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Start-Ups

Selecting an Email Marketing Platform for Your Business

By Townes Haas   |    September 22, 2014   |    9:18 AM

Pros and Cons of Basic and Advanced Email Marketing Services

Choosing the right email marketing service is important to your small business’ marketing program. Your small business wants something that provides good results, but won’t cost a small fortune. Outlining some baseline criteria will assist with this process.

Selecting an Email Program

Before researching any email program, make sure you’re prepared with the answers to these questions to evaluate your business’ needs.

  • What tasks need to be accomplished?
    • Are you only planning on sending emails, or does your marketing plan include more advanced services like email nurture campaigns and database management?
  • How many emails will your business send on a monthly basis?
    • Approximate the number of emails your plan on generating per month. Email count could affect overall pricing, and many basic email programs don’t provide options for more than a few thousand emails per month.
  • Does the service offer a free trial period?
    • Trying the product first will help businesses determine if the software will meet all of your business’ email campaigning needs.
  • What is the service’s review rating?
    • Look at what others are saying about the product. Are the reviews good or bad? This will help narrow down the list.

Once you determine these essential needs for your business’ email campaign, an online search will pull up many different options. These should be narrowed down to a list of 3-4 email software programs. At this point, evaluate your budget and decide between a basic and advanced email service.

Basic Email Marketing Programs

Basic email programs like MailChimp and AWeber are extremely inexpensive and easy to setup. In fact, if your small business’ is list under 500 people, MailChimp is free. The templates are usually drag-and-drop, meaning that you can easily add or delete elements. Most of these systems are highly reliable, have solid spam filter protection included, and have high in-box ratings – meaning your emails are more likely to land in your consumer’s inbox rather than their spam folder.

The major problem with these basic email systems is that it’s hard to automate responses. Sites like MailChimp have autoresponder emails that can be sent at certain intervals. But these systems don’t have the capacity to categorize a user via preferences and send them emails based on those preferences. For example, if your business has a landing page multiple calls to action; say, a whitepaper download and a newsletter sign-up, an advanced system might take the user’s selection and drop them in to a nurture email path based on this preference.

Advanced Email Programs

Advanced email programs offer many additional services to enhance your basic email marketing efforts. Programs like Infusionsoft offer everything from being able to track tasks, add a shopping cart and other eCommerce tools to your website, and run advanced drip campaigns.

That being said, these programs can be more costly, ranging anywhere from $50 to several thousands of dollars per month. Further, for most small business owners, these extended services may be beyond the scope of current needs.

Always look at the email software use terms and conditions before selecting a service. Some services offer a month-to-month fee basis, and others may require a longer-term contract. Also, see if additional packages are required as this may further drive up fees.