Key tips for choosing an e-mail marketing provider

Marketing via e-mails has gained some degree of notoriety over the years, with a wide belief that it may be a medium of the past, often confused with spam and the overloading of our short attention span to the large number of e-mails we receive.

However, it is proven that e-mails marketing works when it delivers valuable content to the prospective readers, whether it is personalized content as sent by Amazon recommending purchases that are similar to what you had already bought, or just high level accurate, informative and relevant content for a certain industry, such as real estate.

If we maintain a qualified database and get to a respectable open rate of 20-25%+ it still means that out of every 1,000 mails we send, we will get around 200-250 readers – and that’s not bad at all. And while our main focus should definitely be on content, we must also choose smartly our e-mail marketing platform, which should include the following features:

  1. Easy to work with design templates, and a design interface based on an intuitive WYSIWYG editor (What You See Is What You Get) that allows to simply incorporate elements into our mail template, such as pictures, articles, dividers, logos and much more.
  2. Complete tracking statistics that include every little bit of action carried out by our receivers – open rates, click rates, bounce rates, hot spots within the e-mail template, time and date of sending analysis and much more. We must know so we can improve.
  3. A/B testing capability which allows for the design of 2 separate templates for each campaign, including a different title line. Each user receives either the A or the B version randomly, and the aforementioned statistics help us identify the more successful version.
  4. Complete personalization abilities that include of course the use of mail merge fields (first name, last name, address…) to create a personal text for each reader, but also other personalized automatic triggers, such a birthday auto send, a registration responders based on certain fields, and much more.
  5. The ability to incorporate SPF (Sender Policy Framework) and Domain Keys into the account in order to try and minimize the phenomenon of e-mails ending up in the spam folder. When using a 3rd party vendor to mass market from our personal mail account, the e-mails are actually sent via the vendor’s mail server. Many servers around the world target these kind of e-mails as spam, but including in our DNS settings several records for SPF and Domain Key identification may reduce the severity of this occurrence.
  6. Clear and easy to use “unsubscribe” feature that helps us avoid any legal troubles while supplying with visible statistics highlighting those readers who chose to leave us.
  7. The ability to re-send a campaign to non-openers only. This feature is not as common as you would think, and I have found it very helpful, as it can increase your total number of opens by around 7-10% – which is quite a lot.

There are so many mail marketing vendors online, many offering very solid products at reasonable prices. E-mail marketing can be a very cost effective tool for your business, just make sure you choose the right vendor.

I hope these tips provide some help in that process.