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4 Most Important Features of a Modern Email Marketing Tool

Experience next-level email marketing by tapping into the features that set the best email marketing tools apart.

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By Sandra Stepan
Anelisa Nokoyo editor profile photo
Edited by Anelisa Nokoyo

Updated March 17, 2024.

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Ever felt like your current email marketing tool is holding your business back? Frustrated with limitations that seem to stunt your growth? You're not alone. Email marketing tools are not made equal and can either be a catalyst for growth or a stumbling block to success. Let's explore the key features to prioritize when searching for an email marketing tool so you can get in on that 174% conversion rate offered by this highly effective marketing channel.

Meet the expert

Sandra Stepan, a seasoned digital marketing and eCommerce expert, is the founder of SnapAdvantage. Her diverse portfolio includes collaborations with startups and companies with $20 million in annual recurring revenue (ARR), solidifying her as a leading resource for brands seeking growth and revenue optimization.

What is an email marketing tool?

An email marketing tool is a specialized software or platform designed to simplify the entire process of managing email campaigns. These tools are invaluable for promoting products and services and providing important information to a specific target audience. They offer a range of features, such as professionally designed email templates, and analytics dashboards.

They enable you to create visually appealing email campaigns, automate your email communications, and segment your audience effectively.

» Looking for some inspiration? Check out these email marketing examples.

Key features of a modern email marketing tool

When you're on the hunt for the perfect email marketing tool, you'll want to keep an eye out for the following essential features that can supercharge your business growth:

1. Segmentation

Segmentation enables you to divide your audience based on various criteria like demographics, behavior, and preferences. It can help you improve your email campaigns, save resources by avoiding unnecessary A/B testing, and tailor your message to the tee. Here's an example of segmentation by Kalviyo:

klaviyo - email marketing tools

2. Personalization

In today's world, generic communication just won't cut it. You need personalized content that fosters meaningful connections. Modern email marketing tools offer advanced personalization that goes way beyond merely addressing the recipient by name. For example, Mailchimp allows you to personalize subject lines, like so:

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You can customize your emails based on a host of other factors, creating a stronger connection with your audience. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Dynamic content: Tailor the content of your emails dynamically based on various factors such as customer behavior, preferences, or demographics.
  • Personalized subject lines: Craft subject lines that resonate with individual recipients, leveraging their preferences or previous interactions.
  • Geotargeting: Send location-specific content or promotions to engage audiences based on their geographical location.
  • Interactive content: Incorporate interactive elements such as quizzes or surveys, adjusting subsequent communications based on user responses.
  • Personalized Calls to Action (CTAs): Tailor the CTAs in your emails to align with the specific interests or needs of different segments within your audience.

3. Automation

Automation is when you send triggered emails on demand to maximize efficiency and relevance. Email marketing automation also allows you to deliver timely and highly relevant content to your subscribers, depending on where they are in their customer journey, as you can see from this Klaviyo example:

email marketing tool

Here are a few automations you can implement in email marketing for precise targeting and high ROI:

  • Lead nurturing sequences: This is a progressive series of emails designed to educate and nurture leads, moving them through the sales funnel.
  • Upsell and cross-sell emails: These are automated messages promoting complementary or upgraded products to existing customers based on their purchase history.
  • Thank you emails: Automated messages designed to express gratitude and appreciation to customers for their purchases, loyalty, or engagement with your brand.
  • Abandoned cart emails: These emails are automatically triggered when a customer adds items to their cart but doesn't complete the purchase.
  • Product recommendations: Automated emails suggesting products based on a customer's past purchases or browsing behavior.

Automation is one of the biggest advantages in email marketing so use it often. And after you set up an automation you have to analyze it.

4. Analytics

Analytics provide insight into your email marketing performance so you can better understand your target audience's preferences and behavior. Leveraging this analytics data allows you to make informed decisions that'll enhance your open rates and ultimately drive your business toward its goals. For instance, Brevo offers real-time data on your email campaigns:

email marketing tool

Based on the data, you can experiment with various elements like send times, sender names, and subject lines. It's all about understanding your audience and tailoring your emails to their preferences over time.

Pro tip:

If you're new to email marketing, focus on understanding your audience first. Start with basic personalization and use a simplified approach, gradually expanding as you gain experience.

» Try these marketing analytics tools to make sense of your data.

Top email marketing tools

Here are a few email marketing tools to consider if you're looking for any of the features listed above:


email marketing tool - mailchimp

MailChimp allows for segmentation based on demographics, purchase history, and engagement. It also provides a visual automation builder, detailed analytics, and personalization options like merge tags and conditional logic for tailored emails.


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Klaviyo offers advanced segmentation capabilities based on customer behavior and uses dynamic variables, product recommendations, and personalized subject lines for tailored content. It also includes an SMS tool, pre-built and custom automation workflows and offers in-depth reporting on email performance.


a screen shot of a web page with the words grow your business with activecom

ActiveCampaign provides robust options for creating segments based on user interactions and personalization recommendations that come from customer data. It also excels at automation with a visual builder for creating complex workflows and provides comprehensive analytics.

» Want to look at more tools? Check out our list of the best email marketing software for 2024.

Your email marketing toolkit

Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways to connect with your audience at just the right moment, making it ideal for building customer loyalty and boosting conversions. But you need the right email marketing tools to make the most of it.

In fact, your choice of email marketing tool is just as important as the amazing campaigns you dream up. And once you've made your choice, make sure to partner with an email marketing expert to optimize your chances of success.