Once you’ve started collecting those email addresses it is now time to start sending some marketing emails. The first step will be for you to find a good email platform. Having used quite a few different ones over the past few years I can say that in terms of usability they are all pretty similar.
However, try to think beyond your current basic needs and find a platform with the possibility for example to link directly to your database through an API, this will save you the trouble of importing your customers’ details manually. Here are a few tips to find your ideal email platform.
Online or desktop based?
Online is definitely the way to go. You will be able to connect to your platform wherever you are which is definitely a plus.
Check their reputation
Find an email platform used by blue chip companies, this is usually a sign of good quality. It means they’re quite selective with their customers and their name is not associated with SPAM. If unsure, check the reputation of those email platform providers before working with them (Spamhaus or uribl)
These email platform providers need to offer a free trial so you can try all of its functionalities before you buy. Most of them offer one these days so if you feel you’ve found the perfect platform and can’t see anything about a free trial, just ask for one.
Another important thing is cost of course. It will depend on the number of emails you send, the more you send the less you pay. Negotiate and try to find the best rate possible. As a benchmark you shouldn’t pay more than 1p per email sent. Some email service providers will try to have you pay more than this to use their platform on the basis that it’s one of the best on the market.
If you think their arguments are valid, ask to test it on a limited number of emails and check the results. At the end of the day it’s all about your ROI and it may be worth paying a little more per email if you get a better response.
Some email platform providers will try to charge you a considerable amount of money for basic options like segment creation or an additional sender’s name and email address. Make sure you carefully check what’s included with your email licence before signing. Unlimited segments should be a free option.
During your trial test your platform to its full extent and measure how long it takes you to perform each task. The interface needs to be user friendly and use as little of your time as possible to create and send campaigns. Create segments and send several campaigns during your trial period to check the platform’s usability.
Finally, make sure you can easily get all the basic stats from your email platform (delivery rate, open rate, CTR, unsubscribed rates) at no extra cost. An added bonus is to be able to get a breakdown of the number of emails that landed in the spam folders as well as a summary of what links people clicked in your emails. In addition the possibility to create aggregated customised stats from several campaigns would be a big plus.