What to Look for in an Email Marketing Service

download-62The data is clear: Email marketing works.

  • 80% of marketers believe email is the core of their business
  • More than 40% of people who received a promotional email made a purchase based on that engagement
  • Email marketing has an estimated return on investment (ROI) of 3,800%
  • For every $1 dollar invested in email marketing, organizations realize a return of $44
  • Approximately 56% of all emails are opened on mobile devices

With email marketing, you can reach a large number of current and prospective clients, track their interest, and monitor their experience through the sales cycle. Email helps to build brand loyalty and encourages repeat business.

Your marketing strategy relies on implementing an email marketing service that provides consistent opportunities to boost your growing brand and reach new customers. But figuring out which email marketing service is going to provide the greatest benefit for your organization requires investigation.

Features to Consider

1. Integration with Your CRM: Marketing and sales need to work together. Your customer relationship management (CRM) platform should align with your email marketing service to maximize the synergies and efforts of the two functions. When your CRM and email marketing service are integrated, you can dig into the data to learn how tactics are working in real-time, explore demographic information about your audience, and adjust strategies. With real-time information, you can build timely email campaigns to reach customers at critical points in the decision-making process.

2. Access to Analytics: Marketing campaigns are fruitless without clear access to data. Your email marketing platform must enable you to assess the metrics of your campaigns:

  • What aspects are working?
  • What percentage of emails is being opened versus deleted?
  • What portion of your audience are you successfully engaging with versus those who don’t respond?
  • Are you reaching them through mobile devices or traditional desktop computers?
  • How can you further segment an audience to improve your results? What is your churn rate?

Answers to all these questions and more can be learned when you use an email marketing solution that offers a full range of analytics tools. Clear, actionable reports will provide you with the information you need to adjust to changes in your marketing scope.

3. Design Options: The visual components of the email you send out are just as important – if not more so – than the copy. Your email marketing solution needs to offer a full menu of design templates and visual components to ensure your messages are compelling to your intended audience. Your email platform must offer responsive design for mobile technology and allow for photo editing. A drag-and-drop functionality is also a highly valued feature for many companies. The ability to move elements of your design template around based on the audience you’re trying to reach – or preferences gleaned from the data available through analytics – is especially useful if your strategy leverage real-time information.

4. Automation: Think about how many times you’ve gone to a website, signed up for a newsletter or to download an eBook, and immediately received a message in your inbox. Maybe you’ve visited a site and entered your email address to receive a coupon for a discount on your first purchase. That’s the power of automation. Your email marketing solution needs to provide you with this functionality. When you’re trying to build a relationship with customers, every opportunity to connect with them matters. With automation, you can send customers promotional coupons, surveys, specialized newsletters, and more. Autoresponders may seem informal, but most consumers find them reassuring.

Just how clean is your data? Identify where your data requires attention, allowing you to choose which areas to improve.

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5. Segmentation and Personalization: One version of an email isn’t going to be successful with all members of your current and potential audience. An email highlighting a campaign leveraging your social media channels won’t resonate with, for example, an older audience that doesn’t participate as much with those solutions. An email you send out to long-time consumers will have a different message than one you send to prospective customers. Your email marketing solution must enable you break down, or segment, your targets based on the scope and strategy of your campaign. The solution you choose should segment by categories like click-through rates, browser preference, and geolocation. In addition to segmenting email for the correct audience, your solution should also allow you to modify the messaging to personalize it for each customer. Personalization has been proven to increase results. Email with personalized subject lines are 22% more likely to be opened compared to email with generalized email subject lines.

6. A/B Testing: Your solution must allow you to experiment with email variations to determine what tactics are going to be most successful. Customers may favor certain layouts or color patterns above others. An email with a higher level of photography may test better than one with mostly text. A/B testing enables you to determine the format of the messaging that’s going to deliver the preferred response.

7. Regulatory Compliance: Most email marketing solutions are compliant with governmental regulations about spam, but you’ll want to ensure the solution you choose to implement is current. Your email marketing solution should be able to analyze your content to verify it won’t be marked as spam, that all links are correct, and that it will appear as intended when your audience opens the message. Data shows, 43% of email recipients click the Spam button based on the email ‘From’ name or email address. No solution will be effective if the email sent out never reaches its intended destination.

Other Considerations

  • Scalability: Perhaps most importantly, the solution you choose to implement must be designed to scale with your organization as it grows. The parameters in place for your current business needs will likely change over time. Your email marketing solution needs to have the ability to expand – and be designed to introduce new features – in step with your business needs.
  • Cost: For many companies, the solution they choose will ultimately come down to the price tag. Before launching an email marketing solution, take time to gauge how you’ll ultimately use the tool, and how it aligns with your marketing budget.
  • Reputation: Organizations have multiple options from which to choose. Before settling on the email marketing solution that aligns best with your company, read industry reviews and discuss options with respected peers.
  • Customer Service: The hope is always that you won’t need additional assistance in launching a service. The reality is you’ll likely run into some unexpected issues along the way. You’ll rest easier knowing that the solution you’ve chosen has an excellent customer service department that can address issues that may arise over time.

Choosing the email marketing solution that’s right for your business requires a full assessment of all the considerations listed above. By weighing the importance of integrated features along with the more standard issues like budget and long-term value, you’ll be able to determine the tool that makes the most sense for your company.

Interested in learning more email tips and tricks? Check out these 8 email marketing case studies.

Article From: www.marketingcloud.com