Even with the rise of social media, email marketing is still an effective way to stay connected with prospects, generate sales and market affiliate products for additional revenue streams.  However, with the rise of social media and other forms of communication, such as text messaging, the way email marketing is done needs to be updated.  What should you be looking for in your email marketing service that will keep you updated with the latest developments on the Internet?

1) Consistent product improvement.
The email service provider should look very different today than it did 5 years ago.  If it looks the same, or has most of the same features, then you should look for another email service.  The email provider should keep their service up to date with the newest developments on the Internet and integrate their service to take advantage of these new online changes.

2)  Close integration with your blog
Your blog and your email provider should be closely integrated.  Your service provider should have the option to automatically email your blog postings out to your mailing list whenever you update your blog.  A good service provider will allow you to pick how often you want to automatically email your blog postings out so you don’t overwhelm your list.  This feature saves you time in keeping connected with your mailing list while you are posting great content to your blog.  Clever applications of this feature can practically automate a significant portion of your online business strategy.

3) Ability to connect to your social networks.
Your email list should allow you to send broadcast emails out to your social network accounts as well when you send an email out to your mailing list.  The networks that your provider should connect to should at a minimum be Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook.  If others are available, it is even better. This allows you to automatically keep your business in front of those in your social networking circle.

4) Open and Click Statistics
You should have knowledge of how effective your emails are and how effective your email calls to action are.  You should receive information on how many people are opening your emails, on a per email basis, as well as how many are clicking on each link.  Some email programs will let you know who opened and clicked on your links, but you will pay a premium for those statistics, and most small businesses usually don’t need it at that level.  If you are strategically segmenting your mailing list enough, the basics should be enough information for you.

5) Customer Support
You will want a solution that offers 24×7 customer support through at least email, live chat or phone support.  The best is phone support, then live chat, then email.  If they only offer email support, ask around for those that user their service and find out how long it takes for the customer service to answer support questions

When you have the right features in your email program, you are able to reduce the amount of effort required on your part to implement your online business strategy.  Taking advantage of these email service features can increase your income, reduce mistakes in communication and generally make it easier to offload certain online marketing tasks to others as well.  So the whole point here is really do your research when looking for a good email list service and don’t take the first one that comes along because everyone else is using it and it seems easy at the time.  In the long run, it will be harder.  A stitch in time saves about 100 in this case.

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