Ideas
April 15, 2011
 

7 things to look for in your email marketing provider

In ten years of email marketing, we’ve learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t.  Following is a list of the seven things to look out for:

  1. How easy is it to create and send an email?
    Most of the time, we gauge this in time spent working on the design and copy updates, plus the sending process. After all, time is money, right? While you should spend ample time developing your copy and message, in most situations, the time to execute should be less than one hour.
  2. How easy is it to customize the email to match your brand’s look and feel?
    When you’ve spent years establishing your brand, you should never compromise the style. Your email marketing should be consistent with your brand look and feel, as well as your communication style (formal, casual, etc.).  Do the emails match your brand perfectly, or are they just a little off?
  3. Can you send text-only email?
    Some messages are more important than others.  Sometimes a message really needs to get through.  To improve deliverability and readability you may want to send a standard text based message.  If the text in an email has multiple colors, is surrounded by a border, or contains images, that’s a red flag that the email is trying to sell you something.
  4. Does your email marketing provider offer a dedicated IP address?
    How are you protected if another customer sends spam using the same email sending service that you do? Can the recipients differentiate between your email and the spammers?  If not, you may also get blacklisted.  Not all email marketers need a dedicated IP address, but many do.
  5. Can you use your existing customer database?
    Or, do you have to use a separate database for emails and maintain them both? If you tie into your existing customer database, you can mail to customers based on interests and actual past behavior, without being limited to specific mailing list categories.
  6. Does your provider use image embedding?
    Most email clients (Microsoft Outlook, Gmail, etc.) by default do not display images that are linked. However, images that are embedded in the email are often displayed.
  7. Can you tell if a click-through resulted in a purchase?
    Tracking email open rates are not always accurate because they typically rely on image loading, which could mean the email showed in someone’s inbox just long enough for them to delete it!  What we really want to know is if an email resulted in a true change in behavior (what happens after they click?). Can you mix these results with your existing stats so you have one place to compare email marketing, online ads and other sources of traffic?

If we can help you in your email marketing efforts – whether you want to customize an existing sending tool or explore other options – give us a call.

Questions or feedback? Please leave a comment.

 

 

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Bob Totten
Executive Vice President
Kansas Contractors Association
Let us deliver results
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george@imagemakers-inc.com
 

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