Deciding on an Email Service

There are many email services that allow you to import your lists, layout emails, send, and run reports.  People often ask what service to use.  I’ll refrain from giving out company names because my answer is often different depending on client needs.

These services always charge in one of two ways.  It’s either a fee based on the amount of people in your list or a per email cost.  The price always scales.  So you pay less per person or per email as your quantity goes up.  I have found that all the main stream services you find online are reliable.  So often the service they offer at the price they offer is the biggest concern.  Typically, it breaks down like this.  If you are going to be sending frequently (at least once a month), it often makes sense to use the service that bills by the number of people in the list.  The only time this isn’t true is when the list is full of junk data.  This is a problem in and of itself but from a pricing standpoint it causes you to pay a higher price while not getting your message delivered.  If you are sending infrequently (sometimes once a month or less) then often the by email service is more appropriate.  Pricing tends to fluctuate between 5 and 1 cent an email, based on contract length and number of people.  This is an advantage to pricing by list when you have quarterly announcement or infrequent promotions. 

Other folks find small companies or affiliate services that offer an inexpensive email delivery system.  Others have an in-house database that allows for mass email sends.  My suggestion on both is to avoid them.  Both solutions have one major flaw.  They aren’t working to protect their sending rights.  Almost all of these services are blacklisted by major ISP’s, meaning people don’t get your emails.  The single greatest benefit to using a mainstream email service is that they work with ISP’s to maintain high rates of delivery.  Most small services and all in house services don’t.  I recently encountered a small affiliate email marketing service that was blocked by hotmail, yahoo, and AOL.  They were Gmail away from being blocked from all the big four.  I also once encountered an in-house database that had all email from a company registered as SPAM.  They were using their own site and servers to deliver the messages (which slowed all online activity) and due to a handful of SPAM complaints they were blacklisted.  They discovered the problem when their customer service emails weren’t received by customers.  The emails were being put in SPAM filters or blocked all together. 

It’s a lot of unnecessary work to save a little money.  Don’t run the risk of paying for something that isn’t providing the service advertised.  As it is with many cases, you get what you pay for.  If a service is unbelievably cheap it means they aren’t doing the back end work.  In email marketing shortcuts usually mean your message won’t be delivered.  Worse yet don’t inhibit the entire company’s ability to communicate via email  by using an untested in-house solution. 

So what service is right for you?  A reliable mainstream service is right for everyone.  From there, break down how many emails you plan on sending and how many people you send it to.  Most of the time you’ll find that the less than a month frequency trends toward a by email payment structure and once month or more frequency trends toward a by contact list payment structure. 

Need more help in setting up or running an email campaign? Call me (412.417.2309) and we can construct an ideal matrix for your company or organization.

– Eric
eMarketing Innovation


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