Efrat Vulfsons is a data-driven writer parallel to her opera singing career. Efrat holds a B.F.A in Opera Performance.
Email marketing is still the king of digital marketing. It remains as a top digital marketing channel with the highest return-on-investment (ROI) rates. This is because it connects you with customers, builds brand loyalty, earns you repeat businesses, and builds you a more significant customer pool.
But just like choosing the right social media platform to set up a business page for advertising, you also need to pick the right email marketing platform to do email marketing right. Platforms vary in the features they offer. Some provide a complete service for a premium price. Others are very flexible and would depend on a marketer’s budget.
With that said, here is an 8-point checklist you should use when choosing the best email software for your marketing needs.
To find the right marketing platform for your needs, look at your business model and how you intend to do your campaigns first. The features below will enable you to reach your business and email marketing goals. Depending on how many features you need, they should all be present in the email marketing platform you plan to use.
1. Behavioral email segmentation
Although each customer is unique, they all follow a particular behavior pattern when interacting with your business. These behaviors can be categorized, and you can create list segmentations out of them.
It’s essential that your email marketing software has a feature that detects, analyzes, and filters user behavior before putting each customer into their proper list segmentation. This eases the sending of highly-targeted campaigns to the correct customer list.
2. A/B testing
Email marketers are advised to change how they do email marketing from time to time to stay fresh in their customers’ eyes. That includes changing the theme, format, or approach of their campaigns. But when introducing a new style, the replacement isn’t always well received.
That’s why marketers test out two new campaigns through A/B testing. This feature simultaneously sends two slightly different campaigns to random customers and sends back results on which of the two performs better than the other.
It’s a feature that helps you decide which campaign theme to trash and which theme to pick for as a profit-maker.
3. Two-factor authentication
Bots and spam traps are configured to crawl the web and join mailing lists. Bots are used to send spam to the users in joined mailing lists to steal information. Spam traps are also bots designed by web security companies to track email marketers that use bad practices and spammers for blacklisting.
They work by joining mailing lists of accounts that send massive emails and determine which accounts use many spammy words in their messages. You don’t want these accounts joining your mailing lists as they can cause you many marketing problems.
In order to keep them out, your email marketing software must have a two-factor authentication feature that gets triggered if users attempt to sign up to your mailing list. Additionally, to add a security layer for their users, internet and email service providers (ISPs and ESPs) will only allow emails from trusted senders.
Setting up your email authentication is an excellent way to build a trusted sender’s reputation. It also increases email deliverability rates.
4. Third-party integrations
No matter how many features email marketing tools offer, they still aren’t complete packages. One marketing software may lack an SMTP relay service, while the other would lack an accurate campaign analyzer.
To compensate for this lack, the developers of these marketing software pre-integrated services such as Amazon SES or Google Analytics into their platforms. Some also allow open integration so you can integrate the 3rd-party service provider of your choice.
It’s crucial that your email marketing platform has a pre-integrated 3rd-party service provider or allows open integration. This is a massive help in making your email marketing experience as seamless as possible.
5. Automated drip campaigns
Sending drip campaigns manually is a hassle, especially when you have other important things: creating a new campaign, analyzing statistics, and cleaning your mailing list. However, it must be done because it’s an excellent way to reward customers, inform leads, and attract prospects.
Your email marketing platform must have a feature that automates lifecycle email sending. All you have to do is create the automated drip campaigns, set which of them to send, which customers they should be sent to, and when they should be sent.
Instead of wasting time sending campaigns manually according to schedule, you can focus on other marketing activities and only come back later to analyze results.
6. Email template designer
Creating a new email campaign template from scratch or through HTML can take too much time. Email marketers who don’t know how to do HTML coding would be an impossible task. An email marketing platform with a built-in email template designer feature will help you easily create the best template that’s sure to hook your customers into reading more of your content.
When picking an email marketing platform for your needs, see if the software includes an email template designer in the description.
7. Analytics and reporting
You’ll need analytics to determine if your campaigns are effective. This can help you find out which part of how you do email marketing needs to be changed, improved, and kept. While you can integrate email campaign analytics as a 3rd-party service, the best email marketing software is the one that comes with a built-in and accurate analyzer.
Integrating 3rd-party services just adds to your costs. Reporting is also just as important as analytics. You’ll need to be notified if your campaigns faced deliverability issues that need to be fixed. This will ensure that your customers never miss any important updates, promotions, and transactional emails from you.
Choose email marketing software that delivers accurate campaign analytics and sends you deliverability reports.
8. Customer support
As you use an email marketing platform, new features will be introduced, problems will be encountered, and you’ll also forget how to operate some functions. Preventing any campaign delays, 24/7 customer support of a platform should be ready to handle your concerns as a user.
All of these features are essential for you as an email marketer. You can have all of them be present in the email marketing platform of your choice in exchange for paying a premium, or you can opt for software with limited features but is cost-effective.
Piece of advice: Pick an email marketing software that offers a flexible plan. These platforms let you choose which tools and services you can use with a payment amount that meets your preference.
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