Third Party vs. Homegrown Email Marketing
by Dan Ogdon
You have decided to take the leap into email marketing. You have the resources and technical knowledge to run an in-house system, you have a large list of email addresses you have permission to send to and have the design resources to create beautiful HTML templates. Are there any areas you may have overlooked that will impede the effectiveness of email as a marketing channel? What happens if someone opts-out, what if someone alerts their ISP that your email is spam, how will your marketing and sales team track campaign effectiveness and individual contact interest?
Managing the opt-out process is very sensitive and crucial process that must be addressed if you plan to add commercial email to your marketing mix. You must give your recipients a simple way to opt-out of receiving future messages from you and you must remove them from your emailing list. If you miss just one address, they have the right to seek legal action for you sending unsolicited messages to them. If this is closely monitored, there is nothing to worry about.
Third Party email marketing solutions realize that this is a very important stipulation they must help their customers overcome. Third party solutions will manage the entire opt-out process, from providing an opt out link to actually suppressing them on the server level. By doing so, you could leave the contact in your distribution list, but the sending servers will remove the contact once the email is to be deployed. Using a third party email solution assures CAN SPAM compliance and keeps you safe from possible legal infractions.
If an ISP receives a certain percentage of complaints that your email is spam, they will blacklist your sending IP address and your emails will no longer have the ability to be delivered to that specific ISP. If a large majority of your recipients email addresses come from a specific email application (AOL, Hotmail< etc…) you could be missing a large segment of your list. This involves you calling the ISP and removing the blacklist which takes time and resources.
Third party email marketing solutions know that making sure your email is delivered is the most important step in the email marketing process. Third party solutions have formed relationships with all of the major ISP’s and whitelisted their sending IP addresses. However, client email will still be marked as Spam by some recipients and certain IP addresses have the possibility of being blacklisted. Third party solutions will simply rotate sending IP’s to make sure that your email is delivered and contact the ISP to put their spammed IP address back on the whitelist.
Every third party solution has a basic reporting package that displays open, click, bounced and suppressed data and some solutions have robust packages that track email interaction with individual recipients. Without a strong, accurate reporting package it will be difficult for the sales and marketing teams to make informed business decisions.
If you have the technical resources, the creative ability to produce HTML templates, a very clean list that will limit bounces and opt-outs and provide valuable content that will likely not be marked as spam, an in-house email marketing solution may fit your needs. If you simply want to focus on messaging and post campaign follow up from a robust reporting package and not have to worry about compliance and deliverability issues there are many very reputable third party solutions to choose from.