Email remains a relevant and workable platform when communicating with customers and interested prospects. I continue to feel that email as a customer acquisition tool is a difficult road at best.
Our agency helps craft email messages for our clients. The method of distribution comes up frequently. The leading commercial email provider is Constant Contact (CC). There are others like Strongmail, Goodmail, Silverpop and many more. CC is a solid platform that is relatively inexpensive with somewhat limited functionality. But it’s cheap. Did I mention that? When we recommend email distribution (and we have our own proprietary platform) we sometimes recommend NOT using our own solution. This has mostly to do with individual client budget limitations.
If you are sending 500 emails, or even 2,500 a platform like Constant Contact offers a simple interface, a few templates and a decent reporting system. Once you step up to higher quantities it makes more sense to consider a platform that has more features, better reporting and unlimited graphical opportunities.
Most of the commercial email platforms like CC have their own ‘advertisement’ at the bottom of the email. If you are a corporation connecting with your clients and prospects that’s not necessarily the most professional look and feel. And once you are sending out thousands of email at a time the expense factor levels out and a proprietary system can actually be less expensive as the numbers get larger.
And what about substantially expanded creative capability? Our www.YourCover.com product had used CC for years and we were frustrated by the limitations set forth by the platform itself. We simply could not maintain our brand image using the CC interface. And as our email list has grown the cost savings has become less evident. So we are moving over to our own platform (finally) since our list is both large enough and we cannot put up with the graphic limitations of CC.
Why a proprietary system over one out of the can? It’s all about integration. The ability to send emails, surveys, Purls, direct to landing pages and even print on demand off of one engine makes our lives (and our client’s lives) so much easier AND so much better in terms of reporting and metrics. And last time I checked making things easier and better was still important.
Or at least I think so.