There are tons of email marketing software on the market, and it can be difficult to choose the one that best suits your needs. In this article, you will learn the most important features and functionalities that you need to consider when deciding which email marketing software to use.
There are many platforms to choose from, but many entrepreneurs don’t realize the features that each package offers until they have already spent money on the one that is not suitable for them.
What characteristics should an Email Marketing platform have?
1. A functional and easy to use email and landing page template editor
The design of a promotional email is crucial for capturing leads and retaining customers. Nothing can ruin a brand’s reputation as badly as a poorly structured or poorly designed message.
A good email marketing platform must provide a convenient and efficient tool for building emails with these basic characteristics:
- The ability to embed a user’s HTML or CSS forms into an email
- A set of ready-to-use templates to customize with text, colors, and logo
- Built-in image editing tool and photo editing capabilities
- responsive mobile design
Drag-and-drop functionality can be considered as one of the most critical aspects. It is crucial to select software that gives you unlimited possibilities in visual design and style.
A user should also be able to save previous designs for reuse with some modifications later.
MailChimp provides an easy-to-use yet functional template editor. You can easily drag and drop essentials (images, buttons, etc.) into emails and place them wherever you want. You can also change colors, borders, fonts and perform other important design operations. Just follow the guidelines.
2. Customization and segmentation of the contact list
One of the most useful features of any email marketing platform is the ability to organize and sort your contact list, allowing you to provide a better experience for your customers and improve the ROI of your campaigns.
Email marketing software needs to help you categorize your subscribers into different groups or segments. Identifying them allows you to create targeted emails and newsletters based on your subscriber’s location, purchasing behavior, browser type, click-through, and so on.
Good software gives you the ability to segment your list based on a multitude of criteria that can be mixed together in a variety of combinations. Among the traits that distinguish one group of contacts from another can be the following:
- Purchase preferences,
- Devices or browsers that recipients use
- Click-through rates
- Location of the recipient
- Email client
HubSpot, ActiveCampaign, and Getresponse, are the email marketing platforms that provide the most advanced and sophisticated list segmentation functions.
3. Choice and flexibility of template designs
In relation to emails and visual design, templates are also essential.
Nowadays, no one should create an email from scratch. Who has the time? Email marketing software should have a rich selection of email templates that serve different email marketing goals – from newsletters to promotions, to broadcast campaigns, to ads, and beyond – that can be quickly and easily customized to suit your branding.
Creating email campaigns with pre-designed templates not only saves you time and effort, but you can also create unique and strategic email campaigns. This way, you can build models with your brand’s look and feel without the need to hire a professional designer.
The pre-designed templates will allow you to produce consistent email campaigns for your customers quickly.
In addition, the email marketing software should allow you to change and modify the pre-designed templates.
Keep in mind that, aside from the simple and elegant design, the templates should also be flexible enough to include features like dynamic content and personalization so that your messages are as relevant to subscribers as possible.
4. Automation of email sequences
We’re always looking for ways to deliver better, more targeted, and scaled content, and there’s no better way to do that than with marketing automation. Automation is one of the key features of email marketing software.
Email marketing software can help you set up auto sequences for everything from welcome messages to order confirmation emails.
Automating your marketing processes is a profitable way to maintain efficiency by saving time to devote to other areas of your business.
Marketing automation allows you to combine customer behavior data with personalized journeys and beautiful on-brand content to deliver the right message at the right time to the right person.
Every email marketing platform should offer a simple to use yet powerful marketing automation solution.
For example, automation can be used in abandoned carts, user onboarding, and churn reduction. Furthermore, it is also essential that the platform provides an interface that makes automation accessible and easy to use.
Some of the best platforms make creating email sequences even easier with a drag-and-drop interface that allows you to quickly build workflows and emails and set them up to be sent in response to particular actions.
Mailerlite and Sendinblue allow you to visually design email sequences and automation even in their free versions.
What’s the point of worrying about an email marketing strategy, segmenting your leads, and creating beautiful design and engaging content if all your emails end up in your leads and customers’ spam boxes?
