Selecting An E-News Provider

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E-newsletters are an important marketing component for any size or age business. E-newsletters give a business credibility, believability, and marketing consistency. A strong marketing campaign also allows for a business owner to stay in front of their past, present, and prospective clients. The more frequent and value added interaction a business has with its clients the more opportunity for referral based leads. And we all love those warm leads don’t we?

The best, most reliable, and cost effective e-news distribution methods are predominantly from web-based providers. I would advise against sending out e-newsletters yourself if you do not have a reliable marketing/technology assistant on staff. You also want to stay away from sending out your own e-newsletters if you are not well versed in current spam regulations as you can run the risk of being identified as a spammer and having your organization’s domain name flagged. It’s far better to outsource your e-newsletter distribution to a provider that is 100%-focused on delivery and has a strong track record.

Before you start searching for the right provider, you should consider the following:

  • Delivery – Ask prospective providers what they do to ensure the highest probability of e-news receipt. Ideally, they will maintain a strict anti-spam policy, build relationships and feedback loops with major ISPs and get on white lists (lists of approved email addresses) to ensure your e-news is delivered. Ask what kind of information you get on bounces and how bounces are handled.
  • Ease of Use – It should be straightforward and fairly quick to import and export your mailing database, manage your list online, create and send e-newsletters. The ease of use should extend into reviewing and understanding your marketing results.
  • Flexibility – You may want to switch between text and HTML for different marketing projects. A superior system will allow you to create and send in both formats as well as the ability to segment your email addresses into strategic distribution lists.
  • Pricing – Most providers have a monthly fee based on the size of your list and/or number of emails sent. Some providers also charge a one-time set-up fee. Cheaper is not always better, time has to be factored in to cost, because time is money.
  • Reliability – To establish a provider’s reliability there must be a history to look back at, working with a new company is a risk you may not want to take.  Ask for references or statistics to prove the company’s track record. Ask other business owners or bloggers who they use. Your organization has too much to lose if something happens so check into safety and or backup measures.
  • Tracking – One of the greatest benefits of e-newsletters is the instant gratification of quantifiable results. Make sure your e-newsletter provider tracks how many people (and who) receive it, open it and/or click through to your website.
  • Here are a few of the most popular e-news providers – With this service you can send unlimited automated email messages in HTML format to your target audience. – More expensive than most but offers other tools such as e-survey distribution to e-news subscribers. Very service oriented. – An application which allows web designers to manage newsletters and deliver campaigns to their subscribers. – Create custom made emails or choose from already existing templates. You don’t need any technical knowledge, simply use the wizard and create professional looking e-mails in a few minutes. – Combination of tools to help you build, send, and track emails to your customers.  We have a robust templating system with built-in CRM, along with surveys, website tracking, subscription forms, an XML API, and much more. – A newsletter solution for email marketers that allows you to create, publish and track campaigns. – Users can send newsletters in HTML format which makes e-mail marketing easy. – Stylish, simple and easy to use. They also have robust delivery, easy audience management, tracking and support. – Allows you to build, target, send and track email marketing newsletters, online surveys and direct mail postcards.

    Mashable has a wonderful post with a much larger 30+ list of e-news providers if you need a few more choices.

    If you have recommendations or feedback on the providers I have listed I would love to hear about it…..

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    About Author

    Bridget is President of The Get Smart Web Consulting Group, a web presence and digital strategy firm with offices in San Diego County California and Collier County Florida. But more importantly she is a web, tech, and Twitter addict!