Emma Email Marketing Review
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- Date Established
- Nashville, TN
- Easy to use
- Excellent customer service
- Numerous templates
- Yearly contract required
- Limited integrations
In 2005, the email marketing service Emma was founded far from America’s traditional tech centers by Clint Smith, in Nashville, TN. While it maintains its Southern roots and headquarters, the company now employs over 150 people, with additional offices in New York City, Portland, OR, and Melbourne, Australia, having acquired other digital service providers like Boomerang along the way.
Emma offers a somewhat atypical focus when it comes to email marketing platforms. You will not only find a product that is easy and pleasant to use but also a service staff that’s eager to guide you through the process. This experience comes with some considerations, however, that might make Emma a sub-optimal ESP choice for many businesses.
Let’s get started and explore each category so you can find out if Emma email marketing software ticks all of the boxes you need for your small business.
Table of Contents
Emma takes a tiered approach to its pricing and features and is very transparent about what is included in each tier. We did note that an annual contract is required for each plan, which might be a little steep unless you were certain Emma was for you.
The other thing to note is that since the time of our last Emma review, pricing as gone down significantly and is far more competitive than in the past, with more features included in the lowest tier.
While the cost is still relatively high compared to other email marketing platforms, the value is good. With customer support at all levels and a rich feature set, Emma is priced with the thriving small business in mind.
- Starts at $89/month
- Maximum 10,000 contacts
- A/B content testing
- Dynamic content
- Template library
- Emma 101 onboarding
- Phone and email support
- Guestbook app
- List importing
- Segmenting Tools
- Lightbox signup forms
- Built-in integrations
- API access
- Code-your-own mailings
This tier includes everything in the Pro level and the following:
- Starts at $159/month
- 10-user accounts
- Unlimited automation workflows
- Maximum 10,000 contacts
- Landing page builder
- Litmus inbox preview
- Custom event API automation
This tier includes everything in the Pro & Plus levels and the following:
- Starts at $279/month
- Unlimited managers
- Create custom templates
- White labeling or private branding
- Approvals dashboard
- Template style locking
- Tiered account structure
- Activity dashboard
- Template and asset manager
- Account and user permissions
If you have more than 1ok contacts, you can call Emma for a custom quote.
Cloud-Based Or Locally Installed
Emma is a SaaS, cloud-based email marketing platform and no local installation is necessary.
Hardware & Software Requirements
Emma is designed to work with most common internet browsers. While it may work with an unsupported browser, you won’t necessarily get the proper support should you need troubleshooting. Here’s what you should run on the latest updated version.
Supported web browsers:
- Mozilla Firefox
- Apple Safari
- Microsoft Edge
- Google Chrome
Unsupported web browsers:
- Internet Explorer
- Sea Monkey
- Everything else
Emma’s template editor and other features are not supported on mobile devices, and your experience may vary on your mobile device.
Specific Size Of Business
The pricing with Emma is based on your contact size and features, so theoretically, it is built to scale with your business. However, because we feel the features-to-cost ratio comparatively hits a wall on higher-priced plans, Emma is probably best suited for small to mid-sized businesses.
Ease Of Use
Emma’s design is clean and modern, strategically using color against a bright white background. There are a limited number of tabs to deal with: Home, Audience, Campaigns, Response, and Automation.
Emma does a good job of holding your hand through the learning process. Your account manager will send you a link to training videos, but even if you skip those, the program will provide guideposts to get you started.
It’s also worth mentioning again that Emma offers email and phone support for all tiers, and you won’t usually find that with other platforms. For this reason, we’re giving Emma an excellent rating in the ease-of-use category.
Here is a rundown of some of what Emma has to offer in its feature-set. Overall, Emma offers quite a bit for any small business to create, send, and learn from their email marketing campaigns.
Emma has solid automation features so you can target your list like the pro you want to be. Here’s what you need to know about its email automation features:
- List Segmentation: Perhaps what stands out the most about the feature-set is that Emma has a rich segmentation tool that can target down to details like zip code, birthday, purchased items, and if they’ve opened your last email. Segmented groups are easily searchable, and you can create an unlimited number of segments when it comes time to sending targeted campaigns. This is a great tool to test your markets and fine-tune your results.
- Branching Logic: Emma’s branching logic can help you deliver the most relevant message based on whether or not someone opens a specific email or makes a certain click. The next email in your drip sequence can be matched to your audience’s activity.
