Email Marketing Automation Tools: Pro Guide

As a business owner, you will need to research the email marketing automation tools for your email marketing campaign, these tools will enable you to build email lists and send email messages. There are several email tools available in the market, this email marketing pro guide is to help you choose the best email marketing automation tools for your email marketing campaign.

Businesses can use marketing automation tools to create and launch customized campaigns for each customer; this is possible by developing intelligent campaigns that adapt to each customer’s needs. Automating marketing campaigns makes it possible to generate sales leads faster; this also allows companies to save a lot of time and effort.

The tools you will choose for your email marketing campaign will depend on your email marketing budget, and the features you would like the tool you purchase to help in your email marketing processes.

Your email marketing processes highly influence the email marketing tool you will choose, you might only need to send one email a month for your business newsletter or a more complex approach of sending highly targeted emails for your email marketing funnels.

Benefits of email marketing tools

When working on your email marketing plan, you need to research before starting your email campaign the objectives of using email marketing for your business marketing efforts, you need to start on the right foot since switching between email providers is cumbersome, and not a lovely process.

There are five factors to consider when choosing an email marketing automation tool, they include:

Are you looking to automate your scheduling, inventory management, or customer relationship management?  You can start by looking at the different types of automation you can do for your business.

  • Email list management.
  • Message design and setup.
  • Content and delivery.
  • Email Management.
  • Account administration and support.

The rest of the blog posts go into more detail explaining each of the factors so that you can be able to choose the best email automation tool for your email marketing campaign.

Email Marketing Automation Tools

1. Email List Management.

When choosing your email marketing automation tool, you have to check on the email marketing list management options available and the features available to collect email addresses, you have to remember the email marketing tool email collection comply with the email marketing laws outlined in your country’s regulations, for the United States it’s the CAN-SPAM Act.

Email collection should be easy and provide a collection of customers’ information for more targeted marketing such as the names, countries, and maybe age. Some of the features to consider include; Opt-in forms, Double and single Opt-in functionalities, contact management methods, list-based contact managements, subscribers-based contact management, and email list segmentation.

Email Marketing Opt-in Forms.

Opt-in forms are one way to get email lists for your email marketing campaigns from visitors of your website, and other online platforms, for an effective email marketing campaign, you will need people to provide their email at various points of your email marketing funnels, especially the top email marketing funnel.

The email service provider must give you an option to customize your opt-in forms and should be attractive, the opt-in form should be able to automatically be added to your contacts list for effective email marketing automation. The opt-in form should be customizable to allow you to brand it based on your business colors.

Double and Single Opt-in Email Forms Functionality.

Depending on your email marketing goals, you should choose an email service provider that allows double and single opt-in forms, single opt-in forms allow a person to enter their email and they are automatically added to your email list, double-sided forms allow the subscriber to confirm the subscription to your email list.

Double-sided opt-in forms are more effective as the recipient, sure enough, wants to receive emails messages from you or your business, this improves the deliverability of your email messages and also ensures you comply with email marketing laws, improving the overall credibility of your business to internet service providers and also improving your email list quality.

Email List Management Method.

Your email marketing tool should allow you to manage your email list once you have collected email from your opt-in forms. The purpose of email list management is to allow you to send targeted messages based on the categories and subscribers’ behaviors.

There are two options primary email list management provided by email marketing automation tools, which include list-based contact management and Subscribers based email list management, below we will highlight each one so that you can be able to decide which one is good for email marketing campaigns.

List-Based Contact Management.

Some email marketing tools allow you to create an email marketing list based on where the contact is coming from, for example, you can create a list for weekly newsletters, monthly newsletters, etc., when a new subscriber completes an opt-in form, they are automatically added to an email list you have previously completed.

This allows you to have multiple emailing lists, a list-based contact management feature allows a subscriber to be in more than one list at a time, and it’s upon you to understand each list and send messages based on the lists.

Subscriber Based Email List Management.

Subscriber-based email list management allows your email automation tool to automatically categorize your email list based on tags, tags allow the organization of your emails into specific groups. The groups are based on the subscribers’ behaviors and actions allowing you to target your subscribers based on the stage they are on your email marketing funnel.

The downside of using tags is that they can easily get out of control and mess up your whole list of contacts, the other downside of using tags is that once a subscriber unsubscribes from your contact list they are automatically removed from the categories and groups of your contacts.

Email Marketing List Segmentation.

Your email service provider should allow you to segment your email list based on subscribers’ behaviors and characteristics, if you are using a list-based email marketing management option, your subscriber should allow you to create segments based on the characteristics and behaviors of your subscribers, if you choose subscriber-based email list management, you email subscriber should be able to segment your using tags.

