31 August 2012
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Tips to finding the right email marketing software

Email marketing used to be a marketing tool adopted by smaller businesses. But not anymore. These days, I find medium size businesses and even large organizations are using email marketing to help them stay connected with their customers, existing and potential.

To put it simply, email marketing software (EMS) is a software that allows you to send out emails to multiple recipients from a list with the intention of marketing your products or services.

Email marketing analysis

Sure, social media platforms are all the hype these days. But you can’t deny the effectiveness of email marketing. What’s a better way to constantly stay in touch with your customers?

Why Use Email Marketing

Now, before you dismiss email marketing as a marketing tool for your business, do consider the following reasons why many businesses are jumping into the email marketing bandwagon.

    • Promote your products and services
    • Reminder of your business. The idiom “out of sight, out of mind” rings true in this case.
    • Probably the most cost effective marketing tool there is. You save on printing and postage costs while saving a tree or two.
    • It is simple to use and effective as you are able to reach a larger and more relevant recipients. Your recipients just need to click on a link to your website or download your promotional flyer.
    • Build a comfortable relationship with your existing and potential customers.

Free Or Premium Email Marketing Software

Interested to give email marketing a go? Great. So that brings us to the question of which email marketing software to go with. There are many around. Some are free and some charges a fee for their service.

Like all things, free software are very tempting, especially if you are on a budget. However, you need to read the fine print of whether it is really free or comes with other clauses eg with ads attached to your email! Having said that, there are a few free software which work rather well and you also get an option to upgrade to a more professional package later.

In most cases, premium email marketing software are a safer bet. Example of the more popular premium email marketing software are AWeber, Constant Contact, ExactTarget, Getresponse, Listrak and MailChimp, each with its pros and cons.

Deciding On Which Email Marketing Software

How do you decide on which email marketing software to use? Here is a list of features to look for when researching for a suitable software.

  • Determine You Needs

    The most important thing you need to do is sit and list down what you want out of the email marketing campaign. Do you plan to concentrate on newsletters only or would you want an newsletter software to help you run surveys and RSS blog posts?

    Then shortlists a few software and compare them to determine which fit this bill of yours better.

  • Price

    This is probably the first thing that most people look at when seeking software. How does the pricing works? Well, generally there are a couple of ways on how these software providers charge.

    • The number of emails sent – this is less of such pricing packages now
    • The number of subscribers – most software providers charges a certain fee per month for a block of subscribers and fees will increase as the subscribers increase. This fee is charged regardless of whether you did send any email or not in that month.
  • Ease of Use

    There are some newsletter software which are very user-friendly (like MailChimp) and thus, most suitable for beginners. Then there is also those which have more elaborate features (like AWeber) which are quite popular with experienced users. Choose the one that you feel more comfortable using.

  • Deliverability

    Of course you would want to know if the software provider is doing all they can to ensure that your emails reach the recipients’ inboxes. Check if they:

    • Help you avoid spam filters with anti-spam checkers
    • Automatically remove undelivered or unsubscribed email addresses
  • Tracking

    One of the features of a good email marketing software is tracking. Does your choice of software provide you analytical graphs to show you which recipients opened their emails and whether they click on the links in that email?

  • Tools And Applications

    Will you be getting tools or applications that will help you with your email campaign? Tools like customizable email templates, forms and images are a great source of help when running an email marketing campaign.

    Check also if you are able to integrate with social media like Facebook and LinkedIn. And whether you can import your email addresses from other sources (eg Yahoo! Mail, Gmail and Outlook) without any hassle.

  • Segmentation

    Another handy feature is the ability to segment your email list. Some newsletter software gives you the option to group your list into groups based on their actions eg whether they open the message, clicked a link, made a purchase etc.

    These segments are great because you can then plan your subsequent steps eg to inquire the reason for not opening the email or to follow-up with a satisfaction survey for those who had bought your product.

  • Text and HTML Templates

    There are some recipients who prefer text emails while others prefer HTML formats. So do make sure that the newsletter software you choose has support for both of these formats.

  • Double Opt-In Feature

    This means that when someone signs up to be included in your email and newsletter list, you (or rather the newsletter software) then send them a confirmation email with a link that must be clicked on before they are added to your list. This helps you maintain a list of recipients who are genuinely interested to receive email and newsletters from you!

  • RSS To Email

    Another cool feature is to have an RSS to email feature where your posts are automatically converted into email newsletters. Save you lots of effort and at the same time, keep your readers in the loop.

There are many different email marketing and newsletter software providers around in the market these days. Though each of them seemed to have similar features, there definitely are differences. Either on the features they offer or the way the software functions. However, your decision should be influenced by your business’ needs. So, if you have made the decision to go ahead with email marketing, then I do hope that the above tips are able to help you narrow down the right software for your business. Good luck.

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