How to Evaluate a 3rd Party Email Partnership

How big is your email list? If you are a start-up, or if your organization has not been collecting emails over the past several years, it is likely your answer is, “Not big enough!”

When considering the size of your email list, you must also ask yourself if all the addresses on that list are there because their owners want them to be. In other words, were your email addresses of the opt-in nature, or did you buy a list and call it a day?

No matter how you answered these questions, the truth is, as marketers, we could all afford to increase the size of our email lists. Generating demand for our products and services, as well as expanding the reach of our content, will never —ever—go out of style. One of the best ways to introduce your content to a new audience is to “borrow” the audience of an organization.

How are your emails segmented?

The whole point of partnering with a third party is to get your content in front of the right people. That means proper segmentation is key. Options for segmentation may include:

Role, industry and company size were especially important to us, but these elements may be different for you. Make sure that no matter how many email addresses are available to you, they will be the right addresses.

What is your average open rate, click through rate, bounce rate?

The numbers matter. If an email goes out to 20,000 people but only .02 percent open the email, is it worth your money? Moreover, if 10 percent are opening the email but no one ever clicks through, is it worth the investment?

Bounce rates matter, too. You’ll want to ensure your partner organization has built its email list based on white-hat, opt-in practices, otherwise, a high bounce rate may send your email right to potential customers’ spam boxes, or worse, not be delivered at all.

Do I have control over the content you will send?

In some cases, you may be able to write, design and fully customize the content sent out in the partner email newsletter. Other organizations you partner with may prefer to create it themselves and simply have you sign off on it before it is sent.

Either way can be a great opportunity depending on your preferences, capabilities, resources and time. Just make sure you know what is expected of you, and in what time frame.

Can I link to my own landing page?

Again, the answer to this question will depend on your preferences and resources. Some affiliates may allow a link directly to a landing page on your website. However, if your organization does not use inbound software and, therefore, does not have the capabilities to collect leads, the affiliate may need to build a landing page and collect lead information for you.

While this is in no way a complete list of questions to ask before you sign on for a paid email distribution, it will help make sure you are reaching the right people to best expand your reach and generate demand for your product or service.