Let’s admit it. There’s so much brouhaha about e-mail marketing now-a-days, it’s definitely hard to ignore it. It feels like, if we do not get on the e-mail marketing bandwagon, we are going to lose out. So it could be. There are two important reasons why you should incorporate e-mail marketing into your overall strategy, which I will just mention. It is more important, though, to know how to go about it and is the ultimate goal of this post- to help you kickstart e-mail marketing as easy as one-two-three!
So, first things first. Why is e-mail marketing so critical?
2 Reasons you need e-mail marketing TODAY!
1. E-mail marketing is the most direct and personalized way to get attention from your (potential) customer. They have given you permission to advertise to them, which means you have an audience already. All you have to do is convince them you have great products and ease them into investing in one of your offerings. E-mail marketing has apparently been proven to have the highest success rate among all marketing campaigns and advertising.
2. For the sheer sake of increasing your website traffic, consider e-mail marketing. The goal of sending emails is not just hoping someone will buy your product, but also to increase click-through to your website from your email. Once you are getting high click-throughs, it is accounting as high unique visitor traffic to your website and fodder for Search engines like Google. You raise your esteem in Google’s eyes and then, all the magic happens!
These two should be good enough reasons to start e-mail marketing right away. Bam!
Is it typing out a few words in Compose in Gmail and blasting it out to your e-mail list? A BIG no! Have you ever subscribed to anybody’s e-mail newsletter? If you have, you know what I am talking about. If you haven’t, you better quickly go to your favourite blog and find and click on a Subscribe button. You will soon see what is happening in your Inbox.
E-mail newsletters are to be done tastefully. And yes, it is a form of Content Marketing. E-mail marketing will be effective if you offer some great content in those e-mails. From getting your e-mail delivered to their Inbox (and not spam folder), to their opening it, clicking-through to your website, and finally making a purchase is a long journey. Hence it must be handled with that much care and sensitivity.
Now what if I said starting this process is as easy as one-two-three? You will not believe it, but the number of e-mail service providers (and I’m not talking about Google, yahoo or Hotmail) is growing by the day. At break-neck speed. If the people who are starting these services every other day, who understand that e-mail marketing is so much needed for every business, why would you think otherwise?!
And best of all, many of these providers have FREE plans as well. Some have affordable plans. Some are simply expensive, but those are for when you are a big giant brand! The simple idea behind all these providers is that you create wonderful e-mails with their ready-made templates, import your contacts on their platform and then just click Send! And then, it gets delivered right to the inbox of your clients (you will have to do some research on how much success rate each provider has in delivering e-mails which doesn’t go into the spam folder).
While you may have come across the big players like Aweber and Mailchimp, there are many more up and coming providers you may want to consider. The list I lay out before you is one that contains names of providers that are actually being used by businesses I engage with. Each e-mail newsletter I get, is quite different from another in a variety of ways. Some are awful and some are great. Some businesses do NOT use these e-mail providers and set up their own system for e-mail newsletter creation and delivery. But we are small businesses, remember? We could do with some ready-made stuff ;-).
How to choose a provider.
While deciding, compare features, pricing and reviews. Shortlist some and then talk to their customer support. By the end of that, you will have a gut feeling whom to go with.
So let’s jump right in.
List of E-mail Providers
Used by a large number of businesses, mainly because of their free pricing option, Mailchimp has some cool features that can work to your benefit.
Automation and personalization
Flexible design options
Send anytime, anywhere.
Built for growth
The pricing options range from:
Entrepreneur:Up to 2,000 subscribers
Send 12,000 emails to 2,000 subscribers for free. No contracts, and no credit card required. It’s free forever.
Other options start at $10/month for 500 subscribers and unlimited emails, or pay as you go option at $0.030 per email.
Your first 1,000 emails are absolutely free.
After that they have plans starting at $19/month.
Some of the features they pride themselves in:
Simple email creation
Set email rules
Set and Forget
Beautiful digest themes
They seem to be #1 when it comes to a trusted email marketing provider. They are a big player and many WordPress bloggers find it easy to integrate with them.
You can start at $1 for the first month for 500 subscribers with them, and after that their plans start from $19. And their features? Here are some cool ones:
Hudreds of templates
Customer Support, 7 days a week
Website sign-up forms
They believe “Your customers check their inbox all day, every day. You’re sure to reach them when you work with Constant Contact.” Some of the features they provide to achieve this are:
Social media tools.
