, technical approach to local SEO audits, so it’s ideal for established businesses that need to know how to improve their position in SERPs among competitors. If you need a more comprehensive digital marketing solution that includes social media and reputation management, get an all-in-one solution from . How We Evaluated the Best Local SEO Companies The best local SEO solutions offer flexible pricing, multiple services, custom plans, dedicated account managers, and performance dashboards (or at least reports). In addition to cost, customer account management, and metrics, we also looked at reviews from current customers and the responsiveness of tech and customer support. Based on our evaluation, is the best overall local SEO company for small businesses. It’s a comprehensive, all-in-one website, search optimization, and digital marketing solution. It helps you optimize your site and rank higher for local searches. You can hire Hibu experts to create and manage everything from citations and listings to your company’s social media, ads, and online reviews. To determine which are the best, we specifically considered these factors: Cost: One of the most important factors for any service for a small business is cost. Although agency services aren’t always cheap, the minimal cost to get started (and get results) had to be fairly reasonable, even for a small business. We also examined whether plans can be customized so you only pay for the services you need. Services: Most SEO agencies include the creation and management of citations, listings, and reviews. The top all-in-one solutions also offer social media management and additional services helpful for growing a small business. Contract length: Although efforts to optimize your website can take a while, having a short contract or a month-to-month commitment might be preferable for small businesses that only need a few things done or aren’t sure they want to stick with one company. Performance dashboard: If you don’t have time to execute optimization tactics yourself, you likely don’t have time to check on all new content and its performance, your site’s keyword rankings, and other metrics. A performance dashboard, or at the very least reports, gives you a quick glance at how your investment is paying off. Customer reviews: Along with our firsthand expertise, we also considered how current customers feel about each company, from performance to support. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) How much does local SEO cost? The cost of local SEO runs the gamut from free tools (e.g., for keyword research or your Google Business Page and other business directory listings) to paid tools that cost from $30 to hundreds or even thousands of dollars for managed services. Affordable managed services with Hibu could start as low as $300, or you can harness the local search optimization services and tools of WebFX starting at $425 a month. How do I optimize my website for local SEO? There are multiple tactics to help your website to rank higher in local search results. These include claiming your Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) and implementing an SEO content marketing plan. Also, update your business information on your site, social media profiles, and in any local SEO citations or other online listings that include your business. How much should I pay for SEO services? Aside from your budget, how much you should pay for SEO services depends on the return on investment (ROI) produced. You can measure and track the ROI of services based on an increase in leads generated or sales made, for example. Also, the SEO company you’re using should be able to show you things like website traffic, forms filled out, and other metrics that indicate your investment is producing a return. It might be time for a change if you don't see results. Bottom Line It is possible to complete local search optimization tasks yourself to optimize your site’s position in searches and directories. However, it may be better to use your time and money to hire experts to handle it for you. is our pick as the best local SEO company for small businesses that need a comprehensive marketing plan to improve their rank in local listings and their chances of being discovered by new audiences.
December 5, 2022
How to Create a Facebook Business Page in 6 Easy Steps
In this article, we walk you through the process of how to create a Facebook business page that will increase brand awareness, generate leads, and drive sales with your target market. First, create a new page, enter your business information, and upload images for your cover and profile pictures. Then, optimize and customize your page, publish it, and promote it. Follow along step-by-step to create your Facebook business account and learn tips to set your page up for success. 1. Log In to Facebook & Create a New Page Desktop shortcut: Log in to Facebook > Menu > Create > Page Mobile shortcut: Log into Facebook > Click on your profile > Pages > +Create Facebook business pages are created using your personal Facebook account, so you’ll need to first log in to your Facebook account (or create one if you don’t already have one). In the Facebook interface on a desktop device, choose the nine-dot icon at the top right. Then, under Create, choose Page. Alternatively, if on a mobile device, click on your profile icon at the top of your page, scroll down to Pages, and then click the Create button. 2. Enter Basic Business Information Shortcut: Input Page Name, Category, Description > Click “Next” > Input Contact Info, Location, and Hours On the following screen, input your basic business information, including your page name (usually your business name), category, and a brief description of your business. When done, click the “Next” button at the bottom of the screen. The next page of the Page builder will then ask you to input additional information. Although this is optional, it is best to complete these fields to make your business more accessible. Adding the location will also help people find your business page when searching on Facebook. 3. Upload a Profile Picture & Cover Photo Shortcut: Upload Profile Picture > Upload Cover Photo Next, upload a profile photo and a cover photo. When done, click the “Save” button at the bottom. For Facebook business page design ideas and more inspiration about what to use for your profile and cover images, check out our list of Facebook page templates. Businesses commonly use logos as profile pictures for social media marketing, but you may use any photo that represents your business and brand well. For instance, a realtor will often use their professional headshot as their profile cover, rather than the logo of their brokerage. On the other hand, an author might use the cover of their latest or best-selling book as the profile picture for the Facebook business page. Make sure your cover photo is visually appealing and representative of your business. To avoid sizing issues, use to create or edit your cover photo. It’s free to use and has dozens of predesigned templates you can use to easily make your cover photo. 4. Add More Info & Optimize Your Page’s Content Shortcut: Go to “About” > Add new information from the tabs After you’ve completed the steps above, you have successfully created a Facebook business account, but the process isn’t yet complete, especially if you want your page to support your business goals. From your new Facebook business page, right below your profile icon, choose the About tab. Input additional information such as price range, services, language, or interests, and add a link to your small business website. You can also add privacy and legal information if necessary. The more information you add to your page, the more searchable content your Facebook business page has. In turn, this makes it more likely that your page will be found when someone searches for related content, such as services, products, or businesses like yours on Facebook. As such, it’s also smart to use keywords that someone would use when searching for a company like yours throughout your Facebook business page’s input fields, and going forward, in posts as well. Adding keywords is a crucial way to optimize your page for search, and you can find good words and phrases to include using low-cost and free keyword research tools, like . To optimize your page for viewers, your page should tell readers what they want to know about your business, including ways to contact you and your products, services, or menu. Complete the sections applicable to your business, as it may be a potential customer’s first point of reference for your company. 5. Customize Your Facebook Business Page Customizing your Facebook page makes it easier for interested people to do business with you. For example, adding a button can drive your audience to the first or next step of your sales pipeline by taking them to a dedicated landing page, your online store, or integrating email marketing software to build your contact list. Likewise, tabs and advanced settings provide more ways to align your Facebook business account to your customer’s journey and operations. Open the tabs below to learn more about different ways you can customize your Facebook Business Page to increase engagement: 6. Publish & Promote Your Business Page Once you’ve created your new Facebook business page, it’s time to publish and promote it. To publish your page, you’ll first need to confirm your Facebook business account via email or mobile phone number. Once published, there are several ways to get your business page visible online. To start, invite the people in your personal Facebook friend list to “Like” your new page. This will help you immediately acquire an audience. You also need to be consistently active on Facebook to effectively promote your page, grow an audience, and market your business. You can promote your page in a number of different ways, and for maximum benefit, you’ll want to use them in combination: Invite followers of your other social accounts (e.g., Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and so on) to “Like” your Facebook page Send an email inviting your contact list to “Like” your page Publish a new post on a regular basis, such as once a day or at least once a week For every overtly promotional post, share three to four non-promotional posts with share-worthy content or content that invites engagement, such as questions, polls, or contests Link to your social profiles on your business website Add it as a social link in your professional email signature Connect your Instagram account (or create one and link them) Link it to your Google Business Page Add a link to your Facebook business page on all of your online business directory profiles (e.g., Yelp, Angi, industry directories, trade show listings, and more) Join and engage with relevant groups and individuals on Facebook While it’s easy to learn how to create a Facebook business account, it can be a challenge to use it effectively as a marketing tool. For more ways to promote your business on this platform, read our list of Facebook marketing strategies for small businesses. Or, for affordable expert help, turn to a social media marketing company like . From strategy to implementation, they have the expertise to help you set up a business page on Facebook and use it to grow your business. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Is creating a Facebook business page free? Yes—creating a business Facebook page is totally free, except for the investment of your time. However, there are potential costs involved. For example, while there are great sites for free logo design, you might want to pay for a professional logo, profile picture, or cover image design services. Likewise, you can set up a business page on Facebook for free or pay as little as $5 to hire a professional graphic designer or copywriter on to take your profile to the next level. Setting up a Facebook Ad campaign will also cost money. How do I engage my Facebook followers? To engage your Facebook followers, post quality content that is interesting, timely, visually oriented, and relevant to your audience, and always reply to comments, questions, and messages quickly. From there, hone in on the best times to post by looking at engagement levels by days and times in your page’s Insights. You can generate page activity and encourage followers to leave comments by asking questions in your posts or posting surveys and polls. Incentivize page likes and post shares with contests or special offers. Check out more tips about how to engage followers with our article on Facebook marketing strategies. How do I create a Facebook business account without a personal account? Unfortunately, you can’t create a business account on Facebook without having a personal account, as all business profiles are managed by Facebook users (called admins). However, you can create a personal account with only a minimal amount of contact information and set it to private to set up a business account and profile page. You’ll need a personal account to log in to Facebook, set up a business account, and manage it. Bottom Line Facebook business pages can be a great way for your business to build its professional presence online, enabling you to connect with customers on a more personal level and to reach new ones. It is free to create and very easy to set up. However, if you find that your business page isn’t looking or functioning quite how you’d like, consider leaving it to the pros. You can find a freelance Facebook marketing or graphic design expert for as little as $5 on .
