of Going It Alone - Please Think Again
If you are thinking of launching
your own email campaign in order to save a few bucks please
consider these things.
Why deliverability is
a growing concern and how you can overcome it. As your
email list grows, can you deal with the technical requirements
and bandwidth needed?
- How will you know what your emails are doing for you?
- Can you measure them the right way?
- Developing message content, making each email and customizing
- What about a great design?
- Do you have the time and technology?
- Why you need to consider SPAM, and how to deal with it.
- Managing all of those names, opt-outs, email address changes
… do you have the time and technology?
Where did it go?
Deliverability of email is a growing concern
on a daily basis. Major ISP’s are blocking anywhere
from 15% to over 50% of their incoming email. Assurance Systems,
a digital marketing services firm, estimates that about 20%
of legitimate, permission-based email is getting blocked as
a result of increased spam monitoring.
If you have a deliverability problem, as
most go-it-alone email marketers do, your emails will never
get delivered, or you’ll be faced with threatening spam
“blacklists” and blocks. Many organizations have
even had their ISPs shut them down.
The rules are changing daily. The ways to
“play nicely” and navigate through spam woes are
time intensive, continual, and costly. Additionally, federal
email regulations have created specific guidelines for sending
Just a few methods of ensuring deliverability
with ISPs and verify that you are a legitimate marketer.
You will usually have to sign contracts and follow certain
rules and procedures and stay on top of them as the landscape
changes. After the dozen or so major ISPs there are literally
thousands of mid-tier ISPs.
Bottom line: TIME
Create a partnership
with an anti-spam program like the “Bonded Sender”
program. You’ll have to put up a cash bond and
be willing to forfeit the money if you are reported as a spammer.
In return you will get “whitelisted” by over 9,000
Bottom line: $$$$
Make sure that your
mailing list is continually cleaned. Do you have the
time to insure that people who choose to unsubscribe are removed,
manage bounced names, and insure that you are not offending
anyone who did not give you permission to mail them. This
could lead to lawsuits from Federal anti-spam laws.
Bottom line: TIME
AND POTENTIAL LAWSUITS
Work with an organization
to monitor your email delivery. Companies offer services
for message delivery and statistics, blacklist reporting and
spam rankings for messages. Services like these deliver sophisticated
and useful tools, but they come at a price.
Bottom line: $$$$
How big are your pipes?
Email campaigns can place significant technical “loads”
on your network. If you send a message to a few thousand names,
depending upon your mail server, you’ll eat up a fair
amount of your organization’s bandwidth. As your list
grows, this will become more and more of a burden. What about
all of the bandwidth that everyone forgets about? As your
email list grows, can you deal with the technical loads and
Bottom line: TECHNICAL
Can you manage your
list easily? How will you import your customer’s
names and email addresses? Will you be able to segment or
organize names? How will you manage people unsubscribing?
How will you handle email address changes? What if you have
the same address twice? Will they get the message twice?
Sure, sending an email message to a few
colleagues is pretty easy. When you start to market using
email however, things change. For instance, if you are providing
permission-based messages to clients and prospects, you absolutely
need to give them the ability to have their name removed,
or “unsubscribe.” This is the law, and if you
don’t, you are breaking Federal anti-spam laws. How
will you handle removing these names from your next mailing?
Wait until your list gets to be a few thousand names …
you’ll be sure to get dozens or even hundreds of people
unsubscribing each time you send a message. Will you have
an easy process of “flagging” them?
People change email addresses. How will
you handle address changes? Can you enable people to modify
their addresses without your intervention, or will you have
to manually edit names as they notify you? One of the biggest
misconceptions about email marketing has to do with the time
spent on list management. Some email marketing services have
spent countless hours and lots of money to develop technology
and processes to help you easily manage lists of hundreds
or even thousands of names. Features like auto-removal of
unsubscribes, and making sure they stay removed (even warning
you if you try to reinstate them as a subscriber) are very
difficult and costly to develop if you are “going-it
alone.” Managing all of those names, opt-outs, name
changes … do you have the time and technology?
Bottom line: Time,
$$$$, and Technical Expertise
You need to make it
before you send it. Developing HTML emails is pretty
simple, on the surface. You just create an HTML page, fit
it into email dimensions, and you’re ready to go. Not
exactly. Successful email marketers need to consider many
aspects of email message creation.
Bottom line: Creativity
and Design Expertise
email services have technology that can determine the
email client, and deliver the message in a correct format,
or the best format to fit their technology parameters. Some
services will even create text and other versions (AOL) automatically
Why do people complain
that my messages look weird in AOL? AOL treats HTML
differently than most browsers. Smart technology will automatically
create a different version of the message optimized for AOL
Bottom line: Technical
Do your messages accurately
reflect your brand? Email messages are important to
your brand. Think of an email message as an electronic brochure
– the design and level of professionalism will be a
direct reflection of your brand. Do you have the design and
technical talent to create stunning messages – every
Bottom line: Marketing
What about analyzing
reports? Once you send an email message (and assuming
it actually gets delivered), do you know what happened to
it? One of the most powerful aspects of permission-based email
marketing is the ability to instantly track many aspects of
the message. Measuring the success of your message is commonly
overlooked, yet it is crucial to email marketing.
Consider gathering and analyzing the following
data if you decide to “go-it-alone.”
Will you be able to view?
Who opened your email messages?
How many times people opened it?
What people clicked on?
How many times people clicked?
If people forwarded the message to anyone?
If people unsubscribed?
If people are no longer at an email address?
Compare the success of one message to another?
Combine messages to understand success of
a series of messages?
View trends in your list growth and mail
How will you know what your emails are doing
Can you measure them the right way?
As you can clearly see reporting is
an extremely valuable part of email marketing. Having the
opportunity to see exactly what happened to a message gives
you the ability to make better decisions on future messages
and offers. Email reporting is also “real-time,”
providing data minutes after you send a message. Will you
have a complete suite of reporting tools if you “go-it-alone?”
Bottom line: Analysis
Ability Equals Greater Success of Future Campaigns
As email technology evolves, will you be
able to stay ahead of the curve? Email messages are starting
to incorporate animation, video and other rich media to further
enhance the user experience. How will you incorporate new
technology into your messages?
Whether or not you decide to “go-it-alone”
or work with an email marketing service, the areas of email
delivery, list management, message creation and reporting
should be of significant concern to you.
A Truly Successful Campaign has many aspects and you should
decide if you can do-it-yourself or should you do-it-right
by relying upon experts.