There are many email marketing platforms available for you to choose from. How do you make the right choice?
To find the email marketing platform that will be the right fit for you and your business, you need to firstly answer the question: What are your long term goals? Your long term needs and plans? Where do you want your business to go?
By knowing where you want to end up, you can choose the email marketing system that will be the right fit not only for you now but for you in the future. This will save you a lot of head ache, and even money, as you don’t have to look at moving to a different platform in a years time (or sooner).
If you have been using an email marketing platform that you are outgrowing, you don’t have to stay where you are. Now is the time to re-evaluate and make the necessary move to an email marketing platform that will better suit your needs and future plans.
Our businesses are continually growing and changing, and so are the needs we have for the programs and services we use.
I encourage you to keep your future goals and plans in mind, as you answer these key questions to find the right email marketing platform for you.
1. Is the platform list-centric or subscriber-centric?
There are two main categories of email marketing platforms – list-centric or subscriber-centric. A list-centric system is a platform that has multiple lists that subscribers are added to based on certain behaviours or critieria. For example, you would have a separate list for each lead magnet, product or service you offer. Many platforms that are list-centric charge based on the total size of your lists and not just the number of subscribers. This means that you may be charged for duplicate contacts.
The other type of email marketing platform is a subscriber-centric system that has one master list and the subscribers are given separate tags to categorize certain behaviours and preferences. Instead of having multiple lists, each subscriber can have multiple tags. There is no limit to the number of tags a subscriber can have and you are not being charged for duplicate contacts.
2. Can you set up automations and auto-responders?
Email automations and auto-responders are the “magic” to your email marketing campaigns. They give you the ability to set-up rules so an email is triggered to automatically send when certain criteria is met. For example, you can set-up a follow-up email to send X number of days after a subscriber has downloaded your free offer. Or send a specific email to someone who clicks on a link in an email.
These automations allow you to nurture your subscribers and send the right email to the right person at the right time. All in the background while you spend your time on the front-end of your business.
3. How many subscribers and/or emails are you allowed?
When choosing what email marketing platform to go with, this question needs to be answered especially with your long-term plans and goals in mind. Some platforms may appear to be cheaper but you many actually end up paying more depending on how subscribers are counted and if there is a limit on the number of emails you are allowed to send each month. Make sure that you consider the maximum number of subscribers and emails included in your plan – will this plan meet your needs for the long-term? Sometimes it is better to go with a price plan that is a little more at the beginning but will be cheaper for you as your email list grows. Or you may risk losing subscribers if you decide to transfer to a new email marketing platform that better suits your future needs.
4. What type of reporting is available?
You want to ensure that the email marketing platform you choose provides an easy way to monitor email reports. Can you easily find out who opens your emails? The number of clicks per link? How many subscribes and unsubscribes you have overall and per tag or list? These reports are all important when it comes to evaluating how well your email campaigns and newsletters are performing with your audience.
5. What type of support is available?
Each email marketing platform and the specific price plan may vary in terms of the level of support and customer service available from the system itself. If you require help, do you have to pay by call? Is the support provided by email or chat? How good is their FAQ and online help system?
6. How well does the email marketing platform integrate with other systems?
Most small business owners use more than one system in their business. The majority of us have at least a website that needs to integrate with our chosen email marketing platform so when people complete an opt-in form for a free offer, they get added to our email list. If you are a course creator, how well will your chosen email marketing platform connect with your e-course platform? If you sell products, how well will it integrate with your e-commerce system? Does the email marketing platform integrate directly with the other system or will you need to use a third party system such as Zapier?
7. What is included within the price plan?
This question was touched on briefly with question 3 when we looked at the number of subscribers and emails are included within the price plan, but it is an important question to consider. What features are included within the price plan? What is not included? Are the features that are not included items that you may need in the future?
When looking at the price plan options, it is important to compare the higher level price plans with other email marketing platforms as well, because remember – you are making this choice not just based on where you are right now but based on your future goals and plans. Will it still be worth choosing this email marketing platform as your business grows?
8. How user friendly is the platform?
Is the email marketing platform that you are looking to go with user friendly? Is it a system that is easy to use or is it more complicated to learn? You will want to choose an email marketing platform that you can set-up yourself, figure out how to use and maintain, especially if you are not wanting to outsource the support work.
However, let’s be realistic. Do you have the time available to figure out a new system, set it up and maintain it? You could potentially save precious time, and probably earn more money, if you outsource to an experienced virtual assistance. Rather than struggling to figure everything out for yourself, you have the option to outsource and better use your time in other areas of your business – such as working with clients and growing your business.
So – these are the key questions to ask when looking for the right email marketing platform for your business.
Now, it’s important that you don’t just select the free option because it’s free! The email marketing platforms that have free plans often have many limitations. And it can cost you more in the long-term as you have to spend more time and money to transfer to a different system when you outgrow this free option. This could lead to lost subscribers, which of course is a lost lead or opportunity.
It is just as important to not get sucked into “shiny object” syndrome and select an option that is too high end for where you are. Just because an email marketing platform has all the bells and whistles doesn’t mean that it is the right option for your business.
Choose wisely from the beginning by comparing your options with the questions above. If you are unsure of the best option for you, book a complimentary call with me to have a quick chat.