Email Marketing: What Features Are Important When Selecting a Mailing List Provider?
As a business, marketing affordably is very important because customer acquisition costs can be crippling. Equally, keeping in touch with subscribers and customers is essential to maintain the initial connection, which enables your company to promote its products or services successfully.
Here are some of the features that are worth keeping an eye out for when picking a mailing list provider for your business.
Clear, Affordable Pricing
Not every email mailing list provider has clear pricing. Sure, it’s usually tiered depending on usage levels, but it’s also rather confusing.
Maybe there’s a free plan that allows for a limited number of emails sent per day – like 100 – but the feature set is restrictive. Even when moving up to their paid plans, likely there’s a host of useful features a business can take advantage of which are held back for the top tiers.
Bear in mind that the top tiers are only needed by companies sending out huge volumes of email, which makes this type of policy quite unfair in favor of bigger companies and huge marketing teams. For smaller businesses, it’s an unfriendly policy for sure.
Dedicated IP Address
A dedicated IP address is beneficial with mailing lists. Webmail providers like Gmail can determine when email is being sent consistently from the same IP address to the same recipient (and when the IP address keeps changing every time too). The former can be seen as a trust signal, whereas the latter may raise a red flag that you don’t want.
Even paid plans with sending limits of 40,000 sent emails a month may be excluded from access to a dedicated IP address unless you are paying separately for it. Fortunately, this Sendgrid alternative doesn’t work this way as they understand the importance of deliverability and its connection to the issuance of dedicated IP addresses.
Email Validation Using the Double Opt-in
Email validation is the process of double opting in a new subscriber instead of using a single opt-in alone.
The idea here is to not just accept an email submitted to subscribe to a mailing list. Why not? Because the subscription action could have been taken by an unrelated third-party. To avoid sending emails to people who never subscribed, the double opt-in process replies with an email to confirm whether they indeed did opt-in or whether it’s an error.
Using a double opt-in process ensures that no one receives regular emails when they don’t wish to do so. It also helps with future deliverability rates because unwanted email often gets marked as spam, so companies shouldn’t want emails being sent out to people who don’t want to receive them.
No Daily Sending Limits
When creating a new newsletter to send out to subscribers, it often has information that’s timely and ages fast. This could be a time-limited discount coupon or topical news that will only be relevant for a day or two.
The issue with sending timely emails to subscribers is that it risks hitting daily sending limits with email providers that set restrictions. This requires paying business users to send their email out over a span of a few days to not go beyond their daily sending limits. You want to avoid these restrictions, as it can seriously hamper your marketing efforts and overcomplicate them too.
Instead, look for a mailing list provider that while setting a monthly limit on emails, doesn’t restrict how many daily emails go out. This means with a 40,000 monthly email package, these could all be dispatched on the first of the month if the company so chooses.
SendPulse, for instance, allows users to send up to 15000 bulk marketing emails to 500 subscribers for free every month. Paid plans start at $7 a month.
No Fly by Nights
If an email provider has only been in existence for a few months, it’s probably best to avoid them.
What you don’t want is a “fly by night” operator. These come into existence with a good degree of fanfare, take in considerable funds and then seemingly disappear into the night. When doing so, they invariably take your subscriber list along with them!
In this situation, not only will you lose your list, but even if you’ve retained a private list of subscribers to cover this eventuality, they’ll all need to go through a double opt-in process again through your replacement mailing list service provider. That’s aggravating for the subscribers and doubtless many will ignore the email and drop off your list.
Email statistics are useful for business users to see what’s working and what’s not. For instance, being able to view the open rate for your latest newsletter is beneficial. When comparing it to previous ones and looking at the topics covered within the email (as well as the subject line of the email itself), it provides clues about what your audience is looking for and what they’re not interested in. Without good statistics to review, you’ll be managing your email list blind.
Choosing the right mailing list provider is more important than you think. Making the wrong choice makes it harder to switch and move your list over later. Think about the features that are essential and choose a provider that offers them.