It may be the era of social media, but email marketing still works.
After all, there are more than 2 billion email users worldwide. Virtually all adult Internet users have an email address, and the majority check their accounts at least once a day for new messages.
But email marketing isn't as effortless as it once was. Tech-savvy consumers have grown wise to the typical tactics that fill their inboxes with ads and promotions.
To catch their attention, your business has to go above and beyond.
Here's a look at seven tools you should be using to craft the perfect email marketing campaign.
1. Sign-up-form builder (Benchmark)
Email blasts are a good way to spread your brand's message far and wide, but your best customers will be the ones who already know they want to hear from you.
Give them a quick and convenient way to subscribe to your brand's email messages with a strategically placed sign-up form.
Email marketing services like Benchmark feature custom tools and templates to help you build an eye-catching sign-up form that's tailored to your audience.
Benchmark's tool lets you edit the look and feel of your form, as well as the confirmation email that subscribers will receive when they sign up. To help you fine-tune your marketing plan, you can even create multiple forms and track which ones draw the most subscribers, and find out where they came from.
2. MessageBuilder (iContact)
So you didn't go to art school, and your HTML skills are a bit rusty. You can still pair your brand's message with a beautiful visual design — even without the help of a Web designer.
Email marketing service iContact offers powerful creation tools to help make your messages memorable.
To get you started, iContact's MessageBuilder has hundreds of professionally designed templates from which to choose. The tool lets you easily add images, tweak margins and edit the colors of any template to match your brand.
And it features drag-and-drop functionality, so you can tweak the layout of images and text blocks, even without any HTML chops.
3. List management tool (Constant Contact)
Building a stable of email contacts isn't enough. You'll have to stay on top of your email marketing list to keep it current.
Constant Contact will do that for you. The service offers a suite of tools to help you manage and grow your email marketing lists so you can connect with your current customers and reach new ones.
Once you sign up, you can create as many email lists as you like to tailor your messages to different audiences. That means you can pitch one message to infrequent customers and another to regulars.
Constant Contact will also help you avoid sending duplicate emails, and automatically removes email addresses from your lists when a user unsubscribes.
It can also help you grow your lists by capturing new contact information from your website, or social media sites such as Facebook or Pinterest.
4. Autoresponders 2.0 (GetResponse)
Your carefully crafted email marketing campaign can fall apart if your messages go to the wrong people at the wrong time. But don't worry: There are plenty of automation tools that will ensure your plan is executed without a hitch.
With tools like Autoresponders 2.0 from GetResponse, you won't have to micromanage your campaign.
The service lets you create a custom calendar to send time-based messages exactly when they're most relevant. Subscribers will see your emails on the weekend, when new promotions are announced or even on their birthday.
The tool can also deliver messages to subscribers based on a wide range of actions. For instance, if a potential customer opens a certain email, Autoresponders will take note and send more promotions like that one.
5. Real-time email tracking (Mailigen)
Don't make the same mistake twice. With modern analytics tools, you can track subscriber responses so you can give unsuccessful strategies the boot.
Mailigen's real-time email tracking tool automatically reads and records the date and time when users open, click and respond to your email marketing messages.
Automatically generated reports will help you decide which email messages give your business the best return on investment.
Mailigen's tool also integrates seamlessly with Google Analytics to provide information about the device and mobile browser recipients are using, as well as their geographic location.
That information can help you tailor your messages and promotions to maximize engagement with potential customers.
6. Social network sharing tools (Vertical Response)
Take your brand's message where your customers are: on social networking websites.
Vertical Response lets you integrate your email marketing campaign with the most popular social media platforms.
The service automates the process of sharing email promotions on your company's social media pages. You can even create a schedule to manage when and where particular messages will appear.
Vertical Response also lets email subscribers share a promotion on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn with the click of a button.
7. Digital coupons (Constant Contact)
A new coupon creation tool is tailored specifically for the needs of small businesses.
Constant Contact says its digital coupon creator, which launched last week, can help small businesses attract new customers with trackable promotions and deals sent directly to potential customers via email.
The tool lets small business owners offer up preorder deals as well as discounts on regular purchases. And it allows users to customize the look of each promotional email and track which deals are being viewed, shared and redeemed.
Specifically, the tool can track which deals were redeemed by new customers, and where the new customers found the promotion. Contact information for each person who claims a coupon is added directly to your Constant Contact account to help you target future promotions more effectively.