Any marketer looking to scale understands the importance of having the right tools in their marketing stack.
According to Gartner, almost one-third of CMO budgets are now allocated to marketing technology.
This growing figure shows that marketing leaders are becoming increasingly aware of the value of building scalable workflows that drive sustainable success.
As one of the top drivers of ROI, a solid email marketing platform needs to be a key element in your marketing stack.
The Salesforce 2018 State of Marketing Report highlighted email as one of the most important channels in generating engagement and returns across the entire customer journey, from acquisition to retention and upselling.
So if you want to up your email marketing game and boost revenue, investing in the right technology should be a no-brainer for your business.
But with more tools and services on the market than ever before, finding the right solution to fit your specific business needs can be a time-consuming and downright frustrating process – but it doesn’t have to be!
Read on to discover the key factors you should consider when choosing your email marketing services provider.
Choose the right tool for you with our comprehensive email marketing services comparison !
1 – Responsive design
60% of emails are opened on mobile. This means that mobile-optimised emails are no longer a nice to have – they are non-negotiable.
Users not only want attractive emails across all devices – they expect it. Poorly-formatted emails are a sure-fire way to lose existing customers and miss out on valuable opportunities to gain new customers too.
You need a provider that offers beautifully designed emails, built for optimal results across all screens.
It’s likely that your target audience is busier than ever, so you want to make their lives as easy as possible by reaching them on the go with good-looking content that they can consume with ease.
2 – Email Templates
When it comes to email marketing, one of the most important things to consider are the emails themselves.
Choosing a provider with ready-made, responsive email templates will allow you to create emails quickly and easily, without the need for design skills and without compromising quality.
Don’t forget that email objectives can shift, so look for a provider that offers a range of elegant designs and flexible layouts that look great on any device.
If you’re looking for even more powerful design options and to enhance personalisation, then opt for a provider that offers a template language.
A template language allows you to take your emails one step further with dynamic personalisation. You can display specific content to your recipients based on contact attributes or transactional parameters, such as a personalised title, text, or image.
With personalisation big on the email marketing agenda this year, using a template language to adapt your email to each unique user could really set you apart from the competition.
3 – Contact Management
Growing and managing an engaged contact list is one of the most important elements of your email marketing strategy.
With more and more brands competing for attention in your customer’s inbox, the ability to send the right message to the right contacts should be a leading consideration when it comes to choosing your email marketing services provider.
Studies show that 66% of consumers unsubscribe from emails because they aren’t relevant. With the right provider, you can deter your contacts from hitting ‘unsubscribe’ by skillfully segmenting your contact list.
While one email might appeal to some people on your list, others may need a completely different message. For a lot of organisations this is one of the most challenging steps, but with the right provider this can be a seamless process by simply storing the right attributes in your contact list.
Segmentation can be based on similar interests, demographics, or characteristics.
The criteria you use to segment users must be actionable, so focus on traits that shape your contacts preferences and buying patterns.
The ability to pinpoint certain contacts in your list with search filters is also a valuable functionality to look out for.
Say, you want to send a message to only your biggest customers? Or just those who didn’t open your previous email? Search filters allow you to target these specific groups with a message that’s tailored specifically to them.
This is a great way to forge emotional connections with your contacts by speaking directly to their needs and offering genuine value.
Implementing effective segmentation and searches will allow you to optimise engagement, build stronger customer loyalty, increase deliverability, and better track the success of your various marketing strategies.
4 – Automation
Marketing automation is one of the fastest growing tools in terms of adoption among digital marketers – and for good reason!
Think about your most manual tasks – the tasks that you have to continually repeat – day in, day out. Now imagine if you could create a workflow to automatically trigger these tasks so you can focus your time more strategically.
Marketing automation allows you to create workflows to automate and scale your most important tasks, like sending perfectly-timed emails, advanced segmentation, re-engaging inactive subscribers, and so much more.
With automation, you can take your contact list segmentation to the next level by creating dynamically updated segments based on things like website behavior, past email engagement and lead score.
A simple automation workflow will allow you to automatically add contacts to specific lists if and when they meet a certain set of criteria.
By automating workflows you can also ensure that you’re not just sending the right message, but that you’re delivering it at the right time too.
Marketing automation can increase open rates by 71%, so the ability to create custom workflows that perfectly timed messages is essential to optimise the customer experience and maximise the success of your campaigns.
If you want to scale your efforts quickly and build sustainable success, then this feature should be top of your list when searching for the right email marketing services provider.
5 – Customer support
You want to find an email marketing service provider that functions as an extension of your marketing team – and that means seamless and effective communication.
Of course, while choosing the right provider means the need for support is lessened, we all need to call on help every once in a while.
When you do call for support, it’s essential to have an active and capable team at the ready to address and troubleshoot any issues you may have.
Ease of communication, language and operating hours are also important considerations, so make sure your customer support team fit all your business needs.
Finally, look out for the option to upgrade to a dedicated account manager if you decide to ramp up your email marketing activity.
If you’re looking to scale your business quickly, you need a provider that can facilitate your growth.
6 – Pricing
When it comes to email marketing services, the options range from free basic tools to extremely costly providers with lots of advanced functionality.
Your aim should be to find a cost-effective tool for your business, that still delivers the functionality and ROI that you need to scale.
This is easier said than done, especially for small to medium size businesses where the growth trajectory may be difficult to predict.
That’s why you want to find a provider with a flexible pricing model, so you can start as small as you need and grow as big as you want without needing to change services.
For example, when it comes to managing your contacts, fast-growing companies need a tool that can efficiently scale as the business grows.
Most email marketing service providers base their price upon the number of contacts in your lists, which means you can find yourself needing to upgrade your plan pretty quickly.
Opting for a plan that offers unlimited contacts and bases the price on volume of emails instead of the number of contacts could be a more cost-effective option for fast-growing businesses.
This means you can keep growing your contact list in the background and upgrade when you’re ready to scale up your sending volume.
Choosing the right email marketing provider has the power to make or break your marketing success. You want a solution that not only fits your business needs today, but that can facilitate the powerful customer engagement you need to boost revenue and drive growth for your business.
Looking for more information on the best email marketing service for your business? Check out our blog comparing the features and pricing of the top four email marketing service providers to help you figure out which one is best for you.
Aoife is a freelance writer and content strategist specialising in B2B marketing and business transformation. Former Client Solutions Manager at LinkedIn, Aoife now travels the world, writing for a range of publications and working with brands to translate their products into powerful stories.