Email marketing should play a significant role in any online business where you have to entertain a close relationship with clients.
When used correctly, it can be utilized to help you launch new products, keep your customers in the loop about changes and promotions, and do some follow up after-sales. But people often don’t know what separates one email marketing platform from another, and as a result, they end up choosing based on what the industry is saying.
This can be disastrous, as you may find yourself without the features and functions you need to curate and manage successful email marketing campaigns.
Going in and purchasing any software solution or access to a platform without understanding exactly what you’re looking for and how you’ll be able to use it is pointless, which is why we’ve put together a list of some of the most important factors that you should be checking when searching for a new email marketing platform.
1. Pricing and Features
We mention pricing and features together because both should go hand in hand. You don’t want to go solely based on price. Not only should you be wary of incredibly cheap services, but you shouldn’t assume that just because one service is more expensive, it should be better.
If you take a look at Active Campaign pricing from Sendinblue, for instance, you’ll notice that it is a bit pricier than other comparable services. But when you start looking at the features, you’ll notice that a few very important things are missing.
For one, Active Campaign doesn’t offer a dedicated IP, which can be an issue. Working with a dedicated and trusted IP means that it is less likely to be on the spam list of email providers. This means that going with a service like Active Campaign could have a severe impact on how many people get to see your messages.
Other email marketing platforms will have additional features like heat maps that allow you to visually track which parts of your emails are getting the most clicks. These are all essential features that will enable you to tweak your efforts, or immediately spot when something isn’t working.
Being able to personalize your messages and campaigns is very important if you want to improve their efficiency. Things you should be looking for when it comes to personalization include things like subject content and data merges.
Conditional content can be fielded in messages that will be modified depending on the recipient. Or you could send completely different versions based on previous actions. For instance, you could have sections that can be conditional next to static ones, and change the content found in prior purchases.
Data merges are when you’re able to pull specific information from fields in the email. The primary way that this is used is when trying to pull names from the list. But you can use them to pull anything that is contained in the database.
3. Campaign Builder and Design Tools
This is another essential thing that you should be looking for, especially if you’re going to be designing the emails yourself. Excellent service should have an easy to use email designer with plenty of templates. It should also have advanced options for those who have some HTML knowledge.
A good platform will have an excellent WYSIWYG tool that will allow you to make adjustments based on visuals instead of code. WYSIWYG stands for “What You See is What You Get.” This means that you can edit templates visually like you would any other type of file without needing to have a deep understanding of code. Some services will have module designers that will allow you to drag and drop components quickly. These are great if you want to add some columns, for instance, or integrate some different content formats.
You also have to make sure that the campaign builder is intuitive and easy to use. This is especially important if you’re expecting to spend a lot of emails and work a lot within the platform.
Another thing that you should look for that many people overlook is how easy it is to manage photos. Some services will host the pictures for you, while others will require that you find a third-party option or host them yourself. If you’re going to have an extensive photo library, and don’t want to have to host them, look at a service that will not only entertain them for you but give you significant disk space.
Excellent services will also do everything in their power to make sure that the emails get to your prospects. In addition to offering dedicated IPs, excellent services will also provide things like a spam score checker, engagement analytics tools, and bounce/spam management features.
A spam score checker, for instance, will flag some elements in your emails that could trigger spam filters. A useful tool will allow you to remove spam complaints and hard bounces so you stop sending emails to people who may have flagged you, which is one of the worst things you can do. These are all things that will allow your campaigns to be more efficient.
As such, you must choose an email marketing platform that provides these solutions and more. Review your email marketing campaigns and processes, so that you can explore exactly what you need and find a platform that offers it. This will ensure that you see an email marketing platform that meets your exact needs and will allow you to monitor and track deliverability effectively.
Now that you know what to look for in an email marketing tool, we suggest that you look at a few options and see what they have to offer. Don’t be afraid to ask for second opinions, but always make sure that you make an informed decision in the end. Taking the time to review all of your options and find the solution that works best for you is crucial if you want to enjoy many years of success from your email marketing campaigns.