Regardless of whether you are evaluating an email platform because you need one and you are just starting out or you have outgrown your current one or the one you has is just not the working for your business model, there are a few considerations you must include in your evaluation.
What do you need in a platform?
Do you need ready-made templates?
Do you need an image library with stock photos included?
Do you need to be able to tag contacts or segment based on field values?
Do you need the ability to customize fields based on your unique business?
How does it work and will it work for you?
Can you do A/B testing?
Can you crop and edit an image without needing an external editing tool or designer?
Do you need to have HTML knowledge or is there a drag-and-drop (WISIWYG) option? Hopefully both!
Can you build multi-step and/or smart workflows?
Does it have a lead capture feature?
Does it have an extras such as a pop-up you can embed on your website?
Does it integrate with your other tools like your website? How? Do you need something like Zapier to make this work (that's more $$$ if so)?
This is a big one because we often focus on bells & whistles but not necessarily the back-end.
What do you need to track to determine success? Define this!
Do you need to attribute revenue to each email? How does that work? Is it at the email level or what the person clicks on that results in a sale?
Do you want to track the source of where you are acquiring your leads?
Do you want to track your database growth?
Do you want to track your database health?
Can you afford it? You found the best solution to fit your needs but does it actually fit in your budget?
What pricing tiers are available?
What billing terms are available?
Is there a satisfaction guarantee?
Do you need to sign anything or commit to a certain period of time?
I will leave you with a final caution: Beware the Free Trial!
You know the phrase 'if it seems to be too good to be true, it probably is', well there is truth in it. Before you start a free trial you need to find out what happens when the trial ends if you decide to move forward or if you don't.
What happens to your data?
What happens to your contacts?
What happens to any integrations that were setup?
What happens to your email templates or stored image library?
What can you export?
Next week I am going to talk about what happens after you choose your platform.
TIP: One thing that is often overlooked is the community of users and experts for the platform. You want to ensure you are choosing a platform where you will have access to people that are familiar with it.