Many prospective law firm clients often ask us why they should pay more for our email marketing software than for software offered by one of the cheaper email blast services (we all know who they are).
The answer is simple - we offer clients a platform that increases the likelihood that their emails will get delivered instead of blocked. In short, email marketing is not about sending emails, but about getting them delivered.
Our reputation monitoring service has proven this point time and time again. In fact, just last week we distributed the same exact email to the same exact domains (the first distribution was an original invite for an event, and the other was a reminder) - except the first distribution was sent from a cheaper email blast service (to remain nameless), and the reminder was distributed on our platform.
The distribution sent by the cheaper blast service was blocked by recipients using the Postini filtering service. Why? Our reputation monitoring service indicated the domain name used by the service had a "grey" listing on a domain blacklist service - URIBL-GREY - which means it may have been used by spammers. This listing meant there was an increased risk of a higher spam score in a content-based spam filter such as SpamAssassin. A high enough score, apparently, to offend Postini.
So that's the bottom line - the cheaper blast services can charge less because they cram thousands of accounts on to their servers. Some of those accounts may be spammers, which is bad news for legitimate email marketers because the ISP's, filtering services and corporate IT folks are increasingly judging your email reputation by the company you keep on your mail server. You can follow "best practices," but if some of the folks sharing your IP address and/or domain are "bad apples," your own deliverability will suffer (sharing an IP address with spammers is like sharing a social security number with deadbeats - you won't get a loan no matter how stellar your credit record).
Alas, in email marketing as in life, you get what you pay for.