There are disadvantages to using an email marketing service, and you need to consider each of them before entrusting your contact list to one of these companies. It may turn out that none of these issue are a concern for you, but if they are, there are alternatives you may want to look into.
Long Term Costs
One of the initial benefits to using an on-line email marketing company is the low cost of entry, but that can change quickly based on the size of your list. Once your contacts reaches 10,000 names, the fees can start to get a little pricey.
Most email marketing services will charge you in the range of $150 per month or $1,800 per year to maintain a list of that size and the fees go up from there.
The other thing to consider is the length of time you plan on having your list. If you're investing $1,800 a year with an on-line service, you could use that money to purchase your own email-marketing software.
Control of your List
When you collect the contact information using one of these services, you own the list. The list companies have agreed not to sell or rent the names and email addresses you've collected.
They also do there very best to make sure your list is not lost or compromised. But, if something should happen to your list, they're legally not responsible. And things like this do happen.
The other thing you need to be aware of is that as soon as you stop paying for their service, they will remove your list from their server. It's gone forever. That's why you want to frequently download your list to your computer and save it as a back-up file. If you don't, you could loose years of work and possibly your greatest business asset.
Deliverability and Spam Filters
The biggest potential problem by far has to do with deliverablity. Your email is only as good as the lowest level of trust that email services like Gmail and Hotmail have for the worst offender on the shared server where your list is hosted.
If you choose to use one of the many email marketing service to host your list, it will be stored on a server with hundreds of other email lists. Problem is, if just one of these list owners is accused of spamming their list, your list will suffer the same penalties until the service provide can prove that you were not responsible for sending the spam.
If something like this happens, there is a chance that your emails will either not get through or they will go directly into your recipients spam box. This is something the email marketing service providers don't like to discuss because there is very little they can do about it until after the problem occurs. At that point, the damage has been done.
You also loose control over when your emails are sent. With hundreds of other list owners trying to send their email at the same time, there's a very good chance you're going to have to wait in line before your email is delivered. This is typically not a problem if you plan for it. It's only an issue if you need to get time sensitive information to your list, so keep that in mind when you create your campaign.
The intent of this article is not to scare you out of using one of many on-line email-marketing services. For the most part, they do an extremely good job of handling their customer's email marketing lists. If they didn't, they would be out of business.
What Are The Professionals Using?
It's important to note that the majority of professional Internet marketers use one of the on-line email marketing services to host their lists. They know the value of their list and I'm certain that they would not entrust it to a company they couldn't count on to safeguard their information.
Here's what I suggest. If you're new to email marketing, using one of the one-line email marketing services is a good choice, even with all the potential problems listed above. If the day comes when you want to purchase and host your own email marketing software, take what you've learned from your on-line experience and use it to your advantage.
The other thing I suggest you do is take the information you've learned from this article and use it to have an intelligent conversation with the on-line service provider you choose. Ask them to clarify these issues and tell you how they plan on safeguarding your valuable information.
Join permission email marketing expert Bob Sommers at the Internet Marketing Association of Hawaii and learn how to run your own successful email marketing campaign.
Internet Marketing Association of Hawaii
821 Kumulani Drive
Kihei, HI 96753