Email Marketing as first step ?
The first step in developing your email marketing program is to put the technical infrastructure in place in order to handle the type and volume of email you will send. If you were going to set up a call center, you would never try to run it using only your personal phone number. You would hire an expert to tell you what you need, get dozens of phone lines and other telecommunications hardware, and put software in place specifically to handle routing calls. Likewise, you should never try to run an email marketing campaign using your personal email account. A standard email account with Gmail, Outlook, or Yahoo is simply not capable of organizing and contacting large numbers of people through a mailing list. Instead, you will want to work with an email service provider (ESP) that provides specialized software and infrastructure that can help manage your mailing list and deliver email to your subscribers.
What Email Service Providers Do in order to empower your Email Marketing?
An email service provider is a company that provides email marketing software and delivery infrastructure to businesses, nonprofits, and individuals.
Here are some common tasks that your ESP will handle:
- List Management :
Your ESP will store the list of active subscribers on your mailing list(s). They will also automatically add new subscribers to your mailing list that sign up through your opt-in forms, process users that want to unsubscribe, and remove old email addresses that are no longer valid.
- Templates :
Your ESP may offer pre-made HTML templates that will provide your email with a unique look and feel. Most ESPs also offer the ability to upload a custom HTML template created by you or a web designer that you hired. It may also offer the ability to ensure your HTML template is compatible with most major email clients.
- Auto-responders and Mail Scheduling
Your ESP will let you send a pre-written series of emails to all new subscribers over a period of several weeks or months. This is known as an auto-responder series. Your ESP
Will also allow you to create a calendar of future mailings and schedule mailings to send out at a particular date and time
- Delivery Engine
Sending a large volume of email requires a significant technical infrastructure and knowledge of how email deliverability works. Your ESP will provide the servers and software needed to deliver your email to subscribers’ inboxes and can help if you ever run into a deliverability issue, such as being blacklisted.
Your ESP will be able to track important metrics related to the performance of any given email, including the total number of sends, opens, bounces, clicks, and unsubscribes. Some email service providers may also provide a tracking pixel that will allow you to tie any given sale back to a particular email.
- Spam Testing
Your ESP can gauge the content of each email that you send against commonly-used spam filters. You will receive an automatic warning if you use language found in many typical spam messages or make other technical mistakes that may cause an email provider to block the message or deliver it to a subscriber’s spam folder.
- Marketing Automation
Some ESPs will allow you to send a series of messages in response to users that take a specific action, such as opting in for a new offer, purchasing a product, or abandoning their shopping cart on an e-commerce site. This functionality, known as marketing automation, allows you to send more targeted email to your subscribers and will likely improve the long-term success of your email campaign. Please note that the quality of marketing automation tools can vary widely from ESP to ESP. If marketing automation is something that you want to take advantage of, select an ESP that was built with marketing automation in mind.
- Dynamic Messages
Your email service provider will allow you to dynamically customize the content of each email to tailor it to each subscriber. The most common use of this functionality is to open each email with “Dear [FirstName]” instead of a generic greeting.
- HTML and Text Formatting
Your ESP will be able to create emails that are formatted as both HTML and plain text, which may improve your deliverability rates.