I'm a big fan of Constant Contact for email marketing, but that doesn't mean you can't improve on a good thing. Here's my wish list for a perfect email marketing service provider.
- Flexible HTML templates that can be updated without HTML knowledge. Entrepreneurs and small business people should be able to choose a template, make some quick changes (upload a logo, change fonts and colors, etc.)
- Ability to create or enhance standard HTML templates. Those with advanced design and coding skills should be able to go "under the hood" and make additional changes to the templates. This gives Web designers the opportunity to create non-cookie-cutter solutions for their clients. (And a big reason flyte uses Constant Contact.)
- Ability to do A/B split testing. This is email marketing, after all. I should be able to quickly create a split so that I can test the efficacy of competing subject lines or calls-to-action. (This is missing from Constant Contact and probably my biggest pet peeve.)
- Ability to track different signup paths to an ezine and give appropriate confirmation and welcome messages based on those signups. In other words, I want to know if it's my blog or Web site that is generating more signups. Plus, it would be nice to know if people are subscribing to flyte log because of a particular article (10 Questions to Ask Before Setting up a Web Site or The 11 Biggest Mistakes Small Business Bloggers Make) or just signing up through a signup box on our site. These are important marketing questions that will help drive my business thinking down the road.
- Ability to track down people who filed spam reports and beat them about the head and neck. I mean, who are these people? I run a double opt-in mailing list. You can't get on my list without subscribing on our site and then clicking on a confirmation link. That's not spam, that's free choice! If you no longer want to receive the ezine then unsubscribe! Geez….
OK, I'm sure there are other items that belong on the wish list. What do you look for/want out of an email service provider?