As much I love social media, when it comes to marketing your product it can be very tricky. With Facebook, you’ve got an algorithm to beat. With Twitter, you need to be online at the right time. And with Instagram you need to be consistent.
Email marketing on the other hand doesn’t have as many challenges. You can fit lots of information into one campaign, it’s more private and you can theme them. All of these are things you can’t do using social media.
If you haven’t begun your email marketing but you’re thinking about it, one of the first things you’ve got to do is use an Email Service Provider (ESP).
Here are five you might want to check out.
Used by over 10 million businesses and people around the world, MailChimp is arguably the world’s best-known ESP. Founded in 2001 by Ben Chestnut and Dan Kurzius, it’s easy to use and it’s (in a lot of cases) free. If you’ve got less than 2,000 email addresses and send less than 12,000 emails per month, it’s free. I mean completely free. If this isn’t a reason to experiment with these guys first of all I don’t know what is. On top of its cost-effectiveness, MailChimp is extremely easy to use, allows you to integrate social sharing options into your campaigns and more.
Back in 2012 this social media writer discovered CakeMail after a Facebook ad grabbed his attention. Almost four years later, I’m still using it. This is largely due to their customer service – their team built a template from a wireframe I drew up and emailed to them. Are they providing the same type of customer service today? You’ll have to contact them directly to find out. What I can confirm is that they are still providing is a reporting platform that’s extremely easy to manage (I love their ‘couch mode’ tool), 20 default email templates and more.
Like MailChimp, Constant Contact offers something that makes creating emails extremely easy – a drag and drop template. This makes choosing the elements to go into each campaign and the creatives to fill them as easy as can be. Other useful features include clever social media integration (you can share campaigns directly to your social channels), a system that automatically keeps your email list healthy and reporting that shows how you’re performing against other people in the same industry as you.
Any ESP which sends out emails to over 1 billion subscribers can’t be doing too much wrong. Reasons for this company’s popularity include (another) drag and drop interface, a host of colourful templates and a content management system that lets you re-use your content easily on different campaigns. To add to all that, GetResponse also offers webinar software, the facility to create landing pages and a handy inbox preview function that allows you to see what your email looks like on different email clients like Yahoo, Gmail and Hotmail.
AWeber is an ESP that has been around for years – 17 years in fact, having been founded back in 1998 by Tom Kulzer. Its most useful feature is ‘Campaigns’, an auto responder platform that lets you email subscribers in accordance with their behaviour. So if you have a website for your city tours, ‘Campaigns’ enables you to send out free content to your readers, then follow that up with links to your tours. This is in addition to the same features other ESPs use.
What do you include in your emails to get readers to engage with your content?
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Written by Colm Hanratty
Colm is Founder and Managing Director of digital marketing agency Sixtwo Digital. After running Hostelworld.com’s content and social media for almost 11 years he felt it was time to branch out on his own, using all his experience to educate others in the travel space.