Today, about 85% of retailers and eCommerce stores in the U.S. rely on email marketing as a powerful means for customer acquisition. Marketing via email tools has personalization, is popular, effective, and cheap–at least it should be. That's why it's important for companies to choose an email marketing service that understands its needs, goals, and budget to create a marketing strategy for its specific marketing efforts and can drive customers to your landing pages. As a direct way to engage with customers, email cannot be underestimated for the role it can play in a marketing campaign's success. Use the following marketing automation tips to select the ideal email marketing service provider for your brand.
Cost is an important factor to consider when selecting an email marketing software and service–not only in terms of your budget but also for what your dollars pay for. If your email list is anywhere near a million contacts, you might expect to pay an average monthly fee of about $4,000. That's the typical cost for a one month paid plan or premium plan, though you can also get a free plan. If your bulk email list is smaller, you'll pay less. If your constant contact list is under 500 marketing emails, you'd likely be charged less than $20 per month.
Keep in mind that these costs only pay for the marketing service to send out your emails from their servers. It's up to you to design your emails (typically using their drop email builder) and marketing campaigns. If you don't have the staff or salesforce to create high-quality marketing campaigns, you might want to consider working with an email software marketing agency instead; however, those monthly costs will rise in accordance with the services you need.
When choosing your service provider, compare the costs for various vendors. Do they charge monthly plans and at what open rate? Do they have email templates? Do they utilize drag-and-drop builders and drag-and-drop editors (email editors)? What email marketing tools or resources will you have access to? Do they have phone support or email support? Consider these questions when making a choice.
Reporting and Analytics
Always choose the best email marketing software service that provides you with a robust platform for reporting and analytics. After you send your emails, you can rely on reporting tools to gauge the success of your campaign. You'll want the knowledge base of what the click-through rate of your emails are. Emails that aren't generating clicks or delivering on your calls to action aren't working. Analytics provides you this information quickly so you can abandon certain tactics and try new ones. You should also be able to rely on your email service providers' reporting automation tools to find out about bounce rates, conversation rates, email sharing rates (how many customers are forwarding your messages), and your list growth rate. All of these reports will paint a picture of your return on investment, too, so make sure you have strong list management. If you are not showing a positive ROI, you need to evaluate and make necessary changes.
Tools and Resources
The very least large or small business owners need from their email marketing automation tools is to increase deliverability rates for emails to their customers' inboxes–not their spam folders. However, for the investment you're making in a provider, why not expect more? Look for an email campaign monitor service that offers a variety of popular tools and resources that allow for customization and testing. When searching for a vendor, check to see if they offer:
- A/B testing (allows you to test various versions of your email to see which performs best)
- List segmentation tools (lets you send different emails to different customers based on their gender, for instance)
- Inbox preview (see how your email appears on different mobile devices or different email platforms)
- Access (lets you check on your campaign from your mobile device)
Many of today's best email marketing services offer these marketing features. Decide which ones you need most and be sure that your selection offers them.
Integrate with Social Media
Not all companies choose to integrate their email campaigns with social media, but many businesses, regardless of size, want to do just that. Some email and email newsletter marketing services allow their customers to connect their email campaigns with their social media accounts. This means that the service will have automation features that will use autoresponders to automatically post email messages to major social media platforms like Facebook ads, Instagram, and Twitter.
For companies that are still trying to grow their contact list, this is an important and unique feature. The email marketing campaign service can allow businesses to collect a number of email addresses with their social media opt-in pages or signup forms. These email addresses are qualified leads as users actually volunteer their contact information in real-time. This alone makes it worthwhile to connect your email marketing solution with your social media accounts and increase your follow-up with clients. Also be sure to have a catchy subject line, pop ups, and exclusive webinars to engage your clients and enhance the ease of use on the user interface.
Before signing on with an email automation marketing service, take time to consider how it provides customer service. Can you find a toll-free number for support, or is engagement confined to email and contact forms? When you have an issue, how important is it for you to be able to connect to a customer service representative? Customer service isn't something businesses consider until they're facing a problem. Do yourself a favor and find out about the company's customer service practices so you can consider them when you make your decision.
It also makes sense to check out how helpful a prospective email marketing service is in terms of the information they provide. Does the service offer any valuable insights in the form of bloggers or white papers? The most responsive services feature many resources that customers can tap to improve their email campaigns, troubleshoot, or use the email marketing platform's available tools.
Consider these advanced features when choosing an email service provider for your business. This is a competitive field, so you are likely to find a company that offers everything you're looking for–but you have to look closely and scrutinize them. By choosing the right service for your digital marketing campaigns and budget, you'll likely be able to establish a long-term relationship with the vendor, and that means more streamlined, problem-free email campaigns for your business.
This article originally appeared by our friends at MuteSix.