11 Reasons to use an email marketing service to send peer-to-peer email campaigns
So let's say you belong to a business association that offers, among its member perks, access to the membership roster for email marketing, direct mails, etc. When used responsibly, access to this type of information can be vital to the success of the organization...it fosters a platform where members can feel comfortable and encouraged to do business with other members. And in today's economy, who doesn't want these "warmer" business opportunities?
Unfortunately, the "when used responsibly" part is rarely regarded, and misuse of a peer-to-peer list like the one above can lead to serious consequences for both the company using the list, as well as the organization that supplied it.
There's hope, though, and it comes with using an email marketing service (EMS) to manage the list. The EMS will guide you around the traps that both members and organizations fall into with their email marketing, and give you a more effective end result.
Why you should use an email marketing service
Instead of handing over the list in Excel, and wondering what is going to happen to it after the email is sent out, organizations should partner with an email marketing service to ensure quality control. Here are 6 reasons why:
- Member privacy: no risk of a member dropping all the names into the "To" or "CC" field
- List privacy: you supply your list to the EMS at the time of sending, and don't run the risk of the member misusing the list for other purposes
- Having your members use a professional service provider reflects positively on your organization
- You'll ensure that proper peer-to-peer disclosure is added to the message to minimize complaints
- It could be a revenue source for you if you wish
- An EMS will process and honor bounce and opt-out issues, where a member may not. This will also minimize complaints that reflect poorly on your organization and discourage others from taking advantage of this member benefit.
For the members, the small investment compared to sending in-house using the Bcc: field (like so many companies do) will return ten-fold, at least in the perception of your company, if not in the form of actual leads:
- An EMS will help you optimize your campaign -- things like personalizing the messages, segmenting and split-testing are all things they understand very well, and can increase your response rates.
- Many of these members will be getting their first impression of your company from your email campaign, so using an ESP gives you access to professional templates and creative insight.
- Putting the whole list in the Bcc: field won't give you any measure of response, but an EMS will give you a campaign report telling you who opened the message, clicked on links, and bounced.
- Sending through an EMS won't clog your mail server or subject it to blacklisting
- Opt-in and opt-out handling is done properly, to minimize complaints
Top 5 Member Reactions to Avoid
- "Who the hell is this?"
- "I think I recognize this company from [ABC Member Organization], but I never opted in to getting emails from them."
- "Really?! A 10MB PDF attachment with no message, not even my name in the 'To' field?"
- "I'm concerned about privacy at [ABC Member Organization] after receiving this email from another member."
- "Hmmm, a blank email...oh, I have to turn images on...oh, it's a flyer pasted in directly from Word. What kind of hack company is this?"