December 5, 2022
8 Best Email Marketing Software for Small Business in 2023
Email marketing success often depends on finding the right software. The best email marketing software for small businesses is affordable and easy to use for email campaign creation, automation, reporting, lead nurturing, and triggered emails to increase conversions. We compared dozens of providers and narrowed it down to the six best email marketing services to make your decision easier. : Best email marketing software for small businesses overall : Top cheap email marketing pick for businesses with large contact lists : Best for businesses seeking software for sending transactional emails : Best email marketing solution for businesses focusing on lead generation and nurturing : Great for small businesses needing basic ecommerce tools and integrations : Excellent for businesses looking for comprehensive email automation : Best drag-and-drop editor for email marketing beginners : Top free all-in-one ecommerce website builder and email marketing tool for small businesses Best Email Marketing Software Platforms at a Glance *Some email marketing features require subscription to a paid plan **Billed annually or pay an increased rate 1. Mailchimp: Overall Best Email Marketing Software for Small Business is the best email marketing service for small business overall thanks to its robust feature set, ease of use, and affordability. Plus, it’s fast becoming an all-in-one marketing hub. In addition to email marketing software, you will now find a website builder, landing page builder, built-in customer relationship manager (CRM), marketing tools for social media, and even direct mail postcard marketing. However, Mailchimp’s bread and butter is still email marketing. It includes various features to help you manage a master contact list, create email campaigns, automate triggered email sends, segment your audience, and analyze the success of each campaign you send. It’s easy to build webforms in Mailchimp and then embed them on your website and social media to streamline list building and lead generation. Best of all, you can use it for free for up to 500 email subscribers with access to quite a bit of functionality, including automated emails. As a leading email marketing service, it integrates with over 300 other apps, including all-in-one website builders like , and various sales CRMs and ecommerce software. Mailchimp is an ideal option for small businesses just starting with email marketing and looking for a free, easy-to-use solution. However, it’s also a great choice for any business looking for a comprehensive email marketing tool with social ad integration and more A/B testing options than competitors. Customer support is harder to come by, though—for phone support, you have to upgrade to the highest-priced plan at $299 per month. Likewise, advanced features like predictive analytics, multivariate testing, and tools for adding email subscribers through lookalike audiences require a Standard or higher subscription. Mailchimp Pricing & Plan Features *Based on 500 contacts; the monthly cost of any plan increases based on number of contacts Still, Mailchimp’s inclusions for the price are impressive, especially for small businesses that don’t have huge contact lists. If you have a sizable contact list or a list growing steadily, consider instead. It’s the cheapest email marketing software on our list for large contact lists. It also includes nearly all of the same features offered by Mailchimp, including advanced email features and landing pages. How It Works Learning how to use Mailchimp’s email marketing platform and drag-and-drop email editor is easy and fairly intuitive, and there are built-in prompts to guide you through the process. During account setup, you can also opt in to emails with tips to improve your email marketing efforts. makes it easy for you to create and segment contact lists (called “audiences”). Plus, you can create and send emails to your audiences or audience subsets based on tags. When setting up an email marketing campaign, Mailchimp will automatically evaluate your subject line and suggest how to improve it. Use premade templates or start from scratch to create individual or automated email campaigns. Send automated responses when someone subscribes to your list or fills out a contact form on your website. Easily set up triggered emails, such as an abandoned cart notification, using Mailchimp’s drag-and-drop editor. Mailchimp automatically creates a text-based version of your email and adds a footer with the information required per the U.S. CAN-SPAM regulations. The preview mode lets you see what your email will look like when viewed on desktop, mobile, or tablet devices. Plus, you can quickly send a test email to one or more email recipients to ensure your email is error-free, all the links work, and it’s audience-ready. The Campaigns reports show open rates, clicks per open, delivery success rate, and survey responses. The data can help inform you of what you need to improve or what’s already working, and you can even see who opened your emails or clicked on links to identify hot leads that may be ready to convert. Mailchimp’s Content Optimizer will make suggestions for you if you subscribe to the Standard or Premium plan. Our Expert Opinion free plan is a great choice for any new small business just getting started with marketing emails. As your business grows, it’s easy (and affordable) to upgrade to a paid plan to get more features or add more contacts. Mailchimp limits the number of emails you can send each month, so if you’re looking for email marketing with unlimited sends, consider for basic ecommerce integrations or for large contact lists. 2. SendX: Cheapest Email Marketing Software for Large Contact Lists is far and away one of the cheapest options for startups and small businesses. While there is no free plan, pricing starts under $8 per month, and the cost increases level-to-level based on the size of your contact list are modest, especially compared to , , and even . While we haven’t discussed user reviews for other providers, it’s worth mentioning here. SendX has high user ratings (e.g., 4.6 out of 5 on G2), with many SendX reviews especially citing the quality of customer care they received. For startups and solopreneurs who have to do it all marketing-wise, this type of support is invaluable. Another aspect we like about SendX is that advanced features aren’t locked behind higher tiers. Every user gets access to drip campaign automation, A/B split testing, webforms, and conversion-generating features like auto-responders, triggered and condition-based automation, and list segmentation. A few things are lacking in SendX that you get for free with HubSpot and Mailchimp, most notably advertising and social media integrations. Likewise, no survey tools come with Mailchimp starting in the free version. While SendX offers fewer ready-made integrations than some competitors, it includes essential ones like , , and , and the ability to create thousands more through SendX Pricing & Plan Features How It Works Create an account and set up your first campaign in minutes with SendX. Try it free for 14 days with no credit card required, including creating and sending up to 100 emails. There are dozens of premade templates to help you get started more quickly, and the email editor is easy to use. The SendX user interface is clean, modern, and easy to navigate. Follow the step-by-step “get started” instructions, including embedding code onto your website to ensure your domain is white-listed for increased deliverability. Like Mailchimp, it’s easy to import your contacts via comma-separated values (CSV) files or drag and drop a preformatted comma-separated list (Email, First Name, Last Name). Create a pop-up or embedded forms to increase sign-ups and conversions on your website. Add forms to your landing pages or create landing pages for them in SendX. Embed videos and even add a countdown timer to create a sense of urgency for site visitors. Our Expert Opinion is the best cheap and small business email marketing software you probably never heard of. All features come standard, and the cost is affordable regardless of the size of your contact list. While it doesn’t have survey tools and ad integrations, it has all the essential features most small businesses need, including multi-layered automations. 3. Sendinblue: Best Platform for Sending Transactional Emails has a bevy of tools to promote your business, generate and nurture leads, and stay in touch with current customers. It offers a free plan that limits you to 300 emails per day, whether they are marketing or transactional. The number of contacts you can have is never limited, regardless of which plan you choose. Most businesses rely on transactional emails to communicate with customers when they make online store purchases or users who make changes to their accounts. Set up automated transactional emails with order confirmations to send invoices or provide shipping and delivery updates to keep customers aware of what they purchased and when it should arrive. Transactional emails are helpful in other ways, such as when a customer requests a password reset for their account or changes their password or login information, or for double opt-ins when someone subscribes or sets up an account. Managing all these types of emails manually would take way too much time, which is why you should use an email tool like Sendinblue. Transactional emails often involve more than one software application. Sendinblue won’t let you down in this area, with dozens of ready-to-plug-and-play third-party integrations and Zapier, which can facilitate thousands more. Pricing is low compared to some of Sendinblue’s competitors, but higher than the more affordably priced . Plus, some of the features you may take for granted on lower-tier plans with or , like A/B testing, are available only on higher plan tiers or require the purchase of an add-on. Sendinblue Pricing & Plan Features How It Works Sendinblue makes it especially easy (and free) for ecommerce businesses to send transactional emails, such as confirmation emails when a purchase is made on your site. Personalize emails with the contact’s information or send text marketing messages via short message service (SMS), even on the free plan. Get your email campaign or transactional email designed quickly using one of the dozens of template designs or layouts available. Once you choose a template or layout, it’s easy to edit your campaign with Sendinblue’s intuitive drag-and-drop editor. The size of your contact list doesn’t matter with Sendinblue, since there are no limits on the number of contacts you can have, but you may need to pay more to increase your monthly email sends within the plan you choose. Upgrade to a paid plan for more monthly emails and features, such as advanced analytics (location and heatmaps, for example), a landing page editor, and integrated Facebook ads. Our Expert Opinion When sending transactional emails to your customers, the best option is . The forever-free plan is generous in its features, but you’ll have to live with Sendinblue branding unless you upgrade to the Starter plan (plus an add-on) or the Business plan. However, removing branding to white label your business emails starts at just $11 with . 