Constant Contact

A Closer Look: Constant Contact

There’s a number of high profile email marketing tools for businesses in the industry today. Sometimes, the process of choosing and making a decision on what tool to use for your marketing team can be a bit daunting. We have decided to help out and come up with a review series of the email marketing tools that are out there in the marketplace. We hope that this could provide a bit of a value add to your business and somehow help in your successful marketing campaign.

Our first would be a Constant Contact review, which we will detail in great care, its features and capabilities, pros, cons and recommendations.

Constant Contact has been widely known for its ease-of-use and easy pricing offering. It is great for small businesses. It offers a 60-day free trial that will allow you to navigate its full suite of features and capabilities and feel its behavior throughout your email marketing campaign beginnings or pilot. In relation to our Constant Contact review, we are looking into the 500 contacts email plan.

Constant Contact has added email autoresponders that are beyond what you have on those sign ups, which include birthdays as well as anniversaries. It also offers the capability to send series of emails to a set of contacts. For example, a day-to-day guide to getting started with the service or even follow-ups to a specific events. Moreover, Constant Contact offers a huge library of 2GB storage. The maximum file you can upload per image is 5MB. On top of that, it offers free access to paid stock photos and even gives you the ability to interact via Twitter.

Features and Pricing

Constant Contact offers a wide range of pricing plans, which starts at the cheapest base plan of $20 per month for subscribers up to 500 and then increments from $45 per month for up 2,500 subscribers. It also has a mid-tier plan, which costs $195 for up to 10,000 subscribers and then $335 for over 50,000 subscribers.

How to Create Subscriber List

There’s a lot of ways to upload or add contacts into the tool that range from the copy-and-paste or manual type to uploading different types of files, such as XLS, XLSX, TXT or CSV. You can even import your contacts from Gmail or Microsoft Outlook and even interact with your Customer Relationship Software (CRM).

How to Setup a Campaign

Constant Contact offers great templates that you can use when you are ready to send out your email campaigns or newsletters. Its editing tool is very handy and can let you tweak the texts, images and even the colors. On top of that, Constant Contact offers a media library where you can store your very own assets and files, which could include your company logo and other company images.

How to Track Campaigns

The Reports tab offers you to track your email or newsletter’s success. The dashboard shows the basic information that you need to see, such as opens, bounces, clickthroughs, as well as unsubscribe requests. There’s also a handy bar char that shows open rates as well as comparison charts showing performance of multiple campaigns. You can also see real-time results with a simple click of the Refresh buttons.

Customer Support System

Constant Contact offers a ton of help options and it is very to use. Its information icons and fields have useful explanations on what they are. Moreover, Constant Contact has an extensive knowledgebase (KB) articles plus it offers a toll-free number to speak to a live person who can coach you in using the tool and/or help resolve any technical glitch.

Pros

Constant Contact has affordable plans and offers some great help materials for you to easily navigate its features and capabilities. It has a great suite of built-in templates as well for your email campaigns or newsletters. It even offers free trial available. Lastly, it has Google Analytics integration and mobile app.

Cons

The bad thing about Constant Contact is its constant glitch and limited auto-responder plus a slow dashboard load. It is also a bit expensive for starting businesses.

Verdict

Ultimately, Constant Contact proves to be an easy-to-use and professional looking email marketing tool that is really fantastic for small businesses. It is a great and essential part of a business marketing strategy. However, you will need to get ready in managing Constant Contact’s high pricing and quirky glitches and quibbles.

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Mail Chimp Vs AWeber

Battle of the Heavyweights: Mail Chimp Vs AWeber

There’s a brewing battle in the world of email marketing services heavyweights nowadays, which is really better – Mail Chimp Vs AWeber? It all spun out after a great debate between which email marketing service providers have all the complete task and features that you need in order to launch a successful email marketing campaign.

To be fair with the two email marketing services greats, they are both equally important in terms of their influence, contribution and capabilities. There’s a whole reason behind why they have become the two most popular email marketing services in the world today.

The Mail Chimp vs AWeber debate won’t take us anywhere but the most important thing is to understand what each of these email marketing services can do – what they offer and what their capabilities are. This is important since you will only need one email marketing service provider. You can never have two. And it is crucial to fully understand what each of the service provider’s capabilities are before you make the decision to choose one over the other.

