Let’s make this crystal clear: Email Marketing is NOT a Platform. Can you read it twice, please?

Did you? Great. Now, let’s explain why we decided to write this article on why Email Marketing is not a platform. It has become a need because when we browse the web or discuss the subject with clients, this misconception keeps coming up.

The first thing that comes to mind, when we bring up the subject of improving your email marketing results is – let’s change the email platform. – Why?

Email Marketing is NOT a Platform.

Email Marketing is so much more than a toolset. It’s not ONLY technology. It’s much more the capability to send relevant messages to your audience. It’s the ability to deliver something that your audience will value and cherish. To do so, we need to use some tool, but usually is not the problem that’s causing your results. Any medium or primary email marketing platform will work accordingly.

Yes, some features can bring you a competitive advantage. Some platforms are more user-friendly or full of integrations, needed to be synced with your other digital activities. Their servers and SMTP capabilities can be better in some areas than other competitors.

From our own tests and research, we can assure you that you can do extraordinary results with almost any credible email marketing platform.

Why changing Email Marketing Platforms

Having said that, why should we consider to change email marketing platforms, anyway? First, we need to understand something. When you change email marketing platforms, you’re losing much of the data that you acquired from the time you’ve been using it.

You can bring your lists, some custom fields and collected information that you might have, like date of the subscription, source, among others. But most of the times, you can’t export the activity from previous campaigns, nor the IP (unless you already owned that).

Imagine that you’re starting over because… you are.

Improvements can work under your present platform.

If what you’re looking for is to improve your results, it’s possible to make it under your present platform. You don’t need a different platform to change your copy, or clean your database, or improve your strategy. We can repeat it; Email Marketing is not a platform.

At sendXmail(s) we’re email platform-agnostic precisely because we don’t want you to change platforms frequently. It’s like starting to work with us with a severe handicap which is your entire email activity history.

Most systems or platforms allow a decent amount of improvements on the technical side. We’re talking about deliverability issues or sender reputation, for instance.

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What demands a new Email Marketing Platform?

There are several reasons to change the platform. One of the biggest is to be able to segment properly and send personalised messages. Let’s face it; 2020’s email marketing shouldn’t exist without personalised emails according to each one’s interests.

Segment, to be Relevant

In a time when everyone’s fighting for attention, being able to send relevant messages is not only a best practice, as it’s also a key advantage. If your email marketing doesn’t allow you to segment your audience according to their interests, you’re missing out.

Sender Reputation and Validation

If you don’t have control over the way you’re filtered by ESP (Email Service Providers), related to your IP/Domain reputation or to be able to validate your emails using SPF, DKIM or DMARC, it’s time to improve.

Imagine that it’s like someone else’s delivering your business card that you didn’t check or edit. It may ruin your reputation and email campaigns deliverability.

Personalisation of your Content

If when you think of personalisation, you immediately picture in your mind the [FIRSTNAME] variable, there’s so much that you’re missing out. Personalisation of your content is the capacity to make everything about your message, personal. To do that, you can insert your subscriber name, indeed, and other variables like name of the company he/she works in, city, age, dynamic content according to their interests and so much more.

Pretty much, you’re sending an individual email to each person—direct marketing on steroids.

Email list clean-up

It’s highly important to have your email list really clean. It will affect your deliverability if you don’t clean your list within some regularity. Your platform should do a few things automatically, like removing the unsubscribes from your future send-outs, even if there are already a few programmed in the future and the same for hard-bounces.

As for the other soft-bounces, it’s convenient to have a straightforward check-up of the reasons for the bounce – mailbox full, temporary server block, other automated messages, for instance. Adding to this, you may create rules to send triggered messages to those who don’t interact with your emails for more than a determined period.

As you read this, you may find that’s a lot of work. Well, clean-ups of any kind, usually are. The end result is also quite common—a clean, workable space with all the noise and trash out of the way. Just what matters stays in.

We still can’t avoid saying again that Email Marketing is not a Platform. It’s all the work that you put in.

Tracking and Usable reports in Email Marketing

It sure would be a great fault if, after all this work, you couldn’t measure the real impact of your email marketing efforts. It’s not only the usual KPI (Key Performance Indicators) that you apply to email marketing campaigns. Open-rates, CTR (Click Through Rates), Bounce and Complaints, to name a few.

