What to look for when looking for new email marketing software? Before you decide, here are some important points to consider.
First and foremost, what kind of software do you need to achieve your business goals?? What type of personalization do you want to offer your customers? Which investment will deliver the best results/revenue in the long run?
10 Questions to ask yourself before you decide on new email marketing software
Below are 10 points to consider when making your decision about new email marketing software, or a comprehensive marketing solution (with email as an important component).
1. What do you need? A new email marketing software – or a software solution with versatile functions?
We live in a time when the retail industry is so multi-layered that you as a business cannot afford to be focused on just one channel. Instead, take a channel-agnostic approach to marketing. Think about it: how does your email strategy fit into your overall marketing strategy?
If email is an important channel for you – and as an e-commerce business, it should be – working with a separate email system, or. ESP on its own is not recommended. On the contrary.
The result would be data silos and customer experiences based only on the information you received about your contacts through a single channel.
Instead, ask yourself: what do I really need as an e-commerce business?? An email provider, or a software solution that connects the email channel with all other important channels?
2. Can I deliver the customer experience that matters with new technology?
Forget the email channel for once…just for a moment.
What type of experience, or Experiences do you want to create for your customers? This consideration is quite crucial and is closely tied to your overall cross-cutting strategy. An accurate understanding of the customer journey, individual customer profiles, audience needs, and more is necessary to properly incorporate this consideration into your decision-making process.
Only in the NEXT STEP, should you include email as a critical channel in your considerations and deploy your email marketing in such a way that it achieves the desired experience for your customers.
E-mails may be your most important tool for implementing targeted campaigns and customer communications, and should therefore be at the center of your strategy. What you should refrain from, however, is a "channel-first" mindset. Instead, the focus should be on the experience you want to create. In the next step, you can create the kind of interactions with your customers that are optimal for your business with appropriate emails at the points where it makes sense to do so.
3. How can the system help me improve deliverability?
When it comes to email deliverability, it's more about the approach(es), and less about the platform used.
If deliverability is an important consideration for your organization, you should still pay special attention to tools used, technologies and help available to maximize high and visible inbox placement. However, you shouldn't fall prey to the notion that the right tool can do a 180° turnaround on your deliverability…rather, what matters is what you're using the tool for – so in other words, it's all about your strategy and marketing approach.
If deliverability is an important item on your list, ask yourself these questions:
- What numbers/information do I have available to monitor performance indicators such as bounce rate, complaints, open and click rates, and unsubscribes??
- Does the platform have its own tools, or integration with an appropriate vendor that can provide critical information on inbox delivery, spam folder delivery, blacklistings, or spam traps?
- How will I be notified of deliverability issues? Is there an option to trigger automatic notification when a problem occurs?
- Does the platform support email authentication such as SPF, DKIM, and DMARC?
- Does the platform offer dedicated IPs, shared/shared IPs, or both?
- What criteria are important if I want to send over shared or dedicated IPs?
- What is the on-boarding, or. Ramp-up process from? How time-consuming is this step (as part of the integration)??
- What are the support options if difficulties arise during implementation (or beyond)?
- Who will I work with? With a deliverability expert, frontline platform support, or my on-boarding consultant? Are these offices available to me at all times – for example, if problems arise, or do I have to rely on (delayed) support from different time zones?
- What kind of issues usually occur during the ramp-up/implementation phase and how they are resolved by default?
4. Can I use the system to implement different email campaigns?
Once you've determined the type of experience you want to offer your customers – and that email is the critical channel for doing so – make sure your email partner or respective software solution can deliver exactly the type of campaigns you have in mind.
Can the system implement newsletter delivery in a way that is truly customized for each individual recipient? So-called "preference centers" usually allow you to "list" the content preferences of individual recipients – make sure your newsletter is up to par with this process.
► Welcome campaigns
Once a contact has submitted his/her data or made a purchase, it's a good idea to get the new customer more involved with a welcome campaign and retain them for the long term.
► Shopping cart abandonment
Shopping cart abandonment emails almost always require a connection from your website to the corresponding email. This requires both systems to be able to "communicate" with each other. If you want to automate the process of your shopping cart abandonment emails (as opposed to manually executed campaign, resp. a continuous data export), you need to make sure that your website and your email program are linked together. It is equally important to set up specific rules that organize the data transfer and sending of the relevant reminder emails.
► More trigger or event-based emails
Does the system support capturing (and leveraging) certain data sets that allow you to scale AND automate certain one-time (one-time) emails, such as:
- Post-purchase. Sending different content, or. Different cross-sell/upsell offers based on the customer's previous purchases.
- Win-back or re-engagement. Identifying and winning back customers who are falling away. Re-engagement emails based on customer lifetime value, product preferences, and/or recent browsing activity are the most appropriate for this purpose.
- Special offers or rewards for customers who have a proven preference for a particular product or product category.
- High Spenders. Special offers for your "best" high-value customers and VIP contacts.
5. …And use different campaigns the same holistic customer profile for optimal "collaboration" and maximum consideration of customer interests?
Ask yourself how all these different campaigns can work together so that your customers don't receive duplicate or unwanted messages. Instead, relevant and customized content should be the focus and sent in the campaigns.
The point in the customer's lifecycle must be reflected in communications throughout the entire journey. No matter what we call it – holistic customer profile, 360° all-around view, complete view – the point is that ALL campaigns can access the relevant customer data to ensure smooth campaign collaboration.
For example, a customer subscribes to your newsletter and, in response to a welcome campaign in the Preference Center, indicates which products she would like to see discounted and what content she is interested in. These preferences and desires should be included in future product recommendations (as part of a marketing campaign).
