If the money is in the list, you’re going to need a first rate e-mail marketing service in order to reap the full benefits. After all, what good is the list if you can’t manage it correctly, or your e-mails don’t have that certain pizzazz that gets people to open them and take action?
Enter e-mail marketing services. These are designed take the headache out of managing a list of e-mails and subscribers and allowing you to send them HTML e-mails that look good and get a response. Many of them also include tracking and analytics so you can analyze what is working, and what is not, and make adjustments as you go along to maximize your efforts.
Email Marketing Service Review Recaps
We’ve assemble the heavy hitters of e-mail marketing and assessed what kind of services they provide and whether or not they are worth giving a try. The fun thing about these is that they all include some sort of free trial run before you sign on completely. This lets you try them all out, without having to put your money on it or bother with getting a refund if you don’t like the choice you made.
iContact as one of the bigger players in the e-mail marketing business, and they’ve been around for several years and have their ducks all in a row. There isn’t much you can’t do with their service, and they’ve got it set up so that as your list grows, and as your business grows, you can scale up your operations and you don’t have to worry about replacing your list management software.
If you look back on some of the e-mails you’ve received over the years that caused you to purchase a product, you might find that many of them were sent using iContact. It’s just that seamless and produces good results.
See our full review of iContact
Vertical Response Recap
The thing we like most about Vertical Response is that they are perfectly priced for a smaller-sized business and can be great when you’re just starting out. When your list isn’t very respectable, but you still want to send the messages, you need something that allows smaller sized e-mails to go out without costing a fortune.
They let you start off with 100 e-mails being sent for free, and we feel that this is enough time to evaluate whether or not you want to stay on with their service and start to pay.
See our full review of Vertical Response
Constant Contact Recap
Constant Contact is definitely a service that you should put on your shortlist of ones to try out. The user interface is easy enough so that even if you don’t really know too much about designing and formatting a good-looking enough, you can produce quality stuff and even track who opens your e-mails.
It is not just the ability to send out the e-mails, but the statistics that you get back and the data that you receive that allows you to analyze the sort of response you are getting. That is the one-two punch that most marketers require in order to understand whether they are making a decent profit or not.
See our full review of Constant Contact
MailChimp wins the award for best name, but how about their reputation for quality? They definitely have a solid user base, and many online marketers choose them as their e-mail service of choice. It is easy enough to try them out before you decide to sign on further. With all the features they include, it only makes sense to try them out and see if they meet all of your specific needs.
And don’t let the name fool you, there’s no monkey business going on here! You still get the same great features as the other top services out there.
See our full review of MailChimp
Campaigner has a 30 day trial in place, and is $10 a month to continue on after that. This is a good way to dip your toes into the water and see how you like it. If you are still on the fence after 30 days you can continue on for 30 more for $10 and you can do a proper evaluation to decide whether or not it is meeting your needs.
When it comes down to it, they have the same sort of features that you’d expect from an e-mail marketing company but the user interface is a little different and that’s what it really comes down to besides price and features, is how easy it is to use.
See our full review of Campaigner
Need help building that list? Here are a handful of possible ways you can put to use to try and increase your conversion rates. After all, the services above work best if you’ve got a big happy list of people anxiously awaiting your next email.
This is a WordPress plugin that is supposed to increase the number of subscribers that opt in to your list by presenting them popups at times you decide. You’ve probably noticed several sites recently start using more and more pop-up opt-in forms, and wondered how you could add that feature to your own site.
This represents a quick and easy way to install all of that functionality without having to search for a bunch of free ones that sort of come close to this, but not quite.
See our full review of WPSubscribers
Popup Domination Recap
This is another popup plugin that not only presents pop-ups to your visitors, but also tracks whether or not they sign up, so you can analyze your conversion ratio and split test your copy on each pop up to see which is performing best.
Before getting involved with a pop-up software like this you should give a lot of thought and consideration to your visitors, and see if it’s in your best interests for the long-term.
See our full review of Popup Domination
This is a way to add opt in forms right into your site, on the fly, but still be able to make them look good. We noticed that there are some other free plug-ins out there that can help you accomplish the same sort of task, but they usually leave something to be desired, either in the form of not working exactly right, or missing a key feature here or there.
