Email Marketing Solutions to Promote Your Business or Cause

When I started my first business way back in 1997, email as we know and use today was in its infancy in the small business community. I started collecting as many addresses as possible as a way to promote my business by promoting my tips and tricks. Back then, I used Outlook and cleaned up all the bouncebacks manually. When that got to be time-consuming, I purchased some software that automated the process. Soon after that, I stepped it up a few notches and made my life easier by investing in the Web-based technology, iContact.

I chose iContact because of its high delivery rate and solid autoresponder technology. When someone signs up for my email list, I have it set up to automatically send them a computer tip for a few weeks. They also receive a link to some free reports, documents that make it easier to get organized, and more.

iContact also connects my email list to my blog so that every time I write a new blog post, my list automatically (or not if you choose) receives a link to the new post.

The only thing I still don’t like about their technology is the awkwardness of some of the site’s navigation and its clunky templates.

Carrie Drybrough of VicadeaConcepts.com has provided a great summary of various email marketing resources you could use to promote what you know.

  • AWeber Communications — Featuring pre-designed templates, unlimited autoresponders, easy opt-in forms and unlimited customer support, AWeber must be a consideration if autoresponders are a part of your overall online strategy in addition to newsletters. The cost is $1 for the first month and plans start at $19/month thereafter.
  • Constant Contact — With a point-and-click interface, Constant Contact has the ability to create high-impact email newsletters and promotions in minutes. One of the best in template designs. Limited autoresponder capabilities. Free 60-day trial with plans starting at $15/month.
  • EZezine — Limited to 200 free messages a month. A good way to get your feet wet without the cash outlay.
  • Get Response — Over 300 templates, unlimited follow-up messages and email analytics. Supports audio and video recording capabilities. Plans starting from $18/month. Free version limited to 10 subscribers.
  • iContact — Intuitive features, simple interface and comprehensive reports. Impressive survey elements and autoresponder capabilities. SPAMCheck is included. iContact has over 300 templates but has limited image hosting. Plans start at $9.95/month and there is a 15-day free trial.
  • MailChimp — Targeted to the Google generation, MailChimp is a fun email marketing service. Offers flexible plans for every budget and is free for lists below 500 subscribers.
  • Vertical Response — Offers email design tools, free image hosting, customizable sign-up forms, open and click tracking, and customer support. Easy-to-use interface. Monthly and Pay-as-you-go pricing with plans starting at $10/month. Available for a 30-day free trial.
  • 1Shoppingcart — An inclusive service with shopping cart, autoresponders, affiliate manager and click-tracker. The integrated solution for eCommerce. Plans starting at $29/month. Test drive the PRO package platform for $3.95.

Regardless of the service you choose for email marketing, you have to deliver value and give people a reason to hand over their email address to you. It’s also important that you do more than email marketing because only the people you send it to will see it. I also add information to my blog, online press releases, and the iContact newsletter community.

Have you found a great service that works for you? Leave a comment to let us know.

PEACE.

How to Promote Your Events Using the Internet

I’m helping a client develop ways he can market an upcoming conference using the Web. Here are some ideas I’ve come up with so far.

Website/Blog
Create a detailed Website with seminar descriptions, speaker photos, bios. Give visitors and people who want to help you promote your event something to link to. Consider creating a separate Website for the event.

Create a group blog and get all speakers to contribute articles to it. Also create an RSS feed using a site such as FeedBlitz.com.

Create banner buttons (called blog bling) in different sizes that every registrant, exhibitor, speaker, and volunteer can post on their Website or blog. If you create an affiliate program where members will get paid when people click their link, that’s even better.

Event TV
Create a TV channel on YouTube.com and have speakers contribute any appropriate videos. Also add video from previous events. In addition to having a TV channel on YouTube, my blog has one that I created at Viddler.com (see the SUITE TV tab above).

Press Releases
Create an online press release to announce the event. Also create separate releases to announce each speaker and sponsor. I pay a flat monthly fee ($14.00) and use FastPitchNetworking.com to create multiple releases that include videos. A free service is PRlog.com. Every time something new happens, send a release.

Also write a press release template so all speakers, exhibitors, and sponsors can send out on their own.

Webinars
Conduct seminars via the Web with some of your speakers to give just a taste of what attendees can expert. Record everything and publish that too.

Teleseminars
Set up a free call on demand for up to 150 people and three hours at www.freeconference.com/reservationless.aspx

Podcasts
Create a radio show for free but please use a professional radio interviewer (free service is www.talkshoe.com or www.blogtalkradio.com).

Social Media

Twitter. Create a conference Twitter account to keep everyone updated.

Also for Twitter, create a hashtag and encourage everyone to always add it to any tweets when they mention the event. For more information on hashtags, visit http://twitter.pbwiki.com/Hashtags.

To find the tweets that mention your hashtag, go to search.twitter.com and type your tag in the search box. Put the resulting URL on your Website and blog. Also create an RSS feed using a site such as FeedBlitz.com.

Be sure to explain hashtags on your site and at the event. Encourage people to tweet before, during, and after the event.

CommunitiesExisting. Post your events, start discussions, and relay news on LinkedIn.

Communities-Create. Use various free services to create communities so attendees, speakers, exhibitors, and sponsors can create profiles, post articles/blog posts, and interact with each other (e.g., www.crowdvine.com, Facebook profile group (up to 5,000 people can join), Facebook page, Collectivex). You can also create your own group on LinkedIn.

Other

Advertising – Comcast Cable. Create Comcast cable commercial and air in major markets. (Kim McClure, a former TV producer, can create your commercial if you need one (very economical). Contact her at 770/559- 2361.)

Email Campaign. Create email campaigns with tips from speakers and ads from sponsors. I use iContact for my email campaigns. And I set it up so that every blog post I write can go out via RSS. You can also create autoresponders set up to go out to your subscribers at pre-defined intervals.

I’ll update this list as I develop more ideas. Let me know if you have any other suggestions by leaving a comment below.

P.S. Check out my ebook, Shameless Self-Promotion: Do-It-Yourself PR. Get Found Online. You’ll learn all about how I receive national publicity all the time because I  show up on the first page of Google and other search engines. When journalists and potential clients are searching for my expertise (personal productivity expert, time management expert, email expert), I’m there on the first page and never paid one red cent with pay per click.

I also have a seminar based on this topic, and I travel internationally.

The 35-page ebook is available for immediate download on my Website for only $77.00 (http://www.PeggyDuncan.com/learnmore.htm). You’ll also have access to my national TV producer list.

Your purchase includes:

  • FREE updates emailed directly to you.
  • 24/7/365 online access to my national media database (television producers for Oprah, The View, and more).
  • Teleseminars (I had a teleseminar for purchasers of my ebook that went over so well I’m creating a podcast titled SuiteTalk. Stay tuned.)

PEACE.

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