June 22

8 Helpful Tips For Buying Email Marketing Software

Are you looking to buy email marketing software? Check out our best tips that can help you decide which will work best for you and your needs.

 

 

Buying email marketing software often feels inherently paradoxical. On one hand, saving time is one of the main reasons we want to use the software.

But on the other hand, narrowing down the options can be an immensely time consuming process.

But it doesn’t need to be that way. Keeping eight tips in mind before sorting through the choices can make the process a lot easier.

 

#1. Create an Email Marketing Wishlist and Checklist

Have you ever heard the saying that you should never go to the grocery store on an empty stomach?

When we’re hungry we’ll grab anything and everything without putting much critical thought into the purchase.

The same idea also applies to our hunger for effective email marketing software. It’s tempting to go with the first sales pitch that seems especially promising when we need that extra power.

We get past that inclination in the grocery store by making a shopping list. And once again, we can apply that to shopping for email marketing software.

As you go through the rest of the tips be sure to jot down some quick notes. You’ll want to create a list of features that you want in your marketing software. Add in whatever additional requirements come to mind as well.

Once that’s done you can organize everything by priority within a final draft of your list. As you go through the various choices for email marketing software be sure to apply your checklist to them.

You might even want to record all of the results in a spreadsheet for later reference.

Taking the extra time to organize everything will help you focus on the most important points. And on top of that it removes the temptation to make a purely emotional snap judgement.

 

#2. Make Sure You Check Out the Design Component

A striking visual design is one of the most important parts of email marketing. The best sales pitch in the world would be useless without an audience willing to hear it.

And if an email isn’t visually appealing then most people are going to tune out fairly quickly.

Thankfully you don’t need to be an amazing graphic designer or coding wizard to make an appealing email design.

All of the major email marketing packages include a selection of templates for you to use. Of course the quality and quantity of those templates will vary by both software package and payment tier.

But you’ll almost certainly have some good options to build on.

But that’s also where we find a huge difference in marketing software. Every program provides a different way for you to edit those templates or to create your own.

Some programs require a basic understanding of HTML. Others are entirely based around drag and drop design systems.

It’s important to pay special attention to this aspect of an email marketing system. If at all possible you should look for video of someone demonstrating the design system.

Seeing a visually oriented system being used will often paint a far clearer picture than text alone.

Keep in mind that you’re going to be spending a considerable amount of time using the program’s design system.

It doesn’t just need to be powerful. It also needs to feel intuitive and easy to use.

 

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#3. Take More Than a Quick Glance at the Number of Integrations

Integrations are a way to add missing functionality into an email marketing program. As the name suggests, they integrate another program into the email marketing system.

All of the major marketing systems offer some level of support for integrations. But the extent of this support is extremely variable.

Most marketing packages will point to their integrations as a feature. But it’s important to do a little more investigation into the specifics.

Find out just how many integrations are supported by the marketing software that’s caught your eye.

You should also verify that these are true integrations. Many companies try to boost their numbers by adding in everything supported by a third party integration system called Zapier.

It’s basically an integration that hooks into other integrations. The Zapier based integrations are useful, but they’re seldom as versatile as a fully native extension specially tailored for a specific program.

 

#4. Take a Closer Look at the API

An API, or application programming interface, isn’t going to be a prerequisite for every user.

The API is essentially what integrations are built with. If you don’t foresee any need to link your email marketing software with another program or database then you can safely ignore the API.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that you’ll be using a marketing platform for years to come.

Before you disregard APIs you should make sure that you don’t foresee a need for them in the future.

If you do need an API then it’s important to verify the level of support provided by the platform you’re interested in.

Not all APIs are of equal quality. You’ll want to look into the APIs documentation, functionality and language bindings.

The API’s documentation is a basic overview of every function provided by the API. You’ll ideally see many, even dozens, of pages which go over all of the APIs functions.

If the API section is sufficiently large then it also implies a fair level of functionality. Finally, the language bindings refer to how well the API works with various programming languages.

If you’re already familiar with a programming language then it’s a good idea to make sure it’s supported by the API.

