What advice would you offer an entrepreneur who wants to outsource the optimization of his or her email list?
The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.
1. Use Someone You Trust Absolutely
Outsourcing email lists is a big deal. First, you would need to disclose to your site visitors that you share their information with partners. Second, you would need to make absolutely sure you trust the person. If anything goes awry and they do a poor job, you’ll lose people’s trust.
– Chuck Cohn, Varsity Tutors
2. Source a Qualified Partner
For B2C companies in particular, it’s easy and inexpensive to use a third-party solution to optimize things like time sent, subject line, product recommendations, etc., using data you already have. Personalizing these pieces alone helps increase conversions and offers customers a more personal experience. They also integrate with e-commerce platforms and ESPs, too.
– Erik Severinghaus, Simple Relevance
3. Look for Someone With Experience
Optimizing an email list is a mixture of art and science. Effectively achieving such a big task requires somebody with specialized skills, knowledge and, most importantly, experience. Look for a resource with experience, and look for proof they can provide success for your email list and that they won’t waste your time or money.
– Tim Jahn, matchist
4. Outsource to Someone With Intimate Knowledge of Readership
There is potential danger in outsourcing the optimization of an email list. To do so effectively, you must have an intimate knowledge of readers and their interests, likes and dislikes, email access methods and what they want to read more about. It’s a real challenge for a complete stranger to figure out and fully understand this sort of information.
– Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance
5. Don’t Lose the Personal Touch
The most valuable thing you can do with your newsletter is actually respond to the people who write to you. The personal touch is often completely unexpected, and it builds the relationship in a way that very few other online mediums can do. Make sure if you outsource, there’s still someone who gets why your email marketing should be a two-way street.
– Sean Ogle, Location 180, LLC
6. Be Wary of Outsourcing
I would be wary of outsourcing the optimization of our email list. We know our contacts and audience best. Managing our own list allows us to segment and provide messaging that is relevant, which keeps our users engaged and pushes them farther down the funnel. That said, if you’ve reached the point where it’s simply too much, hire an email marketing manager, or train someone on your team!
– Arjun Arora, ReTargeter
7. Start With Your Dream Outcome
Optimizing an email list can mean many different things. Do you want to increase your open rate? Your engagement? Your click-through rate? Make more sales from each email? Start with the end in mind: What is your dream outcome from email marketing? What is your one big goal that you want to improve on? Start there, and the firm you work with can make your dream into a doable goal.
– Laura Roeder, LKR Social Media
8. Learn the Mechanics First
You can’t easily analyze what an outside company is offering to do for you if you don’t understand the underlying mechanics of the necessary work. If you aren’t familiar with the work you need done, you won’t be able to tell if you’re paying for the right help or if an unscrupulous vendor is taking advantage of you.
– Thursday Bram, Hyper Modern Consulting
9. Use Drop Dead Copy
Follow, learn from, and — if you want to outsource — hire my man John McIntyre fromDropDeadCopy.com — the autoresponder guy! He has helped a few of my friends build out their complete email autoresponder series and vastly increase conversions.
– Cody McKibben, Digital Nomad Academy
10. Outsource First, Then Bring It in-House
If you don’t have the expertise to build an email marketing framework, design, metrics infrastructure, etc., definitely use an agency or outsourced provider to get something up, tested and refined. Learn as performance and direction are set, and then take it in-house because it’s much more cost effective. Make sure you have an infrastructure that you can adapt.
– Trevor Sumner, LocalVox