Given the value of email marketing for artists, being able to send mass emails to more than 100 of your fans at a time is essential. For such tasks, we enlist the help of Email Service Providers. Here we look at some of the most popular ESPs and what they can do for your marketing operation.
Guest post by Bobby Owsinski of Music 3.0
When I wanted to send my first email newsletters to a list of only about 1200 (which seemed large at the time but is really tiny in grand scheme of email lists), I was astounded to find that my Internet Service Provider (ISP) wouldn’t allow me to send to more than 100 addresses simultaneously from my business account. That meant that I had to split my list up into 12 batches, which made the job take a lot longer than it should have. After a number of calls to my Internet service provider at the time, I discovered that just about every ISP limits the number of email addresses that can be attached to an email in an attempt to keep spam in check, yet I knew that there were companies that sent emails to millions of addresses at a time every day. How did they do it?
That’s when I found out about email service providers or ESPs. ESPs have an agreement with the various Internet service providers to make sure that their customers aren’t what we would consider spammers. While the odd few may push up against those boundaries, ESPs go to great lengths to make sure that you don’t fall into that category by constant checking spam reports and large email address imports, then making you personally verify that your lists are opt-in and not purchased or just skimmed from a forum.
That said, the only limit to how many addresses you can send to hinges on how much money you want to spend, since almost all ESPs work on the same principle – the greater the number of email addresses, the more it costs.
ESPs are way more useful than just providing basic email delivery however, and are definitely worth the money. Among some of the other things they do are:
- clean your list for you, which means they automatically delete any old non-existent or invalid addresses (you have to do it manually if you use your personal email app, which is a big drag time-wise).
- provide a means to measure how well your email did in terms of open rate, click-throughs, pass-alongs, and a lot more.
- provide a means to easily subscribe and unsubscribe to the list (again, this is much more difficult to do manually).
- provide a host of pretty good looking HTML templates that you can use to easily design a professional looking email blast.
- give you a way to easily segment your list so you can target an email blast better.
Most email service providers offer many more services than the main ones mentioned here. In fact, each one offers slightly different features, so it’s best to check out a few of them before you make a decision which one’s right for you.
A Look At The Most Popular Mailing List Service Providers
Here’s a list of email service providers to investigate. Each has their pros and cons, so it’s best to check every one out thoroughly before you commit. Since most of them also have free 30 day trials, you can try before you buy to see if a particular service is what you’re looking for.
TIP: Some email list providers are free if you only have a few hundred addresses. Even with a volume that low, it’s so much easier to use an ESP than your own email client. Try it. You’ll wonder how you ever got along without one.
As stated above, all of them have a nice selection of professional-looking email templates, but how they’re customized is slightly different, so be sure to check that out. Of course, if you already have a web designer that can design a good looking HTML newsletter, the templates won’t matter as much to you as the other features.
– Constant Contact
– Vertical Response
These are only just a sampling of the popular ESPs available, and you can also find a number of email list review sites that will give you a ranking and allow you to easily compare services.
TIP: Even if you compare ESP features carefully, the best way to really find out which one will serve your needs is to use it for a bit first with the free trial they all offer.
Editor: Just want to add Fanbridge the Nooby's great list.
You can read more from Social Media Promotion For Musicians and my other books on the excerpt section of bobbyowsinski.com.