It was predicted that brands could lose a substantial 43% of their customer base, once the deadline passed (source: Internet Retailing).
Despite the clearout, email marketing still remains top dog in the marketing toolbox, when it comes to generating a return on investment (“2018 Email Marketing Industry Census”, 2018). With that in mind, are you making the most out of your newly cleansed customer database? There is a huge selection of email marketing platforms to choose from, each with their own pros and cons. If you use your email marketing provider in the correct manner, it can have a positive impact on raising brand awareness, increasing sales and conversion rates, all the while building customer loyalty and trust.
The first question to ask yourself; is your current platform serving all of your email related needs? It’s all well and good being able to create campaigns and monitor your subscribers, but what’s more crucial is having the ability to analyse the data that is generated from this activity. An open rate is interesting, but let’s be honest, what does that really tell you? Yes, you now know the percentage of people that opened that email, but is there anything else to glean from that statistic? A click-through rate is a step in the right direction; you know that your content resonates with your consumers, but again, you aren’t certain as to whether any products were bought because of this. What about monitoring the conversion rate, and how much revenue was generated?
The email marketing platform you use must enable your business to stay current in the ecommerce market. Gone are the days of making uninformed, non-data driven decisions. Insights and statistics that are generated are crucial for understanding which email marketing campaigns are a success. Not much revenue created? Was the click-through rate not great either? Maybe the timing of that email was wrong… or maybe this is not what your customers are looking for. Alongside data, personalisation will unlock a significant rise in engagement and traffic to your site. Whether it is as basic as ‘first name’ in each email, or more advanced, using the likes of ‘recommendations’ and birthday offers will have a notable impact on your reach.
Armed with the figures produced by your correspondence, you will easily be able to monitor and understand what grasps the attention of your customer base and use them as the foundation for well informed, customer-driven campaigns. It will become apparent that the vast majority of service providers share similar features, with only a few differences in processes. However insignificant this may seem when initially exploring options, these small contrasts could be make or break, depending on what you want to achieve with your business.
With this in mind, here are a few email marketing software recommendations:
MailChimp is a well known and affordable marketing platform, made for small businesses. The software gives you a real breadth of options when it comes to creating campaigns, automation, reporting and analysing data from your email in a clean and clear dashboard, accessed via their website.
On the go? Not an issue! MailChimp even has a mobile app that you can use when you’re out of office.
As soon as you are logged into your dashboard, you are greeted with various interactive graphs. You can see how much revenue is generated via your campaigns, your subscriber activity and more, enabling you to easily track business performance and growth.
Even with these new found insights, an overload of numbers and bar charts may not mean much to you if you don’t have any context. Don’t fear! You can compare your campaign results to other users within your industry, to help gain a better understanding of your success through comparisons with competitors.
As with nearly all email marketing providers, MailChimp gives you the tools needed for email automation, letting you customise and optimise your customer journey and communications until your heart’s content. Abandoned cart emails? Check. Retarget site visitors? Check.
The automation can go as far as you want it too. Want to reward your customers for their loyalty? Have an automated discount email sent after a certain amount of purchases, or has the customer not purchased in while? Send an automated email after 30 days.
The potential for growth in engagement and incremental revenue here is significant and MailChimp have a blog or two to help guide you in making the right choices for your business.
There are 3 different pricing structures for this platform, depending on the number of subscribers and the type of information you would like to have access to for your business. The options are ‘Free’, ‘Growing Business’ or the ‘Pro’ plan, with a price range from $0 upwards.
The price is variable, depending on the number of subscribers you have for your mailing list, alongside the amount of emails you want to send per month, the ability to have custom branding, and access to live chat/email support.
To make the most out of this provider, you will need to sign up to either ‘Growing Business’ or ‘Pro’, as these plans enable you target, segment, and analyse the data that is read by MailChimp from your store.
Ecommerce platforms that support MailChimp:
- Magento: There is an extension for Magento Marketplace available for free, for either M1 and M2, developed by ebizmarts.
- Shopify: A free app is available from the Shopify App Store.
- Shopware: There is an extension developed by Infinite Codeworks that you can download via the Marketplace. You can either rent this plug in for €40.00 a month or €395.00 as a one of payment.
Without further ado, player number 2 is Dotmailer, which is one of the pricier platforms thus far. They cater to medium businesses or large enterprises, utilising a simple drag and drop interface for creating and implementing complex campaigns. The higher price isn’t without good reason, as they offer a more advanced service across the board, especially for personalisation and automation, which is high on everyone’s priorities right now. A strong focus of various features is data, so to get the best out of the tools provided you must have quality data to utilise. If it isn’t up to scratch, you will not be able to capitalise on Dotmailer’s strengths.
There is further opportunity to create a completely bespoke style of email, through the use of building blocks in their EasyEditor. The whole interface has been designed for ease of use, letting you concentrate on the important things, rather than trying to navigate your way around the software.
Real-time campaign reporting on is also a key feature of this provider, giving you the most up to date tools to create relevant and desirable email content for your customer base.
One difference in comparison to other providers is that Dotmailer include an account manager with each plan. Having a main point of contact will prove useful if you require a little advice or assistance with any queries about your software and its processes.
Unlike MailChimp, there is not a free plan that you can start with, however, a 14-day free trial is offered. The pricing structure starts from £300 a month, with a limit of 240,000 emails per year.
There are 4 options:
- Pro – £300
- Corporate – £350
- Enterprise – £450
- Custom – £POA
If required, you can up the email limit, however, you will have to get in touch for the pricing difference.
The further you go up this chain, the more features you are given. The beginner ‘Pro’ plan is missing web behaviour tracking, multichannel extensions, contact scoring and advanced personalisation. In contrast to MailChimp, it is pricier, however, you get what you pay for.
Ecommerce platforms that support Dotmailer:
- Magento: There is an official, free, Dotmailer extension available in Magento Marketplace.
- Shopware: There is an official, free, Dotmailer extension available in Shopware Extension Store.
- Shopify: There is an official, free, Dotmailer extension available.
Last but not least is Bronto; an email marketing software provider that is specifically aimed at the ecommerce industry, for Medium to large entrerprises. Bronto includes all the expected features for personalisation, automation and analytics. Like Dotmailer, it adopts the drag and drop interface for automation for ease.
Bronto even goes one step further than email, as it supports multi-channel management. This would give you the ability to organise your email campaigns, alongside other marketing channels, such as social media on the same platform.
One of it’s most praised features is that of Cart Recovery. Bronto reads the cart activity on your site every 30 seconds, which means that you can be confident about whether the carts are active, inactive or truly abandoned. Teamed with this real-time data for your abandon cart emails, no stone will be left unturned.
Bronto prides itself on being a bespoke platform, therefore you have to contact them directly for a quote that will be tailored to your company.
Ecommerce Platforms that support Bronto:
- Magento: Bronto have created their own connector for Magento.
- Shopify: Bronto have created their own connector for Shopify.
- Shopware: There is currently no connector or extension for Shopware.
The best choice?
To make sure you are buying into the best-suited email marketing platform for your business, have a list of requirements for features and functions ready to understand what your software needs to include, alongside email marketing aspects that you want to improve on.
Do you need better reporting? Explore MailChimp and Dotmailer. Ease of email automation? Research Dotmailer. Focus more on abandon cart? Review Bronto.
Each and every business is unique, and the platform that you use must match your needs specifics needs, to generate the results that you want to achieve.