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Norman Campbell
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Buying eMail marketing solutions
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There are so many different eMail marketing solutions available on the market today – how do you make the right choice?  What are the factors to take into account?  What features are important to you?

This article looks at, what I consider to be, the 'Top 25' features that any eMail marketing solution should offer:

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1. Local support
  • Local office
    if the support office is based abroad, only certain times of the day will be available for you to talk to your supplier.
  • Same-day support
    does the supplier have the manpower to answer calls on the same day?
2. Multiple-user access
  • Many people will need access
    it's essential that everyone involved in eMail marketing can access the system, whether they're creating eMails, broadcasting campaigns, or simply accessing and reading the reports.
3. De-duplication
  • Automatic de-duplication
    the de-duplication of eMail addresses needs to be an automatic process to prevent your customers and prospects from being bombarded with multiple copies of your eMail.
4. Append data
  • Add more data to your lists
    inevitably, you will collect more data as time goes on and it's essential that the system allows you to append this data to the mailing list, rather than creating extra lists.
5. Exclude particular data
  • Filter out certain addresses
    there will be certain campaigns where you will want to exclude certain contacts or remove addresses that have bounced.

    The system must allow you to exclude a particular list of addresses that have already been uploaded to the system.

6. Bounce management
  • Automated bounce management
    removing bounced messages manually is a very time–consuming process. Make sure that the system 'collects and removes' bounces and gives you the opportunity to view a report telling you why they bounced.
7. Soft-bounce management
  • Automated re-sending
    this will make sure that 'soft bounces', eMails that did not get delivered because of a temporary problem, get re-delivered.
8. Testing
  • Seed list testing
    it's essential to test your eMail to a 'seed list' to test, for example, whether there are technical issues that need to be addressed.
9. Split-testing
  • Compare different approaches
    ensure that your chosen system can test and compare variables, such as different subject lines or different designs and measure different levels of effectiveness, e.g. higher or lower click-through rates.
10. Handling multiple lists
  • More than one list
    just about every company that I've come across has more than one list – it's not ideal, but it's a reality. Check to see that your chosen system offers this facility.
11. Unsubscribe management
  • Automated Unsubscribe mechanism
    the system needs to be able to take the person wishing to unsubscribe to a landing page, confirming that they have actually been unsubscribed.  This should also be picked up by the system so that the record is 'flagged' and is never sent an eMail again.
  • 'Global' & 'list' unsubscribe
    cutting-edge systems will offer two types of unsubscribe – 'global' and 'list'. A 'global unsubscribe' will unsubscribe the recipient from all lists, while 'list unsubscribe' will simply flag the record as unsubscribed from a single list.

    You will also find the following related article to be of interest:

    30 ways to build 'opted-in' eMail lists.

12. Scheduling
  • Queue eMails well in advance
    make sure that your chosen system enables you to queue up eMails well in advance of the broadcast time. This will make life much easier for you.

    Again, you will also find the following related article to be of interest:

    How to check your eMail
    campaign broadcast

13. Plain text option
  • 5% of recipients can’t read HTML
    ensure that your system can send out a plain-text alternative automatically. This is also known as MIME format.

    Read my article:

    Why prospects prefer HTML eMails.

14. System capacity
  • High-volume users
    if you're sending out 50,000+ eMails at a time, make sure that your chosen system can handle this volume. Check this out by insisting on a sample campaign.
15. Getting past the ISP filters
16. Personalisation
  • Simple personalisation
    at the most basic level, this is the ability to insert 'Dear First Name' into the eMail intro. However, this only a very basic level of personalization – cutting-edge systems like our ePartner can do so much more…

    You will also find the following related articles to be of interest:

  • 'Dynamic content'
    state-of-the-art systems (like our ePartner) are able to assemble and broadcast eMails in real time with different text and different images, depending on the specific information stored in each individual's record.

    This 'smarter' approach results in increased open-rates.

    Again, read my articles:

    You will also find the following related articles to be of interest:

    Increasing your open rates

    20 Tips for writing effective B2B eMails

    More effective eMail subject lines

17. Segmentation
  • Segment the list
    in order to take advantage of the 'dynamic content' facility described above, your chosen system needs to have the ability to 'segment' the data.
18. Store additional data
  • Store 'peripheral' data
    you will need to store data such as purchase history; product preferences; etc. that you can use when segmenting your list and personalising your eMails.
19. 'Trigger' eMails
  • Automated 'follow-up' eMails
    'cutting-edge' systems can send out very specific, automatic, 'trigger' eMails to respond to prospects' specific actions, like their 'click-throughs' to particular web pages.

    This is in effect the next stage of the sales process – responding to particular interest. The end-result is that these automated trigger eMails move the sales process on, potentially resulting in more sales leads.

eMarket2 is a specialist B2B technology marketing agency – we’re ‘business-to-business technology experts', and we can provide a complete ePartner eMail marketing solution to suit your specific needs.
  • More sales
  • More profits
  • More ROI
More… it's what we do, for less than you think
20. Data Privacy issues
  • Data privacy issues need to be taken
    care of

    systems like our ePartner will prompt you to incorporate opt-in statements, making compliance to data privacy laws straightforward, helping you avoid possible future accusations of spamming.
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