Businesses large and small are making email marketing a core part of their marketing and sales strategies. To fill this growing demand email marketing software vendors are offering a wide array of options to choose from. Companies trying email marketing for the first time and even seasoned professionals can find these options confusing.
In fact, many first-time email marketing buyers can be steered toward unfortunate trade offs in implementing their campaigns in order to “fit” the pricing and limitations offered by their email marketing vendor. Understanding the limitations of your email marketing solution in advance of vendor selection can prevent unnecessary delays and costs and make the difference between success and failure in email marketing. Below are 4 questions any buyer should ask potential email marketing vendors when selecting the right fit.
#1 – How many emails can I send? How often?
Most vendors base pricing on the volume of emails sent. Most commonly, a monthly subscription permits sending a certain number of emails. Plans are sometimes based on the list size.
It’s crucial to understand packages and limitations clearly. Planning for success in email marketing means companies should expect to add every potential customer and influencer within their market segment to their email marketing list over time. With some pricing plans, this success can be penalized.
# 2 – What are the costs of exceeding the emailing sending limits?
In order to encourage customers to opt for more expensive options, often prohibitive per email charges apply when limits are exceeded. These charges can far exceed the base monthly subscription amount. Charges can accrue when –
- The total volume of emails sent in a month exceeds a limit.
- The number of emails sent to the same recipient list in a month exceeds a limit.
- When additional prospects are added to the email marketing software, regardless of whether they are sent emails.
# 3 – How difficult will it be to exchange information with the sales team?
Most solutions are designed to be used by one or two individuals, typically the marketing staff, administrative assistant and sometimes an executive. This leaves customer facing staff like sales people and customer service reps out of the loop. Businesses commonly rely on their sales staff to provide contact information for new leads for addition to the email marketing solution. Even when the sales team uses a contact management or CRM solution to manage leads and customers, adding new contacts to the email marketing solution can be challenging. A periodic export of email addresses from the CRM can be challenging. Issues arise with duplicate contacts, contacts with changed emails and other data management problems. In addition, changes in customer status can result in inappropriate emails being sent to customers.
For example, a new customer could receive emails offering discount pricing at a lower price point than their recent purchase. Ideally, email marketing campaigns should be specifically geared for prospects in each “stage” of the buying process and should be changed as frequently as customer status changes. Finally, email marketing solutions often provide valuable intelligence about customer behavior. Who opened the email? Who clicked on the “Buy Now” link? This intelligence can be tremendously valuable to the sales team. However, there must be a simple and automatic method to alert the sales team of these opportunities. Of course, moving a list of prospects who clicked on a link in an email from the email marketing solution into the sales team’s contact management or CRM system is hindered by the same data management issues discussed above.
# 4 – Can the email marketing campaigns be automated?
Email marketing is most effective when implemented as a campaign, rather than a blast. Mass email blasts soliciting a purchase can easily be perceived as annoying spam by customers. However, a series of emails each highlighting common “pain points” of customers and suggesting solutions can be highly valued by a business’ target market. Of course, a campaign requires consistency and specific timing to be most effective.
Many email marketing solutions require the user to execute a campaign as a series of individual email blasts, leaving the user to manage lists and remember schedules on their own. Some email marketing solutions offer “schedule it and forget it” capabilities that allow the user to select a group of prospects or customers, start a multi-step email campaign one time while the email marketing system automatically sends emails at the appropriate time to the selected customers.
Even after considering these questions, choosing an email marketing solution can be daunting. Many businesses know they need to implement email marketing but, having virtually no experience with it, just aren’t sure how they’ll create their campaigns in the first place. That’s why we’ve created the SalesNexus Sales Mastery Institute. In the Institute, SalesNexus subscribers have access to articles, ebooks, webinars and more expertise in email marketing, selling, sales management and CRM.