In the 13 years since the company started, the world of email marketing has evolved. Consumers' online lives no longer center on the PC. Today, they're glued to their tablets and smartphones. The advent of social media has rewritten the rules about how brands engage with their customers.
With a dose of refreshing honesty, VerticalResponse's candid CEO, Janine Popick, admitted that her company's software was a bit behind the times. Maintaining an aging code base inevitably led to feature lag as coders attempted to graft new, bleeding-edge functionality onto software that had been developed during the PC era. A reboot was in order.
Popick told Small Business Computing, "We set out on this journey to rebuild from the ground-up." The result is a brand new, mobile first version of VerticalResponse that offers customers a "very, very different customer experience altogether."
Email Marketing Designed for Mobile and Social Media
The new VerticalResponse greets you with a streamlined, easy-to-use interface. During an online demo, Popick showed how a small business marketer can compose and deliver a professional-looking marketing email in just minutes, and then turn that effort into a social media posts in an instant.
Marketers with little in the way of design skills can send pixel-perfect email newsletters and promotions that look just as polished on a laptop as they do on an iPad, thanks to a wide array of customizable templates. "All of our templates are 100 percent mobile-friendly," said Popick. You can also quickly preview how your marketing emails render on a smartphone, on a tablet (in portrait or in landscape orientation) or on a PC-based Web browser.
You can click on and edit practically every element. Adding images and rearranging elements are drag-and-drop affairs. Including social media icons is a snap. Once you complete your email, you can post a hosted version of the email to your social media pages and accounts. This ease of use extends to other, behind-the-scenes activities.
You can drag-and-drop email lists and customize your campaigns with a series of selectable fields and drop-down menus. You can also schedule tweets and post social-network updates to Facebook from a unified interface without jumping between the two accounts.
A Plan for Every Marketing Budget
VerticalResponse has also overhauled its service plans. The Free option lets you send a maximum of 4,000 emails a month and supports a mailing list of up to 1,000 email addresses and one Facebook and Twitter account. The Basic plan, starting at $8.80 per month for 500 email contacts (a limited-time introductory price), supports unlimited sending and up to three social media accounts.
Finally, a Pro subscription entitles customers to a dedicated account manager, a customized email template that includes a company logo and support for up to six social media accounts. Prices start at $12.75 for 500 email contacts as part of a launch promotion.
Current customers can continue to use VerticalResponse Classic, said Popick. Over time, the company plans to move its customers over to the new platform as seamlessly as possible.
"This has been one of the most important initiatives in VerticalResponse's history, and I am thrilled it is now available to our users," said Popick in a statement. "Everything has been revamped, from the product and user experience itself to pricing and billing, customer support, and branding."
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Small Business Computing. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE
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