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    Guideline to Hiring an Email Marketing Company

     

    A common practice in today's e-commerce environment is to use email marketing campaigns to launch advertising initiatives for products and services offered online. Since 2003, CAN-SPAM laws were enacted to protect consumers from abusive spammers and email marketing exploits have been harnessed. Once again, email campaigns are a viable marketing tool in the e-commerce world.

    As with most things internet related, you need to be careful and use common sense when purchasing goods and services via the internet. Unlike traditional business transactions, you rarely meet face-to-face or even have a phone conversation with internet sellers. This makes it harder for buyers to gauge the validity of performance claims made at a seller's website. So, if you are considering using email marketing to promote your product or service, practice the following four techniques for choosing a provider.

    1. Make sure that the provider is CAN-SPAM compliant.

    2. Ask for referrals.
    Only deal with email marketers who are willing to give you referrals. I recommend at least 5 referrals with company names and contact information. Ideally, you will be able ask for and get a referral to a user who targeted the same or similar type of prospect you are targeting. Either way, require a diversity of companies and ask that the referrals are from organizations outside the email marketing industry.

    Be sure to follow up and call the referrals. You can expect these referral sources to be some of their best customers who should able to provide you with accurate response results from their email marketing campaigns. You can also expect these results to be at the high end of your realistic results, so set your expectations accordingly. Also make sure to ask how helpful, flexible, and responsive the email marketing company is to special needs and complaints. This will help you to decide if they are a good fit for your company's needs.

    3. Find companies that offer email lists for your targeted market.
    In some cases, emailing advertising to tens of millions of general prospects would make sense; however, many products and services are targeted at particular markets, making it important that you use a provider that can supply accurately targeted email lists. Targeted lists cost a little more money but, as with most things, you get what you pay for. In my experience, I have gotten better return rates paying $500 for 100,000 highly targeted emails versus paying $199 for 3,000,000 emails sent to a broader audience.

    4. Check the provider's complaint history.
    You can check to find if others have had any problems with a company by checking with the Better Business Bureau. Providers who are members of the BBB will advertise it on their website and are most often your best option. Even with BBB members, you still need to check their complaint history.

    Above all, use good business sense. Avoid providers who make claims or offer prices that seem to good be true. Read their satisfaction guarantees in detail. A company may claim satisfaction guaranteed, however, it is your responsibility to ensure that this guarantee exists in writing and that it offers you a proper comfort level with their service. Following these practices will help you choose the best provider for your email marketing campaign.

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