50 tools you should have in your Email Marketing Toolbox.

Over the years an amazing variety of tools has emerged to help email marketers do their jobs better, whether it helps them write better content and subject lines, test their emails to make sure they look right, automate their messaging and even run their entire programs.

For marketers who hunger to drive more sales, more conversions and more business growth with their email programs, however, I’ve created a list of about 50 tools that I’ve learned to value in my years as a marketer.

Your email marketing results are influenced by your tools

Although it’s possible to run an adequate email program without using any of these tools, your results from email will reflect this lack of time and investment. Wouldn’t you like to accomplish more?

Lack of company support – time and budget – is probably one reason why not all are using the full array of tools available, although many tools are designed to drive immediate and measurable results tied directly to bottom-line considerations like increased sales. Many newer marketers might not know about these tools, while those who have been in the industry for a while might be getting by with homegrown or legacy systems.

Your Email Marketing Toolbox

I’ve created a list of about 50 tools that I’ve learned to value in my years as a marketer.
Some are fundamental tools that are being incorporated into ESP / Marketing Automation (MA) provider offerings as a way to serve customers and provide competitive advantages. Others are new and up-and-coming tools that marketers are using to achieve success.

Most are software-based, as opposed to service offerings. Some are more than tools; they’re solutions that ESPs/MA providers frequently integrate into their email programs.

Following are 11 categories of tools, many could fit into more than one category. When browsing the list, focus first on identifying which tools you already have access to. Secondly, what email programs do you want to deploy, but are being held back for some reason? Are there tools in these lists that can help you take your program to that next level?

Analytics: These tools help you measure your results and determine if you’re meeting, beating or falling short of your campaign and program goals, or help uncover trends and opportunities for targeting/segmentation:
• Attribution
• Rendering/device monitoring and analytics
• Predictive analytics

Creative, Content Optimization and Testing: These tools are focused on helping you get the creative aspects of your email right:
• A/B and multivariate testing
• Content optimization
• HTML email editors
• Image personalization
• Journey mapping
• Subject line optimization
• Templates

Deliverability/Data Hygiene: These tools help you spot and fix issues that can keep your email out of the inbox:
• Deliverability and reputation monitoring
• Email address validation

Multichannel: The silo is dead. These tools help you manage email as the hub of an integrated message system that incorporates all of the channels you use:
• Email-mobile integration
• Social sharing
• Post to social
• Video platforms

Email and Data Capture Forms: These either add to the email experience or make it easier for customers to opt into your email program and manage their subscriptions:
• Landing Pages/form builders
• Co-registration management
• Overlays/pop-overs
• Preference center management
• Surveys

Remarketing/Advertising: These tools help you reach new email subscribers or convert existing ones across channels:
• Cart/Browse Abandonment remarketing
• Email Advertising platforms/networks
• Social/Display retargeting

Campaign Tools: Email campaigns have a lot of moving parts. These tools help you keep track of them or deploy specialized campaigns:
• Campaign management
• Coupon management
• Email data/competitor intelligence
• Gift certificates
• Offer management
• Sweepstakes management

Dynamic/Real-time Content: Fresh content personalizes each email message. These tools keep your readers in touch and on time:
• Countdown timers
• Geo-targeting
• Inventory-related alerts
Recommendation engine
• Weather-based targeting
• Send time optimization
• Product reviews

Automation: Tools like these do the heavy lifting in your email program, allowing you to spend your time more productively:
• Customer modeling
• Drip/Sequence programs
• RFM
• Scoring models

Integrations/Specialized Systems: These help you integrate new tools or data into your email platform or enable specialized program management:
• API builders/connectors
• Integrations manager
• Franchise email management
• Transactional email systems

Project Management: While not technically email tools, these platforms help your teams (creative, IT, ecommerce, etc.) work more productively:
• Group/Project calendaring
• Project/task manager
• Quality control manager

What tools do you rely on most? What tools do you dream of using, but that don’t currently exist?

Loren McDonald

About Loren McDonald


McDonald has over 30 years of experience in marketing, consulting and strategic planning. Before joining IBM Marketing Cloud (previously Silverpop) in 2008, he was vice president of corporate communications at Lyris, Inc., and had served as vice president of marketing at EmailLabs. He has held executive marketing positions at companies including USWeb/CKS, NetStruxr and Arthur Andersen. McDonald is a columnist for Media Post Email Insider and a former ClickZ Email Delivery columnist. He is a frequent speaker at major industry conferences and events and is often quoted in the press.

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