Archive for January, 2014

3 C’s to Get Amazing Results from Email Marketing

Posted on January 30, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Marketing Essentials by Nadine Mullings

Email MarketingEmail Marketing is a key element to online marketing for every small business.  However, being successful at Email Marketing can be a challenge.  Just like other areas of your small business marketing, you must have a strategy for success.  Here are 3 C’s to help you get amazing results from your email marketing.

3 “CON”s:

CONtacts-  Your email list is where the money is at.  It is important to make sure that the contacts on your e-mail list have opted-in to receive your e-mail (you don’t want to be a spammer-  sending e-mails to individuals who have not requested it).  Always remember that it’s not the size of your list, but the QUALITY of the contacts on your list.  It’s always better to have 50 interested individuals than 1000 uninterested individuals.

CONtent-  Most of us have heard the saying “Content is King”, but what does that really…

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5 Ways to Propel Your Email Marketing

Posted on January 22, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Marketing Essentials by Nadine Mullings

Do you stay connected to your customers and prospects on a regular basis?  Staying connected maintains your relationship and keeps your business top of mind.  A great way to do this is through Email Marketing.  Email marketing allows you to reach them in their email in-boxes on a regular basis.

Check out these tips below to propel your Email Marketing:

  • Build your Email List
    You can start by collecting email addresses from your customers, clients, and prospects.  You can use both online and offline techniques as an email address capture method. Online techniques include having an email sign-up form on your website and an email sign-up link on your outgoing email messages.  Offline techniques can include having a Quick Response (QR) Code on your brochures or business cards that links to your email sign-up form and collecting email addresses on your order forms, or when people request information about your…

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How to pick an Email Marketing Service Provider

Posted on January 15, 2014. Filed under: Email Marketing, Marketing, Small Business | Tags: , , , , , |

Are you using email marketing for your business?
Are you trying to decide what email marketing service provider to use?

Blog Image- How-to-Pick-an-EmailIf you are using email marketing for your business, or you are considering using email marketing, you have probably found out that there are hundreds maybe even thousands of email marketing service providers out there.  So how do you decide which one is right for you? It would be impossible for me to mention them all in this post, so I have narrowed it down to the top three that seem to be at the top of everyone’s list; MailChimp, Constant Contact, and AWeber.  Based on the popularity of these companies, I decided to do a post that compares these companies on customer base, price and product features.

MailChimp

MailChimp has the largest customer base with over 4,000,000 customers according to their website.  I suspect that their large customer base may have to do with the fact that they have a “Forever Free” product that allows small businesses to use their product and several of the main features for free as long as they don’t have more than 2,000 subscribers.  In addition, if someone opted to upgraded to a paid account, MailChimp  has the lowest priced monthly package of the three companies at $10/month.

Another advantage MailChimp has over the other Email Marketing Services providers is that they have several great features like automated list segmentation.  Their system allows you to segment your email list based on several already defined factors that you can select or adjust (i.e. member rating, subscriber activity, location, etc.).  MailChimp is also great if you want to upload an unlimited amount of images to use in your email.  Constant Contact and Aweber have limitations on the amount of images you can upload to their systems or the storage size available for the images you upload.

MailChimp also offers the following features that neither Constant Contact or Aweber offer:

  • Event Triggered Autoresponders–  this allows you to send a follow-up email to someone based on an action they have taken within your email.
  • A/B Testing–  this gives you the option of testing elements of your email campaign to see which one works better via A/B testing.
  • Inbox Preview–  this offers you the ability to preview your email and see how it looks over various email providers like gmail, yahoo, aol, etc.

Constant Contact

Constant Contact is in the middle of the three companies with over 500,000 customers according to their website.  They are also in the middle with price.  They offer a 60-day FREE trial option, and their lowest priced package after the trial period is $15/month.  One of the features that stands out with the Constant Contact email marketing product is the fact that they offer you an extensive Contact Management System that allows you to treat your list as not just subscribers, but contacts in which you can add additional information on each contact like the person’s phone number, address, special notes, social networks, etc. making the system more of a type of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) instead of just a list of subscribers.  Constant Contact also offers its customers direct access to quality stock images to use in their email, but there is an additional cost for this feature.

In addition, although email marketing is their main product, Constant Contact offers a suite of solutions for small business owners (at an additional cost).  Allowing you to create a dashboard of online marketing tools that complement your email marketing product.  These tools include:

  • EventSpot-  A tool to help you manage events online
  • Social Campaigns–  A tool to help you grow your fans on social media
  • SaveLocal–  Allows you to create offer deals to send to your customers
  • Online Surveys–  Online Surveys, Polls, & Questions to get your customers feedback
  • And more…

Constant Contact also offers a lot of support.  Depending on where you are located, Constant Contact offers many local FREE workshops and seminars to help educate the community about email marketing.  Another great feature that Constant Contact offers is FREE coaching for its customers and phone-based customer service.