4. HubSpot: Best Email Marketing Tools for Lead Generation & Nurturing is well-known in the marketing world as a comprehensive sales and marketing platform. Email marketing and HubSpot CRM are included among the free tools, so you can build your mailing list at zero cost. HubSpot is also an excellent email marketing service for list management, with advanced tools for segmenting audiences and personalizing campaigns. Of note for this update is that HubSpot dropped the pricing for the base tier of this product significantly. Pricing used to start at $45 per month with two user seats and now comes in at a much more small business-friendly cost of $20 per month (or $18 with annual billing). The drag-and-drop landing page builder by HubSpot is another free tool you can use to increase email campaign conversions. Plus, new this year, HubSpot’s web content management system (CMS) is also free to use, making it a one-stop for building a strong brand presence and lead and sales generation solution for your small business. HubSpot templates are mobile-friendly—as easy to view on a mobile phone as on a desktop. Each template is designed to produce conversions, from getting people to visit a landing page to signing up for a demo or purchasing a product from your website. The free plan includes HubSpot branding, but moving to a paid plan removes branding from your emails, forms, landing pages, and live chat app on your site. All these additional tools boost your email marketing efforts because you can use them to build contact lists, direct traffic to high-converting landing pages, or add webforms and a chatbot to your website. HubSpot is the undeniable leader as a robust all-in-one sales and marketing solution. However, HubSpot’s lowest-tier plan is somewhat limited— is far more generous in email sends, number of features, and contacts. You get a lot more with HubSpot’s more expensive plans, but for a high price—over $800 or as high as $3,600 per month, which is a bit out of reach for most small businesses. HubSpot Marketing Hub Pricing & Plan Features *Save 10% on any plan by paying annually **You can have up to 1 million non-marketing contacts on any plan How It Works Use HubSpot’s free tools to create marketing emails and landing pages from scratch—or customize their premade templates. With any paid plan, HubSpot branding goes away, and you can start sending mass email campaigns. At its core, HubSpot is an inbound marketing tool, so you use the tools to capture emails to convert site visitors to subscribers and landing pages to encourage sales. Our Expert Opinion offers some of the best free email marketing tools for lead generation and nurturing, with robust features for building and managing contact lists and creating landing pages. The lowest-priced paid plan is more limited in features and number of contacts allowed than providers like . However, its combination of email marketing alongside scalable, comprehensive sales and marketing software is unmatched. 5. Constant Contact: Best Email Marketing Software for Basic Ecommerce started its life as event management software but evolved into a cross between a CRM system and an email marketing tool. It integrates seamlessly with ecommerce platforms like Shopify, Etsy, and WooCommerce, and has loads of customizable templates. One of the most appealing features of Constant Contact is its easy integration with (and the ability to add products from) your Shopify store to marketing emails. The drag-and-drop email editor is easy to use, and Constant Contact offers about twice as many templates as other providers. Also, Constant Contact doesn’t limit the number of emails you can send per month. Although Constant Contact doesn’t offer a free plan, you can take it for a test drive with a 30-day free trial. After that, you’ll have to subscribe to a plan based on the size of your contact list. You’re limited to 500 contacts on the lowest tier, and if your list goes over 500, you’ll be automatically upgraded to the next tier at $35 per month. Constant Contact makes it easy to post to social media simultaneously, saving you a lot of time. Likewise, Facebook and Instagram ads can be managed from the platform. However, Google Ads integration, surveys, and nearly all email automation is locked behind its more expensive Plus plans, starting at $45 per month for up to 500 contacts. Constant Contact costs more than and our cheapest email marketing software provider, . Mailchimp is free for up to 500 contacts, but for the same number of contacts with Constant Contact, you’ll pay at least $9.99 per month. With SendX, you can send unlimited emails to up to 1,000 contacts for $7.49 per month, and all of the platform’s features are included with your plan. Constant Contact Pricing & Plan Features How It Works It’s easy to use Constant Contact, regardless of prior experience with email marketing tools. There are hundreds of easy-to-modify templates to get you started when creating an email to send to your contact list. The drag-and-drop design editor is easy to use, and managing your contact list is intuitive too. Add tags to segment your audience based on whatever you want (products, location, sex, or any other information you have about your subscribers). You can preview your email before you send it out to ensure you have no missing links or typos and compare its look on desktop vs mobile. But unlike Mailchimp, you can’t see precisely how it will look in different inboxes (e.g., Gmail vs Outlook email inboxes). A/B testing is available with Constant Contact, but only for subject lines. Comparatively, Mailchimp allows you to split-test up to three elements of an email, such as body text or the time sent—not just subject lines. Likewise, you can create and send surveys with the free version of Mailchimp, but you must now upgrade to the Plus plan with Constant Contact for surveys. Our Expert Opinion is a top email marketing platform for businesses with smaller contact lists that want to send lots of emails (contact list size is limited—the number of emails that can be sent is not). It’s ideal for smaller Shopify sellers who want to add products directly to emails. However, its tools aren’t as sophisticated as , and it's not as affordable as Shopify-friendly competitors like , , and . 6. ActiveCampaign: Best for Email Marketing Automation has the most advanced email marketing automation capabilities. If you have fewer than 2,500 contacts, it’s more affordable than marketing automation juggernaut . There are many different options for automating emails, such as time triggers to encourage more opens, and action or behavioral triggers, like after a contact opens an email or clicks a link. Since ActiveCampaign includes a multi-deal sales CRM beginning with the Plus plan, HubSpot is its closest competitor feature-wise. The sales CRM includes deal assignment, pipelines, and lead scoring, and uses machine learning to send email content when a lead is most likely to convert. Beginning with the Plus plan, you can get integrations with more than 870 apps, including Shopify, WooCommerce, and BigCommerce. ActiveCampaign has comprehensive ecommerce tools for list building, dynamic content based on the lead, and tools for customer retention and loyalty. Though you’ll pay more for ecommerce tools with ActiveCampaign than Constant Contact, the return provided by sophisticated ecommerce and CRM features could be worth the cost. There is no free version, but the Lite plan starts at $9 per month. While it’s low compared to HubSpot’s $20 per month base tier, it only includes 500 contacts compared to 1,000 with HubSpot. With any plan, you will pay more as your contact list grows. For example, if you have 5,000 contacts, you’ll pay $79 per month on the Lite plan or $209 for the Professional tier. ActiveCampaign is far more expensive than , especially as your contact list grows. Likewise, if you don’t need super-robust CRM features, the customer relationship management tools that come standard in free version could be the more practical choice for your business. ActiveCampaign Pricing & Plan Features How It Works Setting up automations is easy with visual workflows, and you can create layered “if-this, then-that” conditional logic style flowcharts to create email drip campaigns. You can also form automations for triggered transactional emails, so customers get an email confirming a purchase or an appointment, get follow-up emails when an item ships, and receive reminders for upcoming service appointments. Segmentation is also a big deal for ActiveCampaign. As with other email marketing tools, you can create separate groups based on tags, but you can also create custom fields to track specific info from emails. You can even create multi-step forms to segment contacts as they fill out webforms on your landing pages. You can also send SMS marketing campaigns with ActiveCampaign with all but the Lite plan. Sendinblue and Constant Contact are the only other providers on this list to offer that functionality. Our Expert Opinion offers excellent value for the money. It’s the best option for any size business that wants complex and advanced email marketing automations for lead nurturing and sales, as this comes in every plan. It can get pricey overall as you grow your contact list, so no-limit contacts feature may be better for companies with many email contacts. 