Essential email marketing tools for the holidays

Essential email marketing tools for the holidays

With the major shopping seasons of late November and December just around the corner, your holiday emails campaigns are probably well underway by this point. It's not too late, however, to take stock of your strategy and make sure you have in place the tools that will allow you to use your email marketing list in the most effective way possible.

There's a variety of tools available in these three cutting-edge categories that can help you provide your contacts with a better email experience than the competition and keep you informed about how recipients are reacting to your campaigns.

Analytics
You've probably heard the word analytics tossed around before, and most likely, you know that Google is one firm that provides them. The term covers a wide range of tools that help people make sense of data. As an email marketer, there are many benefits that an analytics platform can offer, and the vital holiday season is as good a time as any to acquaint yourself with them.

Marketing solutions provider Mailgen, for instance, integrates with Google Analytics to tell marketers when recipients open emails, click on embedded links and make purchases, Business News Daily reported. In the case of emails read on mobile devices, the tool also tells you what kind of smartphone or tablet each contact was using, so that you can optimize your email layouts for your recipients' preferred operating systems.

Contact management 
Large email lists need a lot of care and attention, and even the best analytics won't do the work of building segmentation lists based on pertinent data for you. As such, some marketers make use of contact management tools to help bear some of the burden.

ZDNet recently reported that Constant Contact had announced an update to its service that enables users to create a variety of email list segments based on enriched data, including how contacts are interacting with one another through email and other platforms.

Business News Daily noted that Constant Contact also has an automatic unsubscribe feature, so when users opt not to receive your emails any longer, you won't have to worry about manually removing them from your database.

A more stripped-down form of content management is offered by Canadian firm CakeMail, whose service comes preloaded with personalized campaign templates to help you speak more relevantly to your contacts, according to ZDNet.

Certain types of automation can help you manage your campaigns, too. GetResponse's Autoresponders 2.0, for example, helps marketers create an automated email send calendar so that messages will be delivered when they're most relevant, Business News Daily wrote.

Design
Great layouts can be an excellent way to ensure that your holiday emails aren't overshadowed by the numerous other messages that are appearing in your contacts' inboxes.

In fact, failing to design attractive emails can turn customers away from your brand, especially if they're reading on a mobile device. A study by Yesmail Interactive showed that 44 percent of the public found emails that require users to perform excessive scrolling on their smartphones were difficult to read. Meanwhile, 29 percent said that the emails they received were simply laid out incorrectly for mobile, and 27 percent thought there was too much content in the messages.

If you're a layman when it comes to coding and the prospect of laying out email designs seems intimidating, iContact's Message Builder may prove helpful. Business News Daily noted that the tool, which requires no coding skills, has hundreds of attractive, flexible templates you can tweak to your vision by dragging and dropping elements into the design.

Equipped with your chosen set of tools, you'll be able to market in ways the customers in your email database are sure to remember, even in the midst of the holiday promotion mania.

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