Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The benefits of Sitecore's Email Experience Manager

In the past content management systems have lacked the ability to handle enterprise level email campaigns natively, and this has led to many marketing departments to utilise third party tools such as MailChimp or Campaign Monitor. For those organisations currently using Sitecore or considering using Sitecore, the email experience manager is the answer and I will detail the benefits of it over the competition.
  1. Cost: email experience manager is a free module offered by Sitecore. There are no monthly yearly fees applicable for using the module. There is a paid option/addon to send the email via Sitecore's servers, however you are able to use your own or a third party service. Sitecore offers the message transfer agent (MTA) service as a value add due to the risks with blacklisting of internal email servers due to perceived spam.

  2. Availability/Management: email experience manager is installed on your infrastructure (whether that be in the cloud or on physical servers) and completely under your control and not at the mercy of a third party located overseas (with limited support). This means all updates, downtime and security is managed by you, and any support is available via the helpful Sitecore support team and any Sitecore partners you may on the journey with.

  3.  Shared Content Items and Media: With third party email campaign systems, content is generally prepared in word documents and approved manually by emailing the document around. This is a risk because the content may change (both visually and textually) when entered into the third party system. With Sitecore, when preparing an email you have access to any content items and media library items available from your main web site. The real risk minimisation here, is that it's the same content items that passed the required workflows and were entered, approved and managed by the relevant stakeholders. This allows for easy collaboration between departments and saves a lot of time and headaches.

  4. Code Customisation/Extension: Third party systems are able to provide a service which meets the broad markets requirements, with no room for customisation or extension. When a unique business requirement, unique campaign or interactive campaign comes up, these systems are often not able to meet the brief. As with Sitecore as a whole a series of pipelines are exposed which give developers access to customise/extend how different parts of the CMS work. These pipelines really open up the email experience manager to unique customisation, for example the following is just a sample of what could be achieved with just one of the many extension pipelines:
    • Use the CheckPreconditions pipeline to require approval from a department/business manager before sending to a given recipient or recipient list.

  5. Use of Sitecore interface: The Sitecore interface for building a page and content up is simple, elegant and not time consuming at all. The interface is nothing but familiar across releases, and is not likely to change overnight like some third party tools. Email Experience Manager using the exact same interface as Sitecore CMS, means less training is required for end users, and if any help is required from the developers, they actually know the system well themselves. Remember this interface also gives direct access to the same web content and media as available on the web site.

  6. Personalisation: Personalisation is becoming bigger and better each year and many organisations are starting to realise the true power it offers in terms of providing the right information at the right time to the right user. Harness all of the information you already know about your Sitecore web site visitors and personalise emails just for them. Send email directly based on a user's browsing history, interests, past purchases and so on. Then take it a step forward and begin to anticipate their needs and email based on that. 

  7. Trigger Emails: With email experience manager, emails are not just sent manually whenever a newsletter is created and recipients added. You also have the ability to trigger emails and target your web site's users by the use of custom engagement plans. If a user registers to your web site, send them a welcome email. If a user starts going through a checkout process, but drops out before paying - send them a discount coupon to complete the sale. The opportunities with triggered email messages are endless and they lead to more goal conversions and a higher visitor engagement value. These emails are also not hard coded and maintained by developers, they are emails available for edit by content authors - as is the content/images they use.

  8. Send Emails from Custom Code: Many web sites have custom code with complex business logic that may require emails being sent. It is possible to send a message using code (to single and multiple recipients), as the logic requires. The benefit here, is that like triggered email (single recipient) the email messages are not locked away in the code but made available to content authors.

  9. The Sitecore Connected Experience: Sitecore offers a completely connected experience across all channels which no other system is available to offer. Email Experience Manager integrates right into the other Sitecore® Experience Platform™ offerings, which include; web site, commerce, mobile, social and even print. This allows for the complete customer journey h a unified front with consistent message and branding that ultimately leads to more informed and interested users.
Source: Sitecore

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