The art of email marketing dates over no less than four decades. You’d think that something newer will diminish the power and effects of this form of marketing, but no. To this day, this remains one of the best, as well as most affordable, tactics for business growth.
There’s hardly a successful business today without a good marketing strategy for email. Research shows that 89% of marketers use email as their primary channel for generating more leads. Businesses create their email lists, work hard to attract new people to subscribe to receive messages, and send out enticing emails to the target audience.
Email marketing is a very promising strategy, but that doesn’t make it an easy one. There’s plenty to do if you want your plan to work, for which most businesses today use help. We are talking of an email marketing platform, or an email service provider (ESP).
As a result of the high demand for ESPs, there are many options for marketers to choose from. They range in pricing, reputation, and most importantly, features. Which marketing platform you choose can determine the success of your strategy, so you cannot take this choice lightly.
For that precise reason, this article will tell you what you should be looking for when you choose an email marketing platform. But first, let’s discuss your options.
The Best Substitutes for expensive Email Marketing Platforms
There’s a common misconception that an email marketing platform will cost your business a fortune. Surely, quality comes at a price, but this shouldn’t be at the cost of your entire budget. If trending tools like Constant Contact are too costly for your big contact list, or you want a different set of features for your marketing strategies, there are great alternatives.
The best Constant Contact substitutes have an amazing selection of features, and quality analytics, and won’t burn a hole in the marketer’s budget. At the top of the list is Flodesk, one of the fastest-growing email marketing solutions on the market today.
Features of Flodesk include the most attractive email templates you’ll find, automation options, excellent newsletter designs, lead generation and conversion tools, and fantastic customer support. The best part about it is that Flodesk has an inexpensive, flat rate plan that won’t grow endlessly as you grow your email list.
Top features of an email marketing platform
Now that you know that an email marketing platform is a worthy investment with the right tool, let’s move on to the next part – the key features to look for. Since you’ll be relying on the platform to optimize your marketing strategy, you need to find something that will make your job a thousand times easier. The features that will be of most help today include:
Flexibility in styling and design
The tool should make your job easier, not more complicated. That being said, you are first and foremost looking for a platform with many possibilities in visual and email design. It needs to be one that is simple to use and manage, has a responsive design, and makes it easy for you to incorporate your campaigns with your HTML.
To manage this the best way possible, you should aim for a tool with simple functionality such as a drag and drop feature. After all, you’ll have plenty of other things on your hands to optimize your email, such as creating the content, doing grammar checks and edits, not to mention performing endless research to maximize your reach. If the tool is easy to use, it will minimize the time you spend crafting your messages.
Quality and diverse collection of templates
Now, this is of utmost importance – email marketing platforms often have templates you can customize and use. Not everyone is a designer or has the time to spend crafting each message from scratch. Templates can be an amazing and fast way to create engaging emails.
Still, while almost every platform has some templates for you to use, only the best will have a quality and versatile selection for you to use. Combine this with the easy functionality we listed above, and you can get your messages done in no time.
Pre-designed templates need some customization, and you can use a grouping of them to produce consistent campaigns quickly. You can modify the same template to achieve consistency, or find similar ones to continue your message throughout different emails.
Support and reliability
One of the most important things for a marketing strategy is to keep it secure. The number of companies that fall victim to phishing and other cyber attacks is growing every day.
Part of the security measures you should take to protect your business is to choose a reliable email marketing platform. Before you commit to one, you must make sure that it is reliable and that you’re not risking your campaign’s success and your company’s reputation.
When it comes to reliability, the reputation of a tool can tell you whether or not you can trust them not to use your customized templates, share your personal information, or fail you in providing the services you paid for.
That being said, look for details about system backups, updates, and monitoring deliverability issues. On top of that, you should check the support quality and options just in case you encounter problems at some point.
Automation might just be the number one reason why companies use email marketing software. Thanks to automation, they can save plenty of time and maximize the impact of their strategy. In 2019, a survey showed that over half of the companies that automated marketing programs were successful.
Just imagine what this can do for you. You can set the time intervals for your emails to be sent to the audience. You can segment the email list and automate each message that is sent to them. On top of that, you can personalize messages and use automation for abandoned carts, completed purchases, unsubscriptions, etc.
Automation is a great tool for user onboarding, churn reduction, newsletters, and managing your messages to your target audience.
Any successful marketing strategy will require more than just one tool or medium for communication. Therefore, you should look for software that works seamlessly with others. Integration will minimize the time you need to organize your entire campaign, and you can collect data from a variety of sources for the purpose of analytics and decision-making.
Thanks to integration, you can boost your campaign. A good email marketing platform will have integrations with your social media, customer relationship management tools, website provider, etc.
For example, you can integrate this platform with WordPress and link your email campaigns with transactions i.e. send out a thank-you message when a customer makes a purchase, etc.
Personalization increases customer engagement and 74% of marketers confirm this based on their experiences. People are pickier today than ever, and businesses are in a constant fight to offer them something of high value. What do they value above all? It is personalization.
That being said, you want your email marketing platform to give you the opportunity to personalize the messages you’ll send to your clients. This makes it easier to reach specific objectives – and the right people.
For example, you could personalize campaigns based on the subscription date of the client, their location, or any other detail about that individual buyer. Marketing software can make it happen – and your effort in it will be minimal.
Analytics and reporting
Successful email marketing strategies are based on accurate data and insights. Marketers spend most of their time conducting research to target and convert their audience. One of the best features of an email marketing platform is this – analytics and reports on the data.
Such a feature will help you identify the areas in your strategy that need improvement. They’ll point out opportunities, and give you reports on stats like click rates, open rates, etc.
Some of the things you can learn with such a feature include:
- If the recipient clicks the contents of your messages – and which one
- How long do they stay to read the email content?
- Do they delete your emails or forward them?
Last but not least, the thing that every marketer needs to send personalized, targeted emails – is the segmentation of contacts. An email marketing tool can help you segment your subscribers into different groups based on their behaviors and demographics. For example, you can use the tool to automatically segment people based on location or purchase behaviors.
By segmenting your contacts, you can optimize the open rate, personalize your messages, and therefore boost the success of your strategy. If the email marketing platform has such a feature embedded in it, you won’t need to spend forever manually doing all this.
Have you made your choice just yet?
When marketers invest in such tools, they are usually focused on finding one or two features they need at the moment. What they don’t stop to consider is that they can choose something with many other features in addition to these, making their job and efforts even more successful. Before you commit to paying for an email marketing platform, go through this list of features and ensure that what you are choosing is worth your money.