Which Email Marketing System Is the BEST One?


A lot of people ask me what I think about email marketing systems and how they work. My answer is not as much about how the individual programs work themselves, as they all have their benefits and they all have their drawbacks. My answer is really about the functionality my client is looking for in their program. So before you start using an email marketing program, or migrate from the one you are currently using, there are several things you want to consider about where your business is today, and where you expect it to be in the next 12 to 18 months.

Contact count. How many contacts do you anticipate having in the next 12 to 18 months? What is the number today, how quickly is it growing? What is your goal for 18 months from today? You will not want to change providers very often as that can cause confusion for your list numbers, so having an understanding of this is important both for budget and functionality reasons. Some providers will charge you one rate for your first 500 contact, and some will charge a bit more for up to 2,500 contacts. Knowing your numbers will help you decide what makes the most sense for your budget.

Number of Lists. How many individual lists do you anticipate having? Is it your preference to have all your contacts feed into a single list or would you like to be able to keep separate lists based on where and how your contacts came to you. Will you be doing a lot of programs or events that you want to keep sign-ups for separate? This can be extremely helpful if you anticipate sending follow-up and reminder emails about the events. Some programs will only allow your contacts to sign themselves up for a single default list, and others will allow you to feed people to different lists based on where, how or why they sign-up.

Autoresponders. How important are autoresponders going to be in terms of your email campaigns and list connections? Do you want to set up one group of autoresponders, and have everyone receive them, or would you prefer to tailor them based on the lists your contacts are being fed into? Consider what you are promoting. If your messages are very clearly around one topic or set of topics, you probably only need one set of autoresponders. Conversely, if you have numerous programs, or ever promote the programs of others, you may want to have the flexibility of multiple autoresponder campaigns.

Integration with other programs. For many of my clients, their list is the center of their business – an email marketing is a powerful revenue generator. Their lists need to integrate with their blog, their shopping cart, with YouTube. Do you contacts who buy from you to automatically be added to customer lists, or is that something that you feel you’re better off handling manually? Are reasonably comfortable figuring out how to connect programs so that they work together, or do you feel that you need things to be as integrated as possible and that’s worth paying for?

These are just four areas I feel are worthy of review before selecting an email marketing system. If you have more, feel free to share them on The Implementation Station blog. While you’re on my website, you can review some of the systems I recommend on my resources page.

Assignment: Take a few minutes to evaluate if your email marketing system is working for you. If your business and offerings are growing it might be time for a change.

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