Email Marketing Software

What is Email Marketing Software?

Email marketing software can be used by businesses of any type to create, send, and monitor the impact of promotional campaigns sent via email with the aim of building a relationship with customers. Email marketing campaigns enable the effective distribution of a company’s newsletters, promotions, discount codes, or targeted content, and can help encourage existing customers or new leads to engage with a product or service. These solutions often facilitate workflow automation so that campaigns can be sent out at specific times, and emails can be automatically triggered by specific actions.

In order to help businesses create engaging and branded content, email marketing solutions usually include an email design feature, often with built-in templates which can be branded and customized. Templates with various layouts and designs mean that businesses can find an email format that fits their needs and customize it with their own content, images, videos, logos, calls-to-actions, and more. Customers can be divided into user segments based on custom criteria such as location, age, lead source, interests, and more, so that the most relevant and targeted content is sent out to each segment.

Email marketing software not only helps businesses to create and send marketing campaigns, but it is also used to track the performance of campaigns, often in real time. Reports and analytics are provided on metrics such as opens, click-throughs, bounces, unsubscribes, engagement and more, and geolocation can often be tracked to see the reach of campaigns and to understand which areas provide most engagement. More specific criteria can also be tracked such as social media shares and spam reporting.

Campaigns can often be automated with workflows which automatically trigger emails when certain pre-defined actions are carried out. For example welcome emails can be automatically sent when a new customer signs up for the newsletter, new leads can be targeted with personalized content after they visit the business website, and more. Workflows can be setup for enhanced targeting and personalization such as birthday promotional discounts, renewal reminders when a subscription is about to end, or drip campaigns which send timely email follow-ups over a specific time period.

Email marketing software helps businesses to nurture leads, enhance customer engagement, and increase sales by reaching out to customers with personalized content at the optimum moment. The solutions can be utilized by marketing teams from any business type but are particularly useful for ecommerce, retail, hospitality, membership services, nonprofits, and other customer-facing industries.

Email Marketing software features guide

Core email marketing software features and functionality

Functionality Description
Campaign creation Offers a set of tools to create interactive and engaging email campaigns using pre-built templates, robust editors, rich-media assets, and more.
Campaign management Manages every facet of email campaigns - from planning and designing campaigns to sending emails and analyzing audience response.
Campaign tracking Lets users track various KPIs (key performance indicators) to measure campaign progress.
Contact management Enables marketers to build and manage an organized repository where they can store customer details, engagement history, campaign reports, and more.
List management Offers the ability to segment the entire contact list into smaller groups for running targeted campaigns and managing new subscriptions.
Automation Allows marketing teams to automate various workflows like campaign scheduling and email dispatching to streamline operations and minimize manual efforts.
Reporting and analytics Gives businesses the ability to monitor and analyze campaign data via dashboard or custom reports for generating business-relevant insights.
Integration Allows the email marketing tool to integrate with third-party applications that add new capabilities to the integrated platform.

Campaign creation features

Getting worn out by churning out tedious email campaigns that are left unopened in recipients' inboxes? Don't' fret as a decent email marketing tool can help you create email campaigns that are alluring, engaging, and can convert leads into lasting clients. This table will help you understand what these campaign creation features can do for you.

Feature Description
A/B testing Allows marketers to run two or more dummy campaigns with a small sample audience and compare the effectiveness of the test campaigns.
Customizable templates Offers pre-designed custom templates which marketers can use to design attractive email campaigns, newsletters, reports and a lot more.
Drag & drop interface Enables marketers to select digital objects (images, videos, charts, contact lists, etc.) and drag them from one interface or location to another.
Image library A centralized repository to store business logos, marketing templates, images, videos, and other digital content in defined categories.
WYSIWYG editor WYSIWYG or 'What You See Is What You Get' editor helps to create professional HTML emails by allowing marketers to directly edit newsletter content from the application

Campaign management features

The email campaigns that deliver the best outcomes are those which are thoughtfully analyzed, mindfully planned, and professionally tested. From a full email marketing strategy development to its implementation, and guaranteeing that your brand identity is consistent in messaging, an email marketing tool can just do that all for you. When looking for the best email marketing tools, keep the following campaign management features in mind during your evaluation.

