A recent survey conducted by The CMO Council found that almost 50% of marketers are looking to implement new Email Marketing Software in 2013. One reason for this is that marketers have moved beyond simplistic email marketing features and are now needing more sophisticated solutions. Investing additional marketing dollars in email marketing is certainly justified as it still ranks among the most effective and inexpensive direct marketing channels. In fact, a recent 2012 survey conducted by BtoB Magazine found that 59% say email is the most effective channel for generating leads.
Three primary drivers for this email marketing retooling are:
1.) The need for email marketing solutions to deliver more marketing automation capabilities.
2.) Better integration that delivers closed-loop marketing reporting across all channels.
3.) The ability to provide permission based access to email marketing templates that field personnel can access in order to localize and deliver content specific to the needs of their prospects and customers. This localization of content is one of the primary drivers moving marketers to adopt more of a distributed marketing solution mindset. (A good article that discusses this topic in more detail is Distributed Marketing Platform: Organizations At A Big Disadvantage Without One.)
With so many marketers ready to evolve their email marketing software, we felt it was a good idea to outline what specific features marketers should be looking for when evaluating providers.
Email Marketing Software 2.0 Features:
Quickly and easily group or segment individuals based upon interests, profile information and campaign activity utilizing a simple yet powerful query engine.
Seamlessly feed and sync campaign activity with many of the most popular analytics packages including Google Analytics. Gain complete insight into site visitor behavior and even segment campaign contacts based upon this behavior for targeted follow up messaging.
Route email campaigns through designated approval flows before being sent out based upon established business rules.
Access copies of all email messages as well as corresponding tracking reports. This is important as many email providers only archive campaign data for a short time period.
Schedule one-to-one, large groups, or drip-marketing campaigns to be delivered in the future.
Manage collateral expiration dates for images, files, videos, content and more.
Utilize integrated form capabilities to capture information and append to contact records for later segmentation.
DATA SYNCHRONIZATION / CRM INTEGRATION
Synchronize all campaign and contact information with almost any 3rd party CRM or database application.
DELIVERY & COMPLIANCE
Ensure high delivery rates while staying compliant with CAN-SPAM and FCC list regulations.
DELIVERY MONITORING & SCORING
Instantly gain insight into how each email will be scored by email firewalls and receive easy to understand recommendations on what changes should be made in order to maximize delivery.
Quickly gain insight into how emails will render in a variety of all of the most popular email clients, web browsers, operating systems and mobile devices.
DETAILED REAL-TIME TRACKING
Gain insight into campaign effectiveness by accessing sophisticated reporting features and visually appealing charts and graphs.
FORMS AND SURVEYS
Quickly create and incorporate forms and surveys into your email campaigns in order to collect important feedback and information.
GLOBAL CAMPAIGN OVERVIEWS
Quickly locate any campaign ever sent by any user of the system, compare results, perform audits, or test multi-variant campaigns.
GLOBAL CONTENT MANAGEMENT
Manage content, categories, permissions, customization options, images, templates and more globally across the entire application quickly and easily.
INSTANT CONTACT UPDATES
Quickly allow your customers and prospects to update their information on file by providing pre-populated forms for easy update.
INTEGRATED ASSET MANAGEMENT
Store, access and easily locate all email content, imagery, videos and files for use in outbound email campaigns.
INTERNATIONAL LANGUAGE SUPPORT
International language capabilities provides support for just about all languages and dialects.
Add, manage and segment contact lists as well as create an unlimited number of data fields.
MICROSITES AND LANDING PAGES
Easily create an unlimited number of microsites or landing pages that can be used to provide additional information pertaining to your campaign messaging.
MOBILE EMAIL FRIENDLY CONTENT
There is now a 50-50 chance that the email you send will be viewed on a mobile device so its critical that your email service provider provides the ability to create mobile content as well as preview how that content will appear across the various mobile browsers and platforms.
MULTIPLE USER ACCOUNTS
Provides an enterprise email marketing solution with centralized reporting and controls while allowing each user to have their own account.
NEWSLETTER ARTICLE MANAGEMENT
Quickly assemble email newsletters by creating, accessing and managing a centralized library of articles and content.
Select to receive automated system notices regarding everything from approval requests to being notified when a recipient performs a particular action such as clicking to view a landing page.
Ability to automatically personalize campaigns so they appear to come from account representatives associated with the recipient address. For example, as opposed to a newsletter coming from the marketing department it will appear to be sent from the local sales representative.
Set permission parameters on everything from users, collateral, template usage, approval flows and more.
Integrated white listing and reputation management helps regulate email activities while ensuring high delivery rates.
SOCIAL MEDIA INTEGRATION
Easily syndicate and track email content out to all of the major social networks including Facebook, Twitter and more.
SUBSCRIPTION PREFERENCE MANAGEMENT
Build messaging category types, manage bounce back, unsubscribe and exclusion groups for campaign efforts.
Provides complete insight into all system usage including user activity logs, approvals, campaign information and more.
Easily create email templates that can be quickly customized by sales and localized marketing personnel while retaining complete brand control.
TRIGGERED MESSAGING & LEAD SCORING
Leverage business rules to have the system perform actions such as contact segmentation, or sending follow-up messages when specific actions have been performed by your targets.
Utilize contact and profile information in variable tags to personalize email content and attachments. All email content including imagery can be automatically personalized to each recipient.
Allow recipients to easily share email content out to social networks or send directly to their network by utilizing integrated SMS and forward-to-a-friend capabilities.