Tips for Choosing the Right Email Marketing Service for Your Business
By Marina Hoffmeier July 25, 2016
Choosing an email marketing service provider just got even easier. Here’s your checklist to determining what you need from your ESP and more.
Give yourself a pat on the back. You’re here because you know email marketing is essential and you want to learn how to incorporate it in your marketing strategy. You’re one smart cookie.
There are a lot of things to consider when deciding which email service provider (ESP) is going to help you launch or grow your business. So don’t feel rushed.
To help you reach your final decision, here are some things you should consider:
Establish goals for your email marketing strategy
What are you looking to accomplish with email marketing? The answer to this question is usually the same: Connect with more customers and earn more income, of course!
When you have the right ESP to support you, it becomes even easier to turn that dream into a reality. Growing your business through email is possible because it gives you a constant two-way stream of communication with your customers. It’s also a great way to keep them in the loop with promotions and updates.
As you set expectations in the beginning, it’ll guide you towards an ESP with the features to help you meet your goals.
Identify your budget
The same way that every business is different, so is every budget.
Email marketing is often inexpensive, but it’s important to plan your budget accordingly. Some ESPs offer basic freemium models for startups and smaller lists but then require you to upgrade once you go beyond a certain number of features. There are some that offer unlimited emails, but will charge you based on the number of subscribers you have. And there are some ESPs that calculate the cost based on the number of emails you send instead of the size of your email list.
Be sure to keep this in mind as you do your research and look for an ESP that gives you the most bang for your buck.
As you do your research, you might also find different payment plans, such as monthly, quarterly and annual pricing.
If the price overwhelms you, remember that for every dollar spent on email marketing, the average ROI is $44. That’s a 4,400 percent increase in your pocket!
Consider educational resources and training
There’s no shame in getting help with a new product, especially when it comes to your business. You’ll find that some ESPs offer a variety of educational resources, including how-to articles, blog posts, webinars, videos, podcasts and other training tools to help their customers learn more about the product and email marketing.
Here at AWeber, for example, we even offer email courses designed to teach our customers about a specific email-related skill, like What to Write in Your Emails.
Evaluate their deliverability rate
Resources and training are great to have, but sadly they don’t matter if your emails never make it to the inbox.
Email deliverability rate is a way of measuring how successful emails are at making it to subscribers’ inboxes. Choose a provider with a high deliverability rate to give your emails the best chance of making it into the inbox.
You’ll know you’re in the right hands if you see teams or individuals who are dedicated to fighting spam. (AWeber has a team of deliverability experts that work closely with email clients like Google, Yahoo and more to ensure the best possible chance your emails get delivered.)
Look for advanced email automation
With email automation, you can schedule emails at a specific cadence ahead of time – this way, your emails can work for you as you take care of other areas of your business. You can do things like create a friendly welcome email series to showcase more about your business, or start an educational course to help subscribers learn a new task – the sky’s the limit! You can use automation for more than just scheduling broadcasts. Most email marketers use it for numerous lists, annual emails, follow ups and recent activity. Your ESP should give you access to all of this.
Take it from AWeber’s CEO and founder, Tom Kulzer, who created the original autoresponder back in 1998. He wanted a way to easily follow up with business prospects, and he ended up automating a process that became the foundation of AWeber.
Get email analytics to measure effectiveness
Imagine you sent your first email yesterday and have no idea how your audience reacted to it. This is tragic in the email world, but it happens.
Being able to track individual email stats is a must-have when choosing an ESP. Access to click-throughs and open rates, new daily subscribers and bounce rates are all factors you’ll want to know, since they’ll help improve your campaign.
Keep in mind that not all email marketing providers track analytics the same way. To make sure you understand what you’re getting, learn how the ESP you’re considering gets its numbers.
Create beautiful, simple sign up forms
It’s important to dress the part for a new client meeting, right? The same rule applies to your sign up form. Except you’re not just promoting your business; you’re promoting your email list.
That’s why it’s important to look for an ESP that makes it easy for you to start collecting subscribers right off the bat. A couple of notable features to keep an eye out for include pre-designed sign up form templates and a sign up form generator.
This way, you can choose from existing templates to save time, or you can build your own customized form.
Some ESPs will even offer A/B split testing for sign up forms. Let’s say you’re stuck between two designs and you’re not sure which one will resonate most with your visitors. When you run an A/B split test, you can experiment with different elements in your sign up form to see which one performs better.
Also consider what level of personalization you can add to your sign up forms, such as custom fields. These allow you to request more specific information in your form like geographical location and other areas of interest your company may offer.
Choose a provider with customizable HTML and pre-designed templates
When it comes to designing your emails, you should have the ability to do so with ease – regardless of your level of expertise.
Most ESPs, like AWeber, offer both customizable and pre-designed templates. You should also look for a platform that allows you to build emails in an editor you’re most comfortable with; drag and drop, HTML and plain text editors are some of the most common.
Consider segmentation capabilities
The secret to a successful campaign is sending relevant information to the right audience. To do so, you need smart segmenting capabilities to narrow in on targeted groups of subscribers.
Segmenting allows you to send targeted emails to subscribers based on their demographics, email domain, click-throughs and more.
Segmenting ensures that your subscribers only receive information that they signed up for at the right frequency.
Pick an ESP that integrates with other apps
If you use other tools to power your marketing and business (like WordPress, Facebook or PayPal), you’ll want to look for an ESP that syncs with it. This way, you can ensure people signing up to your webinar landing page, for example, moves directly into your designated email list – saving you time and effort in having to do so manually.
Merging your marketing strategies into one area helps you make the most of your experience. Not to mention, it makes it easier to automate your marketing efforts.
Get award-winning customer service when you need it
You’re a business owner with limited time to wait on the phone for tech help. That’s why you need to choose an ESP with a reputable customer support team. You need a team of trusted, knowledgeable individuals who are available every day to answer your questions.
They should be accessible through phone, email and/or live chat to answer questions about billing, importing lists, scheduling emails and more.
Test it before you buy it
If you’re still unsure which ESP is right for you, we have some good news! Most ESPs offer a hassle-free trial of some sort so that you can test the water and explore. Don’t get stuck with an ESP that just doesn’t measure up to your vision.
Fortunately, each asset mentioned above is something that AWeber prides itself in. Want to see if AWeber is the right ESP for you? Sign up for a free 30-day trial today!