- Trigger messages: When integrated with your site, Emma can track recent purchases and send an automated email that ensures your customer gets a timely touchpoint to support the purchase, encourage an upgrade, or schedule a follow-up.
Creating Dynamic Email Content
Emma’s email editor makes it possible to create several versions of one email and release these versions to different users in a targeted way. Use different color schemes, photographs, and text blocks to make different user demographics feel at home, all based on the data you collect from your users. You can test a small sample and then send the winning email to the rest of your list.
A/B Testing In Your Email Marketing
One of the most basic email marketing features, A/B testing allows you to create two versions of the same email with a couple of differences, then track the performance of the two versions. This will help you best determine what your contacts like and don’t like in terms of their email content.
Creating Landing Pages For Your Campaign
Emma provides the capability to create web pages based on the emails you send out. For example, if you are campaigning for subscribers to take the cooking class you offer and you create a beautiful email to encourage them to do so, you can create a similarly branded landing page for your website that is dedicated specifically to that campaign.
Email Marketing Analytics
Emma’s analytics show you how many contacts open your emails and give you a “mailing score” based on previous campaigns (both from yourself and other similar companies). You’ll also get a click map so you can see where your contacts most often clicked.
One of the first things you’ll notice about Emma is that it tries to automate processes where possible, which aligns nicely with its target demographic (medium-and-larger business customers). As you can with many ESPs, you can import your contact list as a .csv or Excel file.
Emma will attempt to assign the information in your file to its default headings based on the headings in your file. Using a simple series of pull-down options, you can have Emma ignore or organize other headings. If you have a heading Emma doesn’t recognize, you can create your own. Those tags can be used to segment your lists.
Emma has a pretty robust sign-up form designer, which you can integrate into your website if you wish. It lets you customize the data you want to capture, the design of the form, and the conditions under which it will appear to visitors to your site. The actual integration might take beginners outside of their comfort zone, but the video tutorial should be enough to get most users over the hump.
Creating The Email Campaign
Sometimes user feedback is extraneous but pleasing; other times it’s extremely practical. While it’s not groundbreaking, I really like Emma’s email editor for one major reason: it clearly and unerringly marks the places on your template to which you can drag a new element. It takes a lot of the guesswork and frustration out of adding an element.
Otherwise, the editor is layered in a manner that makes creating a simple design easy while giving more artistic types the option of customizing elements with a fairly high degree of precision. Images can be fully modified within the editor, from resizing to special effects. It’s not exactly Photoshop, but it’s more than is offered by most ESPs.
The campaign preview is pretty awesome, morphing your design in real-time to fit desktop, mobile, tablet, and even custom aspect ratios. The effect isn’t really necessary, but it’s yet another example of Emma’s excellent feedback. I found myself twiddling with it just for fun.
You get around 100 mobile-optimized templates, and a number of them give you the option of selecting several variations on the main theme.
Sending The Campaign
Emma automatically scans your campaign for elements that may trigger a spam filter response. When your campaign is ready to go, you’ll be prompted to add a real-world address in compliance with the CAN-SPAM Act.
After that, you’ll be taken to a final screen, where you can toggle your campaign between HTML and plain text versions, enter headers, enable Google Analytics, and split-test your subject heading if you so desire. You can choose to send your campaign to individuals, groups, or list segments.
Emma’s automation system finds a nice balance between versatile and easy-to-use. Depending on your plan, you can set up several conditions under which preset emails will be sent to contacts. The bad news is that this feature is fairly limited on the basic Pro level, so you’ll need to spend a fair amount of cash to create some serious email AI.
Email Campaign Reporting
Emma’s reporting tools are both slick and simple. You’ll get the standard array of metrics: opens, clicks, share, opt-outs, etc. Emma goes a bit farther than that, though, and provides visual feedback about which parts of the email the recipient interacted with. There are also some colorful graphs to help you visualize the data.
After 24 hours, Emma will rate your campaign with a mail score, giving you an idea of how your campaign stacks up against those of other marketers. It’s a humbling feature, but a good one for helping you grow as a campaigner.
Reports can be exported to .pdf or spreadsheet.
GDPR Compliant Email Platform
With the European Union’s recent implementation of new privacy regulations, any email marketing that reaches a European audience must comply. With Emma’s new features that ensure your subscribers are fully aware of the data collects from them, you can rest assured you are following the new regulations. These features include consent toggles on signup forms and permanent delete functions that allow customers to permanently unsubscribe and take all their data with them.
From the very beginning, you’re assigned a rep, which adds a personal touch to an industry that is usually kind of faceless.
