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Choosing the Right eMail Marketing System . . . The How? Who?
This article focuses on choosing the right eMail marketing system amidst the countless providers of eMail marketing solutions today. eMail marketing is an important part of your business (if it is not it needs to be!) and thus choosing the right email auto responder system can be the difference between your company’s success or failure.
Since I have not personally tried every email marketing software available out there, the goal of this article is to provide a general overview of what to look for in an eMail marketing system to determine if the eMail marketing tool is suitable for your and your business’ needs.
Basically the entire process boils down to four key components. If you can check all four for any given eMail marketing system out there, go ahead and start playing with it!
Assess the eMail Marketing Company’s Service and its Compatibility with You and Your Business
Read about the email marketing program you are contemplating using both on their website as well as other discussion forums and online communities to corroborate what the company is saying to what people have experienced personally. If something doesn’t smell right at this stage, chances are something isn’t right indeed. So take your time with the due diligence.
If you know other business owners like yourself, reach out to them and ask them about what eMail marketing solution they are using. Find out what they like and dislike about it. Find out what feature(s) they wished their eMail marketing system provided.
Most importantly, get a good feel for the provider’s feasibility of use and customer service and support. As an entrepreneur you have very limited time on your hands and the last thing you want to do with that little time is to spend it troubleshooting eMail marketing software related issues. Ensure that the company you go with has a good “functionality” track and in the instance it fails, that there is a good customer support program in place that will “fix your problems” with minimal interruption to your operations.
If the eMail marketing program does not pass this first test, I would simply turn back at this point and move on to candidate number 2. Don’t forget - Time is the equivalent of money!
Ensure Double Opt In eMail Marketing Functionality
Make sure that the eMail marketing system you choose has double opt in technology. Many eMail marketing users bypass the double opt in option not deeming it important enough when implementing eMail marketing campaigns. Contrary to practice, this is actually one of the most important options to implement within your campaign. Double opt in ensures that your subscriber will respond to a automated confirmation eMail sent to their eMail address by your eMail marketing system when the subscriber requests to be signed up to your mailing list.
The only tricky thing here could be that you may already have an existing eMail list, in which case you will have to provide that list to your eMail marketing system company. Now some companies will go ahead and add the list to their database. However others will require you to send those individuals an eMail requesting confirmation.
The risk here is that you may have some folks who don’t get see the message or simply do not respond for whatever reason. If this happens you will definitely loose some eMail addresses. I would keep track of these and to the extent possible, follow up with these customers personally (hopefully you have retained their contact information). I know it’s a pain but this is the upfront risk of moving onto something bigger and better.
Why would you want someone who has not specifically asked to be on your list anyway? It costs money to send eMails so make sure you aren’t throwing money away. Double opt in ensures that your eMail list is as clean and lean as it can get with only relevant and interested subscribers. Remember, it is not about quantity here, rather it is all about quality.
How Feasible Does Your eMail Marketing System Work?
Two components are key when evaluating feasibility; ease of eMail creation and amount of follow-up service required on your end. You can make your life a lot easier if your eMail marketing system provides multiple eMail templates you can choose from to craft your newsletter or article. This is a key factor to look out for especially if you are not a web developer who has minimal experience coding in HTML. The last thing you want to do is waste your time designing and tweaking the look and feel of your eMail message.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s important for your eMail to be professional and aesthetically pleasing. However, you just don’t have to spend your time on non-value add activities that can be satisfied by a good eMail marketing system. Oh yeah, these templates should come at no additional cost to you.
You also want to ensure that your eMail system has a proven track record of good performance and longevity in the industry. Those qualities mean that your system is reputable and likely accepted and respected by most eMail providers (paid or free). Often what happens is that eMail providers (i.e. Hotmail) will not accept any eMails generated/sent by a particular eMail marketing system because of its reputation or lack thereof (maybe because it has not been around long enough).
Basically, what you want is a marketing system that delivers 100% of the time. You want to see your eMail make a landing on your reader’s Inbox, not their Trash, Junk Mail or Spam folder. You should be just fine if you put in the time researching and conducting your due diligence upfront.
Don’t be Afraid to Pay for a Good eMail Marketing Software
It takes money to make money – I am sure you have heard of that saying before. Although it is not always the case, it is the case most of the time. If all the tests till now have been met satisfactorily, then don’t hesitate to pay for a good eMail marketing system. As long as the pricing is reasonable (and you are the best judge of this subjective measure), there is no reason not to engage a well qualified provider and risk loosing more time and money in the long-run.
There is no denying that you need good eMail marketing tools to have a successful Customer Relationship Management (“CRM”) program. So go ahead and be cautious, but please don’t be cheap when it comes to selecting the right eMail marketing partner. Using the best eMail marketing system for your needs is the number one email marketing secret my friend.
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