First there was direct mail marketing, but as soon as the Internet came into popular use it was only a matter of time before email marketing became a force to be reckoned with in the online world. Despite a rough start where people got so sick of spam that the US Government passed the Can-Spam Act in an effort to curb the growing trend in mass junk mailing. The problem still remains today but ethical email marketing has risen above that and people recognize it for what it is – a method for businesses to communicate with them.
So what types of features should you be looking for in an email marketing solution?
1. List Management
You may think you’re only ever going to be working with a single mailing list but that will quickly change once you really get involved with email marketing in a serious way. The email marketing solution you choose should allow you to handle multiple lists in the simplest possible way.
It should also allow you to create autoresponder sequences and a single broadcast mailing to the same list with just a few clicks – the more intuitive the package is the better. In addition it should allow you to segment your list so you can target just specific groups within your mailing list. We found this very important when we did the marketing for a customized cancer treatment startup I worked for.
Remember you want this to be as automated as possible so there’s very little work for you once you’ve generated the opt-ins to your list.
2. Double Opt-Ins
Because of the splurge of spam that caused the creation of the Can-Spam Act in 2003 you must, must, must have an email management solution that works with the double opt-in process. This basically means that once the person signs up to your list they’re sent a second email asking them to confirm their subscription and at least this way you’re completely minimizing the amount of unwanted opt-ins that you receive.
You’re also staying clear of any legal issues or potential complaints against you. Any solution that doesn’t offer the double opt-in feature should be avoided like the plague.
Once you’ve created your list you’re going to be emailing your customers and readers and an important aspect of this process is checking what’s called your Open Rate. This tells you of the number of e-mails you sent out how many were actually opened and read. This type of analysis is critical to ensure that you’re writing the most effective and enticing subject lines possible for your email campaigns.
Also if you’re including any links in your emails for products or services you’re recommending or just sharing resources with people then you’ll need to know how often these links are actually being clicked to measure your click through rate. Again this is an important part of analyzing your email promotion efforts – it allows you to fine tune what you’re doing so you can improve your next broadcast to your list.
Getting email marketing right isn’t rocket science but getting the right solution in place at the very start is the key to success here. There’s nothing more frustrating then creating a list with one provider and then realizing that they’re not going to be able to offer you what you need.
Then you’re going to have to try either migrating your entire list or worse again asking your customers and clients to opt-in yet again to an entirely new email management system. Neither one of these is fun and the entire process can quickly become a nightmare that involves people simply opting out of receiving any emails from you at all.
Look at what solutions other successful email marketers are using and simply follow their example – they’re using it because it works.
About the Author:
Lior Levin is a marketing consultant for a psd to html company and for few other Internet companies.