Top 10 Questions to Consider When Evaluating Email Marketing Companies
Email marketing companies offer online solutions that enable individuals and organizations to take advantage of the power and precision of email marketing by equipping them with a wide range of capabilities – chief among which are:
- Capturing the contact details of visitors to their websites
- Sending out automatic responses every time a visitor signs up
- Delivering personalized messages and newsletters to subscribers
- Tracking and reporting on actions email recipients take in response to the emails they receive
In short, email marketing companies help you build highly targeted lists of subscribers; communicate with your subscribers whenever you want, and continuously improve the responses your email marketing efforts produce.
And while there may be many similarities between the solutions email marketing companies offer – and there are many email marketing companies to choose from (a search on Google for the phrase “email marketing companies” returns 17,500 results) – there are also some distinctive differences that may make one company a better choice for your needs than the others.
Following are 10 of the most important questions to consider when evaluating email marketing companies.
1. How do they handle CAN-SPAM compliance checking?
Because CAN-SPAM compliance is law, email marketing companies that do not offer integrated CAN-SPAM compliance checking should be eliminated from consideration right off the bat.
2. How easy is it to create, manage, and track campaigns?
Unless you or someone on your team has a lot of technical expertise – and free time – you should rule out any companies whose solutions require a lot of either.
3. How many different newsletter templates do they offer?
You are going to want to make sure the companies you’re considering offer a wide range of newsletter templates so that you can find one that matches the look and feel of your brand.
4. Do they offer you the ability to create plain-text alternatives to HTML emails and newsletters?
If you want to increase the percentage of emails that end up in your recipients’ inbox – and stay out of their junk folder – you need to make sure that the companies you’re considering offer you the ability to create plain-text alternatives to HTML emails and newsletters.
5. Do they offer you the ability to schedule email delivery?
If you want to set up “drip” email campaigns, you’re going to want to consider only the companies that offer you the ability to set up scheduled email deliveries.
6. How much visibility into email recipient behavior do they offer?
Key data you should expect companies to report on includes: number of opens, clicks, bounces, unsubscribes, as well as click destinations – ideally by date, time, geography and so forth (the more data options companies offer, the better).
7. How many different options for opt-in forms do they offer and can they handle split-testing?
Because different types of opt-in forms can yield wildly different results, rule out any email marketing companies that do not offer multiple types of opt-in forms, as well as those that do not offer you the ability to split-test your forms to determine which ones will produce the best results.
8. What kind of support do they offer?
While some companies offer only limited support – typically in the form of email or help desk – others offer live support 24/7 via online chat and toll-free phone numbers. If immediate action is important to you, make sure you rule out companies that do not offer around-the-clock live support.
9 What kind of training is available – and how accessible is the training?
No matter how easy-to-use an email marketing solution may be, there will undoubtedly be some functionality that you won’t know how to use. Because of this, you should make sure that the companies you’re considering offer comprehensive training on all aspects of their tools and services (and that make the training available anytime/anywhere).
10. What kinds of subscription packages do they offer?
Email marketing companies typically offer monthly, quarterly and annual subscription packages. If flexibility is important to you, opt for a month-to-month subscription. If best-value is a top consideration, make sure that you can get a discount for a longer-term commitment.
Ultimately, email marketing can be one of the most effective and least expensive marketing efforts you undertake (ROI ratios for successful campaigns are commonly 50:1 or higher). Email marketing companies can help put your email marketing campaigns on the fast-track to success. You simply need to know what you need to know in order to choose the company that’s right for you.