 

#5. Automations

Automations are one of the most important parts of an email marketing system.

Like the name suggests, an automation tries to automate some of the more repetitive and time consuming aspects of an email campaign.

This can sound a little dehumanizing at first. It might even strike you as counterproductive. After all, effective marketing is heavily rooted in psychology.

Whether we’re selling a product or a cause we’re always making an attempt to connect with people.

Contrary to popular perception, automations should actually help make that human connection a reality.

When you’re looking over an automation system you should keep asking yourself how it would let you better connect with your audience.

One of the more common methods is by giving you more time to concentrate on the meaning and message of your campaign rather than the technical aspects.

The longer you use automations the more you’ll realize just how much better your campaigns have become.

It’s not just that automations help you get your message out faster. They should also ensure that you have more time to work on and tweak the meat of your campaign.

Automations can also help you respond to people on a more personal level. A good example of this is when people leave items in their shopping cart.

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to talk with them and try to see why they haven’t gone through with their purchase?

It wouldn’t be possible to constantly monitor people’s shopping carts. And it probably wouldn’t be possible to individually talk to every person in those situations.

But automations can send out an email based on shopping cart status. You might set up a special email which goes out after a day or two with items in a cart.

Or you might even include a coupon code if the system detects that they’re a new customer.

In this case you’d be using the automations to forge a more direct connection with a customer without ever even exchanging a word.

As you look over the automations provided by a platform you should keep that general principle in mind.

It’s not just about what an automation can do. You should also keep thinking about how an automation can connect you to customers and clients.

 

#6. Make Sure It Supports All of the Formats You Want To Use

The term email marketing software can be a little deceptive. The software is quite literally defined by that function.

No matter what else an email marketing package can do it’ll always be most effective with email.

With that said, many email marketing programs have expanded to a number of other formats.

Even if you only intend to use email for the moment it’s always a good idea to check what else the program is capable of.

SMS, or short message service, is one of the most important secondary formats. While you’ll find this feature listed as SMS you might know it better as texting.

Texting can encompass a few different formats. But SMS is the format which just about every phone, even many feature-phones, can use.

It’s an especially important option because texting’s nearly as ubiquitous as email.

If you can support both email and SMS then you’ve managed to cover the vast majority of the modern communication platforms.

A small number of email marketing packages do offer native SMS support. But if not, you should look over the available integrations to see if you can send text messages that way.

Of course there’s also options other than texting. Some companies even support snail-mail and give you an option to automate personalized postcards.

 

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#7. Double check the Tech Support

So you’ve found the perfect match for your needs and can’t foresee having any trouble with it? That could very well be the case.

But large software suites are seldom totally bug free. What’s more, human error is a very real thing.

We all make mistakes. And this is even more likely when we’re trying a complex program out for the first time.

So no matter how user friendly and polished a program is you should always look at the tech support options.

Keep in mind that this is one of the things which often changes throughout payment tiers. Very few companies offer much in the way of tech support for free accounts.

If they do it will usually only be on a trial basis. For example, they might offer 30 days of free tech support to new users even if it’s through a free account.

Email is one of the most common support options. It’s also usually the first form of tech support offered on most company’s payment tiers.

Next up is live chat. This is often, but not always, offered alongside email support.

Finally, phone support is the most costly and rare form of tech support. But it’s also the option which will provide the fastest overall turnaround for your support issues.

Though it’s also important to find out what the company’s phone support hours are. Keep the time zones in mind as well.

If the company is located in another country then their idea of business hours might be dramatically different from yours.

 

#8. Check Out the Documentation and Tutorials

Finally, check to make sure that the system has documentation and tutorials. No matter how user friendly the system is it’s always going to have a learning curve.

By looking at the documentation before buying you can make sure that it’s a good fit for your needs.

You should also make sure that the documentation fits in with your learning style. If you prefer text, then you should ensure it has written documentation.

And if you’re a visual learner then ensure the system has video based tutorials and documentation.

 

So What’s Next?

Email marketing can be a great way to stay in contact with your customers and build a strong relationship with them. Start growing your business with email marketing for FREE with this platform.


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