Email marketing is very effective when done right. The problem is that too often it is done wrong and people end getting frustrated with their service versus identifying the real issue — sending emails is one thing. Doing effective marketing is entirely different.

Email marketing services like Bronto are fairly easy to use and very powerful for communicating with large audiences. However, easy and powerful doesn’t necessarily make it effective — that’s where good ole’ fashion marketing principles come in:

1. Know your audience

2. Personalize and tailor your message

3. Target accurately

4. Test, iterate, and test again

These things determine whether email marketing works or not — much more than high delivery rates to AOL or the latest viral marketing widget in the message’s footer. Perhaps not as cool but effective nevertheless.

Bronto provides incredible rocket fuel in the form of great delivery rates, reporting tools and list management. But, at the end of day, if the rocket is pointed the wrong direction, the results are not going to be here. Insightful support and account management teams can help some but, ultimately, they can only do so much when they are not sitting in the driving seat.

What to do? The onus is on email marketing companies to innovate their offerings by deeply interjecting “best practices” and weaving marketing wisdoms into their products. This goes beyond providing comprehensive documentation and tutorials but rather making it very easy for customers to do the right thing and clearly identify when they are veering off track. I haven’t seen any email marketing vendors that do that well. Why? It’s hard. Ask any computer science professor the challenges in coding an artificial intelligence program that comes across somewhat intelligent — not easy to do. More often than not, the computer program mimics a psychopath that jumps from one non sequitor to another.

So, the challenge rests with us and were working on it. Pass on any suggestions that you have on how to do this well — we’re listening! In the meanwhile, get cozy with this article on basic email marketing best practices from Forrester Research. It should tie you over until we innovate something brillant.