AWeber

AWeber comes in at the lower end as far as amount of customers served with over 120,000 customers according to their website.  AWeber does not offer a free option or free trial, but does offer the first 30 days for $1.  After the first 30 days the lowest priced package is $19/month.  As far as features, an outstanding feature that is include in the AWeber email marketing system is  the ability to convert your blog post into an email newsletter with the click of a button (MailChimp also offers this feature).  AWeber also claims to offer some of the best email delivery rates in the business.

AWeber also offers customer service via phone 7 days a week (Constant Contact also offers phone support).

So the key takeaway from this analysis is you have to figure out what features are most important to you and select the company that has those important features!

Please see the chart below for a full comparison:

MailChimp Constant Contact AWeber
Customers Over 4,000,000 Over 500,000 Over 120,000
FREE Option Forever Free 60-day Trial No (first month for $1)
Lowest Priced Package $10/month $15/month $19/month
Features of Lowest Priced Packages:
Subscribers 0-500 0-500 0-500
Emails per Month Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
List Features:
Contact Management System Limited YES NO
List Segmentation Available YES YES-  Limited YES
Sign-up Forms YES YES YES
Geolocation YES NO YES
Email Features:
Customizable Email Templates YES YES YES
Image Hosting Unlimited Limited
(Up to 5 images)
Unlimited
(Up to 10 MB)
Access to additional Stock Images YES-  via APP Additional Cost
($5/month)
NO
Drag & Drop Editing YES YES YES
Mobile Responsive Email Templates Available YES YES YES
Autoresponder Emails YES-  New Subscribers and Event based Limited-  New Subscribers Only Limited-  New Subscribers Only
A/B Testing YES NO NO
Inbox Preview for various Email Providers (i.e. gmail, yahoo, aol, etc.) YES NO NO
Integration Features:
APP & Integration YES YES YES
RSS/Blog Integration YES NO YES
Social Media Features:
Share Email with Your Social Networks YES YES YES
Social Follow Buttons YES YES YES
Social Share Buttons YES YES YES
Reporting/Archive Features:
Campaign Archives YES Additional Cost YES
Reports YES YES YES
Google Analytics Integration YES YES YES
Customer Service:
Phone Customer Service NO-  Text or Chat Only YES YES

All information in this posts is based on information on the email marketing service provider’s website or obtained after talking to a representative from the company.  Features are based on current (January 2014) information.

Disclosure:  I have used both Constant Contact and MailChimp for my clients.  I have not used AWeber.  Although I like to feel that my analysis is not bias, I believe it is important to mention that I am a Solutions Provider for Constant Contact.

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4 Reasons Email Marketing is Key to Your Online Marketing Success

Posted on January 6, 2014. Filed under: Email Marketing, Email Results, Marketing | Tags: , , , , , |

Are you using online marketing to promote your business?
Is email marketing a part of your online marketing strategy?

Email Marketing Blog Post 1No matter what type of online marketing you engage in, blogging, social media, sales pages, podcasting, video marketing, etc.  You will find that one key element that can help in the success of your online marketing is Email Marketing.  Some people are under the impression that Email Marketing is dead and that nobody really reads email anymore.  Although it may be true that most of our inboxes are inundated with email messages, and it is getting harder and harder to get people’s attention in a crowded email box, email still plays an important role in our daily communication.

So why is email marketing so important to the success of your online marketing?  The simple answer is own, control, personalize, and act.  So let’s look at these four reasons in detail:

  1. You Own Your Email List–  Compared to other online marketing mediums, email is one of the only mediums that allows you to own the information that you collect on your contacts.   Therefore, the goal of your email list is to own a large list of people who are interested in what you have to say and are engaged with your brand.  The larger your list is with engaged, interested subscribers, the higher your chances of successful email marketing.  It is also important to use all of your online marketing channels to encourage your loyal followers, fans, etc to join your email list.   As the saying goes, the money is in your list!
  2. Control of the Visibility of your Content  compared to the social network platforms, email marketing gives you more control of who sees your information, and the actual information that they receive.  Almost on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, some major social network is making changes to its algorithm, which influences, how, when or if your posts, tweets or whatever is being seen by the audience that you have on that network.  Therefore, there is limited control as to how much of your information that your audience will see.  Let’s face it, these networks are looking for ways to monetize every area, so the visibility of your posts will be less and less unless you plan to spend some advertising dollars.  Take control of how often and what information your followers see by consistently sending valuable email marketing campaigns (the keyword here is valuable).
  3. Personalization  Most online marketing efforts have a “one-to-many” feel.  When we are on large social networks it feels like you are at an online event, or an online party and although the marketing messages are geared to be personal, it still feels public.  Email on the other hand although it may be “one-to-many”, it feels more “personal”.  Especially if you add various personalization throughout the email like the person’s name, business name, etc.  This gives email marketing more of a stronger relationship building feel for a brand than other forms of online marketing.
  4. Strong Calls to Action  Email Marketing is also the best place to use strong calls to actions and to inspire your audience to take the next step with your company.  Whether that next step is purchasing, learning more, referring business or just having your company top of mind.  After all the end results of good marketing should be consistent exposure, which leads to  consistent sales.

Do you feel email marketing is important to the success of your online marketing?  Be sure to share your comments below.

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