7. Moosend: Best Email Marketing Software for Beginners became a rising star among email marketing platforms after being acquired by Sitecore in 2021. With a 30-day free trial period and a basic plan that starts at $7 monthly, this email marketing software appeals to small to medium brands with unlimited emails for all subscription levels. Another testament to its value for money is the decent range of email marketing automation tools available even in its basic pricing tier (features that platforms like and only offer in higher-priced plans). But Moosend’s most appealing aspect of this list is its user-friendly but comprehensive drag-and-drop email builder. This makes it easy for email marketing beginners to customize everything from the basic templates to the detailed marketing automation templates. Alternatively, adding your own HTML code or building a plain text version of your email is also easy. With a minimal learning curve, Moosend boasts impressive email campaign designs that any small business client can achieve. Also, Moosend offers A/B testing in the base tier and notable spam and delivery testing that significantly decreases the possibility of email campaigns being marked as spam. In fact, their website highlights a 98% sender reputation rate for their service users. Moosend offers a 30-day free trial with a solid lineup of services that rival other email marketing software platforms’ paid plans. In the free trial period, businesses can send unlimited emails and utilize the platform’s various automation workflows. They can also create a landing page and use the form builder. Paid plans start at $7 per month, paid annually, but this is the base tier that can accommodate only up to 500 contacts. As your contact list grows, the rate also increases. However, it is still affordable with $38 per month for a 5,000-contact list. Moosend is one of the cheaper providers on this list. However, if there is a need for CRM features, ecommerce options, and robust third-party integrations, or are excellent alternatives—and both offer free plans. As you’ll notice from the table below, very few features are hidden behind higher-tier plans, similar to . Moosend Pricing & Plan Features How It Works top-of-the-line reporting begins when you connect your website to the software. From there, Moosend’s automation, segmentation, and reporting tools will allow you to track customer experience, conversions, sales, and customer behavior. Digital marketers can use this data to make groups of contacts for targeted or follow-up email campaigns. Triggered transactional emails are also available for paid accounts. One of the platform's biggest strengths is its marketing automations for all tiers, even for the free trial. Moosend makes it easy to set up sophisticated automated workflows, or you can start with a ready-made workflow template instead. There are 18 workflow templates available on Moosend, and you can save your custom workflows as a template for the future as well. Each template is fully customizable and can be used to optimize email campaigns. Our Expert Opinion is an affordable email marketing solution that can create well-formatted and optimized email campaigns even with little to no background knowledge. It is the best option for small to medium businesses that aim to send high numbers of emails monthly and automate their campaigns easily. may be a better fit for businesses that still want a user-friendly email editor but also want CRM integrated into their software. 8. MailerLite: Free Ecommerce Website Builder & Email Marketing offers one of the most generous free-forever plans among email marketing software. Like other services on this list, MailerLite goes beyond email blasts and offers automation, landing pages, a website builder, and sign-up forms and pop-ups—even on the free plan. A campaign is relatively simple to set up, with a drag-and-drop editor and email builder available in-house. Its value for the money closely rivals the functionality of . Optimizing email campaigns is easy with A/B split testing for all paid plans. At the same time, all pricing levels have an embedded survey tool that allows you to collect data and insights to optimize the campaign directly. MailerLite allows unlimited automated email sequences and steps as well as an email automation builder in the free-forever plan. However, its automation capabilities are more modest than or . One of MailerLite’s biggest pros is its ecommerce capabilities, which involve on-site product selling and ecommerce integration. MailerLite offers a range of ecommerce templates and allows users to build product pages, set up payments, and promote products through email marketing all on their platform. Users can also connect to an online store and import their products seamlessly into the email builder’s design blocks. Finally, sales can be tracked directly from their campaign. MailerLite offers a free-forever plan for up to 1,000 contacts, while its base plan starts at $9 a month. This is a more than reasonable pricing range, which unlike or , doesn’t include a steep increase in pricing after the free-forever plan. The Growing Business and Advanced tiers increase in price as your contact list grows. The different pricing tiers also offer users a 30-day free trial to try out their additional features. This includes 24/7 email support, unlimited monthly emails, ecommerce builder, and dynamic content. The Enterprise plan is offered to businesses with over 100,000 subscribers, but you’ll have to contact their sales team for pricing. MailerLite Pricing & Plan Features How It Works automation dashboard allows users to build and edit automated workflows with a user-friendly editor. Segmentation and personalization capabilities are also quite solid, which allows for building automated dynamic or static groups from the subscriber list. The segments on MailerLite are similar to segments, such as behavioral, based on a database field, purchases, automation membership, and the like. Subscriber list management is straightforward: group subscribers, create your own fields, or report on email subscribers. Although this is a decent range of personalization, it is still slightly underwhelming compared to , for example, which offers tag-based segmentation on top of those. Our Expert Opinion is an impressive email marketing software for its price. It is one of the best options for small businesses, particularly those looking for alternatives or wanting to incorporate ecommerce in email campaigns. Its free-forever plan includes the necessities of email marketing and more, allowing MailerLite to stack up to market leaders in email marketing. How We Evaluated the Best Email Marketing Platform for Small Business To choose the best services, we considered more than just email marketing features, cost, and ease of use. We looked at apps that further aid your campaigns, whether through marketing automation, data enrichment of your contacts, contact management, third-party integrations, and extras like landing pages for conversions. We chose as the best email marketing service for small businesses overall. It offers features for everything from building a contact list and segmenting audiences to creating campaigns, automating drip emails, setting up triggers, analyzing results, testing A/B variations, and sending email blasts to your customers. It’s also an affordable email marketing tool, as a small business can use it for free for up to 500 contacts and scale affordably to higher plans as the business grows. Plus, it integrates seamlessly with hundreds of other business apps and has a form builder to create custom lead generation forms to embed on your website and social media. Here are the factors we considered in choosing the best email marketing platforms: Cost and fees: Software must be affordable to be accessible to small businesses. We considered whether a tool offered a free version or free trial as well as the overall cost and pricing structure of each platform. Ease of use: We only chose apps that are easy to learn and use. Otherwise, a business might not get the maximum value or desired results to grow. Ease of use also impacts the overall value of the money. Features: Regardless of primary functionality, the best services offer robust features, including features to boost marketing emails from good to great and provide a good return on investment (ROI). Customer reviews: How current customers rate and what they say about a company is one of the best ways to determine whether it’s right for your small business. We considered what customers had to say and how they ranked each company on our list. Expert score: We’ve used a wide range of email marketing software platforms firsthand and tested the features, functionality, intuitiveness, and user-friendliness of each one as part of this review. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) What is the best email marketing software to choose for beginners? While we recommend as the best overall for most small businesses, is the best email marketing software for beginners. Its design tools are easy to use, even for true email marketing beginners. What’s more, automation is included, and that’s also easy to set up with Moosend’s guided interface. Are there different types of email marketing? Marketing emails can encompass a variety of topics but generally pertain to four types: newsletter, promotion, acquisition, and retention (or loyalty) emails. You can also consider them informational, behavioral (e.g., when a contact performs or doesn’t perform an action), and transactional, like receipts, confirmations, and password change request emails. Learn more by reading our email marketing guide. How effective is email marketing for small businesses? Email marketing has a high average return on investment (ROI) of $32 to $45 for every $1 spent. Success depends on finding the best provider, targeting your audience, and providing valuable content, and it’s affordable and easy to get started with any of the providers above. Learn how to successfully introduce your business to prospects via business emails in our article with nine effective business email introduction templates. Bottom Line Finding the right platform comes down to your budget, desired features, your contact list size, and how many marketing emails you want to send each month. Our top pick for small business email marketing is . It has a robust feature set, provides an all-in-one marketing hub, and has plans to fit almost every business. A forever-free plan is available to startups, solopreneurs, and small businesses, with plans that scale as your business grows.
