You’ve probably heard that email marketing is a pretty big deal for your business. After all, it’s one of the most effective ways to reach your audience. The numbers don’t lie: According to a study by the Radicati Group, it’s forecasted that over 5.2 billion email accounts will be created by the end of 2018. That’s a lot of potential customers to tap into with your email marketing strategy.
But when it comes to email marketing, a lot of businesses fall short. Often, the major culprit is partnering with the wrong email marketing company. That usually happens to business owners who aren’t sure what they’re looking for or what questions to ask when interviewing potential companies to partner with. Fortunately, we can help with both.
Here, we’ll cover some of the the things you want to keep in mind during your search for the perfect email marketing company. Once you have that figured out, download our list of important questions to ask before signing on the dotted line. Knowing what you need plus a list of hard hitting questions is the tried-and-true formula for finding the best fit for your email marketing strategy.
Why Your Email Marketing Company is Important
Like a good pair of shoes, you want to be comfortable with the email marketing company you choose and to have them take your business the distance. A lot of business owners think that all they need are some nice looking templates and the ability to blast out messages. But the right email marketing company can do so much more.
Get Your Message to the Right People
Using segmentation, you can actually divide your subscriber lists into specific groups, then deliver targeted content directly to their inbox. This increases the chances of getting clicks and converting reader into customers, since they’ll be more likely to engage with information that’s tailored to their wants and needs. The right email marketing company will be able to effectively segment your audience and craft a content strategy that will resonate with your different readers.
Keep You Compliant
CAN-SPAM, CASL and GDPR requirements are an important but confusing aspect of email marketing strategy. You’re busy running your business, and understandably don’t have time to plan a marketing strategy, create content, and then double check that your emails won’t wind up in SPAM filters or result in a fine. The right email marketing company will already be up to date with the latest regulation and will be able to keep your marketing strategy compliant with the latest laws and also help with making sure your messages are getting to inboxes.
Save You Time and Money
Yes, it is possible to do everything yourself and not spend a lot on email marketing. However, the resources and time needed to effectively run an email marketing strategy are extensive – you could wind up spending the equivalent or more trying to figure everything out on your own than you would’ve spent with a decent email marketing company. And, possibly, with lower results. In the end, the right email marketing company can actually save you time and money, while improving your business (which means you have a better chance of making that money back).
Tips for Choosing the Right Email Marketing Company
Ready to take the plunge and choose an email marketing company? Here are some ways to find the perfect fit for your business:
1. Know Your Goals
Nobody knows your business better than you. So, before shopping around for the right email marketing company, take some time to figure out exactly what you want from your email marketing program. Avoid being vague and focus on specific and measurable objectives that align with your business goals. A good way to get started is by answering a few questions, like:
- What are you trying to achieve with email marketing?
Do you want to drive sales or build brand awareness? Knowing your email marketing goal can dictate the type of content you send out.
- How many subscribers should you hope to have by the end of the year?
Do you want to grow your subscriber list? If so, by how much? Look at your web traffic, registered accounts, or social followers to get a sense of what’s realistic for your business.
- Do you know all of the different potential customer touchpoints when interacting with your brand?
Automating trigger emails to correspond with certain points in the customer life-cycle can increase engagement and enhance your customer experience, without adding extra work for you. But first, you need to figure out which touch-points make sense for your readers. Some options include welcome emails, cart abandonment, post purchase thank you, win-backs, and anniversary emails.
- What is considered good performance for open and click rates?
Every industry is different, but having an idea of the average open and click rate for you can help you figure out a realistic goal for your business. Check out resources like this one to set your own email marketing benchmarks.
2. Set a Budget
Money isn’t everything, but it’s still a pretty important aspect of any business venture. You need to know how much you have to spend in order to set a realistic expectation when meeting with potential email marketing companies.
Take a couple hours and review your cash flow over the last few months to figure out a price range that you’re comfortable with. Having that set range will make the negotiation process much easier and can help you eliminate options that may not fit your pricing criteria.
Also, keep in mind the resources you currently have on hand. For example, if you have someone on your team that’s able to create creative images or do copywriting, that’s less you’ll have to outsource to your email marketing company (meaning less cost for you).
3. Find the Right Model
When it comes to email marketing companies, you have plenty of options to find one that best fits your business needs. It’s not a one-size fits all approach – it’s a matter of finding the model that best fits how your business operates. Some of the most common email marketing company models to choose from are:
- Self Service Platforms: These are email marketing providers that let you take the wheel. They provide the tools (and sometimes training), and then you and your staff take over to build, send, and track your email marketing campaigns.
- Full Service Agencies: If you lack the resources to run an email marketing campaign in-house, then a full-service agency will take care of it for you. They’ll come up with everything, from concept to delivery – you just sit back and focus on your business.
- Assisted Service: This option is like the best of both worlds. Assisted services gives you the keys to the bus and teaches you how to drive, while picking up in the areas you need help with.
At Wired Messenger we have customers in all three of these models. We believe that flexibility with what is required for each of our customers is key to ensuring the best results.
4. Understand the Choices
Once you know which email marketing company model works best for you, it’s time to learn about the different platforms you can choose from. There are several options, each one with their own benefits and drawbacks. This might be less important if you’re going the full service route but it’s still a good idea to understand the choices available and cost implications of each.
To find the best platform for your company, start by creating a list of potential vendors that you think could work for your business. For a reference on the different email marketing companies available, check out this email marketing software grid. For some options for agencies that can help with full service campaign management, check out this reference for top agencies in Toronto.
The next step is making a list of the features that you require for your email marketing strategy. Is it important that you can integrate your platform with a specific service? How much flexibility do you need when designing your emails? Or, would you be fine with using a template? Our list of questions for email marketing companies can also help you figure out the key features that are important for your business.
Now that you have your vendors and features picked out, make a pros and cons list for each platform that fits in your budget range. This will give you a realistic example of what to expect when working with each platform.
For example, Mailchimp is great for those just starting out as it’s very easy to use and has a free tier that scales up for smaller businesses. On the other side, it’s hardly used by more experienced email marketers as it lacks some more advanced functionality like supporting interactive emails, setting up file automations and advanced list upload manipulation. Salesforce on the other hand, is a popular choice with large enterprises. It offers a tons of functionality for automated data integration, triggers, and cross-channel journey mapping – but it costs a lot more and requires more in-depth knowledge and configuration to get started. In both cases, support can also be a challenge for those who don’t have an agency that can help with full service campaign management. At Wired Messenger, we have clients from small to enterprise and service our clients on our platform or theirs. We support both MailChimp and Salesforce and have experts in both areas.
5. Put it All Together
At this point, you should have a quality list of email marketing companies that fit your criteria, budget, and business needs. Now, it’s time to put everything into action. Contact the top three companies on your list and if possible set up a meeting face-to-face or via video chat. You’ll be working very closely with the email marketing company you choose, so it’s important that you’re able to vibe well during the interview.
Be prepared with a set of questions that will cover everything, from how they’ll meet your expectations to what kind of reporting they will provide. Ask anything and everything that comes to your mind, and be sure to jot them down before your meeting so you don’t forget. Check out our list of must-ask questions for some inspiration.
At the end of the day, every business is different. Finding the best email marketing company for you comes down to understanding your own goals and limitations, and finding a company that can help you with both. To learn more about what to look for in your search for the right email marketing company, download our nifty tip sheet with questions that will help you find the perfect match for your business.