As a small business owner, you might be wondering at what point it’s time to stop sending emails from your personal account and start getting serious about email marketing.
If this is a question that has crossed your mind, the answer is probably now. Here’s our list of the top five reasons to start using an email service to keep your customers in the loop, plus a few of our provider picks depending on your marketing hopes and dreams.
1. LIST HOSTING & MANAGEMENT
First name, last name, and email address, oh my! The data can add up when you request personal info from customers. One of the perks of using an email marketing service is that this data is automatically stored and organized for you. Say goodbye to your subscriber Excel sheet.
Email marketing services also handle crucial list management functions that standard email accounts cannot — most notably, single-click unsubscribe. You’re required by law to provide an unsubscribe link and to process the opt-out request within 10 days, so this reason alone may be enough to sway you towards an email marketing provider.
2. IF A TREE FALLS IN A FOREST…
There is little point in sending emails that no one will ever receive. (We’ll leave aside the philosophical question of whether that means they were sent at all). Unlike your personal email account, an email service is an approved bulk mailer. With strong permission policies and an anti-blocking team already working with internet service providers, an email service will ensure a much higher deliverability rate of your emails than your personal account ever could, protecting your emails from the dreaded Spam box.
Also, you’re unlikely to know whether an email you send from your personal account was delivered to any given recipient. But an email marketing service can inform you of whether an email was delivered to a particular subscriber, and if not, why.
3. HTML EMAILS WITHOUT HTML SKILLS
If coding is not your thing, but you still dream of sending emails with design elements like colored text, images, and call-to-action buttons, you’ll be glad to know that several email marketing services want to be your HTML genie.
A plethora of services offer libraries of ready-to-use email templates or drag-and-drop builders. If you’d like to design your own, some tried-and-true industry standouts are MailChimp (free up to 2,000 subscribers), ActiveCampaign (14-day free trial, afterwards starts at $9/mo), and Constant Contact (60-day free trial, afterwards starts at $20/mo).
On top of that, ensuring that your HTML emails translate well to a mobile device is extremely difficult, and email service providers have endured those headaches so you don’t have to. With a whopping 70 percent of 18 to 44 year-olds checking their email on smartphone devices today, you don’t want to risk a DIY HTML email that looks like abstract art when opened on an iPhone.
Another invaluable feature of most email marketing services is the ability to track analytics on your email campaigns. On an elementary level, this means you can access basic data about open rates, click rates, and unsubscribe rates. Armed with this information, you can test different subject lines and designs.
If you’re looking to get even more sophisticated about email stats, many of these email marketing providers also allow you to measure the success of an email campaign by integrating with services like Google Analytics. This way, you can track how many visits, conversions, and sales your email campaigns actually generate. Try doing that with your Yahoo account!
5. AUTOMATING PERSONALIZED EMAILS
Finally, if your email aspirations go beyond occasional newsletters and updates, you’ll undoubtedly need a service to tackle the next level of email marketing: marketing automation.
Whereas emails like newsletters tend to go out to a general list of subscribers at a set date and time, marketing automation services such as Drip let you send automated email campaigns triggered off of particular customer behavior (like making a purchase, signing up for a free trial, etc.). The integrations app Zapier makes it incredibly easy to feed this kind of information from external services you use to track customer behavior into the marketing automation service of your choice.
The tools are out there for awesome (not to mention legally compliant) email marketing, and today it’s probably easier than ever to get started. In fact, we can’t think of a reason why not to.