Email marketing has made a huge buzz in the online industry these past few years. Studies by AMR Research have shown that targeted email marketing campaign generated about 7 to 12 times the response rate of the traditional snail-mail marketing.
Email marketing has been the easiest strategy to do since the emergence of the internet. It became easy to communicate with people and reach your target audience with the use of this technology. That is why more and more companies have ventured into this marketing campaign for the hopes of better results for their business
A report made by Forrester Research showed that companies spent $1.1 billion just on email marketing during 2001 and has considerably increased in the following years. That is why several vendors that provide email marketing products and services came out to take advantage of this booming market.
There are indeed a lot of solutions and services available for any company's needs but the thing is, it is difficult to choose which one would suit your company best.
Before starting to evaluate the different solutions available, it is best to understand email marketing campaign and its components better. Email campaign involves strategy, creativity, copywriting skills, list management, process execution, reporting and analysis. Some of the service vendors provide most, if not all, of these categories. Depending on your company's specific needs, you may avail some or all of these features.
Evaluating Different Solutions and Services
Email marketing service providers can be categorized in three main areas: off-the-shelf, mid-range, and high-end solutions. Evaluate the main characteristics of each solution in terms of the features, benefits and costs.
- Off-the-shelf solutions. This type of service is ideal for small businesses willing to allot internal resources for email marketing. The features commonly included in this type of service include sending personalized HTML emails, list management, basic tracking and reporting, and customer service.
The maximum number of emails off-the-shelf products can handle is 500,000 per month. This kind of service can range for as low as $30 to $350 per month. However, for most of these service vendors, ownership and control of list, reporting and data tracking are theirs.
- Mid-range solutions. An example of a mid-range solutions provider is Pixel Bridge. It provides its clients with fully customized solutions, from strategy formulation to tracking, analysis and maintenance, depending on the clients' needs.
This type of service provider is ideal for small and mid-sized entities with advanced marketing needs. These companies are usually those that are comfortable in using outsourced marketing services and customized solutions.
The costs of availing the service of mid-range solutions providers range from $500-$3,000 per month. They typically manage 1,000 ? 100,000 emails per month. The application that these service providers offer can also be bought outright for $10,000-$50,000.
- High-end solutions. These high-end marketing companies are focused and really specialize on email marketing. Examples of these firms are Carat Interactive, MarketFirst and Responsys. These providers offer sophisticated marketing technologies capable of launching and monitoring online or offline marketing strategies that involve millions of recipients.
These providers offer a more comprehensive data analysis approach such as helping their clients identify historical patterns to improve their conversion rate. The cost of availing the services of high-end providers range from $6,000-$60,000 per campaign, which average from $20,000-$30,000 for most promotions.
Each company has its own unique set of requirements, and email marketing has evolved to offer different solutions to address those needs. When choosing the right email marketing service, keep in mind your company's needs. List down all possible vendors that you think will suit you best, and then map out each one to identify which among them can address all of your company's requirements.
Price is always an important factor to consider. However, you do not have to always sacrifice quality of service for a low price. The important thing to be addressed is your internal needs and requirements. If you choose the right service provider for your company, paying a bit steeper price may not matter anymore since you will eventually earn it back with the huge returns that the marketing campaign promises.
Several big organizations have realized that email marketing is such a unique field and most traditional marketing practices just don't keep up with the online world. So when it comes to choosing your email marketing provider, be sure to make the right decision for more successful years ahead.