What Counts? An Overview of the 10 Must-Have Email Marketing Features

The evolution of email marketing has led to spectacular features that are changing the way marketers approach emailing their customers. No longer just a means to send bulk mail, modern email marketing is a complete inbound marketing tool that enables marketers to closely track the behaviour of their audience, identify opportunities to engage with them, and measure the effectiveness of their campaigns.

What counts as’modern’ email marketing? We set out to define the top 10 must-have features that make up successful email marketing today.

1. Personalized Email Content

One of the most effective ways to engage with your audiences is through personalized email communications. Tailored to the interests of the recipient, carefully crafted to draw them in and keep them engaged. With the right content, you could potentially reach every one of your customers, and gain valuable insights into their behaviour, and the success of your campaigns. The fact that you’re taking the time to personalize each message means that you’ve recognized them as an individual, which in turn makes them feel appreciated, and more likely to engage with your content.

This content strategy begins with the headline, which is designed to grab the reader’s attention. After that, you lead them into the body of the email, which is comprised of a combination of the following:

  • Products or services that relate to the interests of the recipient
  • Use of emoticons or smileys to make the subject matter more approachable
  • Short paragraphs or quick sentences
  • Active words
  • Hyperlinks to related content
  • An appeal to the emotions, such as fear or hope
  • Uses of social media platforms to connect with the audience

While there is no strict formula to follow, this general approach has remained relatively constant since the inception of email marketing. As a marketer, you need to consider how you can implement this into your own email marketing strategy.

2. Interactive Forms

A common technique that draws more leads into an email campaign is to integrate an interactive form into the email design. This feature enables businesses to collect contact details from their visitors, or potential customers. To prevent abuse, many forms now ask for the visitor’s name and email address, and then send a confirmation email containing a link to activate their account.

Not only does this feature make it easier for customers to find what they’re looking for, and make them feel engaged, but it also provides you with more data about them, which you can use to refine your marketing strategy. More importantly, the confirmation email (also known as the ‘double opt-in’) notifies the customer that their email address has been used, and that they need to verify it before they can use the link contained in the email.

The use of forms within emails is becoming more prevalent, as the ability to track the progress of a lead, or potential customer through a series of emails, without them leaving the platform, is becoming more valuable. This is particularly beneficial for B2B businesses, where interacting with a single customer through multiple email chains can significantly improve the customer experience, and boost the bottom line.

3. Tracked Emails

If you want to keep your customers engaged, and determine the success of your email marketing strategy, you need to be measuring the results of your efforts. One of the simplest ways to do this is to track the open rates of your messages, as well as the click-through rates (the numbers of people who click on an email link or send it to a potential customer, vs the total number of people who received it).

An open rate of 10% or more usually indicates that your emails are successfully reaching your audience, and if your click-through rate is below 80%, you’re losing potential customers. As a marketer, you need to be using tools like MailChimp or HubSpot to easily track these numbers, as well as the engagement levels of your audience (the percentage of people who have actively engaged with your content, or taken an action related to your campaign).

4. Automated Email Campaigns

The use of automatic email campaigns is on the rise, as they help businesses to send regular messages to their audiences, without needing to dedicate the majority of their time to composing individual messages. Whether you choose to use a third-party tool, like MailChimp, to create and send automated emails on your behalf, or you want to write the script yourself, these tools make generating and sending automated emails a breeze.

There’s a wealth of marketing automation software that can help you to automate the process of sending the right message to the right person at the right time. To put it simply, marketing automation enables you to scale and manage your marketing efforts more efficiently. Using software to send personalized emails as part of your inbound marketing strategy means that you’ll be able to create automated campaigns to build and segment your lists, follow up with leads, and track the progress of your efforts.

To succeed in the digital age, you need to evolve your approach to marketing. While there are still some tactics that can be effective, an inbound approach, such as email marketing, has shown to be more effective than traditional methods, like radio and TV advertising. Why? Well, traditional methods of marketing reach a small audience, and rely on the honor system, where people are just supposed to ‘know’ you exist. As a marketer, you know that this is far from ideal. To truly engage with your audience and establish trust, you need to have a personal connection. This is where personalized email marketing comes in.

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