After getting my Instagram account disabled recently (that is a story for another day), I have been even more focused on building my email list. There are a lot of great reasons to have a mailing list, but the most important one, quite frankly the only one that matters: you own that list. If every single one of your social networking sites went down tomorrow, could you still keep in touch with your followers?
I bet for a lot of new entrepreneurs the answer is no. And that should scare you, especially if you’ve got thousands of followers on a particular platform.
I’m also guessing that one of the reasons you haven’t ventured into email marketing is because it feels kind of foreign and you don’t even know where to start. Which is understandable. You might even think you’ll be priced out of using email marketing software. Or that your business or blog is too small for email marketing.
First of all, it’s not as hard as it looks. And if you’ve used WordPress before, you can probably figure out your new email marketing software. Secondly, if you’re just starting out, there are completely free options out there. My favorite email marketing provider, MailChimp, is free for the first 2,000 subscribers with 12,000 email sends per month. Finally, your business is not too small to get started with email marketing. It’s actually a great time to get started so you have time to learn while your list grows.
This article is going to discuss some considerations you should take when choosing an email marketing solution.
First, you probably want to consider the price you’re willing to pay. If you are just starting out, most email marketing providers have free plans, or at a minimum, offer 30- or 60-day free trials.
I am a little biased towards MailChimp since their forever free plan is… free and offers such a big buffer before you’re in a paid account. By 2,000 subscribers/month if you can’t afford their cheap paid tier ($10/month), you have bigger problems to consider about your email marketing efforts.
Other consistent favorites across the web include Constant Contact (60-day free trial, plans start at $50/month), Get Response (30-day free trial, plans start at $15/month), and Aweber (30-Day trial, plans start at $19/month).
The next things you’ll want to consider are the features. You’ll want something that will allow you to design beautiful emails, of course. You’ll also want something that provides detailed analytics.
Other nice features to have are custom fields for sign up forms; integration with your blog software, content management system, or e-commerce software; list segmentation, so you can send targeted emails to specific buyer types; integration with paid placements on social media and search engines.
I recommend trying a few out to learn which one you find easiest to use as well. If the interface is confusing you, then you’ll be miserable every time you try to use it.
Further expanding on desirable features, one feature that I don’t think you should skimp on is automation. Especially if you’re planning to use marketing emails to sell online courses and/or upsell services to your audience.
Automation makes it so much easier to stay in touch with your email subscribers. For example, instead of just sending one simple welcome email, I might send 5 over the course of two weeks that slowly introduces a new subscriber to me and my business.
This not only gives me a bunch of opportunities to connect, I don’t have to dump a bunch of new information on a newbie at once. This is an especially useful tactic to use when you’re offering a free product or download with their subscription to your mailing list.
If you love your customers and followers as much as you want them to love you, then you should care that the software you’re using is protecting the data you’ve been trusted with.
Most providers will tell you how they safeguard that information. You should know how they do that before choosing a platform.
Finally, you’ll want to find an email marketing provider that will integrate with your content manager or blog software. If you’re using WordPress, Shopify, or Squarespace, you’re in luck because pretty much all the “good” ones will work with your site. If you’re using something else, you’ll want to do your research.
If you’ve used email marketing software before, drop your favorites in the comments below and let me know. If you think I missed a key consideration in choosing email marketing software, tell me how wrong I am, too.