As an IT solutions provider, you understand the value of email marketing. For current customers, it can provide you with helpful tips, tricks, news, promotions, and other information. For prospects, it’s a great way to help build your authority on the subject of IT. You can gain their trust and become the company prospects go to when they need a hand. Not all prospects have a need today, but you can keep your company top-of-mind for when they do.
In addition to building email lists, one thing you’ll have to account for is the tricky business of finding the right email campaign tool. There are dozens of options, some of which are free to start with and some that are much more sophisticated and complex (and often costly). In general, though, here are some things to ask yourself before picking an email campaign tool.
Do I Need an Email Marketing Tool?
Some people may question whether they even need an email marketing tool at all. Why not just send a bunch of emails through Outlook or Gmail? The problem is most email clients aren’t designed to send bulk emails and won’t allow you to track things like opens and click-through rates. With that lack of information, you don’t have any analytics to help you improve on future campaigns. Plus, many don’t give you an easy way to manage leads and contacts, and you’ll be forced to build an email from scratch each time you send (and it may not look too pretty). If you’re interested in email marketing, it’s easy to see why a purpose-built email campaign tool is the way to go. If you’re still on the fence, there are a couple of free tools that let you test out a more sophisticated approach to email marketing without having to spend any budget.
What’s My Budget?
Obviously determining how much (if anything) you want to invest in a tool is one of the first questions you need to ask yourself. There are plenty of tools that let you get started for free. Popular choices include MailChimp, ReachMail, and SendPulse. But companies with a free product typically impose various limits on free accounts. It’s wise to make sure the tool you like has the features you need now but you also need to think ahead and think of which tool will give you access to advanced features you might be ready to take advantage of as you grow.
Do I Need Templates or Will I Build?
Most tools let you craft your own HTML emails from scratch, but this takes both knowledge of HTML as well as basic design skills to make something pretty. Because of that, many marketers turn to templates. This way, marketers can brand an email with their logos and colors, add their content—and they’re ready to go. As you evaluate email tools, take a look at the available templates a tool offers you to make sure there’s something you like and can use (unless you plan building your own).
Outside of templates, many tools give you an email-builder tool that lets you craft something pretty by dragging and dropping components of an email. This is often an easy way to create an original-looking email, without requiring a user to have knowledge of HTML.
Do I Need More than Just Email Sends?
Tools like Constant Contact and MailChimp are a great way to get started with sending emails, but they don’t have more sophisticated features (or not in the free version). While many just want to start by getting their messages to their customers and prospects, it’s worthwhile to consider your entire marketing strategy and how your email tool fits in. More advanced paid tools like Hubspot, Marketo, and Salesforce Marketing Cloud not only allow you to send emails, but give you an array of features that let you track and manage leads and customers, build landing pages, write blog articles, post to social media, view website analytics, and much more.
Do I Need an Easy-to-Use Tool or a Sophisticated One?
Typically, the more features and functionality you get in a tool, the more complex it can be to learn. If you’re interested in a quick and simple solution, definitely go with a free or lower-priced option. But if email is just going to be one part of a full-scale marketing program, you may want to consider going with a fully-featured option, even if it requires you to allocate some budget. For the latter, take some time to evaluate available training materials so you know you’ll be able to learn to use your new tool effectively.
Get to Work
After you’ve found the right tool, it’s time to get to work. Email marketing works best when it’s targeted and personal. Another key success factor is consistency. Don’t spam your prospects and bombard them with information but also make sure there aren’t months between your messages, either. So strive to provide regular updates and put your new email campaign tools to work and let them help you find more opportunities and expand your business!