This is the 3rd part in a 3 part series on email marketing. The first article was on general suggestions for email marketing and the second was about using email to allow your customers to subscribe to your articles and website content.
Newsletters and Email Lists
As you know email marketing can be a great tool to keep people engaged with your brand and content. Using an email list to send out both newsletters and update emails is a simple way to market. Here are a few things you can use email newsletters/broadcast email messages for:
- Monthly, weekly, or daily newsletter on what is happening with your business or industry
- Drip marketing – Giving bits of content over time
- Teaser content – Share parts of posts (maybe the first paragraph) to draw people back to your website
- Article notifications – This one was covered in the last post but you could use your newsletter to notify your customers of new articles
- Automatic emails when someone purchases a product – maybe even giving them tips or instructions on how to use the product (start with instructions, additional tips over time)
When people talk about email marketing these days, there are usually two companies that they talk about, Aweber and MailChimp. I have personally used both programs and I can recommend both of them. To give you a bit of idea of the differences, I wanted to talk about each (both things I like and don’t).
MailChimp offers a free tier for your newsletters and lists (up to 2000 subscribers and 12,000 email messages per month). Now many small business owners will look at that and say “done deal!” sign up and get started, but it actually isn’t that simple. Here are some things you get with a montly or “pay as you go” plan that you don’t get with the free one:
- Delivery Doctor (Checks how likely your message will be marked as spam)
- Inbox Inspector (see how the design looks in common email programs)
- Time Warp (deliver emails based on the user’s local time rather than in the middle of the night)
- Social Pro (Send specific emails to those on your list who have twitter, facebook and other social media accounts)
- Autoresponders (automatic welcome emails and other scheduled emails great for drip marketing)
MailChimp has a bunch of guides they have put together that are very helpful for giving more information on getting started with MailChimp, or other things like email on mobile devices, using templates or common rookie mistakes. They also have a WordPress Pluginto help you get people to sign up for your list from your website.
If you are going to sign up with MailChimp you can use my “MonkeyRewards” link and get $30 in credits (when you sign up as a paid customer.)
When I first started email marketing, I initially signed up with Aweber. I loved their service. It was easy to use and I felt like the customer service was awesome. One thing that really surprised me was that about a week after signing up I received a REAL letter in the mail thanking me for signing up. That just felt Awesome.
Aweber doesn’t have a free offering but they will give you your first month for only $1 to try them out. I think Aweber’s interface is superior to MailChimp. I felt like it was easier to use and I understood what I was doing without having to think about it as much as I do with MailChimp. If you want to see how some of the features work, or learn more about their offerings, I’d recommend their video tutorials. Aweber also has a WordPress Plugin you can use to allow people to subscribe to your lists.
Although I liked both systems, I personally found that the pricing for MailChimp matched up better with my use of an email system. Although their free version is good and works great for broadcast emails, you can’t schedule automatic emails so depending on your use case you may need to pay for the functionality you want.
If you are on the fence, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to try one and see how you like it. If it works for you, great, if there is something that isn’t working, try the other, but then STAY with that one. I don’t recommend jumping around trying to find a better solution. Pick the one that has the features you need and works for you.
Email is a great tool to keep people coming back to your website and help them be more engaged in your business. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or give opportunities for feedback about your products, services, or support. Use your newsletters as a way to communicate with your customers and allow them to communicate back to you. I hate it when I get an email from a “no reply” address. Make it easy for your customer to communicate with you.
Photo by ideagirlmedia