December 5, 2022
How to Write a Media Advisory in 2023 (+ Free Template)
A media advisory is a one-page announcement used to invite members of the press to attend an upcoming event. To write a media advisory, follow correct media advisory formatting, identify your target audience, write your headline and body, and then distribute it to media outlets. Download our free media advisory template below and learn how to write one that attracts attention and drives media attendance. Leave the writing and distribution of your press advisory up to the experts at . They’ll write and distribute your announcement directly to the journalists you most want to intrigue. Free Media Advisory Template It is essential to follow the proper format journalists expect to see. To make it easy, we created a free media advisory template you can download that adheres to the standard media alert format and guidelines. Use it as you follow the five steps below for writing one. 1. Format Your Announcement Before writing a media advisory (sometimes called a press advisory or media alert), it’s important to get the structure and formatting right. If you want your announcement to be read by people in the media, follow industry standards on proper formatting so the reader knows exactly where to look for specific event details quickly. The media advisory template above is already formatted correctly to help you save time. The header includes your logo, centered at the top, followed by a left-aligned contact information area. This should have the name, phone number, email address, and website where a journalist can get more information. Below the header is the headline, which should be centered and in a bold font slightly larger than the rest of the advisory. While optional, this can be followed by a subheadline in italics. The headlines may be the only part of the advisory a journalist considers when choosing whether to attend or cover your news, so they need to be attention-getting and compelling. The remainder of the advisory outlines the details of your news. One way to ensure your announcement includes all the information journalists need is to answer the what, who, when, where, and why questions as laid out in the media advisory template above. Finally, conclude the advisory with any attractive details that might make them want to attend, such as the opportunity to get exclusive photos with celebrities or high-profile individuals. If you want to dress up the layout and look of your advisory to make it more eye-catching to journalists, hire a professional graphic designer for as little as $5 on . Alternatively (and for the best chance of getting media attention), use a top press release writing service like to format, craft, and distribute your press advisory. 2. Identify Your Audience Next, determine your audience and how you can appeal to them. Knowing and understanding your audience is essential so you can address what will specifically interest them. The best indicator of your press advisory audience demographic is the type of event you’re promoting. For example, if you are holding a business or news press conference, you want reporters and journalists to attend. On the other hand, you’d likely opt for a social scene writer to attend a local fundraiser. Tailor your advisory’s content so it’s a clear invitation for the type of media you most want to attend. Most media outlets have reporters covering major topics like politics, education, local business, or technology. Decide what type of media professionals would be most interested in your event and focus on writing for them. When targeting specific reporters who cover events related to your industry, read some of their articles and write your advisory with them in mind. 3. Write Your Headline It’s crucial to spend time crafting a great headline so that those who see it become interested enough to read the rest of your advisory and attend your event. A headline is the summary of your advisory and should be about 65 to 80 characters in length. Here’s how to write a compelling headline: Be concise and straightforward: Make your headline easy to understand and keep your max character count between 65 and 80 characters in length (including spaces). If your headline is too long, it’s likely to get cut off in the list of search engine results shown on Google and in searches on smaller screens, such as mobile devices. Tie it to a trending topic or current event: An effective way to generate interest in your event is to tie it to a trending topic. For example, if you are hosting an event in October, you could tie it to Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Doing this will make your event more timely, and you may gain additional interest from some who might otherwise overlook your event. Lead with a value proposition: Journalists aren’t checking out media advisories because they want something to do on a Friday night. They’re looking for relevant content to turn into stories they can write for their media outlets. Leading with the main reason they should attend your event is the best way to capture their interest. Media Advisory Headline Examples One of the best ways to understand how to write a headline for your story is to see real-world examples and take note of the approach used. Here are some examples of effective press advisory headlines that clearly identify both the topic and target audience: 4. Detail Your Event in the Body Once you have a headline, provide all the vital information regarding your event. Media advisories should be no longer than one page in total and should only cover the most essential details, such as location, date, theme, and reason for the event. Like press releases, it’s best to limit your entire announcement to about 500 words. Explain what the event is, what will happen, and what they will experience. For example, will there be a good photo or story opportunity? Who will be there? Will there be any celebrities or influencers on hand? Next, offer details on when and where the event will be, as well as any pertinent information needed, such as registration information or driving and parking instructions. 5. Distribute Your Media Advisory Once your media alert is ready to be distributed, decide on a distribution method to get it to members of the press who would be interested in attending. Advisories for business events like press conferences should initially be sent about five to seven business days before an event. A reminder advisory can also be sent the day before as a follow-up and to re-engage any interested journalists. Also, keep in mind that for high-profile events or to secure coverage from magazine writers, your advisory might need to be sent several months in advance as these types of organizations plan editorials many months prior to publication. There are two main ways to distribute advisories, and for maximum reach, it’s best to use them in combination: Direct outreach to press contacts: If you have a list of local news media contacts, you can send your advisory directly by email. However, keep in mind not to attach your advisory as a document. Instead, copy your advisory's content directly into your email's body. This way, it’s more likely to be read and less likely to land in a spam folder. Use a distribution service: The easiest way to reach a wide yet targeted audience is by using a professional press release distribution service like or . This gives you maximum exposure, giving your document the best chance of getting noticed and generating press attendance. Once you have sent out your media alert, follow up with the news outlets that received it. Following up with journalists is the best way to get them committed to attending your event. It also allows you to stand out from the hundreds of others who sent media advisories, since most don’t bother following up with a phone call. When to Use a Media Advisory vs a Press Release A media advisory should be written and sent when you want the media to attend and cover an event. In comparison, a press release is what you want to write and send if you want the media to share a newsworthy topic related to your business. Sometimes, a press release announces an event, but it can also be the opening of a new location, hiring a new executive team member, or winning a prestigious award. Which to use depends on the action you’d like the recipient to take upon receiving it. An advisory is a one-page, information-only invitation addressed and sent specifically to members of the press to encourage their attendance so that they can craft their own news story based on their firsthand experience. On the other hand, press releases are formatted more like articles designed to be shared as is. It covers key facts and information intending to generate general (and media) interest in a news announcement, which may or may not be related to an event. Ultimately, the goal of a press release is for its contents to get picked up by both small and large media outlets and shared for additional coverage and exposure. If you think a press release is better suited to your needs and goals, head over to learn how to write a press release, which also has a helpful release template to guide you. Frequently Asked Questions What’s the difference between a press release & a media advisory? The difference between a press release and a media advisory involves the audience and the intent. A press release is a public relations statement mainly geared toward a specific audience based on a story. It may or may not include an invitation to an event, whereas a media advisory is a news release specifically intended for journalists to invite them to attend (and usually cover) a media-friendly event. What mistakes should I avoid when writing a media advisory? The biggest mistake to avoid when writing a media announcement is failing to include the information the media needs to attend, such as the date, time, place, and RSVP information. Similar to common press release mistakes, you should avoid writing your advisory like an advertisement, making unsubstantiated or unprovable claims. Finally, make sure you don’t send your announcement at the wrong time. What’s the best time to send a media advisory? The best time to send a press advisory is between 10 a.m. and noon, according to Cision. If you want members of the media to attend an in-person event, you need to send it with enough notice so they can plan to attend. For digital events or general announcements (like the kick-off of a fundraising campaign), sending the day before is best. Get more tips in our article on how to send a press release. Bottom Line A media advisory is an effective tool to gain press attendance for your event, especially when it’s formatted correctly, written concisely, and distributed for maximum exposure. Give yours the best shot at reaching your goals by using a distribution service that offers advanced, multi-layer targeting to ensure your story reaches the right journalists, such as .
December 2, 2022
20 Direct Mail Marketing Ideas to Promote Your Business in 2023
While digital marketing is highly prominent today, direct mail marketing remains an effective, low-cost way to reach customers. In addition to attracting new customers, direct mail campaigns can boost customer retention and acquisition. In this article, we explore how you can use these 20 direct mail ideas to grow your small business. The success of your direct mail campaign depends not only on your ideas, but also on how you execute them. From free templates and artwork you can use to bring your ideas to life to affordable direct mailing services, is our top recommended go-to for direct mail services from beginning to end. 1. Send a Simple Postcard One of the easiest direct mail ideas is to send a simple postcard with a clean design, contact information, and a clear call to action. If you have a brick-and-mortar shop, list your address (with a small map to show your location) and phone number or email address. If you have a website, include a short URL made specifically for your direct mail campaign so you can track your response rate. People receive lots of mail daily—to make yours stand out, try using oversized mailers. A standard postcard is usually 4x6-inches and oversized postcards usually run 6x11 inches—the difference in size could make someone notice. To easily design a postcard, we recommend using , which has hundreds of well-designed templates. For design inspiration, look through our list of postcard examples. 2. Send Coupons (or Coupon Codes) on Postcards One way to get people to take action with a postcard direct mail campaign is by attaching coupons or coupon codes. Coupons have proven to be effective—in fact, 90% of millennials agreed that a coupon could sway them to try a new brand (86% of Gen X, 78% of Gen Z, and 76% of baby boomers agreed). In addition to enticing people to buy from you, coupon marketing also makes it easy to track your return on investment and the popularity of your offer. For more on coupons, read our guide on how to use coupon marketing to promote your business. It outlines how to develop a strategy, set goals, create a distribution plan, and optimize and track your campaign. For more coupon direct mail ideas, check out our list of more than two dozen coupon examples and ideas. 3. Send Brochures With In-depth Information If you want to stand out and impart more in-depth information, instead of the typical postcard, send a brochure direct mail campaign. Brochures give more room for information (such as menu listings or product guides) and remain effective marketing material for small businesses. However, keep your design clean and simple so you don’t overwhelm readers with information overload. For more design inspiration, look through our list of the best brochure examples. 