Despite all the effort you’ve put into your email campaign, everything can go wrong if your platform doesn’t integrate easily with major email service providers. Seamless integration with Gmail, Outlook, and other software is a necessity to ensure the success of your campaigns.
Before sending your email campaign, you need to be able to preview how your template, images, and messages will appear in a variety of different inboxes on both desktop and mobile devices.
Even if all your email marketing complies with anti-spam regulations, some email marketing platforms can suffer from low deliverability rates. The best software has a reliable picture of the sender’s policy and allows easy removal of inactive users to reduce bounce-backs.
Spam filters can be a big obstacle to success in email marketing. If your messages are routinely marked as spam, they won’t even get to your inbox – instead, they’ll be stuck in the spam folder where they will most likely never be seen or opened.
Some providers may test your messages against spam filters from several common clients. With the spam test, you will be able to identify any content that could trigger spam filters and have a negative effect on the deliverability of newsletters and email campaigns.
Improving your deliverability will have an immediate effect on open rates, click-through rates, and sales.
A good platform must ensure that its users ‘messages always end up in recipients’ mailboxes.
One of the additional services offered in email marketing software to improve deliverability is to provide a dedicated IP address. This is especially important when a company sends a large number of emails (for example, 100,000 per week or more).
When it comes to deliverability, Mailerlite, Sendinblue, and ConvertKit offer robust solutions at competitive prices.
6. Reports and Analysis
Digital marketing is all about data, and all platforms offer reporting functions with different levels of depth depending on the proposed plans.
Therefore, make sure that the newsletter and email marketing software you choose has rich reporting capabilities that allow you to be sure you are spending your time and money in the right places.
The key email marketing metrics you should consider in your analysis are open rate, click-through rate, unsubscribe rate, bounce rate.
This high-level data shows you the overall success of your campaigns. However, there should also be secondary reporting options that can be built with integrations that reveal deeper metrics that can help you improve the design or strategy of your campaigns.
Some of the most important information you should get from your dashboards is as follows:
- How long do subscribers stay on the page to read the email content?
- Are they using mobile or desktop to read your email campaigns?
- Do they cancel or forward your email campaigns?
- What content from email campaigns do they click on?
Additionally, the software can also provide deliverability rates and other relevant information that can help you improve your campaigns and results over time.
A / B testing is one of the most effective ways to leverage these analytics, and most email marketing services come with built-in testing tools. In fact, some go even further by supporting tests that compare three or more variants at the same time.
MailChimp and ActiveCampaign are two of the best software when it comes to reporting and analytics in the paid versions.
7. Reasonable Sending Limits and Unlimited Options
When evaluating the different email marketing platforms, an important consideration is the number of emails you plan to send and how many contacts your lists will / will contain.
As the size of your email list continues to grow, you don’t want to be limited by the sending rate of your email marketing software. When starting out, look for a platform that provides a variety of tiers for sending and offers plans that give you the best flexibility.
For example: If you have a list of 500 subscribers, you should be able to send everyone at least three or four emails per month. This means that you should have email marketing software that allows you to send 2,500 emails per month upon reaching 500 subscribers to give you some room for maneuver.
Some email marketing platforms are free for a certain number of emails but become more and more expensive as certain thresholds are reached. It is vital to find an email platform that can handle your current workload but also remain useful when your email needs change.
Finally, you should also check that your new platform offers an unlimited plan for the number of contacts you expect to reach in the long run. You don’t want to be forced to switch providers once your email list reaches a certain size. Look for a service that is ready to grow with your brand.
8. Efficient management of lists
Managing a contact list is one of the main features of any email service.
Why waste resources trying to reach someone whose e-mail address doesn’t really exist or someone whose address is real but all messages sent back to them for an unknown reason?
These two categories are respectively called hard bounces and soft bounces. Good software must be able to keep the contact list clean and tidy.
Whenever a hard bounce is detected, it must be cleared immediately. A soft bounce gets more time as the cause of the problem can be as simple as an overflowing inbox.
In addition, the software must provide customization options for users to ensure that the latest changes (for example, opt-outs) are automatically reflected in their lists.
Reading related article: 9 Tips for Writing Emails That Attract Customers