It would be best if you showed that your investment in this strategy paid off. One great way to do that is to track the all process, from your email campaigns to what people do on your website or Landing Pages. How many leads or sales can you attribute to your email marketing strategy?

The thing is, you can’t pinpoint every single sale or lead to a specific campaign since sometimes it’s the flow of carefully curated messages that result in a real conversion. However, it would be best if you still make a correlation between what you have done to what you’ve got in results. It would be easier to explain to your managers or yourself when making decisions about your marketing.

If your email marketing platform can produce insights that you can integrate with your website analytics or conversions, it will save you a lot of headaches. Having usable reports that can show what’s working and what needs to be improved is critical to keep on the right track.

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Design and Template-Based Drag and Drop

Even though, at sendXmail(s), we still create most of our clients’ newsletters and emails by hand-coding, having a drag-and-drop content builder in your email template will save your team a lot of time.

It means that you can’t be so ad-hoc and free as with an email marketing coder, but it can be a great solution if you keep a regular newsletter where you just need to insert your regular content.

It’s a way to make your marketing team more independent of your other units, like the development team. If your email marketing platform can produce this kind of feature, it would be a plus. It also prevents them from making newbie mistakes.

Data Privacy and Compliance

Your subscribers’ data safety and privacy should be on top of your priority list. Have you ever heard of these acronyms?

  • GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) – The European Data Protection Regulation, which includes several guidances to make sure that their citizens’ data doesn’t cross borders unless with authorised third-parties.
  • CASL (Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation) – This legislation enforces the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) of Canada in the protection of their citizen’s privacy. It’s a permission-first designation.
  • LGPD (Personal Data Protection General Law) – It’s Brazil’s most recent legislation on data protection.

These are just a few. In India, there’s one to be published this year or the next, to give an example. That matter is, data protection and privacy are on the table of every nation and government. And it should also be a priority to you.

The bottom line is, your email marketing platform should be under your state or your audience regulations. If you handle European citizens’ data, for instance, you must know that you should have a platform based in EU territory. If there’s personal data transmission between cross-borders, you should not permit that to happen or verify if all third-parties have all the SCC (Standard Contractual Clauses) permits in order.

If you have citizens from other nations, you should make sure that you obey those regulations as well.

Email Marketing is much more than a Platform.

As you can see, Email Marketing is not a platform. Email Marketing is a set of skills, knowledge and tools combined to make it work. The tech part of it is just one aspect of Email Marketing. If you don’t apply the best practices, it won’t be the platform that’s going to save your results.

You can have excellent results and profit with a simple, lightweight platform like Sendy. And you can have a significant disappointment using a more robust platform like Mailchimp or Salesforce / ExactTarget email solution, to name a few powerhouses in email marketing.

What matters is how you conduct your email marketing strategy and operations. That’s why we, at sendXmail(s) have diverged early on from being a platform maker. There are already plenty of good solutions out there. What you don’t have so much is how to use them to your maximum return.

Email Marketing is a science. Learned by decades of testing and resulting in best practices. If we can use an analogy, SEO is not a plugin that you activate within your CMS. Like social media is not a tool, as it lets you publish random posts every day.

It’s not the tool that will make you a better Email Marketer. It helps a lot to have all the features in place. However, if you disrespect your customers’ wishes and send them something that they don’t care, it will end badly for your brand.

How can you know what they wish to receive? Gut feeling? Based on your own experience. Do you pretend to know what they want to read?

Like in any other science, you can learn it. Some of our crew members do college classes on the subject. You have options.

  1. Train your team to know email marketing.
  2. Hire new team members with email marketing expertise.
  3. Hire freelancers to do it.
  4. Hire an email marketing agency to do the work for you.

Just don’t think that you can subscribe to a new email marketing platform, and it will solve everything because email marketing is not a platform.

Has this article helped you understand the importance of knowing email marketing? If so, please share it with your friends and colleagues. Maybe you can help someone else.

Rui Nunes

About Rui Nunes

Rui Nunes is the Founder of sendXmail(s), Email Marketing and Automation Full Service Agency.

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