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Email Marketing vs. CRM Email Solutions

It seems that, more and more, we run into clients asking about doing email marketing through their CRM solution. On the surface, it seems to make sense—the platform is in place, all their clients' details are there, and hey, it doesn’t cost anything extra to send emails. So why use another 3rd-party platform that costs more money to do something I can do for free? Believe me, the answer isn’t as easy or straightforward as we’d like it to be.

Based on our experience, here’s what we see when comparing results between a CRM email solution vs. an email only platform (e.g., RainMail, MailChip, Constant Contact, iContact, etc.):

  1. Formatting: CRM templates tend to be formatting nightmares, and, unless you know HTML, you’ll struggle to customize or format your message to your liking. Mobile optimization is another layout “must have” that needs to be taken into account.
  2. List Management: Can be difficult and segmentation is less than ideal.
  3. Reporting: If you value live data (A/B testing, social sharing, CTR/opens, link overlay, email client usage, etc.), you will be solely disappointed.
  4. Results: We typically see CRM emails with WAY lower metrics; open rates can be as much as half with bounce rates through the roof and SPAM alerts out of control.

So what’s the drawback to using an email-only platform? COST! I understand that everything comes down to budget, and each business needs to factor in cost (on average, a list size of 10k+ will cost around $150/month for unlimited sends). However, the true challenge is changing your mindset and thinking through what conversions could look like if you doubled your open rate and CTR.

Don’t get me wrong—CRM tools are phenomenal, and it probably makes sense for some companies to use the default emailing features available to them. The point is that if you are truly being strategic about your email marketing, it makes sense to at least evaluate other potential platforms.