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What to Consider When Selecting an Email Marketing Platform

Jasmine LeBlanc 2/8/19 5:18 PM

I bet you’ve heard the amazing things that email marketing can do for your organization, but perhaps you’re not sure about how to get started. There are so many email marketing platforms out there that can help you reach your audience at the perfect time. So how do you know which one to pick?

There is not a one-size-fits-all answer, because it depends on what your business needs. Take a few moments to look through these features and decide which are necessary for your organization to have. Then, take a look at our email platform comparison table to narrow down your options!

5 Things to Consider When Picking a Platform

1. Automation

One of the main reasons to invest in an email marketing platform is to have the ability to create emails ahead of time and have them send at the right time. It will simplify your email marketing efforts in the long run and make your emails seem really relevant.

If this feature is important to you, then you’ll want to look at what automation capabilities each platform has to offer. There are basic functions, behavior-targeted automation, and ecommerce-centric automation.

If you are in the ecommerce industry, check out how email automation can boost your sales.

2. Additional Features

Want to simplify your email marketing efforts even further? Find an email service platform that provides additional tools to make your job easier.

Here are some examples of helpful features that come included in some email service platforms:

  • Event Management

Being able to manage event registration and your marketing emails in one central location simplifies reaching out to attendees via email.

  • Social Media Tools

If growing your social media presence is a coinciding marketing goal for your business, then you should look into a platform that integrates with your social media platforms. For example, being able to add a Facebook like button in your email or just linking to your Twitter page.

  • Sales Reports

It’s essential to find out how much ROI you are getting through your email marketing efforts, so be sure to simplify the task of creating reports by investing in a platform that provides them for you.

  • Customizable Templates

Whether it’s a drag-and-drop editor or the ability to have templates created by custom code, make sure that you are able to tweak existing templates to fit your brand.

  • Inbox Preview

Make sure that your email looks how you want it to in all of the different email clients with inbox previews.

  • Personalization

Personalizing your email with your contact’s name, city, or business is a great way to stand out and form a connection. Select a platform that allows you to easily include personal contact data in emails.

3. User Interface

You want to choose an email solution that is easy to use for you and your team. Choose a platform that has a simple interface and detailed guides on the most frequently asked questions to save you and your team time when using the platform.

4. Price

Set a budget for your platform to help narrow down the options. Most platforms offer a free demo so be sure to give your top choices a trial run before making a commitment. It’s important to weigh your options to make sure that you are getting the most value out of your money.

5. Marketing Metrics

A very important part of email marketing is analyzing your data so that you can continue to optimize your emails and get even better results. Be sure that the platform you select tracks the metrics that align with your email marketing goals.

Terms You Should Know Before Selecting a Platform

When you’re researching different email marketing platforms, you will come across a lot of important terms that describe the platform’s features. We wanted to make sure you know what they meant, so here are some quick definitions:

  • Email Automation: Automatically mass emailing to selected customer lists.
    • Behavior-targeted email automation: Mass emailing to selected customer lists strategically based on the interactions they’ve made with your organization’s content.
    • Ecommerce-centric email automation: Mass emailing to selected customer lists based on recent purchases and shopping activity on the website. If you’re in the ecommerce industry, you’ll want to make sure you can sync your website’s cart data with your contact lists.
  • Contact Management: Storing of key contact information and keeping track of all communication activities between your business and the contact.
  • Deliverability: Ability to successfully get emails into subscribers’ inboxes.
  • Lead Scoring: Scoring of contacts based on how many interactions they’ve made with your organization’s content. This can help you determine the highest-qualified leads.

Email Marketing Platform Comparison Table

While there are so many email marketing platforms available to use, we are going to cover four popular email marketing platforms. We are partners with Mailchimp and HubSpot, so we have a lot of experience using both systems. We chose to compare them against Constant Contact and Campaign Monitor because they are platforms that are heavily used in both our industry and our clients’ industries.

  Mailchimp HubSpot Constant Contact Campaign Monitor
Free Account Available Yes* Yes** No No
Automation Capability Yes Yes Yes Yes
Behavior-targeted automation Yes Yes Yes Yes
Ecommerce-centric automation Yes Yes No No
Templates Included Yes Yes Yes Yes
Event Management Tool Included No Yes Yes Yes
Lead Scoring Yes Yes No No
Sales Reports Yes  No  Yes No

* Currently, Mailchimp offers a free account plan for users with up to 2,000 subscribers.

** HubSpot offers a limited email marketing plan but it does include the CRM side.

I hope this post helped you discover what’s important to your organization in an email platform and presented you with some pretty solid choices.

After you get set up with a platform that meets your needs, check out these resources to make the most of your email marketing efforts:

Want your business to grow by using email marketing but can’t find the time to create a strategy or the content? Set up a time to have a quick chat with us. We’d love to partner with you and help you meet your goals!