Sitecore’s Email Experience Manager (EXM) has been around for more than five years but has only become an official feature of Sitecore 9. EXM allows marketers to create personable, relevant email campaigns, and deliver them to customers, all from within the same Sitecore platform they use for maintaining their website. As Sitecore MVP and Connective DX Director of Technical Strategy Pete Navarra pointed out, there is so much that you can do with EXM. But is it the best solution for your organization and its marketing goals?
One of the strongest attributes of EXM, the dispatching function queues up all of the contacts that it needs to send to and begins a multi-threaded process that sends emails to a delivery provider. Out of the box, there are two delivery providers. The Sitecore Email Delivery Cloud Service, Sitecore’s branded email delivery service uses a batching mechanism that reduces round-trip latency and makes dispatching to the Sitecore EDS much faster. There is a separate subscription fee for this service. Users can also set up a custom SMTP provider. This provider makes use of configured SMTP settings that will dispatch messages to an external SMTP server for distribution. The biggest downside to using Custom SMTP is that it places the burden on the client or the 3rd party SMTP provider on managing the domain reputation. However, this option provides the ability for users to use providers other than Sitecore if they choose, such as SendGrid (which offers a Microsoft Azure subscription where you can send up to 25,000 emails a month for free).
It provides several options for customizing subscription management
Sitecore’s approach to subscription management is flexible and implemented according to a customer’s needs. Out of the box, Sitecore offers several different tools to help clients modify their subscription management in the exact way they need it. They include:
- EXM client API: an API meant to be used on content delivery servers which exposes methods for subscribing, unsubscribing, and confirming subscriptions
- Subscription control: fields that provide item links to content items that the client API uses for redirection
- Marketing automation: a tool that adds contacts to lists and unsubscribing contacts from lists
- Email preference center: a place for a client to make changes to a contact’s metadata for marketing preferences
It’s integrated with Sitecore
This last point might seem like the most obvious reason but don’t overlook it. Not only is it easy to have all your marketing functions on one platform, but it is also convenient to know that your email marketing will work seamlessly with Sitecore. For example, when a prospective customer fills out a form on your website, and you’ve set up an email campaign to be triggered, you know that EXM will send out that email campaign since it was designed to work from within the Sitecore platform. In addition, as mentioned above, customers have the option of using Sitecore’s Email Delivery Cloud Service, which frees up the need to manage the domain reputation.
Send us a dispatch
Our team includes Sitecore developers who are experts at EXM. If you’re thinking about moving to EXM for your email marketing needs, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us for a chat about how we can help. In the meantime, if you have any more questions about EXM, check out Pete’s full blog series from last December, the 25 Days of EXM, over at his Sitecore Hacker blog, and to see a live demonstration of EXM’s power, watch the recording of his webinar, EXM Live!