How to choose an email list management tool

Your email list is the foundation of every campaign and marketing effort.

Among the hundreds and thousands of names on that list is a massive amount of untapped potential. Inside are people who want your products, need your services, and are prepared to spread the word of just how good your brand is at fulfilling their needs.

However, marketers must know how to manage their lists correctly. By understanding the importance of email list management tools and seeing which options are out there, you’ll have a better idea of how to find the best fit for you. 

Why email list management is important

Email lists don’t just provide a list of addresses for you to send content to. When managed properly, they provide a collection of active and interested customers looking to engage with your brand. 

The potential of email dwarfs many other popular go-to marketing resources. It’s 40 times more effective as social media, but only if the list is maintained correctly. That means paying attention to the following factors:

  • Maintaining active subscribers: Just because an email address is on your list doesn’t mean it’s automatically useful. When you manage your list properly, you make sure only those addresses that read and engage with your content will keep getting it. In doing so, you free up space from inactive accounts and get the most potential from your list.

  • Tracking important metrics: From opens to click-throughs to bounces, there are plenty of critical metrics to track. These can reveal a lot about the list — for example, a lot of opens and few click-throughs could indicate the calls to action (CTAs) need to be altered or strengthened in some way so they can fulfill their purpose.

  • Crafting personalized content: Knowing who’s on the list and which segments are most prevalent allows a person to make the most of their content through a personalized, targeted approach. A neat, organized list provides the insights you need to bring content from generic and simple to specific and engaging. 

Local Guides email example

Source: Really Good Emails

With a good list management tool, you can combine these ends too. For example, a list could reveal that you have a high rate of inactive subscribers or subscribers who may have unanswered questions. This allows you to create content to get them engaged or provide the answers they want.   

Now that you see the benefits of keeping your list organized, knowing who’s on it, and categorizing your users for greater accuracy, let’s explore the various tools you can use.

5 popular email list management tools and what they offer

There are plenty of tools to manage and maintain a high-value email marketing subscriber list. These are available in various package deals from free trials and limited versions to full-scale, enterprise-level packages. 

1. HubSpot

This popular provider of customer relationship management (CRM) resources has helped companies of all sizes connect with clients more efficiently. HubSpot’s email functions let users create campaigns, test emails against one another, and — most importantly — manage their list. The handy thing about this option is its flexibility. Everyone from the solo entrepreneur all the way to the large-scale corporation with an entire email marketing team can benefit.

2. Zapier

Zapier’s big claim to fame is its ability to facilitate workflows. If you draw data from Dropbox, post it to Google Docs, then upload it to your preferred social profile, Zapier helps you streamline everything. In the context of email, this could allow you to send follow-up messages automatically, provide the necessary information for a further follow-up to the appropriate parties, and log the case to make sure it got the attention it needed.

3. Drupal

Scalability is the name of the game with Drupal. This open-source software setup provides users with tools to build websites, create content, and manage email lists. While it can be tweaked by coders who understand the complexities behind web design, it’s also set up so entry-level designers can come on board quickly. For email marketers looking to grow their list and their business, this may be an option to consider. 

4. AdRoll

As its name suggests, AdRoll is set up to blend email marketing with display ads. It also integrates with social media, allowing you to combine various platforms for an all-encompassing marketing approach. By calling on over a billion shopper profiles and billions of artificial intelligence (AI) predictions daily, they help marketers anticipate what buyers will do. This helps users create an email list where they can craft targeted content they’re confident will get responses.

5. Emma

We close the list with Emma, which provides creation, testing, and analytical tools in a single package. With the ability to manage all clients from a single portal, create content with an easy-to-use template, test campaigns, and monitor results, you’ll have everything you need to maintain an email list and get the full benefits of it.

popular email list management tools

Source: Campaign Monitor 

Now that you’ve seen some examples of how the industry’s best do it, the next step is to know exactly what to look for when narrowing down your choices. 

4 questions to ask when picking an email list management provider 

When you’re looking to make a final selection on an email list management tool, there are some simple questions you should ask yourself before making your choice.

1. Is the tool secure?

If you’re using a list management tool, you’re likely going to have it integrated with your social media, email accounts, and your customers’ personal information. This makes security critical. With 90% of adults feeling like they’ve lost control of their data and over 70% worried about how brands handle said data, secure tools help you, your team, and your customers feel safe.

As for how to find a secure platform, go with one of the industry’s leading names. If they have plenty of customers and years of experience, they’re likely aware and responsive to all the security holes data thieves use.

2. How easy is it to make segments?

Successfully managing your email list involves grouping the hundreds, thousands, and even millions of users into segments. Not only does segmentation make it easier to send targeted content, but it also makes the task of getting the right content to everyone seem less daunting for any marketer. 

Common segmentation options should include geographic area, business-to-business (B2B) specialization, and buyer behavior, among others. The easier it is to make segments, the easier it is to stay organized and utilize the other common email marketing techniques such as A/B testing, analytics, and more. 

3. Does it also offer design capabilities?

It’s important to have other options beyond the ability to make and maintain a list. You aren’t building it for the sake of it – you’re building it to send content that gets responses. With two-thirds of social content being visual, and websites with stunning graphics performing better, there’s no doubt that email follows the same path.

Backcountry email management system

Source: Campaign Monitor 

If a tool gives you the option to design beautiful emails for your segments and subscribers with an easy-to-use interface, you’re more likely to make use of your list and deliver content they’ll be impressed with. 

4. Will it grow with you?

As a marketer, you’re concerned with growing and refining your email list. But what happens when that list triples in size? Or when you gain multiple separate lists for the same business? Or multiple businesses and clients you work for, each with their own lists? You’ll need an all-encompassing tool that helps your growth, rather than hindering it. 

A list management tool may take some time to get used to. You don’t want to have to learn another one just because you outgrew the one you had. Make sure the tool you’re looking at can support you no matter how large your campaigns, or your list, gets. 

Pick the email tool that works for you

The final point involves knowing that personalization goes for more than just the type of content you create. It’s also about the tools you use. Different businesses and teams have different needs, so don’t hesitate to pick the tool that works for you.

Even if you pick a tool that isn’t quite as popular as some other industry mainstays, it can still be the perfect fit if it accomplishes the goals you’ve set for your campaigns. 

Wrap up

Whether free, paid upfront, or at a subscription cost, email list management tools can be an email marketer’s go-to resource. They’re a way to keep track of who you’re promoting your campaigns to, and just as importantly, how to make the most of your opportunities. Remember:

  • Lists help with personalized content: When an email list is well organized with active subscribers, there’s a greater chance the content will drive profitable engagement. 

  • There are plenty of choices: You have tons of options to choose from, including tools that integrate with social media, drop-down ads, and much more.

  • Know what to look for: In your tool of choice, search for security, segmentation options, and the features that fit your specific goals.

When your email list is organized and up to date, it’s time to take a look at your content. Learn about A/B testing best practices and make your content better today.

About the Author

Emma Email

Emma is an email marketing platform that gives you all the tools you need to send campaigns that really connect with your subscribers. With our​​ powerful automation and personalization features, you can create and send email campaigns that reach the right customer at just the right time. It's email marketing that works for you.

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