By Brian Wm. Niles
Who should send your e-mail?
As e-mail marketing continues to attract new adherents and generate billions of dollars in revenue, there are swarms of companies emerging to meet the demand for e-mail broadcast services.
With different features and functions being offered by these e-mail vendors, it's only natural that marketers would feel some confusion about which ones they need to carry on an effective e-mail dialogue with prospects and customers. While every organization seeking an e-mail vendor has a unique set of needs, there are certain capabilities everyone should look for.
Here are 15 key questions that focus on how an outsourced e-mail service works. Make sure these questions are addressed by every vendor that responds to your Request for Proposal for e-mail marketing services.
1. Who owns the data? This can be a deal breaker from the start. Make sure all the data you provide belongs to you and not the e-mail vendor. Make sure this information will not be shared with anyone else. Be certain you will be able to retrieve your data even if your relationship with the e-mail company ends in a less than amicable way. More and more vendors are saying the data become their property if the client breaks the contract or defaults on payment. You want it in writing that you own the data, no matter what.
2. How do I transfer my data? Data transfer is a critical component of your relationship with an e-mail vendor. Along with easy uploads of information into the database being hosted for you, you want to be able to export data and append it to your in-house database—whenever you need it. Determine what your data transfer options are with each vendor.
3. Can people subscribe from my Web site and be added to my database? As you drive more people to your Web site, you want to invite them to sign up for e-mail communication from you. Your vendor should be able to host this Web form and capture all the information provided by your visitor in your e-mail database.