Email list segmentation helps with your email marketing campaign, they can effectively use your email marketing conversion funnels to send email marketing lead magnets based on the segment of your subscribers.

You can also segment your list after a sales conversion funnel, this is where you continue building up your relationship with your marketing email recipient after they have bought products from you for re-engagement. This is effective as you already know the recipient’s needs and wants.

2. Email Marketing Message Design and Setup.

Your ESP should give you an option to design your emails to reflect your brand, this adds up the credibility of your emails, visual graphics are attractive and keep users engaged on your content, and it’s the first thing they see when they open your emails. Visually attractive emails convert more easily than plain emails.

Email Marketing Automation Tools

There are four factors you should consider when choosing your email service providers, they are the option to have email marketing message temples, email marketing message customization, mobile-friendly emails, and email marketing autoresponder option.

Email Marketing Message Templates.

As a business owner creating graphically designed emails for your subscribers can be a daunting task, taking up your time. Your email service providers should have attractive email templatesOpens in a new tab. that are easily modified, some email service providers provide drag and drop features that are easier to use. You should be able to add images to the templates, modify text sizes and add email marketing lead magnets to your emails.

There exists a debate on which emails categories perform better, highly graphic emails or standard emails, its upon you to monitor your conversion on each type of email, for example, a graphic designer may require high graphic content on their emails than a financial institution.

Email Marketing Message Customization.

Email templates provide an easy way for email marketers to create professional-looking emails in a fraction of a second, but the ability to customize your email messages provides more flexibility in the branding of your email messages.

Email customization to the finest details determines the design of your email, if you have an email designer you should choose an email service provider that will be able to provide to you the application program interface (API) code that will allow your email designer to brand your emails.

Mobile-Friendly Emails.

More than 90% of the global population use their mobile phones to access their internet and email, so your internet service provider must support the display functions of smartphones and tablets.

Choosing an email service provider that prioritizes mobiles will guarantee you a good user experience. The templates provided should also be dynamic and optimized for mobile use, its important to also focus on the texts and images optimization of opt-in forms, templates, and email messages.

Email Marketing Automation tool.

Email autoresponders are very powerful email marketing automation features, these are emails sent to your subscribers after a specific action is performed such as submitting a request, ending a transaction, or sending a message to your inbox.

There are two types of email services provided by email service providers; Individual emails and sequential emails. It’s important to look for an email service provider that offers the two types of email automated services.

May email service providers provide easy drag and drop features that allow you to set up autoresponders based on action triggers, as your business grows you will find that your email marketing list will grow and useful features such as autoresponders will come in handy when handling a large group of people reaching out to you.

3. Content and Delivery.

It’s important to look at your email marketing plan and look for an email marketing service provider that meets your business email marketing goals and objectives, as well as features that improve email deliverability rates. Many email marketing service providers will offer the ability to send emails and have contact list management features, but not all can offer you optimization features that improve the deliverability of your email’s messages.

Email Marketing Automation Tools

When considering an email marketing automation tool it’s important to focus on the personalization of your email messages, the ability to test your email strategy, preview your messages, and email deliverability based on your country’s laws. I have highlighted the features in detail below:

Personalization and Dynamic Content.

Personalization means delivering highly personalized emails based on your subscribers’ behaviors and the stage they are in on your email marketing funnel. Personalized emails based on the behaviors of your subscribers are called dynamic content and helps in conversions.

Personalization and dynamic content examples: if a customer had previously purchased baby clothes from your shop and you have his/her email on your contact list, your email service provider will be able to categorize the client based on their behaviors and will suggest contacts to send baby shoes including your previous baby clothes customer.


Testing is essential to a successful email marketing automation campaign, when you have a large list of emails list, having functionality that can help you test segmentation, and send different messages to such segments during A/B Split testing.

Email marketing testing will allow you to understand which types of emails are converting and which types of emails are not converting, testing is an ongoing process that should be done throughout your email marketing campaign.

Email messages Preview.

Previewing emails before sending can save you from errors that occurred during designing your emails messages, having an email service provider that allows you to see how your emails look like before sending the emails is a useful feature that can improve your email writing and design process.

Look for an email service provider that will allow you to look at email messages before they are sent, previewing emails can be done on desktops and mobile phones, including inboxes of different email service providers such as Outlook, and Gmail.

Email Marketing Laws and Deliverability.

Having an email service provider that will help you comply with email marketing laws is essential to your email marketing campaign, some email service providers will have features that reduce hard bounces and misused automation that reduce the deliverability of your emails.

One of the features to look out for are automatic detection of bounces on emails, if there are several hard or soft bounces on an email, the email service provider should automatically sense and alert you on the issues so that you can manage your account list.

