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Taking eBaby Steps

August 31, 2009  

"For small businesses, it can be a challenge to look uber-polished and sophisticated with every communication and customer-relationship tactic," says Heather Rast in a post at the Insights & Ingenuity blog. "The reality is that small-business budgets are, well, smaller than that of their mid- or large-sized counterparts."

And that means small businesses may set unique criteria when selecting a provider for their email-marketing programs, Rast says. She recounts making these five must-haves her top priorities when she recently searched for an email service provider:

  • Low monthly cost
  • Flexible design and layout formats
  • Low-level coding requirements
  • Tracking and reports for ongoing insights
  • Flexible list management

Her evaluation of possible providers led to two finalists, both of which satisfied her basic requirements and also offered some appealing extras. After choosing the winner—Mad Mimi—Rast tried out her very first campaign, and was impressed with what she learned from it.

To help other entrepreneurs, Rast provides a handy cheat-sheet with links to the ESPs she considered, and advice on the development of email marketing programs. It's worth a look for SMB emailers.


The Po!nt: Stride on out. If you're new to the world of email marketing, consider tips like these; they may help your first e-steps be sure ones.

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  • by Laurie Coates Mon Aug 31, 2009 via web

    I read your article and I'd like to add the same comments that I added to the full article at "Insights & Ingenuity":

    "I agree that small businesses need to start taking advantage of email marketing, but I'm disappointed that you didn't consider SuddenValues.com in your research.

    As a top-notch email (and more!) marketing service, we provide local expertise to local business across the US and now in Canada also.

    The major difference between ourselves and the email "software providers" you mentioned - we do ALL the work for our clients, from databasing their email list, creating custom bi-monthly email campaigns, delivering the email through our 3rd party certified (Return Path) dedicated servers, and cross-marketing with other local businesses through our local community websites and weekly email updates. We provide a 90-day plan to brainstorm with our clients to create the most effective campaigns and we scrutinize all the measurable data from the previous ninety days to determine it’s effectiveness. We have top quality technicians, marketing specialists and 24/7 service to our local clients, all for a lower overall cost than many of the providers you’ve looked into. Time is money and business owners often don’t have enough hours in a day to run their business as effectively as they’d like to, and adding on the burden of databasing, composing, mailing and measuring their own email campaigns is not cost effective in the least.

    Check us out at www.suddenvalues.com and while you’re there, feel free to contact us for much more information."

    Sincerely,
    Laurie Coates,
    SuddenValues dealer
    Guelph, ON CAN

  • by Heather Rast Tue Sep 1, 2009 via web

    Ms. Coates -
    Thanks for your reply both here and on my blog post. Your comments will give readers of both sites something else to consider in their evaluations.

    Through my search for an email service provider, one thing became very clear - there are a great many companies in the space. I imagine given my druthers, I'd select qualities from each one and mash them up to make the perfect solution for me.

    I hadn't heard about SuddenValues, so it wasn't on my consideration radar. But I'll take a look for sure. Thanks again, Heather

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