Many businesses are surprised to learn they have a lot of choices when it comes to choosing an Email Service Provider (ESP). Our experience in the business has taught us a lot about what works and what doesn’t for different clients and industries. Here are a few things you should consider before establishing a comprehensive email marketing strategy and choosing a provider:.
WHO IS YOUR AUDIENCE?
The first question you need to answer is about your audience. How many people are on your list? Do you need help building it? Have you identified the differences in your subscribers and separated them according to your goals? How will you treat existing customers compared to new prospects? Understanding the demographics will help you made informed decisions moving forward.
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEND THEM?
There are a variety of email options when it comes to communicating with your audience. Choose an email marketing platform that allows you to customize your mailings easily. When your marketing campaign is not ‘one-size-fits-all,’ you don’t want to waste your time struggling to provide the right content to the right people.
You also need to consider the type of communication you want to include in your mailings. Birthday messages? Please come back messages? Decide what type of ‘emailer’ you’d like to be and then find a provider that can meet those needs successfully.
Also keep in mind that emails can be triggered or automated. How will that work into your email campaign? Make these decisions early on so you can make an informed choice about a provider.
WHEN (AND HOW OFTEN) DO YOU WANT TO SEND?
Most email marketing providers charge based on CPM, or cost per thousand emails sent. Consider your RPM, or revenue per thousand emails, before making a decision about your emailing needs. Take the time to look at your current marketing strategy, your expected growth, and the size of your audience before making a decision.
WHY ARE YOU EMAILING YOUR CUSTOMERS?
Combining email and social media marketing strategies can often have a beneficial effect on your revenue generation. Think about why you are seeking to communicate with your audience in this way. What is your end goal? How comfortable are you reaching out to your audience about various issues relevant to your industry?
HOW MUCH (SERVICE, SUPPORT, FEATURES) DO YOU NEED?
While there are several providers from which to choose, they don’t all offer the same features and level of support. Are you willing to pay more for excellent service? Or would you like to save some money and figure the system out on your own? How comfortable are you with the complexity of the user interface? Will you be struggling to get your newsletter out on time or are you capable of navigating the platform with ease?
Keep in mind the various analytics that will come into play when you being a new email marketing campaign. You want to be able to track your efforts and change your plans accordingly. Determine your goals up front and make sure your chosen email provider can help you achieve them.