How to buy ... e-mail marketing

Using e-mail as a marketing tool is a cost-effective way to reach your customers. But it is vital that your chosen partner operates on a professional level.

E-mail is the most cost-effective DM channel for companies, but only when using the proper tools. Selecting the technology and solutions to ensure successful communication with your target audience is a must.

Pick a trusted partner

Anyone with an internet connection can install software and set up as an e-mail distributor. That doesn't mean you want to do business with them. Ask your partner how long they have been established. Is list hosting and distribution a significant portion of their business revenue? Make sure they host the technology themselves and that they cover all your territories. You want to benefit from their existing systems and experience, not be part of their learning curve.

Best-of-breed technology

Don't shop by price alone. Look for state-of-the-art technology that enables you to communicate in the most powerful and cost-effective way.

Is it compatible with your systems? Does it require installation, upgrading, technical aptitudes or infrastructure at your end? Reliability, effectiveness and scalability are paramount.

Deliverability

There's no point sending messages if they don't get through. Can your partner guarantee your lists don't end up on the major ISPs' blacklists?

Do they have agreements to recognise their campaigns as permission-based?

Security

How damaging would it be to your business if your data was stolen? Check your partner hosts its hardware and software in highly secure data centres with the most stringent security and redundancy standards. You want to be free to focus on your marketing strategy, not on whether your data is safe.

Powerful tools

Make sure your partner has the tools you need to focus on multi-channel DM. You want to be able to segment, personalise, target, test and learn from your campaigns. What functions does your partner have for real-time tracking and behavioural analysis? You need to be sure your campaigns are effective.

Proactive support

Superior technology and tools alone are not enough to guarantee success.

You need to ensure your partner can offer professional support and consultation on how to increase the effectiveness of your campaigns and maximise the returns on your marketing expenditure.

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