Lyris HQ is an online Marketing Resource Management (MRM) tool, but this review will focus primarily on their Email Service offering (Email Labs) that is bundled in Lyris HQ. Email Labs is a robust solution that combines all of the Email Marketing features you would want in a modern email Marketing solution such as personalizations, dynamic list segmentation, triggered events and more.
Lyris HQ uses the Adobe Flex platform which gives the UI a look and feel of a desktop application. The first thing I noticed when using the application is that it doesn’t feel like a tightly integrated system. Clicking any of the icon links, Email Advisor, Click Tracks, Hot Bananas, Bid Hero or Email Labs opens a pop up window where you manage that portion of the application.
The creation of an email campaign is very detailed with lots of “help” options and definitions to lead you through the steps. It has an auto generate text version from HTML which I love. It never is “perfect”, but it is much easier to edit the auto generated text then to create a text version from scratch. There were some additional options on the right side column I wanted to explore but on doing so, it opened an additional pop-up window (for those of you that are keeping score that is the third pop-up window!). The fourth step in the process was the “Notes and Tasks.” The “Tasks” section may allow you to change the URL for visible links, but there are not help options to explain (on further review it is a section for adding notes regarding the links). Once the email campaign has been created, the next step, testing, sending or scheduling the campaign isn’t easily discoverable. When I was making a corrections to the HTML, I noticed on the right side column a HTML checker and a SPAM checker that I completely missed on my first go around.
Lyris’s quick test is actually more robust then their Proof. It allows you to send multiple versions and simulate sending to random contacts in your list.
The inbox snap shot is one of the coolest features in their suite of offerings. It tests ISP email address and reports on whether the email made it to the indbox, was marked as SPAM, or was filtered to the “bulk” folder.
The Bad: The Lyris login homepage didn’t automatically update to reflect that a new list had been added, or a campaign had been scheduled or sent. One of the big advantages of Flex is that it is supposed to have the ability to asynchronously update content.
It took some time to import a list because they didn’t have steps in the creation of a new list. Creating the name of a list appears in the first set of options and adding “member records” is in the third set of options.
The text version of the test looked terrible because the urls had all been swapped out with urls that were not links to my website. If I received this email I would assume it was spam.
Lyris HQ has a dedicated deliverability team, authentication tools and has ongoing ISP scores. Part of my review was to send the same email campaign using each ESP that was in the round-up to determine what the baseline deliverability rates for each ESP.
Results of the Lyris HQ test email campaign:
- Number of emails sent: 200
- delivered: 194
- Hard Bounces: 6
- Soft Bounces: 0
- Unique Opens: 18 (9% open rate)
A 9% open rate was the lowest of any of the ESP that were in our round-up.
I liked Lyris HQ but was disappointed in their User interface because it had scored so well in Jupiter reports. I have no doubt that their email component is really nice, but it was wrapped up in such a bad UI that it made for a bad user experience. I was also surprised that they had such poor API documentation. I suspect that Lyris is so busy trying to create an MRM suite through acquisitions and add-ons that they haven’t spent enough time documenting and making a well-integrated system.