There are a lot of ways to get an eNewsletter program going for less money than you might think. Some of the considerations you should weigh are:
1. How many email addresses do you have in your database? (critical mass for ROI)
2. Is white-listing important to you? (over 40% of dealer emails sent to addresses submitted using lead forms are blocked)
3. Do you have the resources for writing and publishing localized content and relevant, interesting articles? (content)
4. Will your eNewsletter have "opt-out" automation that integrates with your lead management tool? (CAN-SPAM compliancy)
5. Do you want your customers to have single-click access to various requests (leads) without completing a form? (KBA)
6. Does it have any value to you if each month's eNewsletter is a microsite with a permanent URL and links to your main site? (SEO)
I have done eNewsletters myself... And, have used IMN LoyaltyDriver and have used Outsell as well. When I look back on the time and energy both myself and all those around me that I cajoled into giving me poorly written, grammatically incorrect and inane subject matter content for my home-grown eNewsletter and compare that with the programs I used from IMN and then Outsell, there is no comparison, using a professional eNewsletter is more cost and ROI effective than the homegrown variety.
However, let me qualify my personal experience with a professional opinion
... Using either Outsell or IMN does not make financial sense with less than 10,000 valid, high quality email subscribers. Below that 10,000 email address threshold, dealers may be better off with a homegrown program, combined with a professional email distribution company such as ConstantContact to deliver these homegrown eNewsletters.
However, if you happen to be a Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Volvo or Mazda dealer, there is a Ford sponsored program that provides a Ford Motor Company proprietary version of the Outsell eNewsletter service. The Ford and Lincoln Mercury Digital Advertising Program for Dealers has an OEM negotiated deal that includes a professionally designed monthly eNewsletter that incorporates Ford Motor Company supplied articles, creative content, integration with SalesPoint and DealerConnection, along with fully staffed live chat services for as low as $295 a month for up to 20,000 email address. Ford and Lincoln Mercury dealers can check out an online presentation that goes through the details at www.FordDealerEnewsletter.com
Shown below are a couple of examples of the Ford and Lincoln Mercury Dealer eNewsletters, with the images linked to the online presentation about the FLMDA eNewsletter program:
In the interest of fairness and because I am a fan of both IMN Loyalty Driver eNewsletters and the Outsell supplied eNewsletter solutions, here is a screen capture of an IMN eNewsletter that we distributed to about 40,000 subscribers each month for over a year while I was working at Courtesy Chevrolet. Right below, there is another example of an IMN Loyalty Driver eNewsletter that I received from Peoria Nissan. Both eNewsletter images are linked to the IMN Loyalty Driver web site:
eNewsletters... What's your opinion? What is the best way to have an effective eNewsletter program that establishes a consistent monthly publication cycle and delivers content that customers actually look forward to receiving in their email inbox?