6. What is the personalization potential of my email campaigns??
Personalized content – combined with excellent cross-discipline collaboration across your individual campaigns – can provide a real competitive advantage over competitors who do not fully personalize their respective emails.
Matt Hayes, CEO at Kickdynamic, defines email personalization for himself as "the ability to automatically adjust email content based on each contact's preferences, behaviors, and level in the buyer journey."
This capability goes far beyond personalization based on first and last names or working with product recommendations in emails. Instead, perfect personalization is not so much about which (marketing) system you ultimately choose, but about the data and information you have about your customers. Certain types of data – such as z.B. Interest in specific product categories, brand preferences, gender, location, average order value – can give you important information about individual customers, or even specific customer groups. The right technology can take the next step and bring all this captured information together in a meaningful way and in one place.
Matt Hayes estimates that about 30-50% of all traditional "business as usual" emails (i.e., emails sent to your entire database) can be even more personalized. Dynamic content and accurate segmentation can also contribute to optimal personalization.
Personalized emails can achieve a 6x higher transaction rate, compared to emails without personalization.
7. Can be dynamic, resp. Using real-time content in my emails?
Dynamic content as part of an email is a good way to show that you know when, where and on which device an email will be opened.
A technology like Open Time Content, allows you to work with content blocks that fill up with up-to-date content in real time – no matter when the particular email is opened. These emails can do much more than standard & static messages and provide your customers not only with an interactive communication tool, but also with a whole range of multimedia material and information.
This is how Open Time Content can look like (examples):
- Countdown Clocks.A countdown can convey a sense of temporal urgency, grabbing the recipient's attention – best embedded at the top of an email, or within a widget in an email.
- Live Inventory.If you no longer want to present static images of your products, why not offer your customers an overview of the products currently available, the most popular products, or the products that might be of most interest to them?.
- Weather updates.The travel and hospitality industry can use relevant data – such as weather updates in emails – to ensure contacts are provided with information that is relevant and helpful to them.
8. Does the system meet the three A's – automation, AI, and analytics?
If you want to exploit all the possibilities of personalization with a (new) email marketing software, you should take a look at whether your solution combines the three As, as I call them.
► Automate email campaigns across your entire database. B2C marketers using automation tools can see up to 50% high conversion rates.
► Use Artificial Intelligence to improve your content placement and send time optimization.
► Use relevant analytics to monitor your performance results and make ongoing optimizations.
An optimal level of personalization can only be achieved in your emails if you combine the three areas of automation (for scale and efficiency), AI (for the ideal send time, relevant content, recommendations, etc), and the ability to create a personalized email.), and analytics (comparing your results and evaluating them) in the best possible way to give your marketing approach more punch.
Customer experience (CX) is now increasingly the deciding factor in whether or not a company operates successfully in its respective marketplace. Non-personalized emails are now a no-go in this regard, resp. Are not really worth sending anymore. Instead, your messaging should be tied into a larger system of automation, AI, and analytics. 77% of all revenue generated from email comes from segmented, targeted and triggered campaigns.
9. How can a software solution impact the efficiency of my team?
When looking for new software (especially an email marketing tool), ask yourself, "How can the new technology impact my team and me, incl. Workload, work processes, and efficiency."?
Email marketing software should simplify your daily work and increase your efficiency – or at least give you enough time to spend on strategizing your campaigns and creating excellent content.
It's the details that matter most! When looking at a new marketing solution, be sure to analyze the following points.
- The interface. If it is intuitive and easy to use? Is it easier to use than your current system? For example, can you pull email previews for any device?
- Drag-and-drop images or code.An important part of a user-friendly interface, in addition to drag-and-drop widgets, is the ability to work with specific elements via plug-in, as well as edit specific sections within the content via code.
- One of the most important elements of successful automation – segmentation – ensures relevance and optimal response to sent campaigns. At the same time, you can save time and money. significantly reduce the amount of work required to create campaign blueprints.
- Ease of scheduling. Are the scheduling features within the system quick & easy to use?
10. In a few years, the system will already be technologically obsolete?
This question is perhaps one of the most important questions to ask when considering a new email marketing software solution – not to mention: Before you spend many thousands of dollars per month on new software. Specifically, you should determine: How can the software stand up to your needs in the long run? Is it flexible enough to adapt to the changing nature of email marketing? For example, can the software deliver (either now, or in the future):
- Embedded or 'one click' purchase options.Many email experts believe that integrated transactional features are the future of email marketing.
- Animations, video, or GIF content.Interactive content is big. You should ensure that you can work with multimedia content in your emails. Interactive and even 3D e-mails can function as so-called "microsites". Can the system support this particular type of user experience?
Is the (new) software able to adapt to changing conditions, support newly developed features and serve other foreseeable changes in email marketing…or is the software inflexible and static? The more versatile and robust the new system is the better.
A large investment in a new email marketing software requires an intensive analysis process with a careful consideration of the pros and cons.
Is a stand-alone system sufficient, or do you need a comprehensive solution that links all areas of your customer data together? What customer experience do you want to offer your contacts and what kind of personalization do you want to implement in your campaigns? Are the three "A's" an important consideration for you; and if so, how can the three "A's" save you and your team important time?
When it's time for new email marketing software, a careful review and consideration of the issues presented here can help you make the right decision. In concrete terms, this means: take a close look at the most important aspects of the potential software. Only in the next step should you choose a new software – with a straightforward implementation and many long-term benefits for your business growth. ◾