Email might not be the sexiest form of communication around these days what with smartphones and Apple Watches and pigeon-drone hybrids but it’s still going strong in the business world.
In our recent email marketing census, 74% of marketers said they believe email still be one of the highest channels for delivering ROI in five years’ time.
But email marketing is far from easy, and anyone like me who ignores 99% of the stuff that lands in their inbox will know first-hand how competitive this channel can be.
I thought it would therefore be good to take a look at some tools that can make the life of an email marketer much easier.
MailChimp is one of the most popular email marketing platforms for a reason. Its interface is clean and simple, and it offers plenty of decent features on its free account.
The best thing about this platform is how easy it is for email marketing beginners to pick up. The interface is ridiculously intuitive and Mailchimp publishes plenty of content to guide you through the process of creating an email campaign.
It’s probably worth mentioning the platform that Econsultancy uses. If you’re already subscribed to our newsletter then you’ll be aware of Dotmailer’s ability to create earth-shatteringly brilliant emails, obviously.
With a simple drag and drop interface and great segmentation and automation features, this tool is another easy one for beginners to pick up but also capable of performing some of the more advanced email marketing techniques.
Touchstone subject line analyser
Getting your subject line right is crucial if you want to persuade people to open your email. Thanks to this tool you don’t need an encyclopaedic knowledge of subject line strategy to get it right.
The results are based on a fairly impressive database of around 1.6bn tested subject lines, which means they must be fairly reliable, and on the free account you get six free database searches per month and access to all the same features as the paid accounts.
As always, however, don’t just rely on one tool to do the work for you. Use this as a guideline and then do your own testing to see what works best for your customers.
The first thing that struck me about this tool is how easy it is to set up. You just drag and drop the ‘Scope it’ button into your browser toolbar and you’re ready to go.
The tool lets you view desktop, mobile or text-only versions of emails within your browser. It also lets you see the code behind any email, which is handy if you see something you really like and want to know how it was created.
The best part? It’s completely free.
VWO A/B split test duration calculator
This is another tool that makes an email marketer’s life easier. If you’re planning on doing a split test and you know how much improvement you want to see, this tool will tell you how long to run the test in order to get a significant result.
There’s also a 30-day free trial on offer (limited to 1,000 visitors), so well worth trying out if you’ve not used it before.
IsValid A/B split test significance calculator
You’ve completed an A/B split test: nice work. If you want to know how significant the results are you can run them through this simple tool and get a nice little visualisation.
There are other tools out there that can do this, but I like this one for two reasons: firstly the visualisation looks good, and secondly it’s free to use.
The Hemmingway app
On the Econsultancy blog we often talk about the need for simple language and sentence structure. The Hemingway tool is a great way to ensure your writing is easy to read.
It highlights all kinds of writing faux pas, from the dreaded passive voice to using words so long or obscure they make you sound like a premeditatedly cantankerous prolix.
On a similar note, you don’t want people to screw their face up in disgust when they read your email, so don’t fill it with the kind of tired old clichés you might find in the average LinkedIn ‘influencer’ article.
For every cliché there is a much less annoying alternative. Just call a spade a spade and make sure your email does exactly what it says on the tin.
Navigating your way through spam filters is one of the most painful parts of an email marketer’s life. You spend an entire afternoon crafting the perfect email only to find that half your contacts didn’t even see it in their inbox.
Lyris ContentChecker lets you submit your email copy and subject line and then gives you a spam score, which tells you whether your email is likely to end up in recipients’ junk folders or not.
It’s well worth running your emails through a tool like this every single time, even if all your previous ones have made it through spam filters. Better safe than sorry.
Sendforensics email deliverability test
This is another tool for testing whether your email will actually make it to its intended destination or end up scrabbling about in the junk with the PPI claims.
This one offers more functionality in the form of detailed analytics along with industry and regional benchmarking.
The downside is you have to sign up for an account to get access to the tool. But it’s free to use so still worth a look.
SenderScore gives your IP a rank from 0-100 against millions of other IPs. 0 means you’re untrustworthy compared to other IPs and 100 means you are trustworthy by comparison.
This is another free one. For the extremely busy (read: forgetful) among us, following up every email you send often doesn’t happen.
Rebump keeps track of whether your emails have been replied to and then sends a personalised follow-up message if needed.
I do have slight concerns over automated email copy, but I can see how this tool could save a lot of time when it comes to basic follow-ups that only really need to remind the recipient of the original message.
This is another simple productivity tool that can make your life easier. FollowUp can track opens and schedule future emails, and it can also send you reminder emails to save you cluttering up your inbox or calendar.
Essentially it takes the manual work out of keeping track of the people you’ve emailed and when to follow up.
It comes as a free plugin for Chrome and according to the description it works on any email platform.
The clue is in the name for this one. This tool helps you make your emails look pretty. Or ‘on brand’ if you want to be all marketing about it.
Again you don’t have to be a seasoned designer or technical genius to use this tool, so it’s a good one for anyone starting out who wants to make a positive first impression on their customers.
MailChimp HTML to text email converter
This tool is another free one, and you don’t even need a Mailchimp account to use it.
Just copy and paste your HTML email into the box and instantly get it converted to plain text.
Not necessarily a marketing tool in itself, but this simple plugin for Gmail shows you the LinkedIn profiles for your contacts so you can instantly see who/where they are and what they do.
Look, it’s Econsultancy Deputy Editor Christopher Ratcliff! I’d better network him immediately…
Want to learn loads more about digital marketing and see what other brands are doing? Book your ticket for the Festival of Marketing 2015 now.