I’ve been asked many times to manage email newsletters for people. Most I decline. Why? Because to do it right takes a serious investment of time and money. I am happy to work with you to develop lead generation and customer retention campaigns.
However, for the rest who aren’t committed, I’d rather teach them to do it themselves.
When you are ready to evaluate tools, I recommend you start here — TopTenReviews.com has a very helpful comparison chart of email delivery service features.
I’ve managed dozens of campaigns over the years and used many systems that cost from $25/mth – thousands per month. I honestly don’t prefer any one in particular — all have quirks. If I had to choose one, I’d probably recommend Blue Sky Factory, who cost a much more than the average DIY services. But that’s for you to decide – there are many factors to consider ranging from quantity to feature set.
It’s All About Delivery
Delivery is such a challenge because you can get flagged as spam by:
- The Internet Service Providers (ISP)
- The recipients email service
- The corporate email system
- The end-user’s own filters
So regardless of the service provider, the most important features I recommend you look at for your evaluation purposes have to do with helping you get delivered to the inbox. They include:
- Relationship with the ISPs — Critical because it can help get your messages delivered and lower the risk of hitting the junk box.
- Delivery Testing — the appearance of your HTML email can vary so dramatically in client applications (i.e. Outlook 2000 vs Outlook 2003, Apple Mail, Thunderbird, etc.) vs Web browser-based email clients (i.e. Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, AOL, etc.). Many services offer some sort of cross platform testing so you can work out the bugs before sending to your list. It also helps to send to a seed list of your own accounts as a safety check.
- Delivery Scoring — some providers have functionality/algorithms to make you aware of concerns that could get you flagged as spam so you can fix before sending.
- Reporting — Make sure all the basics are covered: delivery, undeliverables, open rates, click stats. Integration with Google Analytics is a plus.
Obviously I could add more, but to me, these are the most critical to get delivered to the inbox – and that’s just the first half of the challenge. The next is getting your email opened and your recipient to take action. But that’s a story for another time.
Please share your experience with us.
What’s your favorite Email Marketing Service and explain why. Thanks in advance!