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E-Mail Marketing Programs for Small Businesses?

March 13, 2009

Today my friend, who is a VP at an amazing organic hair products company, Belegenza, asked me the million dollar question… “Hi Jasmine.  We use Constant Contact to send out our monthly email newsletter.  We just heard of iContact and wanted to know if you are familiar with it and what your thoughts are.”

Last year, I had one of my team members take a look at over 50 e-mail programs suited for small businesses.  To save you all a whole lot of time, most of them have the same functionality when you are looking for a simple e-mail production program and you have a list of e-mails under 5,000.  The small difference is around design — some templates are better than others.

To do e-mail marketing effectively, I recommend that you design your e-mail around your true brand, even if you need to spend a few hundred dollars extra for a designer to do that (we have a designer partner just for that, as it is so important). How well your open and click-through rates are really has to do with how well you know your audience and what interests them.  Also, it has to do with how well you have segmented them by interest, how well your copy is developed, that the length of the copy and the frequency of distribution suits your online audience(s).  If you are an e-commerce site and looking to understand purchase behavior, get into cross-selling, delivery of promotions based on site behavior and more.  You should be considering a program more sophisticated than those — something similar to one of our partners (Endai) MarketTrack system. Even when using their system, which has all the bells and whistles you can imagine, you need to first understand the audience.

E-Mail marketing is the most comprehensive online marketing program, in my mind, because it can serve from acquistion to retention to loyalty to a viral factor, and so, should not be taken lightly. By measuring effectiveness of your program on a constant basis can truly assist you in driving real results here.

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