Email marketing is a form of direct marketing which allows anyone to send messages directly to a pre-determined list of users. (For more info about what email marketing is, check out this post, “11 Reasons to Use Email Marketing”)
Not all Email Delivery Methods are Created Equal
Everyone with an email account knows how to send an email. Most of us send out dozens every day. When it comes to sending out bulk emails, though, you are far wiser to rely on a professional email marketing service.
Using a consumer- or business-grade email account to send out your marketing emails can lead to big problems. Systems like Outlook, Gmail, Hotmail, etc. are simply not equipped to send out bulk emails and lack the features necessary to execute a successful email marketing campaign.
Email Marketing Services
While there are many different email marketing Service Providers, they all tend to provide the same basic services:
Analytics & Statistics
When you send an email by yourself, you have no way of knowing how many people actually received your email, let alone how many actually opened it.
Email marketing services use special tools to separately track how many emails are received in inboxes and how many are actually opened. You can even see who opened and who clicked through and what was clicked. Furthermore, you’ll receive reports on unsubscribes, bounces, and formal spam complaints.
All this data will help you improve future mailings to increase response open and response rates.
Most modern email marketing Services allow you to test out multiple subject lines to find the most successful one. For example, you can set two different subject lines on a randomly select sample (e.g. 10%) of your mailing list. The system will automatically compare the open rates and then send the email with the “winning” subject line to the rest of your list.
Pre-Approved To Send Bulk Email
Most email systems limit the number of emails that you can send at once. You probably won’t even know when you’ve reached the limit–your emails simply won’t go through. Furthermore, bulk emails from most normal email accounts will quickly get flagged as spam. Email marketing services have relationships and agreements with internet and email providers to send authorized bulk email through, without being flagged as spam.
(NOTE: Email marketing services still allow you to display your own email address in the “from” box–they simply change key “under-the-hood” settings that your customers won’t see.)
Professional Mailing Practices & Legal Requirements
Using your normal mailing system can result in privacy breaches, like exposing your entire list in the “To” or “CC:” line. Separately, a failure to include unsubscribe instructions or an unsubscribe link is now against the law.
Email marketing Services verify that your email complies with standards and will display correctly across all modern computers, web browsers, and email systems. They also ensure that your email meets the size requirements enforced by many email systems without having to sacrifice the higher response rates that come with graphic-rich HTML emails.
An Email marketing service will host and manage your list. They will manage unsubscribe requests and “bounce-backs” from recipients whose email addresses are no longer active. You can even separate lists into multiple segments and groups.
While setting up and sending out mailing lists is manageable by anyone with intermediate computer and internet skills, the hard part is knowing how to structure and analyze the results of email marketing campaigns. Anyone can send out an email, but it takes experience and training to craft a headline that will get users to open your email instead of sending it straight to the trash. And once the email is open, what buttons and calls to action will convince users to click your links and convert into real sales?