One of the first things that you need to look into is the subscribe/unsubscribe feature. Other important and key things are the deliverability and support system. All these three are being offered by Mail Chimp and AWeber, among the rest of the other email marketing service providers.

Now, let’s take a look at each of the features and capabilities of Mail Chimp and AWeber that way you can better compare and get a learned decision down the line.

Basic Features

AWeber focuses on the capability to send email newsletters easily, which could be up to 700 templates as well as 3,000 stock photos. Mail Chimp on the other hand focuses much on the usability and offers a lot of the drag and drop features for email design, personalization and analytics.

Sign-up Forms

AWeber offers you the capability to create sign up forms with up to 25 fields of information while Mail Chimp requires you to have some HTML knowledge to embed its sign up form to your website.

Email Templates

Mail Chimp edges AWeber out a bit in terms of email templates as it offers you the capability of designing the template from scratch while AWeber offers 700 templates that you can choose from.

Import Complexity

AWeber offers really great ease of importing your contacts and it is capable of accommodating different file types, such as spreadsheets, text formats or copy-paste. Mail Chimp on the other hand offers CSV file and TXT file imports.

Analytics

Both email service providers offer really outstanding analytics. They don’t have similar or cut-out offering but they win in their own ways. AWeber offers a great dashboard that has crisp information on opens and clicks plus you can track unsubscribers. Mail Chimp has its own version plus an ability to send modified campaign so subscribers who have not clicked on your email yet. Mail Chimp also offers you the chance to compare email performance against your competitors in the industry.

Support System

Both email marketing service providers offer a really great and extensive support system from online tutorials to help guides. Both also offers technical support via email. AWeber ups it a notch by offering a live-chat support plus a toll-free number if you wish to speak to a live customer service person.

Pricing

Mail Chimp offers a free basic plan that enables you to send up to 12,000 emails and 2,000 subscribers. There’s a paid plan when you go over that limit. The pricing scales depending on your number of subscribers.

AWeber has a simple and straightforward pricing plan, which starts at $19 per month for up to 500 subscribers then increments to $29 per month for 501-2,500 subscribers, $49 per month for 2,501-5,000, $69 per month for 5,001-10,000 and $149 per month for 10,001-25,000. AWeber also offers a free 30-day FREE trial.

Verdict: Mail Chimp Vs AWeber

There’s no denying that Mail Chimp and AWeber are the giants in the industry. What is surprising is that you can never go wrong with choosing either two giants of the email marketing world. The point is that there either is good at different phases in your email marketing strategy as well as your capabilities. This holds true in terms of what aligns to your goals and objectives.

Mail Chimp is a fantastic tool if you are a beginner and just starting out in the email marketing world. It is very user friendly and so cost effective. It has a complete set of features and capabilities that you need when you are starting out but lacks on the options to add affiliate links.

On the other hand, AWeber is complex and costs much money but definitely, if you are fully invested, time and budget perspective, then AWeber will definitely be a great weapon for you to navigate the waters of email marketing.

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Email Marketing Success

Step-by-Step Guide about Email Marketing Success

The business today is governed and run by e-commerce and the rising influence of social media and Internet marketing. The integration of email marketing has become a crucial part of a business’ marketing strategy, regardless of size. More and more companies are exploring the different step-by-step guide about email marketing success. More and more email marketing strategists continue to come up with insightful and intuitive email marketing best practices.

There’s no single formula for success but there’s definitely a great best practice that could work for your business, one way or another. There’s no one-size-fits-all guide but there will always be something that you could start from and then develop, enhance and innovate down the line to align to your business goals and objectives. Whatever the indicators of your email marketing success would be, it is best to understand the fundamentals of how to get there.

That said, we have put together a back-to-basics approach of our step-by-step guide about email marketing success. Before you get started going through our list, keep in mind at all times that you will need to have a goal, otherwise all of our steps below will be for naught. When you have a firm and defined goal around email marketing, then you will be ready to take on each of the steps below to get to where you are heading.

  1. Building a healthy email list

This is the first step and a big no-brainer in the world of email marketing. You will need to have a good healthy list of email contacts to reach out. The second thing you need to think about when you have this is asking yourself, “What kind of email do I want to receive?” It’s like getting inside your recipient’s mind and looking through what do they really want to receive.

