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Running Your Email Marketing: Dedicated Platform or Gmail-Based Apps?

Running Your Email Marketing: Dedicated Platform or Gmail-Based Apps?

E-mail marketing is a great way to turn your visitors into subscribers.

If you rely on sales to sustain your business, then you need to run email campaigns on a regular basis.

The best thing about e-mails is that they arrive at the inbox of your subscribers. This way, you do not have to fight for the attention of your target audience.

Upon subscribing to your list, they allow you to send exclusive content to their e-mails. Unless they unsubscribe, they will keep reading whatever you have to send out to them.

With this knowledge, you can craft newsletters and transactional emails. These keep subscribers engaged with your site or blog.

logoEmail marketing isn’t something marketers do just because they can and it’s easy. The tactic is very effective at helping business owners and consumers stay connected. In fact, consumers often seek out email marketing campaigns from their favorite brands and local stores. – Peter Roesler, President of Web Marketing Pros (Source)

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If you wish to run email campaigns for the first time, you must be aware of the different platforms to use. Each has their own pros and cons. But the common thing among them is their ability to collect leads, send emails, and analyze data. These three factors can help you develop your campaigns to increase conversion rate.

But did you know that you can run an email campaign using Gmail?

If you have saved the contact details of your leads in Gmail, you might as well do your outreach here.

All you need to do is download Gmail apps to help you organize your contacts and conduct campaigns.

But before you do, let us compare how email platforms and Gmail based apps work. After reading this post, you can decide which between the two works best for you.

Email platforms

As mentioned earlier, there are lots of choice for your email marketing solutions. To simplify the process, I will use GetResponse as an example on how email platforms work in general.

Below is what Neil Patel, co-founder of Crazy Egg and KISSmetrics, has to say about GetResponse:

GetResponse is a paid service. But you can sign up for a 30-day trial to test out its features.


Upon logging in, you can choose from doing three things first. 2015-08-12 14-27-59

If you have an existing list, you can import them here one by one or by uploading your list. 2015-08-12 14-30-47

If you do not have a list yet, you can start building one by creating a form from GetResponse. 2015-08-12 14-44-56

For the List Building Wizard, you can choose from different forms based on intent and size. 2015-08-12 14-46-54

For non-designers, the form builder at GetResponse is a dream. You have full control over the appearance and feel of the form. Change the style, display properties, and fields to include in the form. 2015-08-12 14-56-44

Tip: It is best practice to have as fewer fields as possible to fill out in your form.

There is a debate on whether to leave out the name field from the form. On one hand, requiring the name field will discourage visitors from subscribing. On the other, not including the name field will make your email less personalized.

The solution? Test out which approach works the best.

84a0407e92d45f88e7b440175f8b4e5bI know that’s not what most of us want to hear, but it’s the only responsible answer. Some marketers see no reductions in opt-in rates with the name field included. Others see 10% drops, and here and there people report significant drops in opt-in rate with the name form included, like 20% or more. It all depends on your business. Pam Neely for GetResponse (Source)

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Once you have decided on your form, you can embed the code. 2015-08-12 15-06-41

To get the most out of your signup form, you must create a landing page. 2015-08-12 15-16-05

Choose from the pre-made pages and customize the elements in the editor. Drag and drop elements like text box, videos, social sharing buttons, and others on the page.

You can also customize the thank you page the same way. 2015-08-12 15-24-54

Once done, proceed to the landing page setting. You can set up how to make your landing page appear on your site.

This can be technical for beginners. I suggest that you contact your domain and hosting provider to help you get this done.

Once you have lots of subscribers from your form, you can prepare launching out a newsletter.

You can set up social media and A/B testing for your newsletter. 2015-08-12 15-44-30

After choosing a template, drag and drop the elements to achieve the desired look. From the same page, you can edit the desktop and mobile view of the newsletter.

Gmail-based apps

I will now proceed with discussing how to run an email campaign using Gmail based app.

For this purpose, we will use of tools from the following apps:

Assuming that you have yet to build your list, create a HelloBar account first. Create a signup form by choosing from the different types here.

Most email capture forms need you to have an email platform to save your subscribers. With Hello Bar, you can save your subscribers onto the site itself.

