Email List Management
One of the big questions business owners have when they're getting ready to start building out email campaigns is "Where should I build/store my list?"
For a business, you really need a specific solution. In other words, your Outlook address book or another type of address book is not going to be a good solution when you are using email as a marketing media. There are essentially two types of software solutions. You have two choices:
- A third party solution
- A self hosted solution
A third party solution is where your entire email database is stored on someone else's mail server.
Now, this third party is going to be responsible for getting your emails delivered, handling spam complaintís, blocking emails and ultimately resolving any issues that arise.
In other words somebody else does it all for you. This may sound good on the surface but with the "done for you" aspect you also lose a lot of control and important data. For instance, you don't necessarily get to decide how you build your list. If you are using a third party server that requires double opt in, even though it is not a can spam requirement, they can require that you use the double opt in because it is their service.
In other words... 3rd party providers have the right to enact more stringent requirements than as required by law.
You also miss out on a lot of important data.
You don't necessarily know how many of your prospects are getting the emails that you are sending.
You don't necessarily have exact data.
You don't know if things are going into the spam folder and so on and so forth.
Plus you are almost never notified of issues and you don't know how long these issues are going to take to get resolved. Basically what happens is that you are sharing the same email funnel with lots of other people. So one bad apple can ruin the entire bunch and you are stuck until they fix it.
So, lets just say that you are person A and you share this "email funnel" with person B. Well if person B sends something out that ticks off Hotmail, now all of a sudden Hotmail says "You know what, no email from this funnel is going to go out and get into our prospects" boxes until issues x, y or z are cleaned up.
Now because you are sharing that email funnel, your emails don't get out to your Hotmail customers either. The bigger problem is the fact that you are not notified nor do you know how long it's going to take to fix those problems.
Another downside to these third party solutions is that many of them charge you for every single address in your database.
You might be thinking, "Well of course they are going to charge you for every address!"
But the problem is twofold.
- You are charged for bad addresses that aren't even getting messages sent to them (After an email bounces a specified number of times, the system removes the ability to send anything to that email address from your account). Note: This is a Can-Spam requirement, so they're not doing anything wrong here by not mailing. However, they ARE still charging you for this record. In other words, they stay in your database as an active record so you are actually paying for those people, or record,s even though they are not even valid email addresses in many cases. Plus they don't remove any of the unsubscribed addresses.So technically, you do have to actively manage your list or else you are going to be paying quite a bit more. You do need to go in frequently, do some digging and find out why email addresses have bounced, and clean up your list so that you are not paying through the nose for prospects and customers that are not getting your messages.
- You're also paying for every email RECORD (with most providers). What this means is that if you have a single person on 4 lists, they're being counted as 4 records towards your monthly total. So, if your prospects are on an average of 3 lists, for instance, then you actually only get 3,333 subscribers (if you're at a 10,000/month plan, which is a common price break with many providers).What's more, is that you're also paying for any unsubscribes or addresses that are no longer being emailed. So, let's say 10% of your list is unsubscribes or bounced addresses, you may wind up with less than a few thousand records, but paying the price for more!
Now the other type of software solution is the self hosted solution.
This is you and only you on a single IP address. This may be a dedicated server, a VPS, cloud hosted solution, etc.
You have full control and nobody else can hurt your deliverability. But, with that control, also comes the flipside which is that you need to be on top of all of the management, monitoring and maintenance personally or hire this out to someone to do on your behalf.
You need to remember that email marketing is fluid. So, what the ISP blocks today may change tomorrow or next week or next month and they don't necessarily share with us all their algorithms. Even though there are best practices, email list maintenance is a moving target and you have to know where that target is at any given time but ultimately the ideal solution for a business that is serious about email marketing is to have a self hosted solution and put the pieces in place to make sure it is running and managed properly because you have ultimate control.
You need to be in compliance with can spam which we cover in other areas on the site. However, that's it.
There is no third party that is going to put restrictions and rules on you. So if somebody were to say, ok I want to go ahead and get started the right way and I want to build my business with my email marketing initiatives from the ground up properly. Here is the ideal solution.
- Set up a hosting account. You are going to want definitely a dedicated IP and preferably a dedicated server. You can up to a point get away with what is called a virtual private server.
- Make sure that you have a dedicated IP address for your mail server. This is critical and you want to ask the hosting company specifically if the IP address that the mails go through is dedicated. In other words, nobody else will be sending emails through that IP address.
- You want to get some sort of auto responder or broadcast software installed on your server.
- You just want to implement a monitoring and management procedure so that you can go ahead and follow up on issues that arise. Stay on top of it because that is 99% of the battle when it comes to email marketing and deliverability management.
The good news is that you can do all of this for a few hundred dollars a month. And remember, you're not going to pay any more as your list size increases.
Author: Heather Seitz
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This information has been provided by http://www.EmailDelivered.com and written by Heather Seitz. To find out more about email list management, visit http://www.emaildelivered.com/email-delivered/email-list-management/. Don’t forget to sign up for the EmailDelivered Pulse newsletter for articles, tips, and recommended resources related to email marketing and email deliverability.
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