using e-mail as part of your online business
An E-mail system is a component of a Message Management System. What I mean by this statement is that a full message management system provides the business entity with a complete set of services relating to messages. In this context, messages sent and received could include anything from e-mails to mobile text messages to SMS notifications and acknowledgements and more.
Message movement in higher-end systems is triggered by automated "rules" you have programmed into the system database that determine not only what gets sent to where and how but which template and language to use, what to insert into the message and where to place it in order to personalize the content of the message sent, how often to send the message, etc.
These systems will also track statistics relating to the messages sent (such as were they received? Did they go into the receiving person's junk or primary mail accounts? Were they opened? If opened, what links embedded within the message were acted upon and did the person choose to remain opted in to receive more messages in the future or did they choose to opt out and not see any future messages from the source sender.
These sorts of systems have features that allow you to link to them from external applications and databases your business entity has in place so as to send automated responses when a person opens something on your website, fills in a form on your site and asks for information, purchases something from you, and it allows them to make a monthly or periodic payment you and get notified automatically of it on completion, etc. They can even manage multiple automated "Messaging Campaigns" and interactive campaigns (you respond one way to a message and a certain response is sent, you respond another way and a different message is sent, etc.) to those you are in contact with.
Message Management Systems used by large corporations such as Facebook, Amazon, Adobe, etc. will be using in-house server resident application systems built by companies such as "Message Systems" or "Lyris" and these systems are capable of handling all the scenarios I mentioned above and are able to send, receive and manage millions of messages a day - in various formats. These are expensive solution and unless you are looking at sending out millions of messages per day; these systems would not be your best option.
But there are a number of "3rd party operated systems that a smaller business or even a one person business could find worthy of adopting. Companies like Constant Contact, Guerilla Mail, MailChimp, SendBlaster, etc. all offer lower cost service bureau based offerings, usually provided on transaction based pricing models. There are fewer features, a few more risks, and restrictions with these types of services, but they can be utilized for a lot less money.
Bottom line, to complete the professional presentation of your business to the public, as you start to evolve and grow, you will be needing to incorporate some form of e-mail and/or message management system into your suite of business applications. You will need to provide consistency in the structure of your messages to those in contact with you and your communications to people will need to look professional and be sent out in a timely manner - only the implementation of automated message services in some form will help you achieve this. So be thinking about this and the uses to which a messaging system can be put and start to make plans for their inclusion into your future business application portfolio.
By Dan Grijzenhout - December 20, 2016
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