There is no doubt that if you are doing business online then it is really important to get your message, your brand and your product in front of as many people as possible
One really effective way of doing this is to build a list of subscribers, which has the added advantage of potential repeat customers, and to build your list (and retain your customers) you need a really good, reliable tool to manage it for you.
The idea is that you put a signup box on your website (I have one on this site) where a potential customer can keep in touch with your business through regular emails, newsletters or information.
There are a number of companies which provide an email marketing service (sometimes called an autoresponder service) and in this article we will discuss the six things to look out for when considering purchasing such a service.
1 – Ease of Use… For Creating and Sending eMails
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In business, as the saying goes, time is money… and to me the quicker I can use something in my business the better it is for me. After all, you buy these tools to save you time, so it is really important that the service you use actually does that for you and is easy to use.
Okay, let’s break that down a little:
First of all, when it comes to email marketing, the main thing that you’ll be focused on is actually sending the emails … (told you it was simple), but more than that you want to actually make the process of creating emails and broadcasts as quick and easy as is possible
For most autoresponder services, sending out a simple straightforward email is easy – but there is something else to consider.
What if you want to send out fancy looking (or professional emails) branded with your company details? Or if you want to send out a newsletter? Could your autoresponder cope with that?
So as a business owner with (I am assuming) limited technical skills you want to be able to quickly and easily create these types of emails but you also need to make them look highly professional.
Many of the better email marketing services will make this extremely possible for you by providing templates that you can just load up, and then basically fill in the blanks. AWeber, GetResponse and iContact are probably the best when it comes to having the best templates, and being able to pull them together nicely.
2 – Deliverability
Remember the golden rule with eMail marketing – if your email doesn’t get to its destination – your subscriber’s email box – then it WILL NOT get read. Worse than that, they will not even know it has been sent!
That’s why deliverability is so vital that you choose an email service that has the best deliverability possible.
Most of the bigger names in the business have a 97% or better deliverability rate. Some are up to 99% such as GetResponse and Constant Contact an AWeber.
So how do Email Companies Ensure Better Deliverability Rates…? –
One of the things that the email marketing services do is stay in the good graces of the ISP’s (internet service providers). They do this by making sure that their members –YOU – don’t SPAM their customers.
There are steps that the email marketing services have taken, as well as steps that YOU can take to make sure your emails are delivered. These include
- Double Optins… which essentially means that when somebody opts in they have to confirm through their email address that they have subscribed
- Use SPAM detection – Many of the more popular and better quality email marketing services these days have SPAM detection right in their system, which means that you can tell straight away if your email will trigger any SPAM detectors on the ISPs and correct any issues arising before your email goes out.
Essentially, like sales in any industry, it’s a number’s game. When your emails aren’t getting through, you’re diminishing the numbers and therefore diminishing your chances for sales, landing new clients, and or simply keeping your name in front of these people.
3 – Email Marketing Analytics
Many people don’t quite realise how important examining your email analytics is.
If you are carefully analyzing the numbers and understanding what’s happening, what’s working, and then doing more of it you can cut out what’s not working…and your conversions can little by little creep up so much that you eventually know that each campaign you send out is going to work for you. like gangbusters.
Here is a whistle stop tour of what you should be analysing
- Open Rates – Have you ever sent a friend or family member an email and then sat wondering if they’ve even opened the email? If you have a lot of subscribers you can imagine how much you will wonder about how effective your emails are and whether people are actually opening them. A good email service will tell you this and will then allow you to test what works and what doesn’t
- Click-Through Rates – This is how you’ll know how many people have clicked on a link in the body of your email which is important because of course the reason for your emails is to get people from your email to your website where they can buy something.
- Bounce Rate: It’s important to know your bounce rate, which means how many people on your list AREN’T getting your emails, which is vital for keeping your lists clean, as well as keeping your stats accurate. Also, if you’re seeing a lot of bounces, it could be because your messages are spammy. You’ll want to perhaps keep track of what might be causing this.
So that’s why good analytics is a huge feature that people overlook when choosing the best email service provider. The best in the email marketing service business that I’ve seen for this are GetResponse and Aweber. They provide you with amazing analytics.
Depending how you’ve found this page, you may have missed prior installments to this important series on Choosing the Best Email Marketing Service.
If you’re the type who doesn’t like to start in the middle, then you can start from the beginning by clicking here now!
If you’re fine starting here, since all of these features are crucial to using the best email service, then let’s get started with…
4 – Customer Support
Support is a vital part of the whole autoresponder package as there are times when you will have problems which you can’t figure out, or you’ll just need to talk to a customer service representative about how to do something which you need to do.
Ideally… you want as many ways to get help as possible.
Most of the more popular companies will have a knowledgebase or F.A.Q. section that you can rely on, which is helpful. Most autoreseponder services do
Or you may want to actually be able to ask someone for help. Phone support is always good if you like being able to talk your problem out and explain, plus have the ability to ask questions as you go.
Another option is chat support which is great because it’s fast, easy, and often immediate.
Another vital aspect to customer support is ‘out of hours support’ so check on support hours, especially if your ‘online day” is different to where the service is actually housed
So consider support as a vital element of choosing an autoresponder service and maybe check out support before you commit yourself. Ring them up or engage in chat – how quickly do they respond? Did they answer your questions? Were they friendly and courteous?
Remember you may well be forming a long term business relationship with this service so it is important that you are happy with them.
5 – An Auto-Responder
One of the main features that all good email marketing companies will provide is an auto-responder
But what Is An Auto-Responder?
You may have come across a simple email autoresponder before in the form of your “out of office” notice on your work email
An Email marketing autoresponder works in a similar way in that when a customer first signs up they will be sent a “welcome” message or email. You can then queue up all your other messages so they get sent out automatically at pre-determined intervals. This means you can potentially do all the work ‘up-front’ and your customers will get all their regular information automatically
This also allows you to send out links to digital products immediately on signup which is fantastic for the customers perception of you
This is great not only because it saves you loads of time, but also because it’s immediate.
You can do this on a frequent basis such as everyday (maybe sending a tip a day on how your product or service can help them) for the first week or so. Or you can do it less frequently such as every week. Personally I would recommend everyday for the first 5 to 7 days, and then at least twice or so a week.
This is what helps you compete with your competition that has a bigger budget than you, and can get their brand out there in your customer’s face each and everyday.
Auto-responders can be extremely powerful when used correctly.
The advantage for your business is that you set up your auto-responder, you can go on doing other things…such as gaining more website visitors and subscribers…and you can let your auto-responder messages do the closing for you.
Cost is also a very important part of choosing an email marketing service but the good news is that most services will offer either a low cost trial (for instance AWeber offer a $1 trial for the first month which is incredible value)
Most services bill monthly and most increase their prices based on the number of subscribers. The idea being as that you grow your business you will be able to afford to pay for more subscribers.
Whilst cost is an important element it is useful to remember that you can start low and build up, which should match your business model.
How to Choose an Email Marketing Service – Summary
But of course we’ve got to think about the whole perspective.
That’s why the six features that I like to be sure that are there, or are mostly there are
- Ease of Use…
- Email Marketing Analytics…
- Strong Customer Support…
- An Auto-Responder
When these features are there and in place, then you’re set, and you’ll be able to run some amazing email marketing campaigns that will bring you more profits, customers, and clients for years to come.