Image and file storage
Their pricing starts at $15 for 500 subscribers and goes upward from there. The best part? Unlimited emails for whichever plan you choose. Which means you could send emails literally everyday to all your contacts.
This is another great e-mail newsletter service provider. They have some great features and irresistable pricing options.
Some of their features include:
Design from their templates with email Builder.
Auto Responders, Social Sharing and A/B Testing
Analytics of Email Campaigns
List Management and form Builder
Social Reporting & Facebook subscribe
There are more to the list. And what do they charge for all this?
Surprisingly, it’s affordable in my opinion. Starting at $9/month for 500 or less subscribers (sending limit of 2500 emails/month), this seems like a viable option among many others. Then again, please do your research thoroughly to choose what’s best for your business.
This brand looks so quirky, you might love it or hate it. But to be fair, we have to go through their features and pricing.
Their features include:
Email Creation and form Builders
High delivery & Security
A whole ton of integrations…
And what’s their pricing look like? They have a free plan too! One that allows you to store up to 2,500 contacts and send 12,500 emails. But for their customer support, start on their basic plan of $10/month and unlimited emails.
Now you are getting really confused about which provider to go with. everybody is so damn good and enticing. And you’re surprised to see that you are already at #7 of the list (btw, I have not arranged this list by any sort of priority and I really am writing it out of my head, um, notes actually!). But let’s consider Vertical Response with a fresh mind now, shall we?!
Choose one of their professionally designed, free templates
Build sign up forms to grow your list.
Social Friendly (connect across multiple social media)
And so on so forth. How much will you be shelling out for all this?
It starts FREE! Up to 1,000 email contacts and send up to 4,000 emails per month. Otherwise their plans start at $18/month. You can also pay-as-you-go.
MailKitchen is a Free Email Marketing Provider. For 0$/month, you can upload up to 5,000 email contacts and send up to 15,000 emails/month.
They have a powerful armory of features you can really use. They have the same features as other email providers and more for a free account and that’s really impressive. They have every feature you will ever need in creating, managing and tracking your e-newsletter campaigns and it’s worthwhile to check the list out here.
This should trump over all other email providers at this stage. But you have to check the reviews and make sure this is the service you want to use (because I do not see any limitations or drawbacks using this one). Except, they are quite new to the scene, while mailchimp and aweber have been around quite a long time.
They know what they are doing. And very clearly too. They make it just as clear and easy for you too. They have A-Z features, anything that you might need to run a great email campaign. Create newsletter, Reporting, Social media integration, List management, sign-up forms, surveys and polls, A/B testing and what not.
The pricing is a little let down. It’s not free. The lowest starts at $10/month and goes from there. But looking at their awesome features and ease of use, that 10 bucks isn’t really pinching the pocket if it gets great returns for us.
If nothing else has satisfied you so far, can GetResponse satisfy you now? Perhaps. Their organized way of managing things comes through the presentation of their features:
Build landing Pages
Responsive Email design and creator(ie. suited for both desktops and mobiles)
A/B Testing (which types of colours and content work well with your audience)
Email Intelligence (analytics and customer segmentation)
And more… because e-mail marketing can end up being complicated. You DO need soooo many features.
Next, their pricing. It’s reasonable but none of it is free. Starting at $15 per 1000 contacts per month, it only goes higher.
So why choose them? Well, you did not like the other 9! But really, maybe they give great customer support, and their platform is really simple to use. Check them out once before making your decision.
Now that we have come to the end of this list, I will do a quick Bonus mention. These are not solely email marketing providers, but they also provide other solutions for your small business. I mention them here because I have seen a lot of small businesses (B2B especially) using their services. Just in case, keep them in mind too-
There you have it folks. This is the beginning of better email marketing, or should i say, e-marketing fashion?! ;-). If you are still unsure of what what e-mail marketing is, Wikipedia is our go-to source for info. Click here. Google up some more email marketing software and you will be surprised to know how many providers are out there.
So are you determined to start e-mail marketing now? Let me know in the comments below. Oh, and if you already have it going on, what do you think about outsourcing it and gain more time for other work. (email marketing can be a time guzzler you know!)
Waiting to hear from you. Cheers!
NOTE: None of these links are affiliate. I have mentioned them of my own accord and research and do not favour anything in particular.