See Also
Google Email Rules 2015-08-12 15-48-32

You can collect the contacts of subscribers and save them on a sheet or on Gmail.

For a free account, you can also editing the copy and color of the form to your desire.

Tip: To maximize the performance of your forms, you need to test different versions. Track and analyze how much subscribers each has gathered. Use the form that gathered the most subscribers and create a brand new form to test out.

It is the constant search of finding the best possible form that has the higher conversion rate.

newphotoAn A/B test could be simple — a subtle copywriting change to your marketing campaign or website, or a few variations of images on your homepage. Relatively small changes can provide dramatic boosts to engagement and even revenue.Danielle Legler for Go Digital Marketing (Source)

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Once you have your list, you can funnel them down using Streak. 2015-08-12 16-24-51

This app is a CRM tool to help you organize your leads and close them. You can label the people in your list to a particular stage in your sales funnel. You can add notes on each lead to identify what you need to do to convert them.

You can also collaborate with team members and delegate tasks to close your leads.

From Now On This Is What CRM Looks Like

If you have little need for CRM, you can still use Streak to organize and segment your list. This help you to send out the right emails to the right lists.

For sending out newsletters, download Flashissue from the Google Chrome Extension store.



This newsletter tool lets you curate articles and posts from different sites. If you are running a blog, you can feature yours along with others to increase your traffic. Include top-notch content in your the newsletters to increase your influence in your niche.

The tool offers a surprising choices of templates to make beautiful newsletters.

Once sent to your list, you can track the performance of your newsletters. See how many people opened the emails and edit as you see fit to improve your campaign.

Putting everything together

Now that you have seen how email platforms and Gmail based tools work. Below are observations to help you determine the best approach for your email marketing.

Email platforms:

  • Jam-packed with usable features – Email platforms have more than the basic features. They offer other advanced features that can shore up your email marketing efforts. These include autoresponders, A/B testing, and landing page creation, among others.
  • Beautiful and custom designs – Drag and drop elements of your emails with ease. Change the background, font, and text as you see fit. Change settings to make your forms appear at different places and different times.
  • Robust support – Email platforms have a dedicated customer support to provide help. If you encounter problems with using the the platform, they will be more than happy to assist you. This is important in running a seamless email campaign.

Gmail based apps:

  • Simple and straightforward – The apps are ideal if you want to run a simple newsletter for your site. They are no-frills and easy to use once installed in your Gmail. The apps lack the features of email platforms, but they more than excel in the things they can do.
  • Lightweight – These run on Gmail without any hitch. They do not intrude your personal use of Gmail.
  • Efficient – Given their limitations, Gmail based apps make your email marketing leaner. You can focus on thing s that matter instead of using platforms with features that you will not use.

Based on the comparison above, it is up to the users to decide which one to use.

If there is anything to learn from the article, you must provide quality content to your audience. Using the tools above will help you do that.


View Comments (9)
  • Hi Christopher,

    Thanks for sharing this informative and very useful piece.

    This is up time that I need to go for it!

    The video of Niel Patel is informative too!

    I appreciate Christopher Jan for this informative and educational post.

    The well narrated post is very helpful indeed.

    Thanks for telling more about email marketing Getresponse and

    about Gmail App based marketing,
    I found this wonderful post at inbound org the community for
    marketing professional wherein Erik shared this. and I up-voted
    and commented. Keep writing, Keep sharing.

    May you both have a great time ahead

    Best Regard
    ~ Philip

  • Christopher, it was really helpful for me. I am a small business owner and just got trained on digital marketing. I started doing email marketing but initially I wanted to start with some free tools and see how my emails are performing. I read couple of other articles too and collected some handy tools, some of them are free and few of them have free trial period. This article and the video was really informative and helpful for me. I will try these tools you mentioned here, to start email marketing initially using gmail based apps.

  • Thanks for sharing. I know that GetResponse is a paid service but I wanna try it so much! I’m so glad that it’s a possibility to sign up for a 30-day trial of this platform.

  • Gmail has changed a lot in this 2 years. So, I think there are less chances of this app based service working now. Nice article by the way very informative.

  • I am a small business owner and just got trained on digital marketing. I started doing email marketing but initially I wanted to start with some free tools and see how my emails are performing.

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