The fact that you clicked on this article leads me to assume five things about you.
1. You’re dabbling in the field of email marketing.
2. You are aware of how this marketing avenue can help expose your brand and drive traffic to your website.
3. You have neither the resources nor the manpower to manage a successful in-house email marketing campaign.
4. You’re in search of the best email marketing company out there.
5. You don’t know where to begin.
The selection of the best email marketing company isn’t a gamble. It’s not something that can be determined by chance, but rather an undertaking that requires ample comparison research to sift through those email marketing companies that can talk a load of B.S. and those that are genuinely rooting for your success. If you have a decent head on your shoulders, this shouldn’t come as something new. However, the question lies in exactly how to choose the best email marketing company to suit your specific business needs.
There’s no such thing as a “one-size fits all” email marketing company. If this were the case, we wouldn’t be in this dilemma now, would we? Each email marketing company is different in its own way and each offers a host of different programs and services tailored to the unique needs of your business. When putting each company up to the chopping block in the grueling selection process, take your own selfish needs into consideration and ask yourself what you want out of a partnership? For instance, do you want a close working relationship with your campaign managers, or would you prefer a company who completely takes the reigns of your email marketing campaign with little to no feedback? Are you looking for a company to send a simple newsletter template to your own first-party list once a week, or are you looking for a custom, full-service email marketing platform to generate awareness of your brand among members of your target audience?
As with anything that requires a little research, start with a simple Google search to find the major players in the game. Access the first 20-50 listings that pop up on your search engine results and narrow them down to only those that scream with professionalism. If their website is tainted with poor navigability or full of useless content, don’t even give them the time of day. Once you have compiled a list of potential candidates based on their compelling website presence, can you justify the claims they make online with positive online reviews, ratings, and testimonials from previous clients who can vouch for their credibility? If you can’t seem to find anything else online that speaks volumes about the company’s prior experience and reputable character, how can you really trust them to promote your brand in a positive light and create a powerful brand image among avid Internet consumers?
Just because a certain email marketing company truly blows you away with years of experience and an impressive track record, do you stop there and say, “you’re hired”? If you recruit an email marketing company solely based on their website, aren’t you essentially judging a book by its cover?
Forget the impressive website graphics, the host of valuable, informative content, and the remarkable online reviews for just a second.
Simply pick up the phone and ask questions.
1. What services do they offer? How do their rates compare to those of other companies on your list?
2. How big is the company? How long have they been in business?
3. Do they work with experienced marketers only, or do they have managed email marketing services for companies who don’t have the expertise?
4. How do they manage the entire process? Are they hands off or do they guide you through the entire process giving you expert advice ?
5. Is their email data all optin?
6. What practices do they follow to ensure a high inbox delivery rate in an email campaign launched to the masses?
7. Do they offer email validation services to remove all dead and bad emails, which would increase the likelihood of reaching the inbox?
8. Do they offer live tracking to enable you to review your results in real-time and keep tabs on your progress throughout the entire deployment process?
9. Are they equipped with the resources and technical expertise to launch both small-scale and large-scale email marketing campaigns alike?
10. How do they differentiate themselves from their competition?
Once you put the phone down, take a minute to reflect and ask yourself a few follow up questions:
1. Did they greet you with an unparalleled level of customer service and a genuine desire to get you the help you need?
Related: What is the Cost-Benefit Analysis of Delivering Great Customer Service?
2. Were they knowledgeable about the trends within the email marketing industry? Did they offer unique insight into common unsolved business problems? Or did their answers simply beat around the bush?
3. Do they seem to offer generic programs only? Or do they also offer customized programs that align with your personal business goals and expectations?
4. Did they follow up and provide you with any additional information or a quote as promised?
5. Were they willing to set aside the time to help you through the process? Or were they more interested in getting you off the phone so that they could attend to other seemingly more important matters or push you to close the deal and make a sale?
Companies who truly mean business will respond with a program to fit your needs or give you a call to discuss any and all potential recommendations or concerns in a timely manner. Remember, your money and your time are on the line. The more questions you ask, the more knowledgeable you are about the entire process and the more confident you will feel about the strength of your partnership now and in the future. It is important to make educated decisions based on the company’s experience and track record rather than giving into your “impulse buy” tendencies. Don’t hire someone just because you’re in a rut or pressed for time. Choosing the right email marketing company will help you get off of your feet and equip you with the right tools to unleash your message through the most revenue-generating marketing channel available.