Elite Email, a world leader in email marketing (based in Toronto) celebrates ten years of success with a new mobile texting tool, making the cloud-based service a virtual hub for digital marketing tools, servicing small businesses globally.
"After ten years of hard-earned success, we're further leveraging our cloud-based platform with a state-of-the-art mobile marketing tool," says Robert Burko, CEO of Elite Email, which dominates the Canadian market as it relates to small businesses. The easy-to-use tool allows business owners to create their own customized mobile marketing campaigns. The product offers everything from mobile coupons, text-to-win contests, and appointment reminders, to creating mobile websites or apps. The software has sophisticated tracking mechanisms built in and can time targeted auto-responders once people opt-in. "Elite Mobile is a natural evolution of our basic product offering, making the overarching brand EliteEmail.com a virtual hub for online marketing that anyone can use."
With the new tool, and a lengthy list of industry nods, it is no surprise that Elite Email's CEO Robert Burko is a nominee for the upcoming 2013 "Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year" award, set to be announced in July. In 2011, Mr. Burko was named the "Under 30 Entrepreneur of the Year" by the Toronto Board of Trade.
These accolades are well-earned; Elite Email sprung its entrepreneurial roots in Mr. Burko's parent's basement where he first conceived of the innovative software company in the 90's (he's only 30 years old today). The web was exploding, and mega corporations were only starting to look at online tools like websites and email marketing campaigns. The tools available were complex and expensive, and prohibitive for small and medium-sized businesses. Burko had a vision: offer these companies access to the same great tools available to big organizations, but at a price they could afford, and with an interface that would be easy for anyone to use. This mandate continues to drive innovation for the brand today.
By 2003, the company was firmly established. In 2007, Backbone Magazine and The Branham Group named it one of the "25 up-and-coming IT companies in Canada". In 2009 and 2012, Elite Email was selected by Website Magazine as one of the "Top 50 Email Marketing Service Providers Worldwide".
This year, the company hit more than two billion in permission-based emails, helping business of all sizes (from the Fords of the world to the corner store) grow themselves with strategic email marketing. Over the past decade, Elite Email has perfected its cloud-based platform, allowing organizations to build and grow their mailing lists, create eye-catching emails, and track results with detailed reports and analytics. "We're the first Canadian company to receive the EEC's coveted Email Measurement Accuracy Seal," says Burko, who is also the first Canadian authorized to speak on behalf of the Email Experience Council (EEC), the largest trade association for email marketing and part of the Direct Marketing Association.
Robert Burko has pioneered the battle against spam by enforcing email marketing best practices long before Canada's anti-spam law was even in place. Elite Email's service is for legitimate email marketers who are using permission-based emails. It has an anti-spam detection system code named "Cerebro" (Spanish for "brain") with a custom algorithm that looks at past sending behavior as well as predictive intelligence to assign a reputation score and risk score to each customer. If the customer is not following best practices, the account can be blocked.
With a high standard of customer service and ease-of-use, the platform has reached customers in every vertical market and in every corner of the globe, particularly small businesses. Elite Email has also helped non-profits (such as the Red Cross) and charities to drive membership, and enhance their communication strategy. "When Hurricane Sandy hit, we helped a city in-need communicate with its residents," says Robert Burko referring to Brookville, New York, which was left without power or phone services. The platform played a key role in keeping residents and officials aware of important updates in the wake of the natural disaster. "When the financial crisis happened, we lowered our prices or gave away the service for free to help small businesses stay afloat and put food on the table for their families."
All of this, and an A plus rating from the Better Business Bureau is not enough for Mr. Burko, whose real passion lies in innovation. He is taking Elite Email to new levels through mobile marketing, marketing automation, and software integration.
"We're adding a whole product lineup of simple mobile and text message marketing tools via Elite Mobile. This allows organizations to communicate with a multi-channel approach that includes email and mobile," says Burko. The company has already seen success with brands like Fred Perry and StyleDemocracy (where it supported marketing efforts for Nike, Lacoste and Esprit).
Making the Elite Email platform smarter with marketing automation, Burko is also exploring artificial intelligence and predictive technology so the site operates not only as a platform to send emails, but is tailored to the customer's business. Keeping the customer's goals in mind, the tool will be able to show estimated engagement rates even before the customer presses "send", so they can fine-tune their messaging to maximize results.
Elite Email is also building workflow rules to identify certain actions that will trigger a flow of messages. For example, a reader clicks on a link about a product in the customer's newsletter, two days later an email gets sent to them about that product. A week after that, there is a follow up email asking if that person would like to speak to with someone at the business regarding that product.
Sophisticated software integration is also in the works that will make Elite Email a hub, automatically connecting all the other cloud-based services a customer is using (i.e. shopping cart systems).
"Customers can expect to see tighter integration between email marketing and social marketing efforts," says Burko, who states that while there is a lot of hype about social networks, which are here to stay, email is still the backbone of the digital landscape. "The amount of email accounts and sheer volume trumps the engagement on social networks by a landslide." Most social networks tie back to email via notifications (i.e. someone commented on a photo, retweeted a tweet, etc.). Organizations need to have a more unified communication strategy, which is where we are taking the company.
Spam filters are also getting better, which bodes well for legitimate email marketers. The more they can clear away the clutter of junk mail, the more attention permission-based emails will receive.
Mr. Burko predicts an explosion in the email marketing industry, likening it to Malcolm Gladwell's the The Tipping Point (the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point).
There was a "tipping point" for the internet when some businesses had a website, but others did not. Then, all of a sudden, everyone had to have a website. Once this happened, no business was taken seriously without one. This same tipping point lies in the years ahead for email marketing. Currently some businesses are doing it, while others are not. However, with its plethora of advantages, soon every business will be building a mailing list and using email and mobile tools as critical elements of their marketing mix.
Elite Email, a leading global email marketing service provider based in Canada, has been helping customers achieve superior email marketing results for 10 years. Its cloud-based (software-as-a-service) platform allows organizations of all sizes to build and grow their mailing lists, create eye-catching emails, and track results with detailed reports and analytics. All services are backed by outstanding support and customer care. The award-winning Elite Email platform is used to attract new customers, drive repeat business and create referrals. As part of the "Top 50 Email Marketing Service Providers Worldwide" (Website Magazine, 2009), and the "25 Up-and-Coming IT Companies in Canada" (Backbone Magazine 2007), Elite Email also has an A+ Rating from the Better Business Bureau and the Direct Marketing Association's coveted Email Measurement Accuracy Seal.