4. Include Links or QR codes in Direct Mail Campaigns One of the best benefits of direct mail marketing is that it can be used as a starting point to direct your customers toward a specific action, such as visiting your website. The best way to do this is by including QR codes or short, trackable URLs in your direct mail campaign that leads customers toward your website, store, or a specific landing page. Website builder offers a free QR code tool that lets you create free QR code images. Simply follow the instructions to add the page you want the QR code to lead to, and then download the code to use on your direct mail and other marketing materials. 5. Include a Clear Call to Action (CTA) Like in any marketing campaign, the best direct mail ideas produce campaigns with a clear call to action. Use clear, persuasive copy and hone in on the action you want the recipient to take. Make sure your CTA stands out by making fonts bold, or boxing in your CTA and placing it at the center of your postcard or mailer. It’s also essential to keep it simple—give your customers one place to learn more about your business or redeem a discount. 6. Offer a Limited-time Promotion Direct mail can also be used for more than just letting your customers know about your business and what you do. To better encourage actions and conversions, offer your customers and leads a limited-time promotion in the mail. Whether it’s a limited free shipping discount or a week-long 50% off sale, limited-time promotions create a sense of urgency that encourages customers to take action immediately. These promotions are often used for holiday seasons or to give prospects an extra incentive to become new customers. 7. Send Objects Inside Envelopes to Pique Curiosity One of direct mail’s unique features over email is its tactility—when someone is sifting through mail, how it physically feels also plays a part in whether or not they’ll open it. If you add a small object inside an otherwise flat envelope, it can pique your customer’s interest. Some successful direct mail marketing campaigns have included a penny, a gift card, a fake credit card, a pen, or a USB drive, to name a few. 8. Give Away On-brand Items Sending customers branded items in the mail keeps your business top of mind and makes your brand more memorable. Get creative with your ideas. For example, toy stores could send branded paper airplanes, bookstores could provide bookmarks, or bakeries might send custom cookies stamped with their logo. This will immediately make a positive impression and keep their brand top-of-mind. 9. Give New Customers Something to Keep In line with keeping your brand memorable by sending on-brand items, you can go a step further and give away items that are fun and practical. Handy trinkets like fridge magnets with calendars or schedules of local sports teams, calendars, sticky notes, and the like are more useful and memorable, and will more likely be kept rather than thrown away. A printing service like lets you print anything from branded magnets to custom notebooks at an affordable price. 10. Send Existing Customers Birthday or Anniversary Discounts Direct mail is also a promising avenue for customer retention—a good way to make your customers feel special is by offering discounts or promo codes as gifts on their birthdays and anniversaries. Doing so keeps your business top of mind and fosters brand loyalty. While it’s possible to send birthday discounts through email, research has proven that direct mail has a far higher response rate than email. 11. Promote Solutions, Not Products One of the best tips for any direct mail marketing campaign is to tap into what customers want and how they’ll benefit from using your business. When writing marketing copy, rather than focus on what your business has (e.g., your products or services), highlight what customers gain from doing a specific action. For example, an air conditioner repair service can fix your A/C, but simply writing that on a postcard campaign isn’t likely to excite any interest. Instead, revise your copy to focus on being available for customers 24/7 (“Get your A/C working—yes, even at 3 a.m.”). 12. Amp Up Direct Mail Campaigns With Die-cut Brochures Brochures always make for great direct mail promotion ideas. They’re lightweight and require no envelopes, so they can sometimes be more affordable than other marketing materials. A simple way to make your brochure stand out is by using die-cutting. This gives your brochure a custom, unique look and texture, immediately making it more noticeable. offers custom die-cutting, so you can work with the direct mail service and printer to get the exact shape you want for your marketing campaign. There is a $45 flat fee for design help from the company, and you’ll need to get a custom quote for your project. 13. Try an EDDM Campaign Setting up an Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) campaign is easy and affordable. As the name implies, EDDM campaigns allow you to target a city or ZIP code with postcards and other mailers, letting you cast a wide local net. Because EDDM campaigns are run in conjunction with the U.S. Postal Service, there’s no need to purchase a mailing list, and it costs about half as much as standard postage. You might see pieces of EDDM in your own mailbox after making a significant purchase or moving to a new city. If your address change is on public record, or you buy a house or car, that information may be available to marketers. So, if you bought a house, you might see mailers from home goods retailers, or if you bought a car, you might get postcards from insurance companies. An Every Door Direct Mail campaign can help you gain new local customers you wouldn’t otherwise reach with your mailing list alone—and because you’re targeting a specific ZIP code, you can hone in on a location-based audience. There are several direct mail services available for small businesses that offer EDDM, including , which also gives you $50 off your first Every Door Direct Mail campaign. 14. Make Your Mail Interactive Sorting through mail at the end of the day is often seen as a bit of a chore. Break the tedium by making your direct mail interactive and fun. With your business and message in mind, think up ideas to transform your mail into something more exciting, but still relevant to your industry. Some examples are scratch-off sections that reveal a discount, 3D pop-up cards, or even short games and quizzes that customers could answer. 15. Add Multiple Coupons—One for Now, One for Later A great way to find out which discount is more popular with your audience is by offering multiple coupons on a single piece of direct mail—like A/B testing for discounts. A $10-off promo code could work well for new customers, while a 20%-off code could be perfect for a customer who wants to stock up on something. Ideally, they’ll use one discount now and the other later, encouraging customer loyalty. 16. Use Bold (but Meaningful) Designs to Stand Out There are many ways to make your mailer stand out, from strong copy to die-cut materials. One of the easiest and most important ways is through your mail design, as 90% of the information transmitted to our brains is visual. If you don’t have an in-house designer, you may want to hire a freelancer from to create a modern postcard, brochure, or catalog that looks professional and modern. Also note that while it's tempting to include all the reasons why your business is the best, it's better to keep your information and design as clear, direct, and simple as possible. Focus on the most relevant details and have one clear and easy-to-follow call to action. They can find out more at your store or website. 17. Personalize Your Direct Mail Campaign It may seem obvious, but it’s worth noting that one of the best direct mail ideas is to address your recipients by name. Similar to email campaigns that include recipients’ first names, do the same with direct mail campaigns. Personalizing, even with just a first name, can have a significant impact on customers. Personalization can also include a customer’s buying interests. If someone recently purchased a luxury car, they might be a good candidate for a high-end jeweler or a local museum membership. And when you get personal, you get a higher return on investment (ROI)—by up to 200%. 18. Design Your Mail Like Personal Correspondence In addition to personalizing your mail content, how it looks to each recipient also counts. To maximize the chances of your mail being opened and read, design and customize your mail materials as if they were personal correspondence. Some ways to do this are by sending a greeting card in a colorful envelope and leaving off “current resident” from the front of your envelope. Use a business letterhead to strengthen your branding with each customer. 19. Create a Handwritten Stamp for Postcards When it comes to creative direct mail campaigns, a handwritten note is one of the best and most personal ways to connect with customers—but it's also time-consuming if you have a large mailing list. A solution is to get a custom stamp with your copy in a custom handwritten font that you can press on the back of postcards. In the age of digital ads on practically every screen, having an old-fashioned, ink-stamped message gives any message a more personal and premium feel. 20. Send Catalogs or Free Samples Catalogs and free samples are one of the more well-established direct mail ideas, and with good reason. Catalogs are great if you offer physical products and have proven to be effective, even in the digital age. In fact, a study found them to increase ROI by up to 870% when combined with email marketing. Free samples, on the other hand, effectively introduce customers to your product and are less likely to be thrown away, which could eventually lead to more sales. Basic Elements of Direct Mail Campaigns As with any marketing campaign, a direct mail marketing campaign starts with a goal. Decide what you want to accomplish with your direct mail idea, from increasing web or foot traffic to upping subscriptions, sales, or sign-ups. Then, you’ll need a mailing list, a printer to get your postcards or other mailers, and any extras, such as inserts, QR codes, and other ways to track your campaign’s success. Here are the basic elements you’ll need to run an effective direct mail campaign: Create a goal for the campaign (e.g., increase sales, generate leads, drive referrals, and so on) Set up a targeted mailing list (unless doing an EDDM campaign) Choose the type of direct mail to send Make your design using online editing tools on sites like , graphic design platforms like , or hire a low-cost graphic designer via Find a direct mail service that fits your needs, such as VistaPrint or Employ tracking to measure the success of your campaign, such as with promo codes, QR codes, and landing pages, or use physical coupons Analyze results and use insights to inform future marketing campaigns Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) What are the best direct mail services? When looking for the best direct mail services, you can’t go wrong with . There are ready-made templates for nearly any type of mailer you would want to send, plus intuitive editing tools, so you can quickly put your brand and messaging in place, upload your mailing list, and get your mailer into the hands of your prospects and customers. Learn more about VistaPrint and other providers to find the best direct mail service for you. Is direct mail still effective? While digital marketing abounds, direct mail is still an effective marketing strategy—in fact, it has a higher average response rate of 2.7% to 4.4% compared to email’s 0.6%. It’s also effective for driving sales by up to 49%, as well as increasing inquiries by 125%. Direct mail campaigns also allow far more opportunities for customization. Instead of having to stand out in a cluttered inbox with a catchy subject line, you can fully customize direct mail’s overall design, look, and feel. Finally, people simply love receiving mail: 73% of American consumers stated they prefer being contacted by brands through direct mail, as it allows them to read it at their convenience. What percentage of direct mail is opened? According to the Association of National Advertisers, or ANA (formerly the Direct Mail Association), up to 90% of direct mail is opened. It’s estimated that at least 42% of recipients at least scan, if not fully read, the direct mail they receive. To increase the efficacy of your direct mail campaign, use it in conjunction with other marketing materials to promote your small business, such as adding a QR code to your mailer that sends visitors to dedicated landing pages. Bottom Line The best direct mail ideas are relevant to your business and marketing budget. Always start with a goal of what you want to achieve with your direct mail campaign so you can stay on track. Using the direct mail marketing ideas above can help inspire you to come up with more creative ideas to reach out directly to your customers, clients, and new prospects. For a one-stop shop for direct mail collateral, templates, design ideas, and intuitive editing tools, use VistaPrint. They have thousands of premade templates to streamline your creative process and can take on your direct mail campaign from start to finish, at an affordable cost.