Feature Description
Campaign analysis Offers a complete analysis of a campaign's performance in terms of parameters such as successful deliveries, bounce rate, click-through rate, and conversion rate.
Campaign planning Allows marketers to effectively plan and run email campaigns by defining parameters like objectives, target audience, content, campaign theme, etc.
Campaign segmentation The ability to segment the entire customer base into smaller groups and subgroups to deliver a personalized campaign for a particular audience subset.
Drip email marketing The ability to set up an automated chain of emails that gets delivered to prospects as soon as they complete a certain activity.
Email distribution Allows businesses to build a distribution list and send bulk emails to the entire list or a particular section.
Multi-campaign Allows running more than one campaign simultaneously with different goals and objectives, if necessary.

Campaign tracking features

Once you've mastered the creation and management of email campaigns, you should be sure to track and measure the success of these campaigns over time. Campaign tracking will help you understand which techniques worked best for you and which should be thought through again. Below are few of the key campaign tracking features which you might find in an email marketing tool.

Feature Description
Bounce tracking Tracks and records the number of emails that couldn't be delivered to an email address, resulting in a failed marketing attempt.
Click-through tracking Lets marketers track how many subscribers clicked on links embedded in the email newsletter and landed on the page.
Conversion tracking Tracks the number of actual conversions made after the prospects clicked on a promotional link.
Event tracking Tracks key event milestones such as campaign initiation and completion date, highest converting days, poorest performing days, etc.
Email tracking Enables marketers to track the number of successful email deliveries along with the number of unsuccessful email rebounds.
Visitor tracking Allows businesses to track visitor activities like time spent on landing pages, bounce rate, conversions, etc.

Contact management features

At their simplest level contact management features let you maintain and organize your list of names and email addresses of your customers. You can also create a complex databases of your customers segmented by engagement levels and demographic slices. Here are some common contact management features you'll find within many email marketing tools.

Feature Description
Contact database Allows businesses to build a central database of all their prospects with details like personal details, email ID, order history, previous engagements, and more.
Contact history Supports the option to store past communications with customers in a searchable database.
Customizable fields Gives the freedom to personalize the email templates or contact forms with selected fields or headers (such as customer name, occupation, age, address, or general preference), to collect relevant information.
Customer analysis Offers an in-depth analysis of customers' activities and the level of participation in the campaigns. Some advanced solutions even give suggestions and recommendations based on the past analysis.
Lead capture Automatically captures new leads from emails, websites, chats, phone, social media posts, and other sources, and adds them to contact database.

List management features

Do you worry that many of your key customer contacts are getting lost while you collate your email list manually? For an email campaign to be successful, you need to have a solid, well organized email list. Fortunately, the best email marketing tools offer list management functionalities to help you update, manage, segment, and centralize your email list with little human intervention. Some of those features are listed below:

Feature Description
Custom forms Custom forms are used to create subscription forms, promotional contests, inquiry forms, campaign registrations and others. The information filled into these forms is recorded automatically into the contact database
Custom landing pages Enables marketers to create interactive landing pages, which customers can reach when they click on 'call-to-action' link in the newsletter. A landing page can be used to provide campaign details to the customers.
Customer segmentation Allows segmentation of the the entire contact database into groups and subgroups based on geography, demography, occupation and other factors, helping marketers to run targeted campaigns with a defined set of clients.
Subscriber management Lets marketers manage and record new subscriber details in an organized manner. Some software also supports information verification by authenticating subscribers' email and phone number.
Unsubscribe database Builds and maintains a record of prospects unsubscribing from email subscriptions, along with the reason for dropping out.

Automation features

Automating tasks like sending a thank you email or simply acknowledging a customer when he signs up on your website can free you and your marketing team up for more interesting and engaging work. Let's explore below what automation functions you can expect to see in email marketing software and what their benefits are.

Feature Description
Automated scheduling Allows marketers to automate the release of emails and newsletters on a fixed schedule.
Automatic notifications Delivers an automated notification to users and stakeholders via email or text message based on specified criteria being met.
Auto-responders Sends an email - or series of emails - to people automatically, when they are added to the email list.
Event triggered actions Sends automated emails to customers or real-time notifications to users when an event occurs during a campaign.
Event triggered email Event-triggered emails are sent automatically based on specific actions a user takes.

