From goal setting to trip planning, there’s always a host of things to consider and several options available to get you to your objective or destination. Take a trip from New York to California; you could travel by car, plane, bus, boat, motorcycle, bicycle, cab or you could hitchhike, and if you’re not in too much of a hurry, you can walk. Not all these options are fast and efficient, and some are downright impractical, slow and costly because all these choices, while getting you to your destination all represent a set of expenses and time constraints associated with that choice. As with planning your itinerary, email marketing is no exception as there are many hosting and sending options to consider as well as list management and message distribution choices.
Lets look at the email list self hosted solutions. The big advantage, to start with: you only need an email client (i.e. Outlook) on your PC, which may work okay until you find that
- You’re limited to the amount of email you can send in a hour
- Your ISP decides you’re a SPAMMER and shuts your account down
- Email blasting often triggers spam filters: your message is automatically placed in the Spam filter
- Your list members complain to your ISP and your ISP cancels your internet account
- You can’t keep track of who opened your email or clicked on your links
- Management of a list in any proportion becomes a nightmare
- You find there’s no effective way to send HTML messages
- Bounce management, what’s that?
- Automatic List segmentation by demographics is only a dream
- Your email client isn’t designed for email marketing
- There are privacy and compliance issues you haven’t thought about
Or you purchase an off the shelf Email Blast Software program. The advantage, it’s a cheap solution, until you discover:
- Most of the above issues still exist
- All programs are not created equal, some interfaces are really complicated
- Complexity does not equal sophisticated email management tools
- It could take days for your email messages to reach their destination
- You’re missing some important list hosting components such as automatic list management features
You maintain that you need to run your list in house, under your control. This time you invest in reputable list software, the kind that needs its own server and a paid for support contract, so you can get help when you need it. The main advantage; you now have total control of your list and subscribers, but you need,
- More servers
- A secure 24/7 redundant internet connection with a static IP
- Money for the list software license
- Money for technical support contracts
- Money for updates and new features
- Money for database software, i.e SQL
- Money for new hardware and upgrade costs
- Money for increased bandwidth
- To resolve performance level issues
- To resolve receiver complaints
- To find time to configure and cover the expense to keep Virus filters current
- To understand how to implement feedback loops, firewalls, and solve delivery issues and more.
So, you move your list to one of the online free services. Easy to use, web based but:
- There’s no support to speak of
- Your list gets SPAMMED
- You can’t send because your using a service which is blacklisted
- There’s pretty fonts and templates but it’s all WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get)
- There are hidden limitations, i.e. you can not send attachments
- You have to use their images
- There’s a limit on list membership size
- There’s no archives
- You can only send a set number of mailings a month
- There’s little or no statistics
- And what about those banner ads!.
On the other hand, you can eliminate most of these costs and all of the hassle by hiring a third party, an email list provider also known as an email service provider or an ESP. The advantage, you’ll have total control over your list members, with real time stats leading to a noticeable improvement in your deliverability. With a professional ESP, real list management will become a reality and you might find yourself wondering how you did what you were doing for so long without using an ESP.
There are variations in list services among the many ESP’s out there so take advantage of the free demo offers. The ESP you pick should be able to offer everything you need including support, suggestions and if needed, advice on best mailing practices, so you will reach your optimal mailing goals. For example, Dundee Internet as an ESP mails with Lyris ListManger™, offers
- List Automation with bounce management, subscribes, unsubscribers, auto-responders, archiving and virus scanning
- Mail-merge tools to personalize mailings so they’re uniquely relevant for every recipient .
- The ability to email only pertinent information to specific recipients using conditional content and list segments
- Post-campaign analysis: from opens to clickthroughs and clickstream tracking
- A customizable interface with the tools to create a media rich professional-looking newsletter, landing pages and surveys
- Viral marketing with Refer-a-Friend and Forward Tracking.
- Social Network: hooks to Facebook, Twitter and other social network arenas.
- The ability to send targeted timely e-mails using Triggered Messages
- Action Tag Technology™ to track customer interest, purchase and, browsing behavior.
- Advanced email campaigns creation with multi-step sequential mailings
- Manageable Email sending reputation with optimized MailStreams
An ESP may not solve all your mailing issues at once, but they have proven over and over again that email campaigns are more successful for people who use them.