There’s no doubt email marketing for your business is one of the most effective, inexpensive ways to market yourself. And you probably already know that it’s better for you to use a service than sending your email newsletter yourself. So how do you pick that email newsletter service provider?
Let’s take a look at four things you should do before picking your email newsletter platform, or provider.
Determine Your Investment
You’ll need to determine roughly how much you’re willing and able to spend on a monthly basis. The good news is that most email providers have similar pricing, and that pricing is publicly available.
In general, the pricing varies based on the number of subscribers you have on your email list. Most providers include an unlimited number of emails sent per month.
If you get nervous about making a recurring investment without knowing more, then make sure you pick an email platform that has a free trial. Some include free plans for a limited amount of time. Others just limit the number of emails you can send per month in their free plans.
As of the time this blog was written, MailChimp has a far better free plan than any other provider. They offer up to 2,000 subscribers each month, with a total of 12,000 emails per month. So if your list had 1,000 subscribers, you could send 12 emails in a given month and still have a free account.
Research Customer Service
Ask around! Contact other business owners that you know have their own email newsletter, and ask them about their customer service experience. You can contact them directly, or post on a social networking website to see who has experiences they can share.
Failing all else, the search engines are your friends. Find both good and bad stories of customer service to determine whether they might be a good fit for you. And see whether there are more search engine results for bad experiences with their customer service, or good experiences.
You can try searching for phrases like, “Constant Contact great customer service,” and “Constant Contact poor customer service.”
Find Reporting that Fits You
You may be the type of person who loves highly detailed reports. You may want to delve into the history of specific subscribers, to see what they’ve read and haven’t, and what they’ve clicked on and haven’t.
On the other hand, you may be the type of person who just wants a big picture view. How many people opened your latest email newsletter, and how many people clicked on the link in it?
The reporting capabilities of the most popular email newsletter providers are not terribly different. The presentation, however, is drastically different.
YouTube is a great place to view tours and walkthroughs of the services. Take some time to watch the videos. You should check out both videos by the providers themselves, as well as third party videos. And make sure they’re fairly recent. Some of the major providers update their interface frequently.
Make Sure it Integrates with Your Other Online Marketing
Finally, you want to be sure that your email newsletter provider can easily integrate with your website, social media, and other online marketing efforts. All of them will provide you with some code to drop into your website. But is that as far as they go?
Will they let you include an archive of your email newsletters on your website, or at least let you link to one on theirs? It’s also great to have a page with nothing but a sign-up form. Do they provide a page like that, or do you have to create it?
Is there a way to include a check box on every form on your website, giving people every option to sign up for your email newsletter? Will you be able to create ebooks or white papers for others to download, but require that they sign up for your email newsletter first?