Reporting and analytics features

Reporting and analytics features within email marketing let you access and analyze your email data to discover customer insights in real-time. By analyzing this data, you can see which devices and apps your customers use to open the emails, as well as track metrics like clickthrough rate, conversion rate, bounce rate, duration of engagement, return on investment, and a lot more.

Feature Description
Customizable reporting Generates custom reports that can give marketers a holistic view of campaign performance, sales, customer engagement levels and other key performance indicators.
Engagement analytics Tracks how many prospects opened the emails, clicked on a Call-to-Action button or subscribed to the campaign.
ROI analytics Allows users to define campaign metrics and monitor those indicators in real-time via a dashboard or generate return on investment (ROI) reports.
Real-time analytics Lets marketers analyze campaign performance data from multiple sources and present that data in a way that can be used to make informed decisions or identify weaknesses.

Integration features

Before you decide to settle for a tool that you think best suits your business needs, make sure to check that it integrates seamlessly with your existing software stack. Thankfully, many email marketing apps integrate with other cloud-based software facilitating uninterrupted data sharing between applications. Below are some features that will help ensure your email marketing solution integrates well with other applications you use.

Feature Description
API Allows users to interface the email marketing software with external applications such as business intelligence, CRM, and others. This helps to extend capabilities of the combined system.
CRM integration Ability to integrate with third-party CRM solution to seamlessly transfer contact details and communication history between applications.
Data import/export Supports the importing or exporting relevant business data like contact list, email templates, digital files, and analysis reports in multiple formats.
eCommerce integration Allows the email marketing tool to integrate with leading eCommerce platforms such as Shopify, Magento, etc., enabling users to send promotional emails, announce new offers, announce new products, and even ask for feedback.
Mobile integration Allows marketers to access campaign data on their smartphones through native mobile apps or via mobile web browsers.
Social media integration Integrates with social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to sync marketing campaigns.
Website integration Integrates website links in the email for generating more leads from website visitors.

Additional features

In addition to the key features listed above, there are a lot of other specific features that you can find in an email marketing tool. Here are some other features to consider:

Feature Description
Activity tracking Keeps track of core activities performed by marketers and campaign designers.
Activity dashboard A custom user interface that allows marketers to track key campaign metrics along with daily 'to-dos' on a single screen.
Knowledge base Serves as a pool of information for customers looking for basic information about the product or general terms and conditions.
Multiple user accounts Creates multiple accounts for users and teams.
Rules-based workflow Defines the steps and course of action to be followed during any event or upon completing an action. This feature allows marketers to send action triggered emails to their customers without any manual intervention.
Widgets Widgets are the link-activated text or buttons that are embedded into email newsletters and websites to trigger particular action like unsubscribe, mini calendar, traffic monitor, support requests, and more.

Email Marketing Category Leaders Q1 2019

GetApp's quarterly ranking showcases the leading 10-15 Email Marketing apps based in the cloud. Each app is scored using five factors, worth 20 points each, for a total possible score out of 100. These factors include user reviews, integrations, mobile app availability, functionality, and security. Each app's score is independent of commercial interests and existing relationships that GetApp has with app vendors.

Scroll down for more details about inclusion criteria and scoring.

ReviewsIntegrationsMobileFunctionalitySecurity

What is Category Leaders?

GetApp’s Category Leaders graphic identifies leading cloud-based software products in the Email Marketing software category. If you’re a business owner or decision-maker who is evaluating Email Marketing technology options for your company, Category Leaders is for you.

The ranking highlights key factors that small businesses should consider when assessing which software products may be right for them. These factors include user perception (“user reviews”), compatibility with other systems (“integrations”), mobile offerings (“mobile”), technical capabilities (“functionality”), and product security (“security”).

To create each Category Leaders ranking, our research team typically evaluates hundreds of products in any one category. The 10-15 with the highest scores become Category Leaders.

What makes a product eligible for Category Leaders?

Category Leaders is focused on the North American Email Marketing software market. To be eligible for inclusion, products must offer a core set of functionality, as determined by our research analysts, who provide coverage of and have familiarity with products in that market. Please see the “Functionality” section below for additional details on the core set of functionality we define for the Email Marketing market.

Since Category Leaders is intended to cover the Email Marketing market at large, individual analysts use their market experience and knowledge, existing market-based research, and small business software buyer needs analysis to assess an application’s suitability for a given category depending on whether it can reasonably be expected to be relevant to most small business buyers across industries searching for a system with a strong focus on Email Marketing capabilities.

