Email Marketing Providers
There are plenty of e-mail marketing companies out there. One thing is sure that when your business grows you need to make your e-mail marketing solution as automatic as possible, so don’t think that you can manually enter details on your tablet or PC.
E-mail marketing providers give you plenty of interactive functionality today. They will build lists for you, they will give you custom or bespoke e-mail forms and newsletters, you could integrate your mailing list with Facebook, and there are other features which will sync the mailing list with other customer databases or shopping carts, for example. You are often given multiple databases and lists within a single package and companies will bill you monthly or by the amount of mail you send e.g. monthly or 10,000 e-mails.
The lists can be integrated with Google Analytics which is a powerful measuring and monitoring application that Google gives you for free! Analytics offers you all sorts of information about demographics and the location of your signups, their behaviour, the technology that they are using and other useful data.
Another benefit of using a professional e-mail service provider is that they are better prepared to deal with the problems of actually getting your e-mail delivered to your recipient. Your recipients Internet Service Provider (ISP) is geared up to make sure that all spam is filtered out. An ISP essentially hosts your website for you and gives you your company’s e-mail accounts. Others e-mail providers would include popular free e-mail accounts such as Hotmail or Gmail, and they also filter out spam.
Of course the ISP will want to filter malicious phishing e-mails (which might be after bank account or personal details, for example) and all e-mails that aim sell you illicit substances and so on. The ISP is doing us all a favour. Try to make sure that your e-mails do not look like spam. Your e-mail marketing company has a few useful devices up its sleeve, for example it will release e-mails a few at a time and not in bulk.
There are many companies out there that will automate your e-mail marketing for you, and we suggest that this is what you should do. In fact many of them will do you automation for free until you hit a specific threshold of signups of around 2000 e-mail addresses. Such companies would include Mailchimp, Constant Contact, iContact and many, many others. You would start by registering online, and setting up payment details with your credit card. Then design your signup form which can be converted to HTML, and then pasted onto your website. You can alter the information that you want to collect such as e-mail addresses, names and locations. However don’t make your customers’ initial signup too onerous because you don’t want to scare potential customers away by asking them to do too much. The customer will then receive an e-mail which allows them to opt in, generally by clicking on a simple link. It must be simple for your recipient to unsubscribe or change their details as and when necessary. In fact this is the law in many parts of the world. You must also include a business or personal address to make your e-mails trustworthy and to reassure your signups that you are who you say you. This is an example of opt-in marketing or permission marketing.
For more details about the law and e-mail marketing, we refer you to www.ftc.gov/spam (USA) or www.ico.gov.uk (UK) or refer to your national Government’s website.
If you have the resources you might also consider software to run on your own server, which might be coded in PHP or ASPX, or similar dynamic code. This gives you the benefit of having your database more close at hand, although most e-mail marketing companies give you instant access to your database anyway.