Hard bounces can harm the deliverability of your emails, Internet service providers will also detect the issue and determine your email list is of low quality and flag messages and spam content. Choosing an email service provider that will help you improve deliverability will help you in your current and future email marketing campaigns.

4. Email Marketing Management.

Subscribing or buying an email marketing automation tool should be based on your email marketing plan goals, these goals and objectives will guide you on deciding which features you will need and which features you don’t need. This is because some email marketing automation tools are very complicated due to a lot of features and some are very simple to use making them limited in functionality. Finding the balance between the two is determined by the objectives and goals of your email marketing plan.

Email Bulk Editing.

Your email marketing automation tool should be flexible and allow bulk editing, as your business grows – your email marketing list will also grow to make it hard to manually edit each message, tag, group, or message.

Choosing an email marketing automation tool that you can grow with is the smartest thing a business owner can do as they start their email marketing campaigns.

Email Marketing Tool Integration.

You should choose an email marketing automation tool that can integrate with your other marketing tools such as your eCommerce platform, your advertisement platform, your social media marketing tools, and other marketing tools. When the email marketing automation tool integrates well with your other marketing tools you reduce the amount of time it will take to integrate your marketing tools, this feature can also save you money.

The more integration your email marketing automation tools the more you will be able to automate your marketing campaigns, for starters your email marketing automation tool should integrate with almost all of your day to day email marketing tools, if you are used to a specific marketing tool such as an advertising tool, you should place a high priority to that feature because it will make it easy to transfer your previous marketing processes to your email marketing processes instead of starting all over again on your marketing processes.

Customer Relationship Management CRM.

Some email marketing automation tools will allow you to connect to different departments of your business such as the sales department, customer care service, and organize other metrics into one system.

Customer relationship management features allow your business to grow with the email marketing service provider, these features are because many businesses have already integrated their business with CRM platforms as data is becoming more useful to businesses in day-to-day marketing efforts.

Email Marketing Automation Tools

Depending on the size of your business, or your business growth forecast, choosing an email marketing automation tool that has CRM integrated can be one of the smartest choices you can make as you will save on money, time working on two systems, and training costs.

Email Marketing Performance Tracking and Reports.

Tracking your email marketing automation campaign can help you audit and know if there is a conversion or not, several email service providers offer email tracking tools as part of their email marketing automation tools features.

If you need reports on your email marketing campaign, you need to select an email service provider that will allow you to import reports and manipulate them as you seek to understand your email marketing efforts.

Most email marketers prefer email marketing automation tools that integrate with google analytical tools for performance tracking and analytics.

5. ESP Account administration and Support.

When looking for an email marketing automation tool, you should pay priority to the support. This is because as a new tool for your business, you will need someone to take you through how the platform works, help you configure r migrate from existing tools, and help you throughout your journey on learning how each of the features works.

There is also a high probability that your email marketing tool might fail to do what it’s supposed to do, finding an affordable email automation tool with good customer care will go a long way towards making sure your email marketing goes uninterrupted and in case of any issues, you will have someone to help you solve the issues.

Email list Import and Export.

Email list import and export is a good feature to be in your email marketing automation tool, whether you are just starting on email marketing or you are migrating from your current email marketing tool. If you are migrating from an email marketing automation tool, you will need import features to allow you to import your email list automatically.

If you are just starting, you will need to move from one email marketing automation tool to another, and you will need to export your contact list from the new email automation tool to the new one.

Setup and Migration.

Migrating from one account to another can seem like a simple step process based on tutorials offered by email marketing tools, but the process can be confusing as a single missed step can cause a mess that will be hard to recover from without help. You should first practice with a single email and see how the process works and if you are comfortable with the migration process.

Some companies charge a heft price to set up email marketing automation tools, and the hidden charges are later realized after making a purchase or subscribing to the email marketing tool.


Some email marketing tools have been in the industry for a while, for this instant, they have a lot of communities who are sharing their experiences based on the difficulties they face so that you can be able to configure errors yourself, some offer a lot of information on their forums or website and include lots of videos for help when an existing problem occurs. For new email marketing platforms, you will need support, when a problem occurs and you have no resources to help you solve the problems.

Make sure you are comfortable with the support the email automation tools service provider offer as after-sale service.


Pricing can vary significantly vary between different email marketing automation tools, its important to take into consideration the pricing by comparing different email marketing tools services, features pricing.

There are four plans available when it comes to email marketing automation tools, they include Plan based pricing model, subscriber-based pricing model, Message-based pricing model, and freemium-based pricing model.

James Ndungu

James is a one-on-one business consultant who helps CEOs, executives, and solopreneurs build their personal and professional branding.

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