Content Marketing Blog

The best enterprise email marketing platforms of 2019, ranked and reviewed

There are many SaaS email marketing solutions designed for B2B marketers. Some offer robust customer relationship management features while others focus heavily on automating as much as possible.

We’ll help you determine which enterprise-grade email marketing tools are best for your organisation.

What separates enterprise email marketing platforms from mid-market tools?

There’s no shortage of email marketing software available online, but not all are well-suited to an enterprise environment. Mid-market and small business email automation solutions tend to have fewer features, less capacity and a lower price point.

Enterprise-level email marketing platforms have more robust features, plus the capacity to handle massive amounts of structured data. Organisations that operate in markets across the globe need solutions that can automate marketing campaigns within multiple jurisdictions and across unique target audience segments.

Important features to look for in an email marketing service include:

  • High lead storage capacity: Email marketing tools designed for global businesses support huge numbers of leads. The processing power required to create value from all that data is a major contributor to the higher price point associated with enterprise software.
  • Audience segmentation tools: Because enterprise businesses have such high quantities of leads, they require segmentation tools that make sure the right people receive the right messages at unique points along the sales funnel.
  • A/B testing: Also known as split testing, this function allows marketers to determine which campaign option is most effective at getting clicks. It’s a great way to scientifically understand which appeals resonate with different audiences.
  • Dynamic content capabilities: To better address the needs of multiple audience segments, enterprise email marketing solutions offer the ability to dynamically adjust content depending on various factors, including the recipient’s age, employer, purchase habits, personal interests and more.
  • Automated lead scoring: The ability to score leads using consistent criteria between marketing and sales teams is valuable because it ensures resources are properly allocated to potential customers who are most likely to convert. Many email marketing platforms give stakeholders the ability to establish criteria based on unique triggers.
  • Custom reporting options: Visual reports help internal marketing stakeholders demonstrate the value of their work to leadership. Reports serve as a campaign monitor by tracking progress and revealing new opportunities. Any email platform worth its salt will offer custom reporting functions.
  • Robust customer support: Enterprise-grade software typically comes with access to a dedicated customer support team, which can help your marketing department troubleshoot technical issues and adjust strategy as needed.

How can email marketing campaigns benefit from automation?

At the enterprise level, businesses require automated tools to support their email marketing efforts. Without them, it would be impossible to segment audiences and deliver hyper-personalised messages in a timely manner. Automated campaigns can send dynamic emails to leads when they set off specific triggers.

Here are a few common email marketing automation strategies:

  • Welcome messages: When someone signs up for your email list, your automated tools can send out a welcome message that reminds the reader what your brand can do for them and encourages them to take the next step down the sales funnel.
  • Product information: When a customer makes a purchase, signs up for a free demo or requests more information, your system can send them a relevant piece of content such as an explanation of the product’s feature set.
  • Customer feedback: If you want to know what your customers are thinking, the best thing to do is ask. Automated campaigns can deliver surveys and feedback forms that can provide valuable audience insights.
  • Important notices: Companies that offer subscription services can send out automated notices when the next billing period is about to begin or when something is set to expire.
  • Reminders: When integrated with a scheduling system, automated email tools can deliver timely appointment reminders.
  • Birthday messages: Everyone likes to receive birthday greetings. Automated systems can send out coupons and well-wishes to customers on their special day.
  • Lead nurturing: B2B marketers can support lead development by delivering content like case studies and whitepapers depending on the lead’s score.
  • Event promotions: Using location information, automated solutions can invite subscribers to local events.

How to tell when your enterprise email marketing campaigns are working or failing

Email marketing is a strong channel in which to generate brand awareness and drive customer engagement because it is one of the most widely utilised communication channels. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 87% of marketers leverage email campaigns to nurture their audiences.

But how can you tell whether your campaigns are stagnating or actually creating value for your business? Consider these warning signs:

  • Falling click-through and open rates: If your audience isn’t opening your transactional emails, they’re not going to move any further along the sales funnel. Consider using subject line A/B tests to determine which work best. This metric can also help you fine-tune your content marketing strategy by determining which assets resonate with your customers.
  • Plateaued site traffic: For many email marketing campaigns, the primary goal is to drive users back to your website where they can take another action. As your email list grows, your site traffic should likewise increase. If this isn’t the case, you may need to adjust your CTAs.
  • High unsubscribe rate: Some people will inevitably unsubscribe from your email list, but when your subscriber acquisition rates begin to trend downward and your unsubscribe rate trends upward, it’s time to sound the alarm. You may need to revisit your campaign to determine if you are sending too many messages or if your content is no longer relevant to your audience’s needs.
  • Slow email list growth: If your once-thriving email list has begun to slow down, you may need to inject new life into it by creating new content or a new promotional offer. Likewise, you may be able to spur growth by analysing audience feedback and incorporating it into your next campaign.
  • High click-through rate, low conversion rate: It’s frustrating to acquire site visitors only to have them bounce again. Obviously, your email marketing campaigns are successful at attracting customers, but there’s a disconnect prior to the conversion point. Integrating your email platform with a retargeting tool can help you recapture leads.
  • Low levels of engagement: When you see engagement metrics like open rates begin to drop, it may indicate that your readers are growing weary of seeing the same promotional content over and over again. Consider sharing brand stories that aren’t explicitly trying to sell anything.

The top 5 enterprise email marketing platforms in 2019

There are many automated email marketing software solutions available, and we’ve highlighted five of the best platforms suitable for enterprise users.

