Ready to Leave Your ESP?
Here is how to you send high-volume email after you leave your ESP, successful mass mailing depends on a few factors:
– Email list size
– Email content
– Desired email sending speed- Your budget
ESP vs. Mailing Platform
Email marketing via an email service provider (ESP) –or via several ESPs– is different from mailing via a mailing platform (MP). ESPs are easy to use but, also significantly more expensive than MPs. Whereas, MPs (like VoloMP) require you to set-up and manage your own hosting and IPs but give you HUGE cost savings down the road.
When to switch from an ESP to an MP
Mailing Platform emailing requires discipline. You must follow all the steps required for great deliveraiblity, consistently, every day. In other words, you need true grit.
When all the elements are aligned, bulk mailing is a powerful and potentially highly lucrative endeavor. The single most crucial element though is good data, when you have a healthy pile of responsive email addresses the odds of you overcoming all the deliverability obstacles increases exponentially. Of course, super data is a double-edged sword; you have to figure out who on your list is responsive in the form of buying stuff and who is slap happy when it comes to the “spam” button.
The key questions are how much risk are you willing to tolerate and how long can you hold out before seeing a great return on your investment?
Ask yourself the following questions:
How big is big?
The term big email list is relative. I’ve had people brag to me about sending to over one million records a day while other folks send to tens of millions and even hundreds of millions of records daily. How big is your list and how often are you mailing?
Roughly speaking, bulk mail won’t be rewarding for you unless you’re sending out to a minimum of 500K a day. To play it more conservative, you may want to hold off until you’re ready to mail out to at least a million a day (30 million a month). It’s at this point that you’re spending so much on ESP license(s) that dropping several thousand dollars on IPs, hosting, servers, list cleaning and mailing software might even appear to be a bargain.
That said, where there’s a will there’s a way. If you have a relatively skinny list, say about 200K, as long as you’re dedicated enough to keep the list clean and send to it slow and steady you will be able to progress nicely. You’ll have to handle your FBL complaints promptly and keep your IP reputation positive. And really, as long as you can mail enough to build up that IP rep, you can always introduce new data gradually.
How much are you willing to spend before you start making your money back?
This is a simple question with some complex variables. Again, and I’ll never tire of repeating this, the better your data the better positioned you are to meet with mailing success. That doesn’t mean you can just jump into mailing, “set it and forget it” like a Ronco roast chicken, but that you’ll have a leg up in dealing with all the issues that will come up.
Roughly speaking if you have a live feed of grade A data –email records from people that have just purchased something– that’s getting scrubbed daily AND you’re willing to buy quality IPs as well as a top rated mailing platform you might be able to see a return on investment within 3 to 6 months.
Downgrade any element of the above ingredients and you’ll set yourself back a month or two. Have great data but, don’t want to spend more than $300.00 for a /24 (an IP block) –you’re going to have hampered performance. If you have OK data, like you bought it from a list broker, but you don’t want to spend the money on cleaning it, then you’ll set yourself behind as you’ll be burning out IPs like crazy. Then again if you’re willing to get a top of the line $1500.00 /24 but are using a scrapper to build your list, you might as well set that fifteen hundred on fire. Again: great data is the leading factor in over-all success.
Do you HAVE TO get into the in-box?
You’re paying the big bucks to your ESP because they have a whole crew of people running interference for you with the ISPs. It’s a full-time job and that’s why traditional ESPs demand the licensing fees they do –and that’s also why they throttle your sending amount.
Bulk mailing is another animal. You can send an absolutely astounding amount of mail very quickly and the honest to goodness truth is, a very small percentage will hit the in-box. Really. And the other truth is, that’s OK. The audience to whom bulk mail, performance marketing campaigns cater too aren’t so hung-up on things landing in the in-box.
Snuggies don’t just look sexy on the recliner but also in the bulk folder. Really.
If the thought of your campaign landing in the dreaded Spam box over and over makes your skin crawl, then bulk mailing may not be for you. And if you think I’m exaggerating because you believe promises made by individuals on mailing forums or in the ad copy of bulk mailing software companies that guarantee in-boxing, then bulk mailing may not be for you.
I’m not saying it’s impossible to in-box as a bulk mailer, I’m saying it’s the rare exception. Yes, some mass mailers do regularly in-box and that’s usually because they’ve dedicated their body and soul to mastering one or two specific domains. They send in tiny batches over /27’s.
Can you accept that learning how to mail is challenging and involves a learning curve?
Bulk mailing is very demanding. Things rarely go right and if they do, they don’t stay right for long. Mass mailing is basically plate spinning; gotta keep the IPs warmed, gotta keep the screamers out, gotta make sure the server is functioning right, don’t forget about the feedback loops, make sure the tracking link is still working, gotta make the donuts. It goes on and on. And just when you get that all that figured out and cranking, Yahoo tells you to go elf yourself.
And so and so forth.
Good News about the Bulk Folder
Hardworking individuals that ARE putting in the effort are being well rewarded. You just have to give yourself an honest assessment and then if you do decide to go for it, you’ll need to hop up on the saddle and stay there because the email promised land does still exist. Social media and mobile marketing are the new darlings but good old fashioned email, when you commit to it, still delivers a great pay off.