3 cool email features to outsmart the competition
Looking for ways to spice up and improve your email marketing operations, while the whole marketing automation and CRM set-up might not (yet) be on your priority list? No worries: in the meantime, we’ll let you in on 3 nifty tricks that will help you stay one step ahead of the competition.
When looking at the vast landscape of different email service providers (ESPs), we’ve noticed that a lot of them are actually saying and doing exactly the same. By now, most of the big platforms have reached a level where everything just works. You can easily manage your database, create good-looking emails and have a clear overview of your performance, all within a user-friendly interface. And that’s exactly why these are the platforms we all love to use.
However, the competition between these ESPs has shifted. Now most of them are trying to make a difference by adding features that improve the efficiency and bring innovation to your direct marketing operations.
In the last few years, we’ve come across some features that got us all excited. So, whether you’re actively looking for a new ESP for your business or just researching the market: keep an eye out for these three amazing features, all carrying the RAAK seal of approval.
1. Send time optimisation
Every time you’re sending out an email campaign, there’s a lot of variables that you have little or no control over. One of those parameters is the time of sending. Every reader has his own habits, behaviour and routine. Which makes it hard to predict when the average person is most likely to take the time to read your email.
How you want to approach this, is entirely up to you: from ‘I don’t need no optimisation’ to ‘I want it personalised in detail for each individual contact’.
|Whenever - "My email is fully written and built: it's go-time! No need to overthink things"|
|Best guess - "I'm assuming my audience usually arrives at work around 9 a.m. I reckon the first thing they do is check their mailbox. So I'm sending out at 8:45!"|
|List optimised - "I'm taking the guessing out of it. Over the next 3 months I'll be testing out different moments to determine what works best for my database."|
|Time zone optimised - "I have contacts in my email database in different time zones. I realise that when it's 10 p.m. in Belgium, New York City is still fast asleep. I'm looking for technology that allows time zone sending, to make sure no one receives my email in the dead of night."|
|Personalised delivery - "Every contact in my database has different habits. Based on interactions from my previous campaigns, some platforms are able to keep track and predict the time that every individual contact is most likely to interact with my next email. Which allows me to deliver every email tailored to every recipient."|
As a feature, this is actually very easy to implement. Get Response has reported on staggering results: open rates increased by 23%, clicks by 20%.
2. Omnichannel approach
This is how Hubspot defines ‘omnichannel marketing’: “The ability to deliver a seamless and consistent experience across channels while factoring in the different devices that consumers are using to interact with your business.”
Omnichannel is often used as a somewhat fuzzy marketing term and has been showing up in trend lists for years now. Frequently used interchangeably with the term ‘multichannel’, many marketers aren’t aware of the exact difference between the two. Even though it’s subtle, there is a difference.
When envisioning your brand’s buyer journey, you map out communication and touchpoints across different channels. This can be either online or offline, from the moment your contacts or customers can reach you, hear from you or interact with you through different channels; you’re already thinking multichannel.
Keywords: multiple, but separate.
Takes multichannel one step further, by breaking down barriers between the different touchpoints, especially between online and offline environments, to create a seamless experience for all contacts, across all channels.
To make your marketing channels work together and offer an integrated customer experience, you’ll need to manage different channels through one interface.
Keywords: multiple and interactive.
A few years ago, all that was easier said than done. But today, putting theory into practice is not all that complex anymore. With tools such as SendPulse or Omnisend at hand, merging your direct marketing channels has become piece of cake. In addition to email services, they also offer features to reach out to customers through web push notifications, sms messages, Facebook messenger and whatsapp chatbots.
Whether you’re distributing your content or building automation flows, you can easily make a powerful mix by selecting and combining the most suitable channels for each individual message.
3. Real-time email client previews
If it’s your job managing marketing emails, we probably don’t have to explain what can go wrong when creating and sending out an email campaign. Bet some of these will ring a bell:
- Broken links
- Poor or faulty personalisation
- Elements not rendering correctly (or not at all)
- Wrong lists or segments
- Mobile displaying issues
If you’re in email marketing, you’ll come across one or more of the issues above sooner or later.
The only thing you can do is to be prepared. And today, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have to invest in separate tools any longer (even though we’re still madly in love with testing tools such as Email on Acid or Litmus for their spam testing and html optimisation). If you’re just looking for extensive previewing features, there are some email platforms that answer your call!
Mailchimp, sendinblue and Hubspot, among others, allow you to preview your email in different email clients and inboxes. You can check how your email campaign renders in different versions of Outlook, Gmail or Apple mail on a wide range of devices, just to be 100% sure your email will look good on all of them.
But of course, when it comes to features offering email marketers great value, the list goes on and on. So be sure to dig into these as well:
- Deliverability insights
- Advanced list maintenance
- GDPR compliance
- Out-of-the-box integrations
- Message automation