If you try to send email marketing messages or bulk email from your personal email account, you’ll risk getting flagged as a spammer by your own email service provider (ESP), your internet service provider (ISP), and recipient’s email service providers like Yahoo and Gmail. If your personal email address gets flagged as a spam address, you risk having every email you send — not just your email newsletter — get blocked as spam.
So, if you want your email marketing message to reach your subscribers, you must sign up with an email marketing service provider (EMSP), follow the rules, and follow email marketing best practices. Not using a professional email marketing service provider sends a message to consumers about your business — and it’s not a good one! By skirting the law, you’re showing them that you’re either:
- Too cheap to spend money and invest in your own business, (so why would they ever invest with you)
- Not confident in your ability to succeed and make money to pay for the service, (so why would they ever feel confident investing with you)
- Out of touch with current laws and regulations about email communications and marketing, (which will make them question what else you’re not up to speed on)
- Not successful, or at least not as successful as you say you are, (if you ca’t even afford to communicate professionally, I probably should invest somewhere else)
Cheaping Out = Missing Out. Choosing to save a few bucks and email your list from your personal email account also means you don’t get to take advantage of all the awesome features that an email marketing service provider offers, like:
- Automatic list management
- Automatic unsubscribes
- Tagging and reporting
- List segmentation for targeted marketing
- Email analytics and data
- And more
Plus, to be honest, it is COMPLETELY DISRESPECTFUL to your audience. It tells your subscribers that you don’t really care about them. It sends the message that you’d rather save a few bucks than put their needs first — needs like the ability to easily unsubscribe automatically.
Making someone email you and ask to be removed from you list is a terrible practice. Not only is in unprofessional, but it puts people in an uncomfortable and awkward position that they may resent you for.
Reputable Email Marketing Providers
Some of the most popular email marketing providers include:
- Infusionsoft (We use them!)
- Office Autopilot
- Aweber (a favorite if you only need email marketing)
- MailChimp (a favorite if you only need email marketing)
- Vertical Response
- Campaign Monitor
- Constant Contact (We will not work with this provider and do not recommend them)
Note: There are definitely more providers out there than those listed above, but these are the ones we have used ourselves or worked with in some way through our clients.
The email marketing service providers I listed above all:
- Enforce strict rules in accordance with CAN-SPAM laws — which helps make sure your emails get delivered.
- Work tirelessly to keep their email services white listed (liked) by internet service providers and email service providers.
- Provide you with the ability to gather email subscribes or email opt-ins on your website automatically, as well as offer automatic unsubscribes.
- Provide the ability to track and measure your email marketing campaign results, opens, click-throughs, and more.
Which Email Marketing Provider Is Right For You?
The answer to that question comes with knowing what you intend to do with your email list, list size, broadcast frequency, and how you plan to use your list over time. Once you have the answers to these questions, you can dig in, do your homework, and select the best email marketing provider for your newsletter. Trust me, moving your list from one provider to another isn’t fun or easy — if you can make the right choice now, you’ll be grateful later.
Understand that features vary from provider to provider, and different features are available at different investment levels. For example:
- Some require a setup fee of up to $3,000 or more, some have no set up fee
- Some charge you a flat rate each month for unlimited emails, and some charge you based on the number of emails you send or the size of your list
- Some charge a monthly fee whether you send a newsletter or not, others only charge you when you send an email broadcast
- Some providers integrate social media and social sharing options, while others have no integration
- Some provider have WordPress plugins available for free that extend the capabilities of their services, and others barely integrate at all
- Some packages only include the ability to send your email newsletter, while other packages also include auto responder and follow up sequence support
- Some providers make it easy to use a custom email newsletter template design, and others make it really difficult
- Some providers offer behavioral tracking and behavioral marketing triggers, some don’t
- Some providers offer advanced list segmentation for highly targeted marketing campaigns, others offer zero list segmentation
- Some providers allow you to only use a single email field for your opt-in, yet others allow you to create custom fields
- Some provider force you to use their branded Thank You pages, or lame and ugly Thank You pages, and others allow you to set a custom thank you page URL
- Some providers allow you to only have one list in your account, and others allow you have several different lists
When reviewing email marketing providers, look not only at what you need right now, but what you will also need in a year, three years, or even five years. I’ve witnessed too many clients moving their email lists from one provider they outgrew to a new provider — and the process is seriously painful! Be smart about the provider you choose, and if possible choose one that can grow with you as you continue to grow.
For example: you may not need shopping cart services now, but you plan on adding information products to your site in the future and will need it then. In this case, you’d want to look for a provider that offers both email marketing and shopping cart services — and even better, find one that has an email marketing only plan for now, and a larger plan with the cart services included that you can upgrade to later when you’re ready.
What about you?
Which email marketing provider do you use? Do you love them, hate them, or have a love hate relationship you wrestle with? Have you ever moved a list? Are you choosing a provider right now?
We’d love to hear your thoughts below in the comments!
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