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10 Essential Features in Email Marketing Software

Posted In Technology Reviews, Email - By Techtiplib on Wednesday, May 15th, 2013 With No Comments »

You could say that email marketing has more lives than Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhies, and Michael Meyers combined because despite being written off as dead on multiple occasions, it just won’t go away. The fact of the matter is that despite all the death threats, this tried and proven method is still alive and well. In fact, it may very well be doing better than ever.

According to Litmus, 82% of the emails companies send are opened by consumers. This is just one of several stats that reveal the pulse of a tactic that is far from dead. With that said, your ability to reach out and touch subscribers with engaging content is only as good as the platform behind you. Want superb results? Look for these 10 features in your email marketing software.

1. Autoresponders – While autoresponders are simple in functionality, they can be highly effective in the right scenario. Aside from providing a convenient way to respond to inquiries when you’re not around, autoresponders can play a key role in your welcome messages, drip campaigns, trigger-based programs and much more.

2. Flexible Templates – Successful email campaigns don’t just magically appear. They are built from the ground up. Bringing those campaigns to life is much easier when you have access to templates that can be designed once, and used as often as needed.

3. Email Editors – There are a number of tools that exist to make designing and formatting your email campaigns a breeze. One such tool is the What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) editor. This particular editor lets you compose with the ease of a standard word processor, while allowing you to see your email as subscribers will see it while you’re composing it.

4. Signup Forms – Subscribing to your email list should be a piece of cake. You can make sure it is by choosing software that comes bundled with signup forms. Ideally, these forms can be customized to reflect your brand identity and capture the information you require.

5. Powerful Reporting Capabilities – Sending an email campaign to your subscribers is just one part of the process. What comes next is analyzing your results. If you want insights that will allow you to improve with future email campaigns, look for software that delivers reports on key areas such as opens, clicks, and shares.

6. List Management Tools – As an email marketer, the list is no doubt your greatest asset. But in order to maintain its value, that list needs to be kept as fine-tuned and tidy as possible. Management tools that support list segmentation, merge external and internal databases, and fast removal of obsolete email addresses will help you keep all of your lists optimized.

7. Dedicated Email Server – Most email marketing software comes connected to a shared server. This means you are literally sharing an IP address with other customers. While this is common, it could become a huge problem should those neighbors start tallying up spam complaints because you and everyone else on the server can be penalized for their actions. With a dedicated email server, you have your own IP address and are impacted by only your own actions.

8. Social Media Integration – Instead of cancelling it out, social media has only made email stronger. If you dabble in the social scene, look for software that lets you drop social icons and sharing buttons in your content. Your efforts can go much further when they are traveling across the increasingly vast social web.

9. API Integration – API access brings a whole new dimension of flexibility to email marketing. API integration allows you to connect the software to your website, compare statistics and even port data between different applications.

10. Split Testing – A/B or split testing helps you test different versions of your campaigns to determine what works best. For example, you can run tests on your subject lines, calls to action, or link placement. Testing is an email marketing best practice, so this is a nice luxury to have in your software.

Some of these features are must-haves, others are optional, but all can help you excel with your email marketing efforts. In addition to the functionality of the software, keep the reputation of the service provider in mind as well. All the powerful features in the world will not compensate for an inferior vendor that cannot deliver a reliable service.

Author Bio: Chris Stevens is a best practices activist and advocate for a leading provider of email marketing services.

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