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  1. #1
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    Looking for an Email Marketing service

    My boss and I have been looking at our email marketing plan and we've concluded that we're not going to be sending out a lot of mass emails to our email list. In fact, we don't really want to send out emails to "lists" much at all. We're looking for ways to set up automated emails to users in our database based on various criteria stored in our database (like sales history and purchases). Here would be examples of this:

    - Automated emails to customers who bought from us more than 3 times in the past 12 months... on the 3rd purchase, an email is generated.
    - Automated emails to customers who haven't purchased from us in 60 days, 90 days, 12 months, etc.
    - Automated emails to customers who have spent X number of dollars with us in the past 12 months.
    - Automated emails to customers who created an account on our site but didn't make a purchase.
    - Etc, etc, etc.

    We'd also like to do manual email blasts based on some of that same criteria as well.

    I'm just not sure how it would work using an email marketing service to pass the emails through. We'd need a service that can help us automate the sending process based on the criteria I explained above, one that has a custom template feature, Google Analytics support, bounce reports, unsubscribes, and all the basic features. We are currently trying to get things set up with Constant Contact and are finding that it's not really the right solution for what we need. If we just needed regularly scheduled newsletters to be sent out, it would work great. But we need more of an action-triggered solution. Maybe an enterprise solution of some sort.

    Any suggestions?

  2. #2
    Mazel tov! bronze trophy kohoutek's Avatar
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    Have you looked at something like Mailchimp?
    Maleika E. A. | Rockatee | Twitter | Dribbble



  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by kohoutek View Post
    Have you looked at something like Mailchimp?
    Not yet, there are so many out there. It's difficult to find out which can do what I specified above. I'll take a look - do you have experience with that solution? Would they do what we need?

  4. #4
    Mazel tov! bronze trophy kohoutek's Avatar
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    I've used them before, yes, though I've never needed the extended functionality you describe.

    Based on their feature-list, it seems you can accomplish all the items you've outlined.

    They're a very good service.
    Maleika E. A. | Rockatee | Twitter | Dribbble



  5. #5
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy
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    What you're talking about is referred to as triggers (or events) and while marketers have done this for decades, it's only been self-service in email for a few years.

    I've seen some basic triggers enter into lower end providers but probably not enough to do it all through the provider the _easy_ way. Under this method you share your customer data (ecommerce, crm, contact, analytics, etc) with the email provider through an ongoing feed passing over whatever fields are needed (name, email, order history, order date, etc) then build campaigns with a "Drag and Drop" style approach.

    The difficulty here is data syncing. The vendor has to take enough info points in (and you have to have some sort of data warehouse to send them from) to be able to key into the segments.

    There is of course the _hard_ way which any provider with a decent API supports.... Here you would create a script on your ecommerce platform to identify each different type of email and on a daily basis (or such) trigger a request to the email vendor to send a pre-defined, but otherwise static, message out to someone one at a time looping through each match on each campaign.

    While the hard way does require more development and gives you less flexibility, you don't have to worry about syncing data and you do get complete control.

    Popular vendors -

    ExactTarget
    StrongMail
    Responsys

    If you're doing significant sends feel free to drop me a PM for some industry contacts / vendor names who work at that level.

    Btw, your approach is awsome. Be there when it's relevant with a relevant message, not every tuesday because it's tuesday.
    - Ted S

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ted S View Post
    What you're talking about is referred to as triggers (or events) and while marketers have done this for decades, it's only been self-service in email for a few years.

    I've seen some basic triggers enter into lower end providers but probably not enough to do it all through the provider the _easy_ way. Under this method you share your customer data (ecommerce, crm, contact, analytics, etc) with the email provider through an ongoing feed passing over whatever fields are needed (name, email, order history, order date, etc) then build campaigns with a "Drag and Drop" style approach.

    The difficulty here is data syncing. The vendor has to take enough info points in (and you have to have some sort of data warehouse to send them from) to be able to key into the segments.

    There is of course the _hard_ way which any provider with a decent API supports.... Here you would create a script on your ecommerce platform to identify each different type of email and on a daily basis (or such) trigger a request to the email vendor to send a pre-defined, but otherwise static, message out to someone one at a time looping through each match on each campaign.

    While the hard way does require more development and gives you less flexibility, you don't have to worry about syncing data and you do get complete control.

    Popular vendors -

    ExactTarget
    StrongMail
    Responsys

    If you're doing significant sends feel free to drop me a PM for some industry contacts / vendor names who work at that level.

    Btw, your approach is awsome. Be there when it's relevant with a relevant message, not every tuesday because it's tuesday.
    Thanks Ted, I'll check out those vendors. We had tried using Constant Contact but we've had some trouble trying to work with their API using triggers - it seems everything has to be a list in their system and trying to sync the lists has been a headache. And if we can't use triggers it doesn't make sense for us.

    These won't be significant sends. We have a total of 9k customer emails... and not all of those will likely be part of the send. We just don't see the benefit of sending out generic mass emails about nothing in particular just to try and have them keep us in mind - we're not a content generation company and feel the only way to engage the types of customers we have (contractors and distributors) isn't by trying to feed them content.

    We need full control over the triggers and need to be able to feed the triggers to the email solution. And then track the stats through the email solution (or Google Analytics). I'm excited to start checking out these vendors.

    Anyone know if Aweber can do these things? I had a couple people that I trust recommend them in the past but not for this level of integration.

  7. #7
    SitePoint Member sean.mitton's Avatar
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    To answer your question, YES Aweber can handle the requirement you described. However, Aweber is a monthly plan that recurs every month, and you can only send emails to a set number of subscribers for any given plan. If you want to send ETHICAL bulk emails to your opt-in list, you may want to use a reliable SMTP service. Often, these SMPTs come in the form of software rather than recurring services. The one I use is Imailunlimited and you may want to check it out (NOTE: I am not affiliate of Imailunlimited). Just a recommendation! Good luck


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