Email marketing can be utilized for a number of reasons one of which involves keeping audience/clients informed through the use of newsletters or informed on a new set of products/service. When considering the sort of email marketing provider to be chosen, some factors need to be kept in place to help you not only effectively but also efficiently manage your email lists and all things related.
This provider comes in with two choices, an email marketing software provider and an email marketing service provider — they both offer online DIY features. If you're currently in search for a full-service agency that gets all the work done on your behalf, then this article isn't for you, but no need to worry that aspect would be treated later on.
Both the email marketing software and email marketing service strive to achieve the same goal but with different techniques involved. The difference been that email service providers are hosted on the provider's network and accessed through the internet [apps and websites], while email software providers are hosted on their own device or network which allows more control access. Email softwares are faster than the usual email services, since they don't operate on a shared network, and this article relates and talks extensively on both these providers.
What to look for in an email marketing platform? Read on to find out the 18 key features to be considered on your quest to find the perfect email marketing platform just for you.
1. Automated email campaigns and response handling
This accounts for about 21% of email marketing revenue as automation is important. It saves the stress and time of individually having to contact or reply one's customers/clients when they interact with the website or sign up for your email list. This helps increase sales and find the right audience easier and faster. Choosing an email marketing provider that fosters response handling by sending out automated responses will be beneficial.
Basic actions which includes sending a post-purchase thank you email, welcome emails or abandoned cart emails are being carried out, as it sets up recurring emails which automatically goes out to certain subscribers based on their actions taken. Programming campaigns through automated email is essential, and the period at which an email is sent, has an influence on its effectiveness.
2. Personalization of emails
This feature has the power to create personalized emails that appeal greatly to recipients as they feel the email is being directed entirely towards them. It allows adding their names [standard first and last name] with each email sent.
3. Export contacts
If you have plans on moving your email list whether now or in the future from a location to another, then this is a factor that needs to be considered, and you may need your database at hand. Not all platforms offer this feature, but it's made available through export via Excel or CSV in just one click. Confirm the platform you plan on going with offers this.
4. Expansion for Future Growth
Starting at the basic level in your business journey is all fine, we were once a beginner in one or more aspects of our lives, right? However, the issue of concern is when you get to a position where change is required due to growth, as your needs and targets change and becomes entire different as to when you started.
Make sure the platform been selected has the capacity to accommodate your needs as your business grows, because it's not worth the stress moving from one email provider to another on an issue that could have been avoided from the very beginning.
5. Reading and Viewing choices
More than half the population on the internet are from individuals with smartphones and this should be taken into consideration. Utilization of a mobile friendly and optimized template and platform is essential—it prevents delivery issues, email bounce back and ensures correct display of the email content.
6. CRM Integration
CRM fully known as CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT is regarded as man's best friend when it comes to email marketing. A CRM integrated provider provides the adequate speed required to get your work done on time, whether with regard to updating contact lists or managing valuable content and customer data, as effectively targeting email contact requires high quality data.
It promotes the development of campaigns by providing metrics on open rates, click rates and bounce rates—to get information on campaigns performance.
7. Email List Customization, Management and Segmentation
This is a crucial email marketing capability which enables one to have a perfectly customized email database/subscriber list. It's adequately needed since customers/clients will have varying levels of interest or be at different stages [location, age, gender]. Managing your subscribers makes it easier to reach the right audience and could be exercised by eliminating unsubscribed, inactive and duplicate email addresses—the right provider can offer help with regard to this.
Your email marketing approach to each segment will be different, and communication then needs to be personalized to provide target content which results to market effectiveness, growth maximization and increase in conversions.
8. Social-Media Integration
Email marketing can be used in conjunction with social media as many providers offer the feature to let you connect your email campaigns with your social networks, giving way to the automation of publicizing emails directly on them. Collection of email addresses through the use of social media is also readily made available, as prebuilt social media sign up pages are provided.
9. Cost Effectiveness
The cost has one of the highest influence on your selection of an email provider, but it shouldn't be the only factor been considered—the cheapest option might just end up being the worst option. So ensure you examine other options, and choose the one which relates to your goals and needs.
One of the major advantages of email marketing is its relatively low cost, and you will want to take the cost of the email provider into consideration—making sure the pricing fits your budget.
Some providers present a free trial for you to understand how they work or offer you free services for up to a certain email list size or number of emails sent. A moderate number of providers allow small businesses/websites to start for free and begin making payments as they develop.
