But when it comes to direct/email campaigns, whatever platform has been in place before has always proven to be an incredible chore. The design of the email needs to be tested at length by someone who knows what they are doing (a developer, or me – mostly), then you need to ensure your target lists are correct and up-to-date. The rigmarole of testing and previewing the email is also grimace-inducing. Then you have all the data protection issues (which differ based on landing location), so you have to ensure that the email is built with all this in mind; it’s easy to forget that you also need to get all of this 100% correct the first time, because once the campaign is sent, there is no way of taking it back. It’s a little like going to print, which is quite an anomaly for the digital age.
Step in MailChimp. A cloud-based flexible and super powerful email campaign management platform, with a host of integration options.
This has to be the most elegant setup I have ever come across from any provider and has easily impressed me over its peers, including SilverPop, StrongMail, SugarCRM, Dotmailer etc etc. The list goes on forever.
The reason for so much praise to be heaped upon this company and platform is because they have taken what is actually a very complex process, with all the applicable toolkits, and thrown it together into a very usable, fast and efficient system. It’s the first that I have personally come across that allows the marketer to really focus on the marketing for a change, instead of worrying about the endless list of logistics that normally needs to be taken into consideration.
The features are exhaustive and really does harness every nuance of the email campaign process, including:
- Fully customised design with CSS
- Management of lists and groups, including unsubscriptions and form creation
- A/B testing
- API integration with a plethora of other platforms including Salesforce and the new Amazon SES
- Excellent pre-made ready-to-use templates
- Google Analytics
- Full social media integration, including a social toolbar on the web version of the email
- Inbuilt campaign analytics for sent/views/clicks
- iPhone administration interface
I’ll be entirely honest; I have only been using this system for one day and it has allowed me to explore everything mentioned above already, and best of all, they even offer a completely free account (these are far and few between for cloud-based services these days) that will enable you to send out up to 12,000 emails a month. If you are asking for more, then you really need to pull your very large hands out of your very small pockets.
Take a peek, at MailChimp; I guarantee you will not be disappointed.
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