6 Ways to Choose Your Email Marketing Platform
Check out these 6 categories to consider when choosing an email marketing platform to sell books.
Email marketing is so important to successfully selling books. It's an integral part of inbound marketing that retains a more personalized element compared to other methods like social media. For example, people who subscribe to your emails show more investment in you than someone who just likes a post on Facebook or Twitter.
The content of your emails, your chosen subject lines, and how you segment your lists are crucial to getting the most out of your email marketing strategy. But is your present email marketing platform currently up to snuff? According to a case study from MOZ on switching email marketing platforms, their email reply rates increased by 187%. This was largely due to eliminating technical problems and utilizing new features their old platform lacked.
If your current platform is underperforming or just not providing you the tools necessary to make emails engaging for your readers, it's probably time to reconsider not just your current email marketing strategy but also the platform.
Read below on the top 6 things to consider in your current email marketing platform, as well as any new platform that you're considering switching to.
1. Integration - How well does the platform integrate with other programs and tools that you use?
There are many different tools, applications and programs to choose from, that help us efficiently manage our marketing strategy. Tools such as Salesforce, Hubspot, G-Suite/Gmail, Hootsuite -- the list goes on. These tools can greatly help us manage our time and efforts, however they don’t always “talk” to each other in a way that benefits us so we can easily share data or contacts back and forth.
The more CRM, management & analytic tools you use in addition to your email marketing provider, the more important integration becomes. Marketing automation is particularly important for sharing data from one system to the next. Many email platforms offer marketing automation tools that can sync easily with content management systems (Wordpress, Hubspot, etc.) and attach seamlessly with customer relationship management systems (CRM) like Salesforce and Quickbase. It not only enables you to share data with ease, but allows you to know your readers inside and out. Knowing your audience allows you to segment them into like-groups, where you can set up workflows & drip campaigns based on their behavior.
2. User Experience - Does it match your marketing team's needs?
A platform that has a poor user experience that's not very intuitive will lead to frustration and lost time figuring out how to get it working. Your email marketing platform needs to not only be suitable for your individual marketing needs, but also produce emails and automated workflows that provide an excellent user experience.
To figure out your individual marketing needs, determine the level of resources available to you: how many email blasts are you putting out each month, and how many specific books or campaigns are these blasts for? How many people on your team will be using the platform? You’ll need a more robust email management solution if your entire marketing department is using it, compared to just one or two dedicated internal users. Think about your internal team’s needs and make sure your platform is providing the right resources and support.
3. Cost - Is your platform cost-effective?
Cost is a major factor when choosing an email marketing platform. Does your platform allow you to start with a free account or do you pay a monthly or yearly subscription based on the size of your lists or chosen features? Is there a one-time setup fee? Is there any flexibility in the pricing model? It’s important to compare these costs to what you get out of the platform and the tools and features available. And be sure you’re only paying for features you are using, and not over-paying for services you don’t need. Find a platform that allows you to pay the way you play.
4. Customization - Does your platform allow you to customize templates, lists, and other features to your specific needs?
Is your platform inflexible when it comes to built-in templates, or will it let you customize them along with automatic replies and other aspects of bulk emails? What custom features are available to solidify your branding?
Whether you’re looking for a simple platform with drag-and-drop features, or a more robust platform offering heavy customization - make sure it fits your specific needs. And review any list features closely, to ensure there are no limits on holding contacts in the platform or building lists with multiple segments from those contacts. When it comes down to it, this is your data and you want the freedom to customize it as you see fit.
5. Tracking & Analytics - What does your platform offer?
You should definitely examine what kind of analytics and tracking the platform offers, and how far you can drill down into the details. Are you just focused on open rates and click rates? Can you see additional information on the types of engagements and who specifically is engaging? Are you interested in creating automated drip-campaigns? Look into the pain points you're currently experiencing with your email marketing strategy and see if a new email platform has the functionality and features you're seeking.
6. Support - What level of customer support does your platform offer?
Even if your email campaigns aren't prone to issues, you never know when something will crop up. Is there a dedicated support team available to help you 24/7 or within set business hours? Or is there a generic support phone number or email address? Or does the platform just offer FAQs and live chat as their support options?
Your support needs will largely be determined by who is using your platform internally, and how much knowledge they bring to the table. If your internal team is robust with knowledge on graphic design and can create their own coded templates, you may be ok with a less-dedicated support option. But if your internal team is young with not much technical knowledge, you may want a platform that will provide them more dedicated support.
Overall user-friendliness also factors into your support needs, along with the complexity of your email marketing strategy (e.g. integrating with more than one external tool.)
Make a list of what you like about your current email marketing platform and what isn't working. See how the platform stacks up as far as all these factors are concerned and you can be on your way to higher engagement and reply rates. There is a lot of noise out there and only so many books that your readership has the time to check out. Be sure you have the best email marketing platform working for you to get readers engaged, interested and ultimately, buying books!