Email Marketing Platforms 101: What You Need To Know

According to Mckinsey, one of the leading management consulting firms, 91% of all US consumers use email daily, prompting purchases at least three times more often then social media.

With email still proving to be a huge source of growth for businesses, we're highlighting the features you need for email marketing platforms to ensure you are taking advantage of this essential form of lead nurturing.    

Email Marketing Platforms: The Must Haves

When considering an email marketing platform, we believe these are the basic features you'll want to make sure they include:

  • Pre-built Templates or Template Builders

  • CRM Integration

  • List Management & Segmentation

  • Optimization & Personalization

  • Automation

  • Analytics & Reporting

  • A/B Tests

  • CAN-SPAM Rules


Pre-built Templates or Template Builders

If you are not a web designer or developer, this is a MUST.

Pre-built templates not only save you a TON of money by not having to hire a design/developer to build your templates and emails for you, but the time you'll save is instrumental.

saves time_email marketing platforms

No more back and forth, waiting on changes and edits to copy or images; you can easily do it all yourself. You also get the added peace of mind that your template follows design and development best practices and has been tested and optimized already for any device (especially mobile!). Just add your content, colors, images, links, and CTAs, and you are ready to send. 

Template builders work in a similar way, but give you the added opportunity to create the layout of the email yourself. With this option, the design and development of the modules is already done for you, so again coding knowledge is not needed. You will just typically 'drag and drop' your header, images, content, and signature modules, where you want them, add content and send.  

HOP TIP: In both scenarios, it's great to have the option to integrate sales email templates with your CRM. Then you can have pre-built emails ready to go for individual contacts if desired, saving you even more time. These could include situations like:

  • Cold prospecting emails
  • Inbound lead emails
  • Referral introduction emails
  • Follow-up emails

CRM Integration

The ability to integrate your email marketing platform with your CRM (customer relationship management) system is non-negotiable these days.

This is important because your CRM hold all the demographic information about each one of your leads and any interactions they have had with your website, staff or content. Data and actions could include:

  • Title
  • Company name
  • Industry
  • Website pages they visited
  • Offers they downloaded
  • Calls they've had with sales (and eventually purchases)

When data like this is easily accessible and links to your email marketing platform, the value of your communications increases ten folds. 

communication_email marketing platforms

HOT TIP: You'll want to have the ability to create segmented lists from your CRM so you can easily develop your targeted email campaigns for leads in different stages of the buyers journey. 

List Management & Segmentation

Once you have your CRM and email marketing platform integrated, you can start building lists.

List management is the ability to upload previous lists you have to the system. This could be from events you've attended or contacts a sales person has been keeping in excel spreadsheets.

Email marketing best practice says to avoid 'purchased lists' as this tactic does not comply with current email SPAM compliance.  

Once you have all your contacts in your system, you can start segmenting your contacts into various lists based on actions and demographic data like we've mentioned above. This allows you to create highly segmented content, emails and then quickly put together lists that talk directly to your leads in a very personal way. 

connect in a personal way_email marketing platforms

HOT TIP: You'll want to have the option to optimize for best practices and personalize the greeting and subject line of your emails with the first name of your leads.

Optimization & Personalization

When you send marketing or sales emails, it's a necessity that they are optimized

If you are using pre-built or customizable templates like we mentioned above, then you have the design and development aspects take care of, but what about the rest?

Other things to keep in mind when you are optimizing an email are:

  • Send day and time
  • Subject line and preview text
  • Links & Images
  • Deliverability
  • Personalization 
  • SPAM scores
  • Providing a clear option to unsubscribe

Personalization takes optimizing your email to the next level. Two common tactics here are the use of personalization tokens and user generated content.

Personalization tokens can be used to insert the first name of your contact into the greeting or subject line of your email or meeting links, information about the recipient, and any other relevant data from your CRM.

User generated content is an effective way to cut down on internal content creation while building trust and social proof for your company. You can do this with: 

  • Product reviews
  • Customer feedback 
  • Social images tagged with hashtags specific to your brand 
  • Video testimonials 

video review_email marketing platforms

Including personalization in your email marketing creates a deeper connection with leads, turning them into customers faster.

Automation

Creating automated emails that are triggered by an action from a visitor or lead is a great way to start off-loading tasks that modern technology can easily handle for you.

modern technology_email marketing platforms

This tactic helps to move leads to marketing qualified, and then marketing qualfied leads to sales. This happens by setting triggers that activate the right emails, to get sent to the right leads, at the right time.

Automation also helps you save time by not only sending emails for you, but you can schedule various repetitive tasks to be done like:

  • Set up webhooks
  • Score leads
  • Rotate leads to sales
  • Manage your data in bulk by updating properties
  • Internal notifications for your team

Analytics & Reporting

If you want to know what's working and what not with your email campaigns, checking the analytics should be a top priority after every send. 

This will not only help you to see who is engaging with your emails and with what email client and device, but it can also help you see trends with subject lines, content topics, and send days and times.

It can also be helpful to know who's bouncing and unsubscribing, so you can keep your database clean and not waste time marketing to addresses no longer in use or people that are not interested. 

not interested_email marketing platforms

Metrics and data that are valuable to have access to are:

  • Sent
  • Delivered
  • Opened / Opened Rate
  • Clicked / Clicked Rate
  • Bounced 
  • Unsubscribed
  • SPAM Reports 
  • Not Sents
  • Time Spent Viewing
  • Engagement Over Time
  • Opens By Email Client
  • Opens By Device

 

A/B Tests

Another way to test the performance of your email marketing strategy is with A/B Testing.

This is when you create two versions of the same email and alter one variable to see which email gets more engagement. For example you could test:

  • Subject lines 
  • Content
  • CTAs
  • Layout of email
  • Images

When you receive the results of the winning version, use this email to create another test and continue to try and increase your conversion and sales. 

winning_email marketing platforms

CAN-SPAM Rules

Last, but definitely not least, to comply with the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003, marketing emails must include the physical mailing address of your business and a link for contacts to manage their email subscription preferences. 

Following these guidelines not only builds trust and a positive reputation for your brand, but this is essential to not getting blocked by certain email providers and to avoid your emails being marked as SPAM. 

HOT TIP: In addition to CAN-SPAM, other countries may have their own laws surrounding consent for marketing emails. Be sure to research and follow any other guidelines that apply to your customers. 


HubSpot's Email Marketing Platform: Options for Everyone

When you have to make a decision on what email marketing platform to use for your company, our vote goes to HubSpot.

Not only does HubSpot offers EVERYTHING mentioned above, but they have various plans and levels for every size business - catering to budgets and features needed from start-ups all the way to enterprise level. 

You can literally start with the HubSpot CRM and email for FREE and upgrade plans and acquire more features as your business grows and resources increase.  

In addition, HubSpot doesn't stop at CRM and email. They have various types of marketing, sales, customer service and website tools to assist your business in having all the modern day digital tools is need. These include: 

 

Conclusion 

Now you know exactly what you need when choosing email marketing platforms. Do you want to learn more about HubSpot Email? If you found this helpful, you may also enjoy:

If you want to speak to a HubSpot Specialist about your specific email marketing needs, feel free to book a complimentary 30min chat, by clicking the button below.

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