1. Pardot

Part of the Salesforce suite of software solutions, Pardot has been one of the leading email automation platforms since launching in 2007. Designed for B2B marketers, Pardot is capable of handling massive lead lists for valuable drip campaigns. Additionally, this solution seamlessly integrates with Salesforce Engage, a piece of software that creates data transparency between sales and marketing teams.

Benefits

Pardot’s feature list is long, but some of the highlights include:

  • Automation: Marketers can create visual email templates with dynamic content, then set triggers to fully automate complex marketing campaigns.
  • Robust integrations: In addition to sharing data with Engage, Pardot integrates with Salesforce CRM as well as other cloud-based apps. The marketing team can create mini-campaigns for the sales team to leverage while nurturing leads along the sales funnel. Likewise, integration with Google Ads makes it easy to analyse the keyword strategy of email campaigns.
  • Custom reporting: By tracking internal activity and end-user engagement, Pardot can generate custom reports to track ROI and encourage process improvements over time. Some users may find them clunky, however.

Shortcomings

Pardot is a very complex B2B marketing platform, so the initial learning curve can be a bit steep. Likewise, users may get overwhelmed by the sheer number of features. Formal training may be required to get teams up to speed.

2. Marketo

Marketo is really several solutions bundled into one cloud-based platform. In addition to the foundational email automation app, Marketo includes solutions for visualising analytics, AI-powered content recommendations and digital ad management. Organisations can purchase bundles of apps to gain exactly the functionality they need.

Benefits

  • User tracking: Marketo makes it easy for marketing stakeholders to track and visualise the customer journey from start to finish. Its analytics reports pull in data from search traffic, site utilisation and social media engagement.
  • Cross-channel integration: In addition to integrating with all the major customer relationship management solutions, Marketo can share data with a variety of third-party apps. Plus, the solution automates lead targeting to help align messaging between marketing and sales teams.
  • Intuitive dashboards: Marketers can create custom dashboards and share them with team members.

Shortcomings

Designed for enterprise, Marketo may be too unwieldy for small or mid-sized marketing teams. Additionally, users report that the landing page editor is unintuitive, which may necessitate the purchase of a third-party solution.

3. ActiveCampaign

Though ActiveCampaign is less robust than some of the other solutions on this list, it can be useful for enterprise organisations that take a more lean and agile approach to email marketing campaigns. In fact, ActiveCampaign aims to help its clients send fewer emails with better results. To do this, the solution comes bundled with an integrated CRM suite.

Benefits

  • Easy automation: ActiveCampaign features intuitive UX that makes it easier to hop into the software and start creating marketing campaigns quickly. Marketers can create email templates with dynamic content, set up triggers and then set their marketing campaigns to run automatically.
  • Customer tracking: Using email click maps, geo-targeting and site engagement metrics, ActiveCampaign gives marketers a more complete picture of the customer journey.
  • Free data migration: To appeal to customers coming from another email automation platform, ActiveCampaign offers free data migration for new customers.
  • Multichannel features: Marketers can also send SMS messages, in-site messages and social posts all from the same application.

Shortcomings

Organisations operating on a global scale may find that ActiveCampaign isn’t as powerful as other enterprise-grade solutions. It also doesn’t offer a landing page editor, and email compatibility testing is a separate, paid feature.

4. SendinBlue

Beginning life as a digital agency, SendinBlue became a light-weight email marketing service with a substantial feature list. Unique among the solutions on this list, SendinBlue has a free tier that offers marketing campaign automation for up to 300 transactional emails per day. Other plans are reasonably priced and come with important integrations, such as the ability to send SMS messages.

Benefits

  • Workflow automation: SendinBlue is a solution that clearly values automation. Everything from trigger-based responses to delivery verification is automatic and easy to use.
  • SMS functionality: As the mobile channel continues to grow in importance to marketing teams, the ability to connect with customers via SMS is quickly becoming an essential functionality. SendinBlue makes it simple to deliver text messages at various stages of the sales funnel.
  • Intuitive editor: The email and landing page editors bundled with SendinBlue have a low learning curve, so marketers can hop in, create the content they need and get it out the door quickly.

Shortcomings

SendinBlue has fewer CRM options and integrations than the other solutions on this list. Additionally, some users have noted the lack of account-level permissions can create confusion within marketing teams.

5. Infusionsoft

Infusionsoft may be a CRM first and an email platform second, but it still offers a comprehensive feature set that is easy to use. The software allows users to track customers across channels to better target messages at the right time. Plus, its reporting features can help marketers demonstrate ROI to leadership.

Benefits

  • Third-party integrations: Infusionsoft can talk to a number of other business applications, including Gmail, Outlook, Salesforce and Quickbooks.
  • E-commerce functionality: Compared to some of the other solutions on this list, Infusionsoft features a number of solutions for e-commerce marketers, such as inventory management tools and promotions automation.
  • Mobile device solutions: Stakeholders can access their Infusionsoft dashboard via iOS or Android app, making it possible to fine-tune campaigns and the overall marketing strategy on the go.

Shortcomings

Infusionsoft doesn’t handle SMS messaging or website event tracking natively, which may make it difficult for marketers to fully integrate all of their tasks easily. Additionally, some users have noted that the UI hasn’t been updated as frequently as it once was.

Now that you know what tools to use, it’s time to craft email marketing campaigns that engage customers and drive value for your organisation. Let the automation begin!

Castleford