10. Maximum Deliverability
Another advantage of email marketing is in regard to emails been able to arrive in the recipients mailbox, which creates better exposure. No matter how valuable or compelling your email is, it won't get noticed or read if it isn't delivered. You need a provider that delivers your emails to your customers/clients mailboxes, and not to their spam folders. These other features are required in respect to email deliverability:
- Bounce-back email handling: Bounce-backs are emails that didn't make it to the inbox of the intended recipient, as a result of the email no longer existing, full mailbox, or other possible reasons. However, this isn't an issue to be concerned about if your provider has an integrated bounceback email handling which will take note of the email which wasn't delivered, and if a bounce-back is received yet again it's then transferred to a list of dead addresses. It helps increase conversions and prevents sending emails to no longer existing addresses.
- Detecting fake, unsubscribed, inactive and duplicate email address: Email addresses under this category need to be eliminated as they are otherwise known as bad market, and this has to be carried out automatically by an email platform as it saves the energy and time that would have been kept into checking such email one at a time.
- Spam filters: It prevents emails from being held up in spam folders as it examines the whole content of your email and indicates if an aspect will result in it ending in a spam folder.
A good email marketing provider guarantees optimized delivery of your emails at the right time, so choose a reliable platform that offers maximum deliverability, as ensuring your email actually gets delivered is one of the most critical aspects of any provider.
11. Active customer service and support
When you find yourself in a critical situation, you will need all the help you can get to have your problem solved, and that shouldn't be the time you realize your email provider has a poor customer service and possibly inactive support [phone/email]. Take the adequate precautions now in determining the level of their service or technical support, before making that final purchase.
However, most email providers offer customer support, but turn out been not so useful—you can send an email and have to wait hours or days before getting any reply which will be no longer needed at that point in time, that's even if you get any form of reply. A phone support should be considered which is usually in the form of a toll-free number—with this help can be gotten and problem solved faster, if they are active.
You could also look out for guides and tutorials—they provide help with most problems you're likely to face, during the cause of making use of email providers, because they contain the extensive knowledge and tend to make manifest everything you need to know about their services, both the ins and out, and use of each feature. A provider that makes all these readily available, shows they look after their users, and so you have no cause to worry, because at the back of your mind you know help is just one call away.
12. Ease of use
No one wants a pain in the ass, and neither does anyone desire to experience such during the operations of an email provider. So to avoid this you need a provider that's simple and easy to use—giving you stress-free operations.
This is more important if you lack the technical knowledge or expertise in this field as it saves you the time that could have been lost trying to understand some difficult technicalities. A simple user interface is required when creating an effective and eye-catching email and simple tools that promote ease of functionality it totally worth it.
13. Email Preview
It's necessary to know how your email is being viewed across all devices and servers before it's sent.
An email preview allows you see exactly how an email looks on servers like Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook and on various devices such as computers, smartphones, tablets.This provides a view at the final look of your email design and shows if any problem would be encountered when accessed with a specific device or server, and if so precaution may be taken.
14. Automation of subscription and unsubscription requests
It's mandatory by law to have an unsubscription link on all emails sent. Every email provider makes this feature available as it can't be avoided, and is always included at the bottom of each template.
However, some providers have gone advanced with this feature as they permit subscribers to change their segmentation which maybe as a result of changes in interest, and is accessed with the link right below the email. This automates the entire process for you as you avoid the stress of having to do such manually.
15. Programs integration
A majority of email providers allow integration with programs/applications, for example, Joomla and this facilitates its use on the application. The benefit involved in this allows you to save the time and resources that would have been used transferring content from such program to your email provider.
16. Responsive Templates
Templates are indispensable as they are utilized during the creation of emails, and a wide array of pre-designed templates will be needed for email creation in a faster, better, and easier approach.
Its designs should have the ability to be viewed across all devices—this is something to keep in mind.
17. Analytics Generation
The right email marketing provider should have the ability and features required to generate statistics and track performance on actions taken during email campaigns. So you are able to see the areas that need improvement, know how your email marketing campaigns are working, and get data on your open rates, click-through rates, bounce rates and other metrics.
Google Analytics is an application that can be integrated with your provider to give you information regarding inbound traffic coming in. Information provided through analytics generation can include the amount of times the email was opened, forwarded or deleted, or category of recipient. All this helps focus on areas that could bring about more effectiveness and productivity in email marketing.
18. A/B Testing
The list is incomplete without A/B testing being mentioned. When you have doubts or questions relating to your email creation, then A/B testing is there to help. It enables you to send two forms of the exact email campaign to offer assistance in making the decision needed to promote and increase efficiency, by providing the email campaign with the better results.
The main purpose of this is to make you understand what works best as the emails could contain different subject lines, messages or photos—giving you the best opportunity for success.
Choosing the perfect email marketing provider that fits in well with your needs can be a tedious task as the number of email providers currently available on the internet is mind-blowing. To get more information on any of these features, you can either visit the website of the email provider you have interest in or check review-based websites such as Trust Pilot to get an insight on what their customers have to say.
An email marketing provider should be specifically designed to help you maximize your success. Take the time to understand your options, and you’ll be sure to make the right decision!