Email marketing automation is a powerful tool that allows businesses to automate their email campaigns and communicate with their audience in a personalized and effective way.
However, with so many email marketing automation platforms available on the market, it can be challenging to choose the right one for your business.
At this point, you’ve likely done your research on how to get started with email automation, but are still in the dark somewhat about what email automation tool you should use.
I’ve written elsewhere about the best email automation tools, but if you’re looking to make your own decision to just be more knowledgeable about your choice, keep on reading.
In this article, we will explore the key factors to consider when choosing an email marketing automation platform to help you make an informed decision.
What is an email automation tool?
An email automation tool is a tool that automates the process of sending emails to subscribers or customers based on predefined triggers or actions.
With email automation, marketers can create targeted and personalized messages that are delivered at the right time to the right people in order to improve engagement and conversion rates, as well as save time and effort for businesses.
These tools typically include features such as the following:
- Email templates
- Triggered emails
On the topic of integration, an email automation tool might also integrate with other marketing tools such as your CRM (customer relationship management software), landing page builder, or social media platforms.
How much do email automation tools cost?
Luckily for you, most email automation tools have either a free trial or a free-forever plan available, which lets consumers get a feel for each platform before making a decision.
The difference between a tool’s free trial and free-forever plans mainly comes from features; when a company offers a free trial of its email automation platform, it’s likely that the trial will include many (if not all) of its premium features for that period, for anywhere from 7 to 30 days.
As for the free plans, they’re just limited enough by subscriber count or monthly emails that someone new to the email automation space will quickly outgrow those limitations and opt for a paid plan instead.
These paid plans tend to drastically increase the number of subscribers you can have and emails you can send, plus some extra features like more personalized campaign support or advanced automation.
For the most part, email marketing platforms scale the cost of their plans based on how many subscribers you want to import into their software.
However, some platforms may opt for a “pay-as-you-go” plan, where you only pay for what you use; this can be very useful for smaller outfits or individuals just getting into the email automation space.
What should I look for in an email automation tool?
The first thing you need to consider when choosing an email marketing automation platform is the features it offers. Different platforms offer different features, and it’s important to choose one that meets your business needs.
Here are some key features you should look for:
- Automation workflows: The ability to create automation workflows is one of the most important features of an email automation tool. This allows you to automatically send messages based on specific triggers, such as a user signing up for a newsletter or making a purchase. If you’re specifically looking for an email automation tool instead of a more general email marketing platform, make sure that your tool has advanced automation functions.
- Email templates: The tool should provide a variety of templates that you can customize to match your brand and message. This saves time and ensures that your emails look professional and consistent.
- Segmentation: The ability to segment your email list based on criteria such as demographics or behavior is critical for effective targeting. This allows you to send personalized messages that are more likely to resonate with your audience.
- Personalization: Personalized messages are more engaging and effective than generic ones. Look for a tool that allows you to personalize your emails with dynamic content or merge tags.
- A/B testing: A/B testing allows you to test different versions of your emails to see which one performs best. This can help you optimize your messages for better results.
- Reporting and analytics: The tool should provide detailed analytics and reporting on your email campaigns, including open rates, click-through rates, conversion rates, and revenue generated.
In total, look for a platform that offers the features you need to create and execute effective email campaigns.
2. Ease of Use
Another important factor to consider when choosing an email marketing automation platform is how easy it is to use. The platform should have a user-friendly interface that allows you to easily create, manage, and track your email campaigns.
Ease of use is important with any business tool you might use, and here are some key reasons why:
- Efficiency: an easy-to-use email automation tool saves time and effort, allowing you to quickly create and deploy email campaigns. This can be particularly important for small businesses or marketing teams with limited resources.
- Flexibility: an intuitive interface and user-friendly features give you more control over your campaigns, enabling you to adjust and modify your messages and workflows as needed without relying on technical support.
- Learning curve: a tool that is easy to learn and use can help reduce the learning curve for new users, enabling them to get up to speed quickly and start using the tool to its full potential.