With this it’s just a one time payment, so you are not locked into any sort of monthly commitment. Also it’s updated consistently so that you’re always assured that it’s going to work now and in the future.
See our full review of OptinSkin
Sonic List Builder Recap
This is an interesting concept, and many people wonder if it actually works, or if it’s a scam. The reason people are a little skeptical about it is because it says you don’t have to do anything in order to build your list, and that includes driving traffic to your squeeze pages, and even building those squeeze pages.
What we noticed from our research is that it actually does provide some sort of activity, but it would be up to the individual to decide whether it is useful for them, and whether the lists it creates would have value to them.
Email Marketing Best Practices
You’ve probably witnessed at least one or two e-mail marketers get it wrong. There is a fine line between effective e-mail marketing and spam. In order to be a success you need to walk that line and not worry if you sometimes step over it or not. Of course, for your brand and your image you never want to be thought of as a spammer, but in order to maximize your profit potential and make sure that you reach the maximum number of people, you want to be consistently sending out information and offers.
Provide Value First
The first rule that most marketers break is that they start asking for money right from the beginning. The first step should be adding value to your list. The people are at your site because they were expecting you to help improve their lives in some way. You first need to prove that your information is valuable enough to stay on with your list. Once you establish that you are an expert in your field you can present certain offers that you recommend and they will take your recommendations to heart.
Only Send Good Stuff
The next thing that marketers get wrong is they will start endorsing everything in an attempt to throw some spaghetti against the wall and see what sticks. The last thing you want to do is associate yourself with something that does not provide value and is of poor quality. This can really turn your list of subscribers off. When you are just in it for the money and trying to milk it for all it’s worth, that comes through in your tone and in your e-mail. Make sure you fully evaluate the products you are going to recommend so that you do not end up tarnishing the reputation you built for yourself.
Try to Get Personal
Sending out a bulk email can take a lot of the soul out of your message, so it’s best to personalize things as much as you can. Of course a lot of the software out there lets you input a field that will automatically enter in the person’s name as they filled it in on the opt in form. But many times people but a fake name, or some gibberish just so they can get the free download you promised them. You can also send out newsletters based on specific interests at your site, which can help you get more relevant and increase the chances of your e-mails being opened.
Email Marketing FAQ
Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about e-mail marketing. What you notice is there aren’t a lot of opinions out there as to what exactly you email marketing should entail. If you’re going to trust your business to some of the advice out there you’d better be prepared to sift through the good and the bad. We’ve tried to answer these to the best of our ability, and if you have any further questions please leave them in the comments at the bottom of the page.
How Does Email Marketing Work?
The theory behind it all is that by enticing people to subscribe to your newsletter, you are getting their permission to send them e-mails and pitch them products as well. It is basically a way to broadcast your message to interested parties that have asked to receive it. On paper, it makes a lot of sense, but people screw it up so much that it has gotten very distorted and so many people have abused it that it has a reputation of being spammy and annoying.
Does E-Mail Marketing Help SEO?
If you’re into e-mail marketing, you’re probably wondering how to improve your SEO as well, and you might wonder if the two go hand-in-hand at all. In most instances, your e-mail marketing is not going to affect your search engine rankings, unless people are clicking through to your pages that you’ve linked to in your e-mails. What this will do is increase the statistics for repeat visitors, and Google might think that your site is more relevant since people are returning to it. But at this point they are getting savvy enough to know that those repeat visitors are coming from your e-mail marketing efforts and not from a repeat of their search.
What Should I Look for in an Email Marketing Service?
One of the most common questions we get about these services is how to tell them apart. At the end of the day they are all selling basically the same product with the same features. You have to sample a few and choose the one that has the friendliest user interface and is the most intuitive to you. If you can’t navigate it easily, you won’t send out as many emails and your progress will be stagnant.
Our Email Marketing Service Recommendation
Start off small and then scale up. There’s a White Stripes song that says “Well you’re in your little room, and you’re working on something good, but if it’s really good, you’re gonna need a bigger room.” This is the entrepreneurial spirit, believing in yourself even when all the facts and signs point to no, you are thinking yes. Even the biggest lists and the best email marketers had to start from nothing, so keep striving to improve and one day you’ll be pushing the limits as to what your email marketing service is able to handle.