Overcome 7 challenges for communications professionals in a world dominated by email marketing software

“A good tool improves the way you work. A great tool improves the way you think.”

Jeff Duntemann

There is no shortage of articles that explore the multitude of challenges for communications professionals when it comes to sending emails. Lengthy internal approvals processes, employee fatigue, AI adoption and information overload by recipients are all among the issues cited.

While these are valid points, one key challenge is almost never mentioned: Communications professionals who use software that is built for marketers.

This product mismatch causes friction at best. At worst it creates unnecessary overhead, productivity issues, frustration and it impacts the effectiveness of your communications strategy and in turn your relationship with your contacts.

  1. Your mandate is misunderstood: you are a communicator, not a marketer
  2. Data must be stored in Canada, on Canadian servers
  3. The email marketing software you use is cluttered with features you don’t use
  4. You can’t send mandatory emails to opt-in lists
  5. List management isn’t flexible. Audiences aren’t enough
  6. Insufficient customization options risk your organization’s reputation
  7. Managing multiple departments isn’t centralized

Your mandate is misunderstood: you are a communications professional not a marketer

The category name, “Email Marketing Software” has become synonymous with all services used to send broadcast email messages. This presents a challenge for communicators because their needs are different from marketers.

This category mismatch is surprising when we consider the number of organization types that focus on communicating versus marketing. Examples include municipalities, government departments, universities and colleges, advocacy groups, nonprofits, associations, healthcare providers and regulatory bodies to name a few.

As a communications professional you don’t deal with prospects and leads. Your objective is not to generate commercial revenue. ROI isn’t your key metric. 

Your goal is to educate and inform stakeholders, members and staff. Not all emails you send are opt-in, some of your messages are mandatory.

Envoke’s email software is built for communications professionals, not for SMB marketers like Mailchimp or Constant Contact. Have a look at the comparison chart below and read on to learn about our approach to help communicators overcome challenges posed by marketing software.

Challenges for communications professionals and comparison to marketers.

Data must be stored in Canada, on Canadian servers

This technical and legal requirement is part of challenges for communications professionals when it comes to sending emails. Lack of data storage in Canada can be a deal breaker as it is a key requirement of many Canadian organizations.

It’s a tall order to find good Canadian email software so we’ll get to the point: Envoke stores all data exclusively on Canadian servers using our own dedicated infrastructure—not AWS or Google Cloud. Support is from Canada, the head office is in Canada and the company is owned by Canadians. And we bill in Canadian Dollars.

Canadian flag

The email marketing software you use is cluttered with features you don’t use and missing features you need

As a communications professional you don’t need to send birthday promotions, you don’t need Shopify integration, marketing automation workflows and a website builder. These features take centre stage in most email marketing software. That’s because email marketing software is built for, you guessed it, marketers, to generate leads and sell to those leads.

Except communicators don’t have leads and they don’t sell!

Mailchimp, Constant Contact, Campaign Monitor and the myriad of other email marketing solutions are a great fit for marketers. But if you’re looking for software that is built exclusively for communication professionals then you will find that features you need aren’t always available in these marketing platforms.

Read more about how Mailchimp compares to Envoke, a long-time email software provider that is similar to Mailchimp but built for communicators.

You can’t send mandatory emails to opt-in lists

When a contact unsubscribes you can’t send them emails anymore. This is by definition how opt-in subscriptions should work. But if you need to send mandatory messages then you can’t send those messages to unsubscribed contacts.

Most every email platform only supports opt-in subscriptions, which means you can’t easily fulfill your internal obligation to send mandatory emails to contacts that must receive them. As a result you may end up emailing them in small batches from Outlook, which is very time consuming and error prone.

Envoke’s mandatory messaging option differentiates between emails that contacts want to receive and emails they need to receive. This ensures that your members, users, patients, staff, partners, students and other stakeholders can receive important communications from you.

List management isn’t flexible. Audiences aren’t enough.

There is power in simplicity when contact lists are categorized using what’s called audiences in many email software. A contact can be part of one or more audiences and they can unsubscribe self-serve at any time. 

This audience-based approach, however, often imposes limitations on how you can send emails, or more precisely, who you can send emails to and how recipient lists are managed. And because of this you need to adjust your communications strategy to accommodate how the software you use lets you manage the relationship with your contacts.

Ideally, the opposite should be true: The software you use should accommodate your list management needs and even inspire it and give you new ideas.

Using a combination of unlimited tags, subscriptions, custom segments and dynamic content blocks Envoke’s flexible list management system opens up ways to reach out to your contacts in ways you might not have considered or given up on long ago due to software limitations.

Insufficient customization options risk your organization’s reputation

The interactions your contacts have with your content defines their experience with your organization. This translates into brand experience, which in turn impacts reputation and trust. You need to have control over all content your contacts interact with. 

When it comes to email communications your contacts interact with sign up forms read ongoing email messages and update their email settings on the email preferences page.

All this content should be fully branded with customizable content. Yet in many cases default text and styles cannot be modified leaving your contacts to interact with generic third party pages that look nothing like your brand. This lack of customization may hurt your organization’s image and reputation.

Envoke gives you complete control over how you display content for your contacts. Not just in your emails but on the email preferences page (the “unsubscribe page”) and on sign up forms as well.

Managing multiple departments isn’t centralized

Many organizations operate multiple departments that are managed by dedicated teams. Parks and recreation, arts and culture and emergency services are such examples in municipalities. Alumni, international students and continuing education are examples at post secondary institutions.

Managing all email lists from multiple departments in a single account is virtually impossible. Segmentation and user access to lists are two common admin challenges and from the perspective of contacts their subscription settings across multiple departments may seem confusing. Companies try to solve this problem by opening stand-alone accounts for every department but since the accounts aren’t connected branding, billing and user access are difficult to manage.

The solution is to connect multiple departments centrally under one administrative account. Administrators can manage who has access to sub-accounts, billing, branding and email templates for multiple departments that operate independently without access to each others’ contact lists.

Each sub-account can maintain their own set of subscriptions. When a contact unsubscribes from emails in one sub-account they remain subscribed in other accounts.

About Envoke

Envoke is the trusted email solution of communications professionals. Using a tool that fits your mandate enables you to communicate with your stakeholders effectively without risking your organization’s reputation.

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