As we noted in a previous post, email marketing isn’t dead. Whether it’s through a newsletter or direct sales pitches, email is still an effective way to engage with customers and prospects. But some of our new clients who want to step up their email marketing efforts aren’t quite sure how to get started. Some attempt to send out large email blasts via their daily email client, such as Outlook, but we highly discourage that. It’s inefficient and can even be downright dangerous to your business (see reason #1 below). Instead, we recommend signing up with a web-based email marketing provider instead. Here are five reasons why:
Most online email marketing providers are ‘whitelisted’ with major Internet Service Providers. This means there is less chance that your emails will get caught in your recipients’ spam filters, thus resulting in a higher deliverability rate.On the other hand, if you try to send email blasts using your own email server and domain, you run the risk of getting your company’s IP address blacklisted. This could mean that you have trouble with your day-to-day emails reaching intended recipients and can be a huge headache to fix.
- CAN-SPAM Compliance
The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 established the first national standards for sending commercial email. Web-based email marketing providers ensure that your emails are compliant by automatically including a link at the bottom of each email that will allow recipients to opt out of receiving future emails. They also include your mailing address in the footer of every email sent, as required by the CAN-SPAM act. If using an online email service, you can rest assured they will stay abreast of the latest laws so that you don’t have to worry about it.
- List Management
Web-based providers make list upload and management a breeze. They handle all hard bounces (emails with a bad address) and unsubscribes automatically by removing those individuals from your list. If you accidentally try to re-add an unsubscribed email address, the provider will not allow it, further ensuring compliance with CAN-SPAM laws. Many providers also integrate with CRMs (i.e. SalesForce), which makes managing your customer lists and communications tracking seamless.In addition, most providers offer tools that allow you to create and add a form on your website to capture new subscribers.
One of the most compelling reasons to use a web-based email marketing provider is the reporting features they offer. If sending email blasts from Outlook, you have no way of knowing how many recipients opened the message, who opened it, or who clicked on a link. This is valuable information that can help you improve your email marketing efforts. You can evaluate and compare opens at different times of day, try different subject lines and see which ones get the most opens, determine recipients who clicked on a link and more.
The cost of using an online email marketing provider depends on the size of your list. Most service providers offer a free trial. MailChimp even has a plan that is free for up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month.
Whether you plan to send email campaigns once a month, or once a week—whether your list is 200 or 20,000—there is an email marketing provider out there that can meet your demands. Need help deciding which is the right one for your business? Read our post on Selecting an Email Marketing Provider.