11 things to consider about Email Marketing Platforms

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Even once the decision has been made to enlist the services of a new Email Platform, it can still be a daunting prospect.

Concern can stem either from it being the first time you have used such a service and know very little about what you want and what to expect, or because moving to a new platform brings its own concerns and challenges – such as transfers of data and creative, plus things just not working the way you’re used to!

These 11 items to consider regarding Email Platforms will serve to inform or remind you of the key factors you should be looking for; some are more obvious than others, so do finish the list!

1. User Friendly:

Your new system should make your life easier not harder; the interface should not only be easy to use but should allow you to build and send a piece quickly when needed.

2. Creative Flexibility:

Does the system provide templates for the creation of your emails? If so, are you happy to work within these? Is there also the opportunity to upload your own HTML?

3. Personalisation:

Is the use of dynamic data possible in the content, allowing you to include the recipient’s name or other stored information within the email? e.g. –Have you booked your office Christmas party yet Emma? or Kevin get a free MOT on your Peugeot 308 during July.

4. List Management and Segmentation:

Can you upload single or multiple lists to the system? Can you segment within the programme, allowing you to define a list for each campaign using various criteria?

5. Email Preview:

It is increasingly important to be able to preview your email campaign to see how it will look in all the different browsers and devices - including mobile. In addition to this, different email clients (Outlook, Gmail etc.) will often display emails differently; so it is vital to be able to preview these as well, to ensure your email looks the way you intended to all your recipients.

6. Anti-Spam Checker:

Does the system check and test your email content against rules commonly used by email clients to block spam emails? Will it highlight for you those words or phrases that may cause your email to be blocked?

7. A/B Split Testing:

If you are likely to want to run A/B tests of your emails such as different subject lines, changing an image, etc to see which gives the best results – are there special settings for this, or is this easily managed within the platform?

8. Integration with your CRM and sales processes:

Will you be able to directly integrate the Email Marketing platform with your existing CRM system? Alternatively, is it made easy for you to supply click through or other leads to your sales team for follow-up?

9. Unsubscribe links and options:

As a minimum requirement, all emails should include an unsubscribe link. Most systems should do this automatically; some will also give the recipient more advanced options such as unsubscribing from all emails or just certain streams – would this be useful to you?

10. Solid Reporting Capabilities:

What does the system report on – Opened, Clicked, Bounced, Forwarded, Email client, Devices, Subsequent web visits and to which pages?

When considering this, be sure to check how different areas are reported on – for example is the reported CTR (click through rate) the percentage of the total send or the percentage of those that opened?

11. Freedom to email prospects as well as clients:

Some Email Marketing Platforms can be over cautious with the use of prospect data. We generally all want to communicate with prospects as well as clients, so make sure this is possible with any platform you consider.

As long as prospect data is ‘Opted in’ for consumers or ‘Targeted’ in some way for businesses, then emailing prospects is a totally legitimate marketing method – make sure you aren’t limited by your provider as to what you can or can’t do.

As mentioned above, some of these 11 items are the core, more obvious things you will consider when reviewing Email Marketing platforms. However, others that you may not have considered fully could be the difference between signing up to a system that really works for you and your business, or one that puts unexpected constraints and limitations on you and your campaigns.

  • Have you ever had an issue after signing up with an Email Marketing Platform?
  • What adverse factors / issues have you experienced?
  • Are you completely satisfied with your present platform?