4 steps to choose the right email marketing software

Choosing an Email Service Provider (ESP) can be difficult. Very difficult if email marketing is new to you or your company. There are tons of questions to ask, tons of features to research, and then there’s just simply trying the product to see if it’s even enjoyable to use. For some there’s integration questions around APIs, A/B split testing, dynamic content functionality, data/list segmentation, etc. This can be a daunting challenge for someone who hasn’t had the time invested into the technology and the industry.

Let’s begin there; pretend for a minute we’re all still learning how to leverage email marketing technology and marketing strategies to make a 43:1 ROI (Return on Investment) for our place of work (We’ll never stop learning, truly). Our bosses would love it if we could all do that, right?

Beginning at square one, the first step is finding an ESP that fits your needs and budget. In your search, chances are you’ll take a recommendation from a coworker, friend, or a website maybe. While that’s fine-and-dandy, you could still run yourself into some trouble. You may end up putting your friends needs for an ESP over your own and never try the competition. Don’t do that.

Step One:

Find 5-6 potential ESP’s for evaluation, regardless of affiliation. Just pick a handful that seem to be at the right price point and have the features that would benefit you.

(The next step takes a little time, but will pay dividends in the end with regard to getting the most out of your money.)

Step Two:

Demo and free trial each vendor to get a feel for what work. Ask questions, even if they seem silly and test sending emails to yourself. You don’t learn how to ride bikes by buying a $3k racing bike and a snazzy Lycra outfit, you take them for a spin first. Then pick your top two.

Now, here’s where coworkers and friends come in. You’ve done your homework, you’ve narrowed your search to two prospects and it’s opinion time.  I’m assuming you’ll do this step, but you may find that out of those 5-6 ESP’s you love-love-love one of them. Good for you; feel free to stop reading now if you’re one of those lucky folks. If you’re not sure still, here’s where the opinions of others will help. They’ll tell you the good, bad and ugly on your top two prospects. You’ll hear about customer service, downtime, speed-to-send, ease-of-use, value, and overall satisfaction of the product and company.

Step Three:

Use the counsel and experiences of others to filter out your final choice. A great email marketing product with terrible customer service could very well turn out to be a horrible experience.

Here’s what you don’t do; take the advice of unqualified resources for the sake of not wanting to put in your due diligence. Here’s an example – Worst Place to Find Marketing Advice . Here’s a web property that’s giving you email marketing software advice in order for their website to benefit from the SEO value of the content. The intentions of this information might be good, but there’s a severe mix in ESP size and offering within this list. ExactTarget  and iContact aren’t comparable vendors, these are two totally different approaches to email marketing software  for two totally different market segments.

Step Four:

For great advice from various different seasoned email marketers jump on Twitter and use the #emailmarketing tag to find answers to your questions. There are also tons of reviews and resources available for you to get exactly what you need.

Find me on Twitter @rorycarlyle

About rory_carlyle

Rory Carlyle is the Marketing Director for BombBomb.com and founder of Carlyle Inc. He's also an Email-Geek, frequent twitter hound, web-analytics nut and an all-around dweeb. Rounding out a 7+ year stint in interactive marketing, finding a home with email marketing, and becoming the most awesomest person ever; Rory keeps his hands full with his passion. Hoping to make the web a better place one inbox at a time, Rory loves talking email marketing all day.

  • Rory Carlyle

    Thanks for the mention folks. Glad to be a helpful hand.


  • Donna Hicks

    Rory – a good post but I’m having trouble with Step 1 – though reading tons about how to make the selection.  If there are hundreds out there, how do you find “5-6”.  I have now heard (personal recommendation) of dotmailer – which was also recommended to me via #rfr on Twitter by someone else – but I’d like to stack dotmailer up against some other ESPs in the UK  So how do I find those?  My google searches have only so far shown those good at SEO!

    • Rory Carlyle

      The half dozen you’ll boil your decision down to is up to the business
      objectives of the company. You’ll need to match those needs with the
      offerings of the ESP’s. In the end, all ESP’s do the same thing – they
      send email. The features and services around sending the email are the
      reasons to use the company. Asking questions like: how well do they
      integrate with your current business solutions, what features do they
      offer to maximize my investment spend – using their tool, what
      partnerships and technology to they employ to ensure consistent service
      levels, etc.

      How you find these vendors are up to you. I’d
      broaden your search outside of just using Google. Call people, email
      marketing associations, subscribe to great email marketing programs and
      track their send back to the ESP’s servers, ask peers for current
      vendors without their opinion attached, contact the Email Experience
      Counsel for help, etc.

      The very website your on has a vendor list – http://www.emailvendorselection.com/email-service-provider-list/

      I won’t comment on dot-mailer due to the fact I’ve never used or evaluated their solution. Nor do I know your business objectives :)

  • Matt Williams

    Has read all in detail, excellent blog! With the support of the right email marketing software, you can be highly effective at your online business. However, determining the email marketing software that you need is perhaps one of the most crucial stages. I will recommend the site without a doubt.

  • Mildred Webb

    Love these steps well it is really important to carefully choose one which you think would be very beneficial for your business, reading reviews about your chosen software’s could also be a big help.

  • Kusum

    The information which has been passed in this blog is good. We get good tips from this blog.
    We use sendingmail.in,mandrill,mailchimp,vertical response etc.
    mandrill and sendingmail.in is cheap and good to use, where else open rate is concern mailchimp and vertical response are preferred but veyr costly.

  • https://www.10seos.com/top-seo-companies john

    Thanks for this post. I learn a lot of thing from this.A blend of trending news and worth reading stuff.Easy explanation with a lot of information contained by every point listed.

  • https://www.10seos.com/ Seo Company

    Great job! Keep up the good work!