OK. You’ve decided this something you want to do. You are an artist, after all. Right? You create work you want to be seen, and possibly even purchased. In the last post we talked about deciding to even do this: send out a newsletter, that is.
The decision has been made, but where do you go from here? Now, you need to decide on a platform. There are many from which to choose, many being perfectly acceptable. Here are a few guidelines to address when selecting the platform for your newsletter (ESP, email service provider), :
• Who Is Your Audience?
Before choosing an ESP, it’s important to understand the scope of your needs. How small/large is your target distribution list? Will you need support tools to help build that list? Your strategy for gaining new prospects will need to be addressed at the outset.
• What Would You Like to Send Them?
After you’ve identified your audience, you’ll need to figure out the types of email you’d like to send them. When selecting an email marketing platform, you should look for one that offers ease of use in creating emails, along with the ability to customize your content. For example, will you be sending the same email to everyone on your list, or do you need to personalize the content for different types of users?
• When (and How Often) Do You Want to Send?
Companies of all shapes and sizes tend to love email marketing because it is reliable, consistent, offers high return on investment (ROI), and is highly scalable when the right formula is reached. We also need to remember that in the beginning we might not want to inundate our readers with too many offerings. I feel it’s best that if you consider yourself a strict newbie you should start out with maybe a quarterly campaign. You can always move it to more frequent release, which signifies success rather than cutting back on releases which could denote a loss of business and/or interest.
• Why Are You Emailing Your Customers?
Part of the email marketing software selection process should be to evaluate the level of social media integration you’d like with your email program. Combining multi-channel marketing strategies—like email + social—can help achieve higher message penetration rates than a single channel approach. It also allows for a two-way conversation in your direct-marketing efforts. After all, email is just having a direct, albeit, one-way conversation with your audience. Incorporating social media elements like Share buttons, Facebook and Twitter feeds, etc., can turn that one-way conversation into a more engaging back and forth with your customers.
• How Much (Service, Support, and Features) Do You Need?
Not all providers offer the same level of service. While most will give you the basic tools along with a means for submitting support tickets, others provide additional services (or even full service) options at an additional cost. Depending upon how user-friendly your provider’s email-building and -sending tools are, and how complex your email campaigns are, you may not need more than the basics.
This is just a group of suggestions to get you thinking in the right direction.
Next: Platform comparisons…