Email Sending Solution: Sending Email Internally VS. Using Outsourced Email Provider
Despite the significant number of email marketing programs available for bulk, mass, or large send email sending, it's still common for companies to consider sending large email sends via internal resources. In some cases, this can be as dated as using the company's Exchange server to send emails to large groups of people. In other cases, companies will often create their own "home grown" email sending solutions. Why would companies do this, what are the drawbacks versus the benefits, and what's the right solution for you? In this section, we'll explore the various pros and cons of building your own in-house email sending system versus using an outsourced provider, such as the free, hosted email marketing services offered by Comm100.
Common Reasons for Building an In-House Email Sending Solution
As with any business decision, it's common that companies will have outlined a variety of reasons why sending mass email from an internally developed system is the best solution for them. Common reasons for establishing an in-house email sending solution include:
Cost and Budget Concerns: Budget, as is the case with any new marketing or business program, is certainly always a factor in determining if in-house or out-sourced resources are best used. Whether setting up an internal email sending platform or partnering with an outsourced platform, some degree of human resources, time, and even line item budgets will be required. The options usually factored against each other will be: the overhead cost of using internal technological and human resources to build and develop an in-house system, the cost of licensing or subscribing to an out-sourced email sending solution, or the cost of human resources and time to train employees on using a free, outsourced email sending solution such as Comm100. Each business will have to evaluate these needs separately and determine the most cost-effective solution for their company.
Data Privacy Concerns: Your email list is not only a huge asset to your company; it's also a way in which your customers have placed their trust in you. For that reason, many companies hesitate to partner with an outsourced email provider solution for fear of compromising their or their customers' data. While this is certainly a concern that should be evaluated in any plan to implement a mass email sending solution, data can be just as insecure on an internal server as it can be at an outsourced solution. Hackers do not differentiate! However, companies should always do substantial research to ensure that they understand the privacy policies and security measures that outsourced providers practice and implement for data privacy and security. Such as is the case with Comm100, outsourced email service providers should be Trustee certified.
Ability to Easily Integrate with Existing In-House Data: Another common concern, and often one of the most valid ones, is the ability to easily integrate your email sending solution with your in-house data. In truth, if you segment your list frequently and by narrow margins, it may be worth your time to build your own in-house email system that can query lists directly from your user database based on parameters that you determine rather than to have to constantly query and upload new list segments to an outsourced provider. However, as with anything, this will come with a certain cost associated with not only development but ongoing maintenance. You should take the time to evaluate whether your data is so specific and frequently altered that re-uploading lists to an outsourced provider will actually be a significant time and human resources drain before making a final decision.
Control and Flexibility: Finally, companies often shy away from using an outsourced email sending provider because they want the control and flexibility to build and change features within their email sending program based on their unique business needs. Again, on a case-by-case basis, this may make sense. However, most email sending solutions currently available offer a comprehensive feature set that can meet almost any company's email marketing and sending needs. Before assuming that an outsourced email sending solution can't give you the control and flexibility that you need, be sure to take the time to list all of the features that you could imagine needing, both now and in the future. Then survey whether existing outsourced email marketing platforms support those needs. Chances are that you may discover that what you think you need is not as specialized and unique as you thought!
Building an in-house email marketing solution is a labor and resource intensive activity, and if you are not highly versed in the ins and outs of email marketing and sending practices, you may not find that an in-house email sending platform gives you the best possible results. However, in certain unique business cases, a proprietary system may in fact be the best solution. Be sure to take ample time documenting the pros of an in-house email sending solution versus the pros of an outsourced email sending solution (which we will discuss next!)
Common Reasons for Using an Outsourced Email Sending Solution
While the common reasons for building a proprietary in-house email sending solution include budget, data security, data integration, and flexibility/control, the reasons for selecting an out-sourced email sending solution for your email sending needs can be just as compelling. Some of the most common ones include:
Budget: It's always about budget! In some cases, the cost associated with building an in-house email marketing platform may exceed those of either licensing, subscribing to, or choosing a free outsourced email sending solution. As mentioned above, this will be different for every business. You will need to evaluate the cost and resources for each solution internally.
Reduction of Use of Company Resources: In addition to the resources that would be required to build an in-house system, managing your email sending program in-house can tie up valuable company resources. The most common resource drain can be on your servers and bandwidth while your mass emails are being sent. In some cases, company employees may not be able to send or receive emails at all while your mass send is spooling. Managing your email sending program in-house means that you will need to employ graphic designers and html coders to create your email templates. While almost all outsourced email sending solutions offer you the choice to use your own, custom-designed templates, many also offer you pre-designed templates that are already optimized for inbox deliverability and display. Comm100 offers a wide variety of industry-segment specific templates that you can choose to work with if you do not want to design your own.
Control of Legal Requirements: Many of the reasons for logically choosing an outsourced email sending solution simply have to do with the learning curve. If you are not intimately familiar with the practice of email marketing, choosing an outsourced provider can ensure that you don't miss out on any key best practices. One of the most important areas of email marketing best practices that you want to be sure that you have covered is being complaint with CAN-SPAM as well as general privacy and information laws. By choosing an outsourced provider, you can ensure that your email templates and sending solution meet all legal requirements – even the ones that you may not know about.
Deliverability and Control of Sender Reputation: A second area of email marketing best practices that is often enhanced by using an outsourced email sending solution is deliverability and control of your sender reputation (the degree to which internet service providers and email service providers consider you a trusted sender of email). An outsourced email marketing platform will have built in tools to help control your spam complaints, inbox deliverability and inbox performance. Most importantly, it will be the outsourced email provider who has to do the work to remain a trusted sending source with a high sender reputation, thus removing that responsibility for your marketing team.
Automatic List Maintenance: Finally, one of the most important parts of successful email marketing is maintaining the health of your email list. This involves removing unsubscribed addresses, removing non-active addresses, removing bounced addresses and generally pruning and cleaning the list regularly. Most outsourced email marketing and sending solutions, including Comm100, do portions of this automatically and make other portions of this activity as simple as one click. Managing list maintenance in-house can be time consuming and often leads to overlooked steps. Using an outsourced provider means a streamlined, proven list-cleaning system.
In summary, in addition to budget, many of the reasons for choosing an outsourced email marketing and email sending solution revolve primarily around the ability to leverage the knowledge, resources and best-practices of an outsourced email sending solution rather than tying up in-house resources in an area that may not be the expertise area of any one individual in your company.
So Which Email Sending Solution is Right for Your Company?
Every business has its own needs. For you, the expenditure of resources and maintenance to build an in-house system may make sense, particularly if you have an email marketing expert on staff. For many, however, an outsourced solution can take worry, stress, and work off of their hands. Make a list of the issues that concern you most with an email marketing platform and then adequately research those needs. In the end, your business decision needs to be based on the criteria that are most important to you. However, be sure to make an informed decision. The capabilities and security of an outsourced email marketing platform such as Comm100 may surprise you!