| OUTSIDE THE BOX
Five Programs to Help You Get Started With Email Marketing
by Michelle Fitzhugh-Craig
There’s nothing like reading good news. A new job, the birth of a child, an engagement, or some other major personal milestone that brings a smile to one’s face is gladly shared with others. Of course, there is also news that promotes, sells, persuades, entices, and/or educates—all with the goal of growing one’s business. Whether it’s personal or for business, the newsletter has come a long way, mostly thanks to technology.
PAST TO PRESENT
Although newsletters covering topics such as the availability and pricing of goods, political news, and other current events that would influence trade can be traced back to ancient Rome, the introduction of electronic messaging during the 1970s nudged newsletters into what we now refer to as email marketing, which gives visually challenged correspondence a colorful twist.
As with all things digital, the newsletter—sometimes referred to as an eblast—not only helps big businesses reach clients and customers, it also gives small businesses and organizations an opportunity to fight for their piece of the pie with virtual communications that could reach a broad audience easier, quicker, and for less money than other types of marketing. Even if you’re not tech-savvy, there are predesigned templates that you can add text, pictures, and email addresses to—and you’re ready to go. So, which email marketing resource is right for you? The following breakdown of some of the most popular options might help you decide.
Mailchimp is a favorite of mine. It’s great for those new to creating digital newsletters. Mailchimp offers customizable and predesigned templates that allow the user to also create social media ads, landing pages, and more. Audience management tools are easy to use, and the exporting and importing of customer lists is seamless. Entrepreneurs can go the free route or pay less than $18 per month. The downside: Mailchimp’s templates have not changed much over the last decade, and the build-your-own option isn’t as attractive as that of other programs.
The popular Constant Contact was created with the small business owner in mind. I found it to be a little challenging for first-time users, but once you get the hang of it, you will enjoy the wide range of digital marketing tools that appeal to many in the nonprofit world. Constant Contact integrates easily with programs such as WordPress, Shopify, Canva, and Salesforce. You can design your own newsletters, but its predesigned templates promise to engage the recipient. Pricing ranges from $9.99 to $45 a month. The downside is that since its inception, more programs have come along that better meet the wants of those who like to be unique in their messaging.
A top choice of ecommerce businesses, Drip uses newsletter-type email, text messaging, and social campaigns (primarily) to help the sender engage customers. Subscribers get personalized emails that are triggered by shoppers’ behaviors on their site, along with follow-ups based on how shoppers interact with their emails. The downside is that if you aren’t selling a product, this one isn’t for you.
Definitely affordable, Moosend provides a 30-day free trial and costs only $9 a month for up to 500 contacts. It’s a good choice for an entrepreneur starting out who needs to be a part of the email marketing game, but doesn’t have the time or money to engage in it yet. Subscriber contact information and data are easy to follow and track. And Moosend’s ease of use makes it ideal for individuals who want to send out mass emails that don’t look like a big block of text. The downside is that there are some reviews of lagging functionality, and if you are part of a large company, Moosend may not be the right choice for you.
You can’t get any cheaper than free, making GetResponse the perfect option to start with and/or use to learn how to manage the email marketing and newsletter game. In fact, GetResponse is the all-in-one for self-starters who may not be tech-savvy. Additionally, it offers a website builder and landing pages, webinars, paid ad campaigns, text messaging marketing, and more. The downside is that automations are only available for the higher-tier plans.