Constant email communication with subscribers and customers provides many benefits like driving more traffic back to the site or offers, increasing the number of returning visitors, reminding about the brand, cutting costs of customer acquisition and of course – doing more business.

The typical communication form is a newsletter or follow-up series (email chains). Newsletters allow communicating current events and offers while follow-up series can provide a well planed email chain series that main aim is to close the sale trough providing valuable information, earning trust and reminding of the brand.

There are many solutions that can provide such services – from free scripts one can install on its own server, hosted 3rd party solutions and in-house solutions.

The free solutions are one of worst ideas to try. Not only there could be potential problems with your hosting provider or ISP. It is very likely that your messages won’t get delivered but will end in spam box or junk-box. I would say – stay away as it will be waste of your time.

The 3rd party solutions are s used widely by small 1-3 person businesses and individual internet marketers. Depending on the list size and the nature of the internal architecture of your customer relation management systems, this could be a viable option to start with.

Email marketing services like AWeber offers decent level of personalization, basic statistics and automation. Pricing starts at $20.00 per month depending on the number of emails sent or size of the list.

In-house or so called hosted services are something very different from ones mentioned above. The key differentiation is the ability to customize the solution.

Let me explain…

You are a company that has multiple product departments, a CRM software, various cycles and offers to various prospect and customer groups. You need it to be all synchronized as whole.

When customer runs away from your ecommerce store shopping chart filling half of the data you want quickly pass this data into your system and send them a reminder. When a customer completes the order you want to thank him for his business and place him on your 1st time customer list.

Afterwards you will send them special x% discount offers as he already has purchased from you. You will send him 7 chain letters and the very moment he purchases the product offered, you move him onto VIP list and cancel remaining 3 follow ups from the 1st time customer list.

If the customer doesn’t responds to your VIP email, you can send him a very customized email that has collected data from your CRM system and past purchases making the message very specific to the customer – not only with basic data as join date, items purchased, but also various other statistic, e.g. how many times they logged into the system, the last support ticket they sent, the total amount of previous orders, etc.

You might want to place various customers depending on country in different lists of follow ups while still managing all your customers from your CRM solutions.

You want to track which customer opened which emails before they purchased. You want to track the time spent on average and then report it back to CRM system, you might want to integrate emails with affiliate program you own or track PPC campaign signups to-customer value and so on and so on.

Email Marketer (formerly SendStudio) is web based autoresponder and email marketing software that I happen to use for about 1 and half years. Over the time the solution has been rolled out with couple dozen advanced features. The latest one I absolutely like is split testing. This feature alone can increase return multiple times!

The beauty of this solution is the integration with other systems like billing, lead generation site and some smaller systems. The interface is really easy to use trough web browser. Implementing EM in email marketing allowed us going from simple bulk email sending to the whole new dimension that lead to 350% increase in lead activation. So it makes sense for business owners to invest in good email solution as part of their CRM.

Interesting fact is that the Email Marketer is used by around 15’000 businesses say about it a lot. The numbers inspires.

If you feel your business is ready to go to the next level in email marketing, then it is worth to consider more sophisticated solution. It will pay off!

Good luck,