What's In Your Email Marketing Toolbox?

The right tools save time and effort and produce better results, whether you are installing an irrigation system in your backyard or deploying an email-marketing program.



When I'm not on airplanes, I love to work in my garden and on backyard projects. I've found that using specialized tools always ends up being the right choice.

For example, for years I used an old handsaw to cut PVC pipe for the never-ending repairs to my irrigation system. It worked okay but was hard to use in tight areas.

After 25 years of this inefficient approach, I bit the bullet and bought a specialized PVC pipe cutter. One use made me wish I'd purchased this nifty tool years ago.

Many email marketers are also less productive when they fail to take advantage of dozens of specialized tools. Perhaps they simply aren't aware of them -- or they may think getting by with a homegrown system gets the job done just fine.

Below is my list of roughly 50 types of tools suggested by my experience or by fellow email marketers and members of the Only Influencers community of email folks. Some are standard or add-on features in many email and marketing automation platforms. Others are stand-alone vendors' products.

These tools are primarily software-based, as opposed to service offerings. Some are more than tools; they're solutions that ESPs frequently integrate into their email programs. And some fit into more than one category.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Which categories or tools would you add to this list? Let me know in the comments section.

Until next time, take it up a notch!

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