It's entirely possible that much of this ebook has been overwhelming to you! If you're not already at least somewhat familiar with the technical elements of email marketing and email newsletters, than absorbing all of this information can leave your head spinning. After all, you may have thought that you were simply going to have to determine what your email template should look like and what content you should put into it.

The good news is that a great outsource provider for your email marketing and newsletter needs can solve many of these problems for you and leave you free to think about only what content would be most compelling to your users. Armed with the information in this ebook, you can select a great email platform (or use these guidelines to build your own, if that's what's best for your unique business needs) and then get a full understanding of how to design, create content and test to optimize your email program. However, it may be that you're finding the process of even selecting an outsourced email platform provider daunting. In that case, we've provided this article, which is a brief outline on a great process for selecting an email platform service for your company or business.

Email Platform Choosing: Step One - Set a Budget and an Estimated Revenue Goal from Your Program

Everything you do, even if your email program is entirely designed to simply improve brand loyalty, starts and ends with a budget. The very first thing that you need to determine is how much you are willing to spend on your email platform. Don't forget when doing this to also include the cost of employee hours to develop, learn, or create emails with your email platform. If your email program is designed to generate revenue, also set key performance indicators (KPI's) to determine what a successful email program should deliver in terms of revenue generation. Then, you can easily include or eliminate email platforms based on their costs, which can range from entirely free to a high monthly licensing or subscription fee. Be sure when researching services that require payment that you also find out if you will be locked into a long-term contract or if you can exit at any time.

You'll also want to make sure that you've paid attention to any price increases that some services may charge you as your list size increases or the frequency with which you send email increases.

Now, you have a starting point, which is a list of email platforms that fall within your budget. That narrows the process immediately.

Email Platform Choosing: Step Two - Make a List of Email Programs that You and Your Staff Would Like to Emulate

As with many marketing programs, there's no need to entirely re-invent the wheel when it comes to email marketing or newsletters. Have you and your staff collect emails from brands, websites, or services that you and they subscribe to. You'll want to use these later on when determining how to design your email program as well as some of the email subject lines and sending times, but for now you'll simply want to make a list of features that appear in the email. Do you love the way the email lays out? Are there great social sharing features in the email? Make a list of what you've seen other companies do that you would like for your company to emulate.

Email Platform Choosing: Step Three - Make a List of "Wish-List" Features and Prioritize

Now, using the list that you derived from your competitor research, the list of must-have features that have been provided in the ebook, and any additional features that you've been dreaming of, make a final list of everything that your ideal email platform would be able to support. That list is going to be very large, and most likely will contain some elements that just aren't feasible or reasonable. Go back through your list and prioritize which features are essential to you and which features you can live without. You may want to consider using a ranking system of one-to-ten or one-to-three. After you've completed your prioritized list, compare it to which email platforms offer which services. You may find that almost all services offer most of the features that you need, or you may find that several services just don't have the capabilities that you're looking for. Either way, you either know that you have many choices or you've narrowed your decision dramatically.

Email Platform Choosing: Step Four - Ask Other Professionals about Their Experiences

Now that you have a short list, before you contact or sign-up at any one service, ask your professional colleagues what their experience has been with any email platforms that they use. Nobody will be able to give you more real-world answers than customers who actually use the platforms that you're considering. If you don't have a robust group of colleagues to ask, there are plenty of online reviews or industry message boards that you can visit.

Email Platform Choosing: Step Five - Ask for a Trial

Ideally you'll want to try a service out before you commit to it. With a responsible service provider, like Comm100, this should be relatively simple. You do, whatever, if at all possible, want to be able to see an email platform in action before you commit to it.

Email Platform Choosing: Finally, the Big Decision!

After you've taken all of those steps, you're finally ready to make your big decision. By this point, you should be confident that you've chosen the right email platform for your company or business because you put the time and research in to do it right. Now you can move on to the next exciting part, which is launching your email platform. Of course, there is one little testing step that you should take before you unleash your email marketing program onto the world!

Comm100, who provides this comprehensive email marketing ebook, offers you powerful Email Marketing Software, which is both a great long-term and short-term solution to improving your email marketing program to a new level.

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