You’ve been searching for that perfect email marketing technology. It wasn’t easy finding the one that could enable you to create true one-to-one email “conversations” with your customer and prospects, but you’ve finally found it. It’s a beauty, with sophisticated segmentation, dynamic content assembly, downloadable reporting, and so much more.
It’s a leap above the rest, and you think to yourself, “Boy, have we come a long way from those batch-and-blast days.”
But is it complete? That may sound greedy, but good-old American marketers are a demanding bunch; and choosing the right email solution provider today has enormous business, competitive, and cost implications for tomorrow. To help you navigate this often-confusing space, maximize your marketing return on investment (ROI), and build competitive advantage for the short term and the long term, here are my top email marketing must-have accessories. They can really make an email outfit!
Must-Have No. 1: APIs
It may be techno mumbo jumbo to some, but application program interfaces (APIs) are often overlooked necessities. APIs allow for the automation of key technical requirements and processes to make your email marketing flexible and easy. Make sure that your email solution provider has APIs that can quickly address your specific needs, such as automated file uploading, time-triggered events, and profile-data downloading. Time is of the essence for marketers, and there’s no reason to wait days for simple data transfers.
Must-Have No. 2: Marketing Plug-Ins
For years, marketers have turned to tried-and-true tactics because they work time and again, and now contests, sweepstakes, and viral marketing have become staples in the e-marketing tool kit. A recent Jupiter Media Metrix study estimated that viral marketing can lower acquisition costs by as much as 27 percent! In today’s competitive environment, you need these tools fast, and you need to implement them cost-effectively. Pick a provider who can deliver these essential marketing tools in a turnkey solution so that implementation is a breeze and customization is kept to a minimum.
Must-Have No. 3: Vertical Market Expertise and Tool Sets
Every industry has a set of unique business needs and requirements. For example, healthcare providers market around compliance and thus require a sophisticated time-triggered email messaging system. Pick a solution provider who has hands-on experience in your vertical market and has built the technology know-how to address your key business needs. Not only can it can save you an enormous amount of time and money, but it will immediately elevate your performance and ROI through the implementation of great thinking and best practices.
Must-Have No. 4: Integrated Services
Although technology has come a long way, marketers still need the kind of expertise and ancillary services that can really maximize ROI. Partner with a proven email provider who can surround the state-of-the-art technology with services that can help you build competitive advantage and stronger, more relevant relationships with your customers. Services such as strategic consulting, list acquisition, campaign management, data analytics, ROI evaluation, database services, and creative production form a full-service solution dedicated to helping you craft profitable, long-term bonds and conversations with your customers through email.
In the end, picking an email marketing solution provider should not be all that different from picking other things critically important to your success — you need to find the total package. Till next time…