Email marketing offers wonderful opportunities to companies of all sizes, but really presents itself as irresistible to the small business. It’s cheap, has great reach, and as so many successful marketers have demonstrated, very effective. What you get out of this powerful tool is all in the company you choose, so take note of the basic features a small business should expect from its email marketing solution.

1. Templates

Most people can get away with just using the composition window in Gmail to create a plain Jane message to send to a friend or relative. This is a luxury the small business does not have. When you are trying to influence people to buy into what you’re selling, having a professional presentation is key. An email marketing service that comes bundled with a nice selection of templates can help you achieve that professionalism without having to build it from scratch.

2. Editing Tools

Having a good set of editing tools is also crucial for enabling a small business to achieve the professional look it needs to be taken seriously. A good email marketing service will offer built-in editing tools that make composing your actual message a breeze. Look for a solution with an editor that allows you to perform important tasks such as format your email, upload images, and easily create links.

3. Autoresponders

Email marketing may be simple and straightforward, but it can get pretty hectic at times. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could automate some of the necessary processes and make things a bit easier? You can do exactly that with handy little features known as autorepsonders. The use of autoresponders can drive your welcome emails, drip campaigns, and various other aspects, allowing you to keep the communications flowing without lifting a finger.

4. Automatic Unsubscribe Links

In many countries, providing a clear and visible way to  opt-out of your mailing list is required by law. Failure to comply comes with some pretty severe penalties. For this reason, it is best to choose an email marketing service that automatically includes an unsubscribe link in every message you send out. This is a convenient feature that provides the peace of mind of knowing you are conducting the opt-in part of your marketing by the book.

5. Reporting Tools

One factor that makes email considerably more attractive than other marketing platforms lies in its ability to be easily measured. With right solution, you can find out how many subscribers opened your message, followed through to your website, share the message with their social network, and much more. Analytics may have an advanced aura to them, but reporting tools have become standard, and now represent a feature you can’t do without.

Feel free to use this article as a reference when evaluating companies that could potentially provide your email marketing services. While you may require more or less depending on specific needs, you will have a difficult time seeing success without most of the features discussed here.