- Adoption: a user-friendly email automation tool is more likely to be adopted and used consistently by your marketing team or other stakeholders, increasing its effectiveness and ROI.
Look for a platform that offers drag-and-drop editors, intuitive workflows, and easy-to-use analytics tools. The platform should also offer a clear and concise dashboard that provides a quick overview of your campaigns.
Don’t settle for a clunky, inoperable platform; there are many options that provide users with an intuitive and simple user experience that are available for free or are very affordable.
The success of your email campaigns depends on whether your emails are delivered to your subscribers’ inboxes. Therefore, it’s important to choose an email marketing automation platform that has a good reputation for email deliverability.
Here are the best platforms for email deliverability, according to EmailToolTester:
- MailerLite – 95.2%
- CleverReach – 93.6%
- ActiveCampagin – 91.7%
Look for a platform that uses best practices for email delivery, such as authentication protocols like SPF, DKIM, and DMARC. The platform should also have a strong relationship with internet service providers (ISPs) and email clients to ensure that your emails are not flagged as spam.
Most businesses use multiple marketing tools to execute their campaigns. Therefore, it’s important to choose an email marketing automation platform that integrates with other marketing tools that you use.
Look for a platform that integrates with your CRM, social media, landing page, and e-commerce tools.
The slimmer your tech stack, the fewer tools you’ll have to pay for and the less manual data entry you’ll have to do.
5. Customer Support
Another factor to consider when choosing an email marketing automation platform is the level of customer support provided. You want to choose a platform that provides excellent customer support and is available when you need them.
My personal choice for the email automation tool with the best customer support is Aweber; you can easily get the help you need and, if you’re outside of call hours, then Aweber’s knowledge base and blog can answer nearly every possible question you might have.
In general, you should be looking for a platform that offers 24/7 customer support via email, phone, or chat. The platform should also have a robust knowledge base, tutorials, and resources to help you get started.
Finally, you need to consider the security of the email marketing automation platform. You’ll be handling sensitive data such as email addresses and personal information like payment details, so it’s important to choose a platform that takes security seriously.
Particularly when dealing with payment information, look for a platform that passes that information straight to their payment processor and never handles it themselves. If the platform you choose does handle payment information, make sure that information is processed on a PCI-compliant network; the same networks leading banks use to secure their data.
Another key point is GDPR compliance. If your emails go out to any subscribers in the EU, then it’s necessary for your email automation tool to be GDPR-friendly.
Overall, look for a platform that uses encryption to protect your data, has regular security audits and updates, and follows industry best practices for data protection.
Choosing the right email automation tool is critical to the success of your email campaigns. When choosing a platform, consider the features it offers, how easy it is to use, its reputation for email deliverability, integration with other marketing tools, pricing, customer support, and security.
By considering these factors, you can choose an email marketing automation platform that meets your business needs, improves your email campaigns, and drives growth for your business.
It’s also important to keep in mind that choosing an email marketing automation platform is not a one-time decision. As your business grows and your needs change, you may need to switch to a different platform or upgrade to a higher plan.
Therefore, it’s important to choose a platform that is flexible and scalable, allowing you to easily make changes as needed.
In addition to these factors, there are a few other things to keep in mind when choosing an email marketing automation platform:
- Free trials: Many email marketing automation platforms offer free trials, which allow you to test the platform and its features before making a commitment. Take advantage of these trials to ensure that the platform meets your business needs.
- Reviews: Read reviews and ratings from other users to get an idea of their experience with the platform. This can help you identify potential issues and make a more informed decision.
- Customization: Look for a platform that allows you to customize your email campaigns to match your brand and business needs. This can include customizing email templates, branding, and messaging.
In conclusion, choosing an email marketing automation platform can be a daunting task, but by considering the factors outlined above, you can make an informed decision that meets your business needs and drives growth. Remember to keep in mind that this is not a one-time decision, and you may need to make changes as your business evolves. By choosing a platform that is flexible, scalable, and customizable, you can ensure that you have the tools you need to succeed.