By Jeff Kline

Blog

Standalone vs. Integrated Email Software: Which Is Best For You?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

These last couple of months have been completely dedicated to email marketing for nonprofits. You’ve learned how to write effective emails and optimize them for mobile; how to build and maintain a clean email list; and how to avoid accidentally sending spam.

Every strategy and best practice I’ve shared with you requires the use of robust email marketing software. So, for my final post in this series on email marketing, I am going to help you decide which type of email marketing solution is best for you—a standalone service or an integrated product.

Standalone vs. Integrated Email Marketing Software

First, let’s make sure we’re on the same page in the way we’re defining standalone and integrated.

A standalone email service provider is a third-party company—it literally stands alone, apart from your website. Popular standalone services include MailChimp and Constant Contact.

MailChimp Constant Contact

When your web content management system (CMS) comes with built-in email marketing capabilities, that’s considered integrated email marketing software. Accrisoft Freedom is a CMS that includes a powerful email component.

Accrisoft Freedom CMS

Full disclosure: I am the CEO/President of both Accrisoft and Accrisoft, a content management system developer. We build all of our customers’ websites using Accrisoft Freedom™ CMS, which provides them with email marketing, as well as a large selection of other marketing capabilities. Despite my greatest efforts to remain neutral on today’s topic, I think you’ll see a little of my bias sneak in.

Now that I’ve defined our key terms, let’s take a deeper dive into the advantages and disadvantages of these two types of email marketing providers.

Advantages of Standalone Email Service Providers

  • Dedicated resources, such as bandwidth and processing
  • Large library of predefined, easy-to-customize templates
  • Expertise in email marketing best practices—avoiding blacklisting, improving deliverability, reducing spam, etc.

Disadvantages of Standalone Email Service Providers

  • Some providers put multiple users on the same IP address. If one user gets blacklisted, everyone else on that IP will be blacklisted too
  • Pay-per-drink pricing structure—monthly rates will increase based on how many subscribers you store and how many emails you send
  • Data becomes fragmented. When someone fills out a form to subscribe to your blog or e-newsletter, that information is stored in a third-party database, rather than in your CMS. This is especially problematic when you are trying to monitor the behavior of potential new members and donors
  • Emails are under a lot more scrutiny in terms of whether they are spam

Advantages of Integrated Email Software

  • Seamlessly incorporates additional marketing tools like online forms and social media to create cohesive email campaigns
  • Are included within the monthly rate, so there’s no additional cost based on the number of subscribers or of emails sent
  • When someone fills out a form to subscribe to your emails, that data is actually part of your website. You don’t end up with data in different silos
  • You get seamless internet marketing reporting: website analytics and email marketing results, all in one place
  • You get a dedicated support team who knows you and your organization personally

Disadvantages of Integrated Email Software

  • Unless you purchase a dedicated email server, your email marketing will use the same bandwidth and processing as your website
  • Looser email guidelines don’t ensure as much protection against blacklisting

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Email marketing is such a valuable tool, so it’s important to find the software that will best enable you to accomplish your organization’s goals. It is my sincere hope that this post will serve as a helpful guide as you shop the market and compare products. 

So, why not get your shopping started by checking out Accrisoft Freedom Email Marketing?

The Benefits Of Accrisoft Freedom Email Marketing

As I mentioned above, I am the CEO/President of both Accrisoft and Accrisoft, a software development company. Here at Accrisoft, we build our customers’ websites using the Accrisoft Freedom™ Content Management System (CMS).

Accrisoft Freedom email marketing softwareAccrisoft Freedom is an all-in-one website solution. In addition to managing and editing your website, it also enables you to create online forms, track web analytics, process payments (like event registrations) and, of course, create email marketing campaigns—all on a single platform.

Here are just a few of the things that make our email marketing software so special:

  • Send as many emails as you want—to as many subscribers as you want—at no additional cost
  • Create multiple email lists manually, or generate lists based on form submissions and membership profiles
  • Automatically clean your email lists of all invalid and harmful addresses
  • Measure email success with in-depth analytics
  • Watch training videos and speak one-on-one with our support specialists

Learn more about the benefits of an integrated email marketing solution. Click here to get in touch with one of our web strategists.

UP NEXT: Landing Pages for Nonprofits

Next week, I will be starting a new series on how to use landing pages. I’ll discuss the different types of marketing tactics in which landing pages play a role (email marketing, social media, SEO, paid search). I’ll also discuss best practices for developing effective landing pages that drive conversions, whether your objective is to gain new members or earn more donations. 

If you have any questions about landing pages that you would like to see addressed in the upcoming series, please leave them in the comments section below.

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