There are many resources that will assure you that email marketing is still an unparalleled form of digital marketing which can bring many customers your way, and they are all true. If you have been reading up about email marketing, you probably didn’t miss the fact that 59% of B2B companies prefer using email marketing for generating leads. In addition to that, email marketing is praised for the fact that it is 40% better in converting than Facebook and Twitter when it comes to digital marketing.
Nowadays, it is not hard to find inspiration and get started with email campaigns. You can find resourceful guides about email marketing on our blog, and you can even find some tips about writing emails during times of adversity. It might take you some time to learn how to write attention grabbing subject lines and how to address your customers, but it can pay off.
However, here I must point out that today’s buyers prefer personalised and human messages. Simply creating an email and sending it to your mailing list doesn’t work anymore. If the recipient doesn’t feel that email is tailor-made for them, your product will be ignored. Fortunately, there are email marketing tools that can modify content for every single contact based on any previously collected data you hold.
In this article, we will explore the essential features of a good email marketing tool, and how to differentiate when searching for the right tool for you.
Features for Email Marketing Tools
Email marketing applications allow users to create, execute and monitor campaigns. Some email marketing tools come with email builders, scheduling options, and other automation tools that can save you from repetitive tasks and working on weekends. With these tools, marketers can get a better insight into key metrics, and update their strategy for best results.
However, while I might be biased, my first recommendation is that whichever tool you choose, make sure you are able to integrate it with your CRM. If it’s a stand-alone tool, you can use an integration platform like Zapier to connect it with your CRM. Better still, choose a tool that includes a native integration with your CRM, like the Really Simple Systems marketing tool.
Why is this so important, you may ask? Why, because you can then access the data stored in your CRM to manage your personalisation and segmentation that I will come onto next.
Every time you mail a contact, how they engage with that message is captured back to the CRM. This will give you insight of what they are interested in and what they are not. You will also have the option to segment on any other data you hold. For example, a past purchase, event attended, their industry sector and any custom fields you may have created.
Email Marketing Tools Should be Easy to Use
Ease-of-use is one of the main features that marketers should look for in an email marketing tool. Ease-of-use comes from a combination of well-designed and clever solutions, creating simple software that can do many things for the user. Email marketing tools that are easy to use have a good understanding of the process required, and usually include intuitive design.
At Really Simple Systems our aim is to deliver such an experience with our integrated marketing platform. We understand that for small businesses, the user needs to be able to create and send professional looking emails without the support of specialist staff for design and development. Our new Simple Marketing tool (coming soon!) includes a Campaign Wizard that walks users through the whole process of email marketing. In four easy steps, you can create an email, add a list of contacts to mail, schedule the date and time, then send your message.
With the idea that every user wants and appreciates content especially designed for them, personalisation is a feature that every marketing tool should include. Luckily, most email marketing tools today allow users to create emails that are personalised to some degree.
Basically, personalisation is about creating subject lines and general email content that addresses every user with their own name and preferences. It might sound difficult to execute, but with personalisation tags and list segmentation, it is easy to achieve personalised emails. So, when you are searching for the right email marketing tool, you might check if they have contact segmentation tools with static and dynamic lists that can be managed easily.
Personalisation tags are placed in the email, or subject line, using the collected data about your customer. Similar to a mail merge, the personal data is applied to the message as it is sent. For example, you might use a tag in each email you are sending to address the contact by their first name, and make it more personal.
You can easily find this type of emails in your inbox. Our example here is aimed at people who need to respond to an event. We’ve added a name tag but the rest of the email is the same for all recipients.
RSVP to this week’s most popular events – perfect for up-skilling, career advice and inspiration!
The person who receive’s the email will see it like this:
List segmentation allows you to create smaller groups based on the data collected from your contacts. Lists can be organised by geo-location, buying decisions, age, gender, and pretty much any of the data in your CRM, if you are using an integrated tool.
All of this information can help you create personalised emails for different groups of users, and create meaningful campaigns that address their needs. Some apps may include dynamically populated lists, which means the list is automatically updated at the time of mailing. This can be very useful if you a have new subscribers being added daily.
Automation For Your Email Strategy
With automation, instead of sending the same email to everyone on your mailing list, automation allows you to do quite the opposite.
When you set up automated emails, they are triggered by the recipients actions. For example, when you buy a certain product you get a confirmation email, or if you have left something in your cart, you get a reminder. Those emails are automatically sent in response to your actions on a specific website or how you responded to a previous email.
Automation can be used for different purposes and means you can include a high level of personalisation in the message. You can also use automation to score your new leads and add rules that will highlight the best ones.
Selecting an email marketing tool that includes automation opens a new world of email marketing, depending on your creativity.
Here’s a few ideas of the type of messages you might use with automation that can help your company achieve better results:
- Welcome email for new subscribers
- Free trial proposal email
- Welcome message for people who signed up for your product
- Message that can gather product or service feedback
- Notice about the expiry of their subscription
- Birthday surprise email
- Blog or new product promotion
We have left you an example from our inbox. Here you can see how SEMRush is sending us automatic email in response to a training webinar attended. The CTA button is called “continue learning”, but we also have the option to follow them on social media platforms for more updates, or to unfollow them if the content we are getting is no longer interesting for us.
Email Designer Tools
Considering the number of emails people receive every day, marketers have realised they need to pay more to email design. However, it can take a lot of time and knowledge to create a good looking email. When choosing an email marketing tool, unless you have a designer readily available, select one that includes a simple drag and drop format.
Some tools also give you the option to create and send different styles of the same email, so you can test your audience and see which design works best.
According to recent research from Litmus 46% of people open their emails on mobile phones, so it is necessary to create emails that are responsive on all devices.
The Decision is Yours
We must remind you that there is no use in buying expensive marketing tools with many features if your business is still small. Our recommendation is to start with simple solutions and work on building a database of people who are interested in your products. Don’t buy lists, and be careful to avoid violation of data protection laws by always including the option for people to unsubscribe. To avoid spam traps, you need to remember to match the subject line with the content of your email, and avoid spam terms in the message.
Features like personalisation and automation can be helpful, but it doesn’t mean your job is done when you start using them. Sure, you will need much less time to do time-consuming repetitive tasks, but you still need to be mindful of creating spam mail. The best way to do it is by creating an email marketing strategy with your audience’s needs in your mind.
We hope that we have been helpful in choosing the right email marketing tool for your business, and if you need more guidance, don’t hesitate to contact us.