Email Marketing – Are You Missing Out?

email-marketingEven though email is ancient in terms of internet history, it has stood the test of time. And with the prevalence of smartphones and tablets, email is now mobile and with us wherever we go.

Email marketing (via newsletters) can be a powerful tool to stay in touch with clients, promote new products, services, promotions, attract new prospects, etc. It can help drive traffic to your website or blog where you can then convert them into sales or donations or what have you.

According to an online marketing study done earlier this year:

  • 49 percent of consumers have made a purchase as a direct result of an email marketing message
  • 93 percent of consumers subscribe to at least one brand’s email

Using an email newsletter service such as MailChimp or Constant Contact makes it fairly easy to:

  • Manage your subscribers and email campaigns
  • Import existing client email list(s) and download lists you’ve created
  • Set up customized templates with your company logo/branding with drag & drop editing (no technical experience required)
  • Create schedules for sending out newsletters – Well-timed newsletters with compelling content about your business or industry will keep you in the forefront of your clients’ or prospective clients’ minds.

If you have a blog or website, you should add an email newsletter sign up form to give you a new method of reaching out to prospective clients. Then, visitors to your site will be able to sign up for your newsletter – which highlights the importance of having good SEO (search Engine Optimization) for your website. SEO will help potential customers find you, AND a newsletter will keep them engaged in an ongoing way.

If you use a CMS like WordPress or Joomla, newsletter subscription form plugins are available for the popular newsletter services.  Otherwise, you can most likely set up a signup form with the service you choose.

MailChimp

MailChimp email newsletter serviceI’ve only had experience with MailChimp so I’ll discuss their specific features. Many of these features are available at most popular newsletter services. MailChimp is immediately compelling since they have a completely free plan (see below) so it’s very easy to try it out with no strings attached or expiring trials.

I helped a client set up an account at MailChimp.com and got them started on creating their first newsletter. It was very straightforward. Now they’re managing it themselves without a problem.

Getting Started

  • List – first establish a list of contacts. If you have a current list of email addresses, you can import it to MailChimp and then easily manage it there – adding or removing addresses manually as necessary.
  • Template – you have to create a generic layout for your newsletter that you set up once and use as much as you want. Easily add your company logo (or other images) to keep your branding and a consistent look that you like.
  • Email campaign – each time you send a batch of newsletters out it’s called a campaign. You can send it to your entire mailing list or just a subset. You can also easily test it before sending to see how it will appear to recipients.
  • Signup form – as pointed out earlier, many CMSes have plugins for MailChimp. But MailChimp also makes it fairly easy to design and create your own signup form that can be embedded in your website.

Also of note is that recipients can unsubscribe at any time if they like via a link in the newsletter. This is in compliance with federal law to help fight email spammers. This is a very important point, since being the owner and distributor of an email newsletter, you also must comply with this law.

Pricing

  • Forever Free plan (less than 2000 subscribers, and send up to 12,000 emails per month)
  • Paid subscription plans with no limit on emails per month
  • “Pay as you go” plan with per email pricing

Reports

Using the reports, you can get valuable information on how the email recipients responded to your email such as how many: opened the email, clicked on links, forwarded, liked on Facebook, unsubscribed, etc.

Support

They also have lots of support and tutorials available. For more information, see their Getting Started guide.

Constant Contact

I’ve not personally used Constant Contact, but I know it’s another popular choice. They don’t have a free plan similar to MailChimp, but they do offer a limited trial period.


Have you had any experience with email marketing?

What service(s) do you prefer?  Does it help drive sales?  Let me know in the comments.

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