Support is available through:
- Email: You’ll be given an email contact when you sign up for Emma.
- Phone: You’ll also be given a phone number to your Emma representative.
- The Emma Community: A forum doubling as an online help center
- Video Tutorials: Emma offers a series of video tutorials to get you started
- Facebook: Emma updates its Facebook page with links to marketing articles and resources.
- Twitter: The Twitter feed is updated a bit more often and features similar content
- Blog: You’ll find links to many of the blog posts on social media, but you can go right to the source and find information on email campaign tricks, as well as
Overall, Emma has a solid reputation on consumer rating sites. Here’s what we found:
- TrustRadius: 8.1 out of a 10-star rating
- G2: 4 out of a 5-star rating
- Capterra: 4.2 out of a 5-star rating
While not a user rating, we wanted to take a look at Glassdoor employee ratings, as sometimes these offer a peek into the company structure. 91% of employees recommend the CEO and the majority would recommend the workplace to a friend, giving Emma a 3.7 out of a 5-star review.
Let’s take a look at specific negative and positive complaints.
Negative Reviews & Complaints
Emma seems to be pretty well-liked by most users and doesn’t yet have a record with the BBB. However, we did find some complaints that are certainly worth considering, and perhaps would even indicate some red flags. Some negative dings against Emma include:
- Contract Woes: Users complain that Emma locks them into a year-long contract and despite “jumping through hoops,” they are stuck.
- “Glitchy”: In our last review, we noted that some users had issues with the email template editor. Issues with resizing and text seem to cause some frustration.
- Lacking Functionality: The folks who aren’t happy with Emma seem to say the same thing — they are disappointed with the lack of functionality as promised.
- Few Integrations: We would have to agree with this complaint, as Emma has very few integrations, especially if you’re an eCommerce shop.
Positive Reviews & Testimonials
As noted, the majority of Emma users are happy overall. Here are some of the positive marks you’ll find with consumer’s reviews of Emma:
- The Website Design: Users found Emma to be an overall organized and pleasant system to use with plenty of templates.
- Customer Service: Users found Emma’s customer service reps to be highly engaged and helpful.
- Easy To Use: While it’s not the most streamlined ESP out there, users appreciated how easy it is to pick-up.
Integrations & Add-Ons
Emma integrates with a few popular apps so you can have some synergy with your data, however, you’ll find a limited number in the pool.
You have a few options in video, analytics, CRM, very limited eCommerce, and a few other services such as SurveyMonkey and Eventbrite.
Lack of integrations may be a dealbreaker for some, so be sure to consider how your data needs to interact before signing on the dotted line with Emma.
Emma adheres to the data privacy principles of the Safe Harbor program, designed to provide U.S. companies with guidance on providing adequate protection for personal data from Europe (as required by the European Union’s Directive on Data Protection). Emma is listed in the United States Department of Commerce’s Safe Harbor directory of self-certifying companies.
The only time Emma will ever share any information related to your Emma account with an outside organization is if (a) the outside organization is processing your payment for the Emma Service and requires certain information necessary for the transaction, (b) the outside organization is the federal government or other agency empowered to require us to divulge your personal or account information, (c) Emma is highlighting examples of your templates, campaigns or case studies and have obtained your permission prior to the divulging of such information, or (d) Emma is reporting on its overall customer base and activity, in which case they will only divulge general, aggregate (non-personally identifiable) information.
As mentioned above, you’ll be required to comply with the CAN-Spam Act before you can send out a campaign. All contact lists are required to be opt-in.
While Emma is a slick product, it has some notable limitations. Emma puts itself into a bind with regard to its target audience. The cost is enough to strain the wallets of small businesses, but it is not quite robust enough to handle the complex marketing campaigns that large businesses generally need to run. What is probably the hardest pill to swallow is that Emma requires a year-long contract that puts an even bigger strain on a small business owner should they need to trim the marketing budget.
However, we think there is probably an optimal window here for medium-sized businesses — but it’s a fairly narrow one. On the upside, you do get some great, personalized service for the price, so if you’re someone who likes establishing relationships with your software providers, considering Emma would be a good move for you.
Emma is far from your only choice in an email marketing platform, however. If you’re just exploring email marketing, we found several companies that offer a generous free plan to help you get your feet wet. Check out The Best Free Email Marketing Software Programs for our best-of list!
We've done in-depth research on each and confidently recommend them.
We've done in-depth research on each and confidently recommend them.