Email marketing has become the new wave of reaching mass customers in a timely, efficient and personalized way. This new innovative technique also comes with quite a few questions on how to approach and create an email marketing strategy. The choice between using email services or bringing email marketing in-house has become the top question in many marketing departments.

Marketing through an application service provider (ASP) or purchasing email marketing software is as major a decision within an organization as was converting from paper to email. Although both solutions allow for your client lists to be accessed efficiently, a study by the Direct Marketing Association has cited that most brick-and-mortar businesses have shifted toward bringing the email services responsibility in-house.

In order to fully understand which email marketing solution is best for your company, it is important to understand the costs and benefits of each option.

Email service providers offer great benefits to certain customers. ASPs provide marketing expertise, as well as the ability to enhance your company’s rapport and credibility. Web-based marketing providers also offer certain advantages to smaller companies that cannot afford an exclusive mail server or to tie up their bandwidth with large email deliveries.

ASPs also offer the option to check statistics and information via the web. This option saves the company time and stress related to generating tracking reports and analyzing data that was gathered. This service allows for anyone, at anytime, from anywhere to check, analyze and access his or her account information. The flexibility of email service providers attract many marketing departments because of thier time-saving qualities.

While ASPs can offer expertise and credibility, because you are paying them to run your campaigns, you lose the ability to totally customize and create the campaign you had in mind. The ability to send out chain campaigns, or add a last minute contact, is not available to you. You lose valuable time when your database needs to be updated or more campaign information is going to be changed. This loss of control can spawn the need for a huge effort to clean and maintain your client information database.

Another major factor in deciding whether to outsource email services or bring your effort in-house is cost. Although you may save time and bandwidth with an email service, you are paying on a per-email basis. Each email sent is a separate cost, and there’s added costs of message tracking and other response data you want to be able to document.

Unlike email service providers, email marketing software allows for a one-time cost and total control over your email campaigns and database information.

We have seen how ASPs charge for each individual email, along with extra chargers, depending on added features. Email marketing software is a one-time purchase. You pay for the software and the support, and possibly an upgrade once or twice every year. This dramatic cut in monthly fees allows for huge savings that can be noticed within the first few months of making the switch to in-house email marketing.

Email marketing software offers many benefits to companies that ASPs do not. The ability to send out your campaigns when you are ready is an ideal feature for some purchasers. Total control over campaigns and database information, allows for total customization and privacy with your clients. Unlike outsourcing with software, everything is created within your organization, giving the reins back to the creator and allowing for last minute additions and updates.

Bringing marketing efforts in-house for total control, however, can take away from your marketers’ time. The responsibility of generating an HTML message, creating a database, and analyzing your results can be added responsibility for those in charge of the campaigns. Having total control of your campaign increases the efforts needed to maintain and generate the campaigns that you desire.

Each solution is unique, and can have pitfalls as well as important benefits. You can see that email-marketing strategies can help strengthen your company’s already extensive marketing efforts. The decision to keep them in-house or through an ASP is based on the benefits and features that are right for your company’s marketing plan and budget. Each solution offers unique benefits that tailor to the new wave of marketing via the Internet.

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