Email Vendor Selection – Choosing a behavioural email provider: 7 critical questions you didn’t think about.
By: Email Vendor Selection
In the last article was all about Choosing the right behavioural email service for your business when planning to invest in behavioural email.
This time we focus on questions to ask a potential supplier. You want to ensure they can meet the initial requirements and on-going needs of your business. So what should you ask a potential behavioural email provider?
1. Do you have any specific case studies on behavioural email?
Getting credentials is not unique to selecting a behavioural email provider.Because it’s still classed in the emerging category, it’s more important than ever to be able to prove the providers you are talking to can do what they claim and that others have had sufficient success with them to publish the results.
Warning: A case study on delivering a lovely broadcast email with award winning creative does not prove a company can handle the complexities of behavioural segmentation. Ensure any case studies and references you are given actual relate to what you are asking the provider to do! And ask to speak to at least 2 clients that do behavioural email with the email marketing automation provider.
2. Do you have experience in sending behavioural campaigns in my sector?
It’s important to remember, just because a provider has sent millions of retail basket abandonment emails, doesn’t mean they know how to grow campaigns for travel companies, insurance companies, gambling companies etc…
Nearly every ESP, pure play, campaign management system, database provider and probably web analytics vendor can deliver the basic abandonment email. The question is can they evolve beyond that and can they work specifically on things within your sector.
Challenge the provider on what they know and understand about your specific space. Ask for examples on what they suggest will work for your company; ask for evidence on why it will work and how it will work.
3. What is the pricing model of your behavioral email?
Two main costing methods exist; CPA led or fixed price. With a CPA model you get a real sense of paying for what you are getting and it’s normally much easier to justify. The downside of this model is (due to the potential for behavioural emails to grow) it could become extremely expensive.
I’ve heard many stories from retailers that when they launched their basket abandonment emails they were happy with the levels it was generating and the cost attached to it. However, when they trebled the volume, started adding another 20 programmes the cost on a CPA stopped working in their favour!
If you’re thinking of taking this route you may want to ask if your provider can offer a hybrid model where you work on CPA, but have the cost capped. This will of course limit you on what you can send.
On the other hand, if you’re going for a fixed price solution, don’t be fooled into believing this will give you more control, instead ensure you know exactly what the cost includes, and what restrictions may apply.
Classic issues include:
- Creative templates included or not
- Additional costs for higher volumes of emails sent
- Excessive charges for adding more segments
- High day rates for making any changes to creative (and often long lead times!)
- High testing charges
Clarify how the pricing model works with your provider and then use the response to carefully model the total costs of your ESP over the short and long term.
Want to check out the who’s who and what’s what of email marketing?
Read The Buzz.
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