We’ve been talking a lot over the past few days about building relationships and getting to know your audience. Once you have a good idea about who your audience is, fully understand your reason for being, and know how the products and services you recommend benefit your ideal customer, then you can work on choosing the right email marketing platform that will work for you today and into the future as your business grows.
There are several really good email platforms available these days. It’s not like when I first started to do email marketing and you had to have your own server and run the list through your local ISP. I used to send a weekly newsletter on Sundays, and I would have to call them up and let them know I was starting to send my email newsletter out so that they didn’t shut me down for using up too much bandwidth.
Those of us who started email marketing in the 90s were never so happy as when Tom Kulzer came along with Aweber*! Since then, email technology has come a long way, and there’s a lot that goes into deciding which email marketing platform is right for you.
Here are 9 things to consider when choosing an email marketing platform:
1. What’s Your Starting Budget?
You may not know exactly what your budget will be for an email marketing platform, but you should have a general idea. Most reputable autoresponder companies offer a free option with limited features so that you can try them out and see if you like what they have to offer.
The one thing to remember is that what you pay for an email marketing platform is an investment more than and expense. Your email list is going to be your biggest asset with an online business, and you want to make sure that it’s housed somewhere reliable.
You hear the saying “the money is in the list” a lot in internet marketing, and with a 38 to 42 dollar return for every dollar you spend, it’s something to be taken seriously. Set a reasonable budget but realize from the start that this is going to be one of your biggest income earners too.
2. Do They Have a Good Reputation?
Because there are so many different email marketing platforms available, you will always want to check the standing of the company before using it. Just because it exists doesn’t make it useful, nor does it make it right for you and your business.
When you’re checking out your competition pay attention to the email marketing platforms they’re using. That will give you a good idea of where you should start your search. And don’t be afraid to ask people which autoresponder service they recommend and if there’s anything they don’t like about the service.
3. Do They Share Deliverability Statistics?
The email marketing platform you choose is vital because it’s a trusted system by your customer’s email providers. If they cannot get your emails or they all go to spam folders, you won’t get very far.
Most reputable email providers will provide you with some kind of deliverability report. Convert Kit* provides a monthly report in their newsletter that covers deliverability, clicks, and open rates. You can see an example of their deliverability report here.
4. Does This Integrate My Current Technology?
If you already have a website and other technology that is important for your business, can this technology be used with what you already have? It’s important to understand what it works with so that you can get the most from the solution.
There’s nothing worse than thinking you’ve found the perfect solution only to realize that it doesn’t integrate with your shopping cart or other technology. The last thing you want to do is make your customers jump through extra hoops to get their purchases because your autoresponder and your shopping cart don’t play nice together.
5. Can I Segment My Audience?
The ability to segment your list easily can be a deal breaker once you start growing. This criterion is something you cannot get by without. You need to be able to automatically segment your audience based on when they sign up, what they sign up for, or where they sign up for your list.
6. Can I Set Up Automation Based on Subscriber Behavior?
In addition to segmentation based on what the customer downloaded or consumed, you should also segment your subscribers based on their behaviors. For example, did you send a survey to your email list? The people who answered should be segmented from those who didn’t.
7. Are the Terms of Service Compatible with My Business Model?
This is huge, and something that you absolutely must pay attention to. You must know and understand the terms of service so that you know whether or not you can use the service the way you plan to.
For example, if you plan to do a lot of affiliate marketing to your email list, you need to know whether your chosen platform allows that. Many of them don’t, so you’d want to make sure you choose one that does. I’ve seen too many people over the past year or so get their accounts shut down because they didn’t follow the company’s terms of service.
8. Will This Choice Grow with My Business?
You may not need all the features of the technology when you first get started but trust me, you’ll need many of the features later as your business grows. You want to choose the best system you can based on the ultimate goal of your business growth, not where you are now, because switching systems isn’t as easy as you may think, and you’ll lose list members in the process.
9. Is It Easy to Use?
The final issue is, can you figure out how to use it enough to use it now? You can hire an expert in the product to run it for you, but it’s always a good idea to understand it a little bit. The trials can help you determine if you can figure it out enough to get started.
Don’t be afraid to try a few low-cost or free trails but keep in mind that they can be limited until you get the full version. Using free versions for business is not recommended, no matter how long they let you do it. Invest in your business, and others will be willing to invest in you.
By now you should have a good idea of what to look for when choosing an email marketing platform.
And you’re probably wondering which one I recommend.
My personal favorite right now is Convert Kit. I’m on my second go-round with them after testing out a few different options in between. And this time I’m about 18-months in. I like how easy it is to use, the fact that there’s a one-click integration with amember, and the visual automations tool. I’m also thinking about playing with their paid newsletter feature in the future.
If you’re interested in learning more about Convert Kit, you can grab a free trial here*.
Then be sure to register for the Virtual Events Unlimited Vendor Showcase on April 28, 2022. I’ll be doing a live walkthrough of setting up your Convert Kit account at 12 p.m. Eastern.
*Note: This post includes affiliate links, for which I will receive a small commission should you make a purchase.