I hope you’ve included email marketing as part of your plan to promote your business (a previous post lists resources). One of the decisions you’ll have to make is how often you should publish. Carrie Drybrough of VicadeaConcepts.com says, “You’ll have to consider your own time constraints and your audience’s tolerance for regular communication.” She suggests the following when trying to decide on a publishing schedule that works for you. We are definitely on the same page.
Daily: Too much work. Your publications will becoming annoying to your subscribers and will overload already bulging InBoxes.
Weekly: Incredibly time-consuming. Entering your subscribers’ mailbox four times a month is cause for overload.
Bi-weekly: The right mix for many. Keeps you fresh in your subscribers’ minds but less likely to cause them to click “unsubscribe.”
Monthly: May not be often enough. Mailing once a month may cause a subscriber to forget who you are and when and why they signed up. Monthly is often the preferred option for information and educational communications.
Quarterly: Least amount of work but the content needs to be A-One and you’d better be hard to forget. Best for seasonal updates and significant changes.
Remember: Newsletters should be 80% content and 20% promotion. And to boost your search engine rankings, this same information needs to be online (such as in a blog).
To subscribe to my bi-weekly enewsletter, click here.
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.