Successful online business can’t be led without email marketing. Many people know that it is vital to have a website, but it is only one step in creating a successful online presence. You have to stay in touch with your clients and prospects. You need to have two-way communication with your clients and prospects, and the best way to do this is to have an email newsletter. To send emails to your customer, you need the right email marketing software. Choosing your email marketing software is one of the most important steps you have to take in e-business. What are those necessary steps in choosing email marketing software?
Free or fee-based
The first thing you will have to decide in choosing software for your email campaigns will be whether you want to use free or fee-based software. Some people may say: “There is much free software on the Internet, and why would I pay for email marketing software?” This is because some people still don’t have a habit of buying things on the Internet, especially non-tangible items such are software and services. Many people still don’t realize the power of email marketing, so they think they can be satisfied with a free service.
One of the most famous contemporary economists, a Nobel Prize winner Mr. Milton Friedman said that there is no such thing as a free launch. And there is another statement that says, “You get what you pay for.” I usually agree with these two statements, which have been proven in many examples, especially on the Internet.
You can choose to use free software for email marketing, but you will be limited to more advanced options. Some big portals offer free services for creating groups. This is OK, but in this case, you will send your email messages without many important features like personalization, email tracking, sending SMS, using CSV files, etc. I don’t have to mention that many “free” email marketing software providers will include their ads in your email newsletter. I guess that you don’t want that in your business email communication.
Some other free software like the free version of Group Mail will have limitations on the number of subscribers per one session. In this case, you will be able to send your email newsletter to 100 subscribers at once and in paid version to an unlimited number of subscribers and create an unlimited number of lists. It is recommended that you use fee-based email marketing software for your business email campaigns. However, you always have to look for a provider who offers a free trial, as well.
You have to check if your email service provider offers these several important features.
1) Personalization – personalization is one of the most important things that email marketing software provides. With good personalization, you will have better open rates and click-through rates. Some more advanced email marketing software like Group Mail’s paid version offers if-then personalization for users who want the maximum personalization.
2) Monitoring – email marketing is popular and useful because results can be measured very effectively. You have to ask your email service provider if their product offers detailed reports for open rates, click-through rates, deliverability…If their main product doesn’t offer that, they must offer additional services easily integrated with their main product.
3) Scalability – one of the main features of modern software is scalability. At this moment, you might need software that will send 1,000 emails at once, but in 3 years, your membership base can be 5,000. Will your software be able to handle that?
4) Creating HTML newsletters – HTML newsletters have better response rates than email newsletters in a plain-text format, so this is also another thing you have to consider in choosing your email marketing software. Without sending your email newsletter in HTML, you won’t be able to do email tracking.
5) Integration with existing applications and databases – your email marketing software has to offer you the ability to import data from existing applications and databases like SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL, Access, FoxPro, and Excel. Also, it is handy that it can be integrated with popular email clients like MS Outlook.
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