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Choosing the Right Email Marketing Software

  • Email marketing is essentially the online version of direct mail. Instead of sending fliers and coupons to a customer’s home, email marketing sends those same items digitally to a customer’s inbox.
  • Whereas the impact of direct mail can be difficult to track, email marketing lets businesses see exactly who is opening their mail and which emails are leading to sales.
  • Businesses can use email marketing in a variety of ways, from building brand loyalty and finding new customers to encouraging loyalty and repeat business.
  • With email marketing, you have a choice of do-it-yourself software or full service agencies that do all of the work for you. You can read more about the differences between the two below.
  • Email marketing offers businesses several advantages over other types of marketing strategies. Cost is a key differentiator, as email marketing doesn’t require any printing or postage fees. Using email marketing software, it typically only costs businesses several pennies to send out an email, as opposed to at least 15 cents per piece of direct mail.
  • With email marketing, businesses can see which emails were received, which ones went to addresses that were no longer active, which ones were opened, which ones were deleted before they were read and which ones enticed clients to click through to the website and make a purchase.
  • The main drawback to email marketing is that some consumers may consider the emails to be spam and hold it against a brand’s reputation. If customers feel they are being bombarded by unwanted emails from a business, they will be less likely to become new or repeat customers.

Businesses can go in a variety of different directions when using email marketing. The various types of messages businesses can send out via email marketing include:

  • Newsletters: A quick way to regularly keep customers informed on any business news or upcoming promotions. Newsletters are typically sent on a recurring basis, such as every week or month.
  • Promotional campaigns: These emails let customers know about upcoming sales. These emails can be sent in the days leading up to the sale, as well during the sale, as a reminder for customers.
  • Invitation emails: This kind of message keeps clients up to date on upcoming special events. Invitation emails can be sent weeks or days before an event occurs as a way to encourage a customer to attend.
  • Catalog emails: Sent as a way to highlight products or services.
  • Lead-nurturing emails:┬áDesigned to keep brands at the top of mind for prospective clients. These emails are sent out regularly until a potential customer is converted into a paying customer.
  • Survey emails: Sent as a way to find out more about customers’ needs and wants.
  • Transactional emails: Sent after a purchase is made, as a way to confirm the transaction, say thank you and encourage the customer to shop with you again.

Now that you have a better idea of what email marketing entails and how it might benefit your business, the next question you need to answer is if you want to handle the process on your own, or hire a dedicated agency to do all of the work for you.

  • Email marketing is offered as a software-as-a-service (SaaS) from a variety of vendors.
  • Email-marketing software provides businesses with all of the tools needed to create and execute email-marketing campaigns. This includes templates to get started, design tools to develop eye-catching messages and contact-management solutions to collect and store customer email addresses.
  • Once you create the message and decide whom you want it sent to, the software provider then sends out the emails for you from its own servers.
  • The software features a variety of analytics that monitor what happens with your emails to help determine the success of each campaign and how you can improve your campaigns in the future.

Cost: While some providers have a pay-as-you-go option, the majority offer monthly plans that are typically based on the number of contacts you are sending emails to and how many campaigns you plan to run each month. Costs can range anywhere from $10 to $15 to send emails to 500 contacts a couple times a month, to $4,000 to send out 4 million emails a month.

Pros and cons: The largest advantages of email-marketing software are that you can do it all on your own for a relatively low cost. The tools make it easy for those without any type of HTML or design experience to create and execute a variety of email-marketing campaigns. You are also provided with an assortment of data to determine if the campaign was a success. The downside of email marketing software is that you are, for the most part, on your own with it. While most vendors provide support options, getting it designed and sent out in a timely manner ends up falling on your shoulders.