Selecting an Email Marketing Provider
Written by Talana Morris on Wednesday, May 8th, 2013
Email marketing is an effective and powerful tool to build your relationship with existing clients and generate new business. If you’ve decided you want to get started in email marketing, an important first step is to is selecting a provider that fits your business needs.
There are several things to consider when selecting a provider, including:
- Cost. Most providers charge you monthly based on the size of your list, rather than per email or how frequently you send. The larger your list, the more you pay. So if you have a large list and do not plan to send emails frequently, you may consider a pay-as-you-go solution instead.
- Reputation. The larger providers have a good reputation and are whitelisted with most large internet service providers (ISPs), which means the chance of your email getting through to the intended recipients is higher than going with a less reputable provider or than sending emails from your own email system.
- Templates. If you plan to use an existing template, rather than create a custom one, browse the template libraries of the providers you are evaluating. Most allow some customization, including adding logo and changing colors. Some even offer to create a custom template using your design or branding guidelines for an additional fee. In this case the template is loaded to your account for ongoing use. Keep in mind if you ever switch email marketing providers, you will not be able to take this template with you.
- Ease of Use. Most providers offer a free trial. Take advantage of this to do a couple of test campaigns to yourself or other individuals within your company. This will allow you to explore whether the process and interface works well for you. Is it easy to create and edit emails?
- Integration with your CRM. If you manage your lists through a Customer Relationship Management system, such as Salesforce, you may want to find an email marketing provider that easily integrates with your CRM. Integration will automate list cleanup by automatically updating contacts in your CRM if they opt-out from emails or ‘bounce’ due to a bad address or spam filtering.
- Reporting. Most providers provide basic reporting, including: number of bounces, open rate, click-through rate, and unsubscribes. Some offer more detailed reporting. Determine what level of reporting you want from your campaigns and research to see which offer the analytics you are looking for.
These are just some of the things to consider when researching email marketing providers. TopTenREVIEWS recently published a comparison of email marketing providers that may assist you in assessing your options. As you begin exploring and testing out options, you’ll likely identify some other differences to consider for your business needs.