If you are doing any mass email communication at all, I strongly urge you to use a professional delivery tool. Outlook doesn’t cut it.
I write and publish email campaigns for a variety of clients and I’ve worked with a few different delivery tools but my favorite tool, and company, is Vertical Response, affectionately referred to as “VR”.
Top 5 Reasons You Should STOP sending email invites, announcements, newsletters and coupons through software like Outlook or Mac’s Mail:
- Ease Have you ever tried to send out more emails than your email client allows? Ugg. It is so frustrating to have to send batches, copy all the addresses into the BCC line, hope that you didn’t send the invite to anyone twice, and then watch your email box fill up with undeliverable messages.Using a delivery tool, you can send thousands of emails with one click. A service like VR will scan your recipients list, remove duplications, and report undeliverables in one email. So clean.And delivery systems offer a one-click unsubscribe service that automatically removes people from all your lists. That means you don’t have to go through all your database lists to remove people by hand, and readers don’t have to email you to ask to be taken off your list. They click an unsubscribe link on the email.
- The Pretty Factor Humans like looking at things that are attractive. Although it is true that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, we all know nasty, spammy, muti-coloured, text junk when we see it. And we dump it, which severely limits its effectiveness. Well designed HTML emails are gold.Marketers used to stick to text-only emails because not every email reader would support HTML emails. Those days are behind us. VR’s HTML editor automatically creates a text only version, which it sends to servers that block HTML. So you can pretty up your communications without compromising deliverability.What’s more, VR’s tools guide users to work within design best practices. For example, the HTML editor limits users to the 8 font options that display properly in all the major email readers. (VR tests on Outlook, Entourage, Hotmail, Yahoo, etc). HTML is never going to look exactly the same from one machine to another, but if you stick to some basic guidelines you can create emails that are pretty stable and, let me say it one last time, pretty.
- Deliverability Face it. People don’t open attachments, A) because they are worried about viruses, and B) because it requires effort. So don’t waste time making a PDF pretty. If people don’t open the attachment, it doesn’t matter how pretty it is.Also there are file size and spam filters that can get between you and your reader. VR and the other delivery services are in the business of being up on the best delivery practices. Most will limit your email’s file size to something acceptable to most servers. And they assign your email a spam rating so that you know if there’s a problem before you send it, giving you an opportunity to make changes and improve your deliverability (making it much easier to improve your results!).
- Tracking I love tracking. Once an email is launched, VR has a live reporting feature that shows you what percentage of respondents have opened, clicked, bounced, forwarded or unsubscribed. You can even get reports that show you exactly who clicked on what.If you don’t have any indicators of how people are responding to your email campaigns, you may as well just pop letters in the mail or tape posters on walls. One of the biggest advantages of email communication is that you can track, react to, and strategize recipient engagement.I watch my open rates and click-throughs on all my campaigns. I look for dips, or peaks and try to figure out what the factors were. That helps me improve my calls to action, my subject lines, etc. Bottom line, tracking helps me create emails that readers want to open and respond to!
- Cost If you are sending campaigns that are:
- a pain to put out,
- ugly/visually boring,
- suffer unknown delivierability issues, or are
you are are wasting time and money for no good reason. Professional email delivery is so cheap! Every delivery system uses a slightly different pricing structure but they are all quite reasonable.With VR, you pay about a penny per email, or if you send large volumes you can get an even cheaper rate by paying a monthly fee. You can create, test and send 250 emails for a whopping $3.75. A list of 2000 costs about $35. It is almost embarrassing what you get in terms of marketing value for that.
If you aren’t using a professional delivery tool, monitoring best practices, and reacting to readers’ interests you are missing a big, lucrative and ridiculously cheap boat.
I’m happy to talk to you about strategies, or help you develop content, but I encourage you to sniff around Vertical Response’s site. This links you to a trial program that lets you create and send up to 100 emails through their system at no cost.
Other delivery systems include Constant Contact, Magnet Mail, Campaign Monitor and aWeber. There is a whole industry supporting effective email communications – quick, get on board!