December 2, 2022
7 Best Free Press Release Distribution Services
The more journalists and media outlets your press release reaches, the better your chances of getting publicity—but paid distribution sometimes comes with a high price tag. For startups and small businesses on a tight budget, using one of the best free press release distribution services will help you get exposure without the big investment. Based on use cases, here are the seven best free press release distribution platforms to increase media visibility and get your story more reach. : Best free press release distribution services for small businesses : Great free Google News distribution for businesses seeking mass promotion : Ideal for business looking for free publishing of short-term releases : Top free press release service for search engine distribution : Best for businesses needing free industry targeting for a published release : Best free press release distribution platform for nonprofits : Excellent free premium-quality press release distribution for one-time press release Whether you use one as a supplement to paid distribution or your budget requires the use of free press release distribution services, here are our top recommendations: 1. PRLog: Best Free Press Release Distribution Service for Small Businesses provides free press release submission to search engines and RSS feeds. They also provide a free press room where you can host all your company’s press releases, and journalists can follow you to receive your latest press releases. PRLog’s free press release distribution includes written and video press releases as well as the ability to have links in your press release. Apart from the free distribution services, there are three pricing tiers on PRLog: Basic, Premium, and Premium 2, ranging from $29 to $99. Additional features are included in each tier, such as more tag or location listings, Google News distribution, in-depth analytics, and search-optimized photos. All paid plans also gain access to an ad-free platform and include targeted industry distribution. 2. openPR: Best Free Google News Distribution is a close second to PRLog’s free press release distribution service—if not for its single monthly press release limit. One of the platform’s highlights is its free distribution to Google News, search engines, and RSS feeds—a feature most platforms charge extra for. Free press release distribution includes links, images, and a free banner ad on the openPR website. Press releases are readily available to journalists and the public upon publication, and solid analytic tools are available to track their reach. Press release deletion or corrections are charged at $10 per release. However, more credits can be purchased to increase the number of press releases you can send monthly. An additional credit equivalent to one press release is priced at approximately $22. 3. OnlinePRNews.com: Best for Free, Short-term Release Publishing .com’s free plan offers the ability to publish a press release for 90 days on Online PR Media. Paid plans range from $22 for social media distribution to $549 per video press release, depending on your needed features. Free plan features include adding a page title and meta tags reflecting your headline and summary, a downloadable PDF of your release, and a live URL link to your release. Paid plans include video and social media releases, multimedia embedding, social media posts, partner site publishing, and performance tracking. 4. 1888 PressRelease.com: Best for Distribution to Search Engines offers both free and paid plans. The free plan allows you to distribute your press release to search engines, newswires, and websites for free. The main objective of this service is to give your news additional visibility in search engines. 1888 PressRelease’s paid plans range from $15 to $249 per press release distribution. Paid plans include added features like enhanced PR distributions for greater reach, a company profile page, premium partner distribution, free video creation, and the ability to add tags and keywords to your release. 5. PR.com: Best Free Industry Targeting for a Published Release offers paid and free press release distribution plans. The free plan includes up to 10 targeted industries and three regional locations, publishing on PR.com, keyword optimization, and file attachments for adding a video, image, or other media types to your release. Clickable hyperlinks in media or text are an additional $29.95 fee per link. Next-day or same-day distribution is available for an added fee of $100 or $300, respectively. Paid plans include an embedded image, distribution in addition to publishing on PR.com, and an added number of industries to target. 6. NewswireToday.com: Best for Wide RSS Feed Reach for Nonprofits free plan offers distribution to around 2,000 basic RSS feeds. However, this comes with a huge caveat―it’s only available to nonprofit organizations. Another downside is that it displays third-party ads, and you can’t choose your publishing date. Paid plans range from $199 to $399 per release and include added features like logo uploads, the ability to specify a publication date, and same-day distribution. 7. IssueWire: Best for One-time Free Press Release Distribution allows marketers to submit a press release on their site only for the first press release. Nevertheless, it is a decent free plan with embedded media options, social sharing, mobile distribution, and advanced targeting at no cost. However, its biggest restriction is that the free press release distribution service does not index on major search engines and distribute to RSS feeds—features that are present on other press release websites on this list. There are two pricing tiers starting at $21 per press release. Paid features include extensive media distribution, newswire distribution for premium tiers, guaranteed Google index, and promotion. IssueWire’s paid distribution services are known for their affordable rates for large-volume distribution. In addition, press release writing services can be purchased at a low cost—$25 for a 500-word release. Top Alternatives to Free Press Release Distribution Services Free press release distribution can get more exposure for your story, but free services have shortcomings. For example, they generally don’t include guaranteed placements or distribution to major news sites and media outlets. For maximum exposure and publicity, it’s best to use free distribution in conjunction with paid press release services. By tackling your distribution from multiple angles, you give your press release the most opportunities to earn press coverage. Here are the best alternatives to free press release sites: : Best for affordable, mass, and targeted press release distribution. Plans start at $99.95 per release and include distribution to the Associated Press newswire (AP newswire). : Best for reaching the largest network of U.S.-based media, from $399 per release. Professional press release writing services are also available and can be bundled with your plan. : Best for multilayer targeting to reach niche audiences, outlets, and journalists, with plans starting at $349 per release. With Newswire, you can geo-target journalists and outlets, so your release will be distributed to media located in your desired area. In return, this makes your press release more relevant, interesting, and likely to land press coverage. : Best for affordable, white-labeled press release distribution to make your brand look big. For just $159, you can get your press release professionally distributed—with no other branding on it—making it ideal for those wanting to build a stronger brand presence. Paid vs Free Press Release Distribution Services Compared The Truth About Free Press Release Distribution Services Free distribution platforms might get your press release into some media outlets, but its reach will be limited and may not get your news in front of potentially interested journalists or your target audience. Because of this, we recommend using an affordable press release distribution service like or a service like that offers multilayered targeting, and free distribution as a supplemental resource for added reach. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) How do you distribute press releases? Press releases can be distributed in several different ways. You can use a distribution service to send your release to thousands of digital, print, television, and radio outlets, and directly to journalists by email. You can also distribute your news by hand-picking journalists, locating their email addresses, and emailing your story to them manually. Finally, you can use new media for distribution by writing and posting a social media press release or running a targeted ad for your press release on social networks. Follow the step-by-step instructions on how to send a press release. How much does paid press release distribution cost? Paid press release distribution services costs range from around $21 to over $1,000. Your expenses can vary widely depending on the platform you use and what added features you take advantage of, like targeted placements and direct emails to journalists. However, if you have a media contact list, it’s completely free to email your release directly to journalists. We recommend you send your release to your media contacts and use a distribution service for broader exposure. Where can I get a free press release template? You can get a free press release template here on our website. Read our step-by-step guide on how to write a press release and download our free press release template to use as you follow along step by step. It follows the press release format that journalists expect and offers tips to help you write a story worthy of additional media coverage. Bottom Line Free press release distribution services are often used by small businesses with little budget but a big need to get a news story out. But remember, the reach your story will get with free services will be limited, especially compared to what you get with paid distribution plans. Your story will also be hosted on a site that displays ads and press releases from other companies, which can detract from your efforts to build brand awareness and credibility. Rather than relying on free services, ensure your story gets into the hands of the journalists most likely to want to cover your news and the audience you want to reach with a service like . Newswire guarantees mass placements and includes multilayer targeting to give your press release the exposure it deserves.
