Mass Email Software – Five Must-Have Features in a Mass Email Service

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If you’re in the market for mass email software or a service that provides mass email marketing, it can be easy to become confused with all of the jargon and options that are thrown around. Finding websites that sell mass email software is simple…there are a lot of them out there…but finding out what you need in your software can be pretty daunting (in fact, deciphering the rosetta stone would probably be easier!). This article lays the groundwork out for you:  showing you the things that you absolutely need in your mass email software.

The first (and most important) thing you should be looking for is the list management features. Specifically, how robust is the list management capability, and how easy is it to use? Robust list management will allow you to add, edit, and delete as many or as few emailing lists as you need. You should be able to name your lists whatever you like. You should also be able to manually add or delete users as needed (just in case someone absolutely HAS to be on your mailing list. And this is what all marketers strive for, isn’t it? :)).

The second must-have feature is the ability for users to automatically subscribe and unsubscribe from your list. Especially nowadays, an automatic “Unsubscribe” link at the bottom of your emails is not only good business practice but it also supports the FTC’s CAN-SPAM Act (specifically, telling subscribers how to opt-out and, if they do, doing so in a prompt manner. End of the legal talk, I promise!)

In addition to these two options, your mass email service should provide both HTML and plain-text capability. Although its far less common today than it was even five years ago, there are still email clients and programs that either do not read html-based emails at all or don’t know how to display html properly. This can be a major problem for you because plain-text emails, while still getting your message across, tend to be a little lack-luster. HTML emails offer you the ability to present your message with eye candy and also allow you to vary the look of your email to your lists.

If you set up five HTML templates in your mass email service, for instance, then you now have five different viewing experiences to offer your subscribers. I won’t preach the pros and cons of HTML templates to you…that could be a series of articles in and of itself! Just know that not all email clients can read HTML, so a plain-text backup is an excellent (and, indeed, a mandatory) option for serious marketers.

Almost all mass email software allows for customization of your emails. Importing a subscriber name or email should be standard. Some services go the extra mile, however, and these are the services you should be looking for. A great service will give you the option to import any information you choose from a variety of formats.

Let’s say, for example, that you wanted to include an order number or the subscriber’s birthday in your email. If your list is 2,000 subscribers strong it would be a very tedious (and sleep-inducing ;)) task to include the subscriber’s birthday for every person. A great mass email service will allow you to pull that information from a database (or CSV file, or spreadsheet, etc.) dynamically, based on a process that you define. Imagine how powerful…and personal… you could make your emails!

The last feature that you absolutely need in a mass email service is reliability. I know, I know…this should go without saying. But it’s important for you to understand that not all mass email software is created equal. In fact, some will promise you the moon but actually deliver very little (reminds me of my first girlfriend…but we won’t go there. :)).  Reliability in software is the same as it is in a car. You don’t notice when you’ve got it, but you sure as heck notice it when you don’t!

In a mass email service, consistent throughput is the lifeblood of your business if your business model relies on email marketing for any portion of your revenue. The best way to know whether a mass email service is reliable or not is to do some research on your own. Search the software name in your favorite search engine (Google, anyone?) or talk to someone who has used it.

Oh, and look for a trial period where you can try out the software for a while before having to commit to purchasing it. Any mass email service worth their salt will offer a trial period so take advantage of it! :)