Follow-ups with email, email newsletters, coupon and discount mails, in short, email marketing is crucial for your marketing, be it to increase awareness or to announce new products. Love it or hate it, it’s necessary for your business to grow and thrive.
But it may seem daunting: Where do you even start and what stuff do you need? Do you need something to capture the contact details of people visiting your site? Do you just want to send newsletters? Do you need an autoresponder or something that can really go into the behaviour of your audience?
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “the money is in the list”. So, the earlier you start building your list the better. And this review is going to help you decide if Sendlane is the right tool for your marketing needs.
Sendlane started in 2013 by Jimmy Kim, Zak Meftah, and Anik Singal. This group of digital marketers, agency owners, and ecommerce entrepreneurs were relying on email marketing for most of our revenue. But they were looking for an all-inclusive management system for their online business – without the hefty price tag.
Despite being well connect internet entrepreneur, there wasn’t a solution. So, recognising the problem, in true entrepreneurial fashion, they scratched their own itch. They wanted their digital marketing automation tool to have not only the ability to create and manage campaigns but also data driven automations based on behaviour of their audiences.
It should be a complete email marketing automation for their digital marketing. In the beginning, the tool was used only internally and in 2015, they opened it up for their first customer. In the meantime, Sendlane has added SMS marketing to its feature list.
Pros and cons of Sendlane
Sendlane is a marketing automation tool. Its key feature is deep data integration to help you send custom tailored customer experiences through highly segmented and targeted messages be it via popups, email, or SMS campaigns. Sendlane’s a subscription-based email marketing software that is accessed via the browser.
It doesn’t have a free plan but you can test-drive it for 14 days for free but you need a credit card, even if the signup form says otherwise if you use the default signup form. If the limitations of up to 100 contacts, sending up to 500 emails, and limited feature set (for example, no automation) during the free trial doesn’t deter you, you can sign up for its 100% credit card free 14 days trial.
- Responsive support team available 24/7
- Simple, uncluttered, and easy to use interface
- Email and SMS can be used together to create a better customer experience
- No forever free plan
- On the pricy side
- Limited integrations
Who is Sendlane for?
If you look at the profiles of the founders, you’ll see digital marketers, agency owners, and ecommerce entrepreneurs. And Sendlane was built exactly to match their needs. This means it will also work well if you’re a digital marketer (including affiliate marketer), agency owner, and online retailer specifically if you operate a Shopify store.
Sendlane user interface
After your first login, you’re onboarded with a quick tour. It’ll show you the most important steps before you can start sending your campaigns.
Even without the quick tour, you’ll find your why within minutes. The user interface is pleasingly clean and well structured. It’s well labelled and if you should find you don’t get the icons in the left side menu at first glance, just hover with your mouse over them.
Sendlane is easy to use, even the advanced features are simple to figure out. For your email campaigns and forms, you use Sendlane’s drag-and-drop builders. You don’t need to code a line to quickly create a form or an email.
In just 4 steps you’ll have created a campaign
- In the settings you give your campaign a name and define things like if you want to add Google Analytics
- Define your audience
- Design your email
- Schedule or send immediately
For your email design, you can use one of Sendlane’s pre-made templates or start from scratch. In both cases, you’re going to work with the email builder to add content to your email.
Drag and drop sections or elements to where you want. The last step is where it gets interesting: You get to decide if Sendlane will help you get the best times to send you campaigns. With its Machine Learning Open Predictability, Sendlane keeps track of when a user opens an email or clicks a link. It will scrutinise the data and see if it finds a pattern so that you can send campaigns at the ideal time for each contact.
Sign up forms
To help you grow your list, you can use Sendlane popups to capture the contact details of your visitors. There are 4 types of forms that you can create and embed on your website – Sendlane calls them all popups:
- An inline form is a static form and best used when you want control over the forms’ design (you need to know HTML)
- Popup is a form that is overlaid on your website after a specified amount of time and is best used when you want a simple way to capture details using standard fields
- A banner is a form fixed to the top or bottom of your site and will scroll along
- A floating box is like a combination of a banner and a popup. It will scroll along.
Sendlane calls their forms Intelligent Popups because they can track the behaviour of your visitors. You can use them to capture contact details or to show a special offer or a coupon, and offer a discount right after a visitor has converted and opted in.
List management, segmentation, and personalisation
The quality of your list has a heavy impact on the success of your campaigns. Just as important is segmentation. It’s key to personalisation and automation. You can create lists and segments based on behavioural conditions and other criteria such as location or demographics. And the more your contacts react with your communication, the more you can refine your segments and lists.
Use the hygiene feature to maintain a high quality of your contacts. With this feature, you can filter out unengaged leads so that you maintain your sender reputation.
With Sendlane Automation, you can set your campaigns on autopilot or triggered by an event or behaviour.
It’s big on data driven marketing, and so tracks real-time website behaviour to keep tabs on your visitors on their customer journey. You can use automation workflows or autoresponders to create custom tailored messages (SMS, email, popups) that stimulate interactions and conversions.
Sendlane comes with pre-built funnels so that you can quickly set up your marketing funnel. You can also design your specific customer journey based on how a visitor interacts with your website or reacts to your communication.
Split-testing (A/B testing)
When you define the settings of a campaign, you get to enable variants to split-test your campaign. Sendlane then measures how your subject, preheader, and content affect audience engagement. The process is fully automated.
Sendlane integrates with other services and API so that you can manage them all within one interface. This is what Sendlane calls Deep Data Integration. The advantage is that you can create a personalised user journey since you get to see and work with more data points per lead.
Of course, you’ll find the Swiss Army knife Zapier. But if that’s not enough and if you’ve got developer capabilities, all you need is Sendlane’s API. Strangely though, even if there’s a Woocommerce integration, there’s no WordPress plugin.
Any self-respecting email marketing provider should provide you with basic analytics. As Sendlane shows real-time data so that you can view campaign data as it comes in. You can use this data to understand visitor behaviour. You can also make campaign decisions on the fly.
There’s chat support on Sendlane’s website available 24/7. So, you get support even if you’re not a user (yet). The support team usually answers within 10 minutes. The team is friendly and helpful.
If you’re working on a project within Sendlane’s interface, support is also just a click away. You can query its knowledge base or chat with the support team.
In principle, Sendlane has 2 plans, based on the number of contacts you have. Even so, you can add a contact to as many lists as you want, and duplicates don’t count towards your limit.
Is Sendlane right for you?
Sendlane does deliver what it promises. It’s clearly built for digital marketers, agency owners, and ecommerce store owners with a pleasingly easy-to-use interface. I can see it adding more features and evolving into an all-in-one marketing provider in the future. But it comes at a hefty price tag.
But for now, it can be used both for sales and marketing and send targeted, unique messages to your audience based on their behaviour.