December 2, 2022
How to Make a Press Kit in 8 Steps (+ Template & Examples)
A press kit, also known as a media kit, gives journalists supplemental information about your business, which makes it easier and more likely for them to cover your story. Making a press kit is fairly easy―choose a template, add your information and assets (e.g., logos, corporate headshots, videos, and so on), and then publish and distribute your media kit. Download our free press kit template and follow the steps below as you make one for your small business. Download Our Free Press Kit Template Here’s how to put together a press kit that makes your business shine in eight easy steps: 1. Get a Press Kit Template (or Design Your Own) The easiest (and often best) way to create a press kit for your business is to use a predesigned template. This makes the process simpler and faster while still ensuring your document is well-designed and professional. There are a few different places to download a template—which is best for your business depends on your brand’s priorities, style, budget, and your design and copywriting skills. Here are some of the best ways to create a media kit: Free downloads: Download our free press kit template to get started quickly and at no cost. : Design your own media kit for free with no graphic design experience or software using Canva, starting with one of their prebuilt media kit templates. : Most affordable place to have a professional graphic designer and copywriter create a press kit for your business, starting from $5. : Get full access to unlimited business template downloadables, including professionally designed media kit templates, through a membership for $16.50 per month. : Buy professionally designed templates for a one-time fee of about $50 to $75 each. Starting with a premade template is the easiest way to make your kit, but you can also design your own media kit from scratch. Alternatively, you can turn to freelance professionals at for professional graphic design and copywriting services to make a media kit for as little as $5. 2. Add Your Company’s Information With your template as a guide, the next step is to add your company's information. This will essentially be the focal content of your press kit and will include all the vital information about your company, including your contact information, business facts, business story, products and services, and more. Open the drop-downs below to learn how to customize your template with your company’s information: 3. Add Photos Next, add photos of your products, logo, location, or personnel to make your media kit more informative and visually engaging. Use professional images that feature the best elements of your business. If your photos are also available for download and publication by the press, note this, and provide a link to high-resolution files on your website’s press kit page. If you don’t have high-quality photos, consider using stock photos (sparingly) for free from . 4. Provide Multimedia Assets & Links If your media kit is digital, make it easy for journalists to download and save a copy for reference. This is especially important for businesses offering products. Take good photos of your products, upload them to an online drive, and include the download link for the original, high-resolution files in your media kit—these photos will appear in press coverage about your business. If your business doesn’t offer physical products, include images of your logo or location instead. As the job of a press kit is to make it easier for journalists to cover news about your business, providing links to original as well as web-friendly versions of photos, logos, headshots, and other assets is ideal. You can also provide them in multiple formats (for example, both JPG and PNG) and include brand style guidelines for multimedia assets describing how and where to use them, copyright information, licensing details, and so on. 5. Link to Past Press Releases After detailing all the essential information about your company, include links to past press releases to give journalists context and background about your company. Make the most of your digital media kit by linking to these resources on your website’s marketing and press release pages. Organize press releases chronologically to illustrate your business’ events and milestones. 6. Include Links to Social Media Profiles In today’s digital-centric world, your social media accounts are just as valuable a point of contact as your email address or contact number. To round out your media kit, it’s a good idea to include your business’ social media links at the bottom of your document, whether it’s a portable document file (PDF) or an online webpage. 7. Enhance Your Press Kit With Standout Features While there are no set rules on what a media kit should and shouldn't have, what's most important is that it's informative and helpful to interested journalists and readers. While the basics above are essential, you can go the extra mile and add more details you want journalists and the world to know about your business and what makes it unique. Whether it's a list of your business' awards or instructional videos, here are a few additional details you can add to make your press kit stand out: List of awards and recognition: If your business has noteworthy awards, devote a section of your kit to a list of your awards and accolades. Social media accounts: Portable document files (PDF) and online media kit versions can include links to your company’s social media channels. If you only have a downloadable press kit, you can add these links to your webpage. Testimonials from customers or clients: Testimonials aren’t just a sales tactic; they’re a powerful addition to your media kit too. If you use testimonials, include names and photos of those who provided the testimonial (be sure to get their permission in advance). Case studies: In the same vein as testimonials, you can include a few case studies in your document. Case studies can better illustrate to journalists how your product or service is used in the real world, especially if you have an original product. Be sure to keep your case studies short, clear, and succinct. Product guide: For businesses that develop or sell a unique product, including a product guide is an excellent idea. Your product guide may include technical specifications, dimensions, capabilities, and other information relevant to people within your target audience. List of clients: If you are in a client-centric business, include a client list (unless your company has policies against it). This list of clients can help journalists and others know what types and sizes of businesses you work with. Again, always get your client’s approval before including their name in public materials. Interviews: Journalists may be interested in interviewing company leadership or founders. If there are existing video, audio, or print interviews, include links to these in the media kit. Doing so informs journalists about previous interviews and may inspire additional press coverage. List of patents: Depending on the nature of your business, you may have several patents. Patents set you and your business ahead of the competition and can be an important addition to a media kit. Product sample: Including product samples is a strong addition to any media kit. Obviously, if you have a physical product and a digital press kit, your options are limited. There are ways, however, to give reporters a feel for some products and services. Videos can help. Guest logins to a web app, for example, may be an option for some businesses. Likewise, if it’s practical, you can include a form for journalists to request a sample of your product for their stories. Advertising collateral: You can also link to PDFs or electronic versions of your company newsletter, flyer, landing pages, or other marketing materials. Customer or audience demographics: Devote a few paragraphs to discuss details about your company's customers or audience. If you have the data, you can also include charts and graphs about your customers' demographics, characteristics, and behaviors. Relevant supplemental videos: It's no secret that videos increase engagement, views, and content shares. If you're building a digital media kit, an informational video with an overview of your company, an infomercial, a tutorial, or a product review can be your greatest asset. Press mentions: If your business or products have been mentioned by other media outlets or by notable figures (such as influencer recommendations), include them too. This boosts your business’ credibility and increases your chances of getting media coverage and gaining new customers. Press mentions reflect positively on your company and add social proof that your news is worth publishing. 8. Share Your Press Kit After creating a press kit, share it so journalists can find it. There are two common ways to do this, which are typically used in conjunction with one another. The first is to publish your media kit on your website. This can be done by creating a “Press” page that you link to in your footer’s navigation menu, and under your press page, link to your document. The second is to share a link to your media kit within your press releases—learn how to send your press release effectively in our guide. Press Kit Examples & Why They Work The makeup of your press kit will vary depending on various factors, including the information you want to highlight to its design, the types of media outlets you’re looking to appeal to, your target audience, and your brand. For more insights, check out the press and media kit examples below to see how they can vary by brand in terms of information and design. 1. Annemarie Skin Care Digital Press Kit Annemarie Skin Care’s digital press kit includes all the essential parts, customized to highlight the most important details of their skincare brand. It starts with their contact information at the top of the page, then continues with their brand story, core purpose, process, and company culture, all organized into easily accessible PDF documents. It also includes handy product guidelines and media assets, including high-quality product photos and company logos, before ending with its social media links. This press kit example works as it is essentially a digital version of a traditional kit, but upgraded and customized to showcase the most essential points of their brand. This includes information about their product ingredients and creation process, as well as product guidelines—all neatly organized into visually engaging PDF documents any journalist can easily access. 2. Old Skool Café Press Kit Old Skool Café’s press kit follows the more traditional format, with all their information placed in a PDF document. It’s simple, clear, and straightforward, providing all the important information about the cafe, its history, and its operations in a way that’s easy to read and understand. It also lists notable achievements, as well as a handy one-page fact sheet with the restaurant’s address, operating hours, social media handles, and catering and parking information. 3. Kuyichi Press Kit Kuyichi, a Netherlands-based retail brand, is a good example of a small business media kit. Their kit places their contact details and fact sheet front and center of their page. These are then followed by downloadable collaterals about their business and product, including the brand manifesto, logos, clothing collections, and the latest campaigns. Kuyichi’s digital press kit takes a more modern approach, including only the essential company information, contact details, and downloadable assets about its products. However, it still works as part of the brand’s overall website, which also details their company’s story and production process in separate pages. That way, Kuyichi’s press kit page directs journalists to the most important information they want to be covered by the press: their products and latest campaigns. Learning how to develop a press kit is just one way to increase your odds of gaining media coverage. For more help getting press coverage, check out our step-by-step guide to increasing your business’ visibility. Frequently Asked Questions Are press kits still relevant? As long as media outlets continue writing news stories about businesses, press kits will remain highly relevant. They give journalists easy access to essential supplemental information for stories and help boost your business' brand presence. They are also a valuable tool to help control your media narrative and shape the public’s perception of your brand. Press kits are often journalists’ primary source of information about your brand, allowing you to showcase its best features. What’s the difference between a press kit & a media kit? While press kits and media kits are similar and are often used interchangeably, they have a few key differences, primarily in who they’re meant for. Press kits are more traditional and are geared specifically for members of the press to help them craft a timely story about or involving your business. For example, if you were opening a new store location, journalists would use your press kit to get background information about your company and write a more well-rounded news story. On the other hand, media kits aren’t geared exclusively toward journalists—they can have multiple purposes beyond gaining press coverage, such as securing partnerships or other business opportunities. Media kits are usually more comprehensive and are meant as a one-stop resource for anyone from journalists to advertisers. Influencers, for example, often have media kits to attract sponsors that include their follower count, website statistics, rates, and contact details. What is the quickest & easiest way to make a press kit? The fastest and easiest way to create a press kit is to start with a template, such as our free press kit template. From there, simply fill in your information, save it as a PDF, and your media kit is ready to share. Journalists aren’t necessarily expecting an aesthetic masterpiece, but they are expecting quick facts and easy access to information in a visually appealing layout. If you’re not interested in making your own press kit, you can hire a graphic designer to create one for you for as little as $5 on . Bottom Line A press kit is the standard method of communicating business information to the media. Reporters use press kits to get relevant information quickly, saving them time and effort. Creating your media kit requires collecting and sharing the correct information in an easily accessible place to produce more positive and effective press coverage for your business. Ensure your press kit gets maximum exposure by using to distribute your press release. You can include up to six in-text hyperlinks in your release for free, one of which can be to your press kit.