In addition, a product must have at least 20 unique user-submitted product reviews across the three Gartner Digital Markets web properties: softwareadvice.com, capterra.com, and getapp.com, and those reviews must be published within 18 months of the start of the analysis period. The analysis period for the Q1 2019. Category Leaders update is May 9, 2017 to November 9, 2018.

How are the scores calculated?

An app’s score is calculated using five unique data points, each scored out of 20, resulting in a total score out of 100. The ranking and scoring methodology ensure complete impartiality and independence from any relationships that GetApp has with app vendors.

User Reviews

Review scores are calculated using weighted reviews collected from GetApp and its sister sites, Software Advice and Capterra. This score is based on average user ratings (on a scale from 1 to 5) of how satisfied users are with a product overall. The scoring includes ratings left within the previous 18-month period; ratings that are more recent are weighted more heavily.

The methodology calculates the percentile ranking for each product relative to all other products in the software category that have qualified for inclusion. That percentile ranking is then translated into a 1 to 20 score.

Integrations

Integration scores factor in a number of variables. Up to 16 points are awarded based on the number of integrations an app has. The first 10 points are awarded based on the number of integrations relative to the category average, while 4 points are awarded based on the number of integrations relative to the leaders in the category. An additional 5 points is awarded for an integration with Zapier, a widely used software integration platform, while an extra point is given for having an open API. The total possible score for integrations is 20 points.

Mobile Platforms

Mobile scores are calculated based on the availability of an iOS and Android app. Five points are awarded for the presence of each app, with an additional 10 points awarded for the number and average rating of reviews in both the App Store and Google Play. These review scores are calculated on a scale based on the category average for a maximum of 5 points per platform and an overall maximum score of 20.

If there isn’t a native iOS or Android app, the product’s website is assessed using Google’s PageSpeed Insights to measure mobile usability. A score out of 100 is given, then scaled to a score out of 5 for a maximum of 5 points.

Functionality

Functionality scores are assigned based on a combination of two assessments: user ratings and functionality breadth data.

Fifty percent of the score is based on average user ratings on a scale from 1 to 5 of how satisfied users are with the product’s functionality. The scoring includes ratings left within the previous 18-month period; ratings that are more recent are weighted more heavily.

The methodology calculates the percentile ranking for each product relative to all other products in the software category that have qualified for inclusion. That percentile ranking is then translated into a 1 to 10 score.

The other 50% of the score is based on a functionality assessment of the product. For each software category, our research analysts define a core set of features that a product must offer, as well as additional “nice-to-have” common and optional features. For the Email Marketing category, we identify the following set of features:

  • Core features: email campaign management, mailing list management, subscriber management.
  • Common features (at least two of the following): integration with marketing automation, contact management, CAN-SPAM compliant, templates, customer segmentation, lead capture, email tracking, reporting.
  • Optional features: predictive analytics, drag-and-drop interface, drip email marketing, A/B testing, auto-responders.

Products are assessed according to how many of those pre-defined features they offer, and products with more features receive a higher score. We use this data to calculate a product’s percentile ranking, which allows us to determine how products compare relative to one another rather than determine an absolute number.

All told, a vendor can receive up to 10 points based on user ratings and up to 10 points based on the features assessment for a total maximum score of 20 for “functionality.”

Security

Security scoring is calculated using answers from a vendor-completed survey. The questions in the survey are based on the Cloud Security Alliance self-assessment form as part of the Security, Trust & Assurance Registry, supplemented by the expertise of our security research experts. Each answer in the 16-question survey is assigned a point value. The scoring then calculates the percentile ranking for each product relative to all other products in the software category that have qualified for Category Leaders consideration. That percentile ranking is then translated into a 1 to 20 score.

In the event of a tie, each data point is weighted for importance, with security taking precedent, followed by reviews, integrations, mobile apps, and functionality, respectively.

External Usage Guidelines

Providers must abide by the Category Leaders External Usage Guidelines when referencing Category Leaders content. Except in digital media with character limitations, the following disclaimer MUST appear with any/all Category Leaders reference(s) and graphic use:

GetApp Category Leaders constitute the subjective opinions of individual end-user reviews, ratings, and data applied against a documented methodology; they neither represent the views of, nor constitute an endorsement by, GetApp or its affiliates.