  1. Managing e-mail follow ups

One of the common pitfall of an email marketing campaign is the lack of focus around email follow ups. Say you have a customer or recipient who subscribed, then what do you need to do? Are you going stop right there and let the magic work? Or, are you going to be more persistent and continue providing value add and ultimately lead that recipient to becoming a successful sale and loyal customer?

Those are questions you will need to answer. Remember, the first follow up email that your email recipient will get after signing up is a critical and crucial piece of your email marketing success. Without it, all your hard work won’t take off and no matter how many step-by-step guide about email marketing success you are going to read and apply, nothing will matter.

Always jump immediately on that opportunity to send the first follow up email to all of your recipient right after they subscribe to you. This can be daunting task if you are going to do it manually but there are a lot of plugins and programs out there that you might be able to use to better manage email follow ups more effectively.

  1. Compiling the analytics and using them

This is a huge advantage that you will need to take and perhaps, one of the key decision makers when you are trying to subscribe to an email service provider. Analytics is a game changer in terms of email marketing. It gives you an ability to know what you have, understand the trends and foresee the future. Big data is the name of the game today and any business who does not put a lot of emphasis around using the data they have and the data available out there will definitely get left behind in the race. It is your key to understanding the present and unlocking the possibilities of the future, if not downright predict it. Analytics then is your tool to doing both.

There are a lot of email services provider nowadays that have complimentary analytics that you could use. If not, you can also subscribe to other analytics tools to help you with the data that you have in terms of your email engagements, open rate, unsubscribes, and click-through-rates. What analytics can provide is understanding each different scenarios, such as:

  • Low open rates, which could indicate customers and/or recipients deleting your email the moment they receive them
  • Low click-through-rate (CTR), which could indicate that your email doesn’t really give any interest to your audience
  • High unsubscribe rate, which could indicate that your email campaign is not effective

With all these behavior at hand, you can immediately take action and focus on S.M.A.R.T. action planning and improvement on your email marketing campaign.

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Email Marketing Tools

5 Best Email Marketing Tools for Small Business

Now that email marketing is on the rise and the world of e-commerce pretty much demands really powerful and effective email marketing strategies and campaigns, there’s a great demand for email marketing tools to help sustain a cost-effective marketing initiative. Huge corporations have millions of dollars to spend for a marketing campaign and it’s easy for them to invest in the best-of-the-class tools for their marketing operations.

However, for small businesses, there’s a need to be more cognizant and wise in terms of choosing the best email marketing tools to incorporate in a small business environment. Choosing the best email marketing tool can help you easier manage, control and establish direct contact with your customers.

We have put together 5 highly recommended email marketing tools that you can use for your small business. Let’s take a look at each of them below.

Constant Contact

This email marketing tool is perhaps one of the largest as well as the fastest growing email marketing tool in the world today. You might be surprised when you find out that it’s also the easiest to use for beginners.

Constant Contact can help you manage your contacts, email lists, templates and many more. This tool also gives you the ability to access tracking and reporting capabilities, including social media sharing tools, image library and whopping 1GB storage to store your files.

What’s great about Constant Contact is that it offers unsurpassed email, live chat and community support plus a really huge library of resources. On top of that, Constant Contact offers online training and even live seminars that can take place in your neighborhood. These offers allow you to learn the fundamentals of email marketing quickly and even start it like a pro.

All of that combined makes Constant Contact the best email marketing tool for small business. Constant Contact offers a 60-day trial run with no credit card requirement and then a $20/month pricing after the trial.

Drip

Drip is a really powerful marketing tool not only for e-commerce but also for bloggers and even marketers. This is because it offers a wide variety of tools from its really perceptive and intelligent email marketing platform.

Don’t be intimidated by Drip’s amazing and complex looking capabilities. Drip is also a great email marketing tool for beginners. This tool offers add-ons that you can integrate for any popular website building platforms, such as WordPress and WooCommerce. What this does is enable you to easily add sign up forms into your website in order for you to capture more leads.

Those features might be similarly offered by other tools but what sets Drip apart from the competition is its highly intelligent automation of marketing tools, list groups, smart email segmenting, and a whole lot of cool features that enables you to reach specific audiences in your huge email list.

Drip also has a great support options such as Webinars, live chat support, automation training, free guides, excellent documentation and detailed courses. Pricing starts at $41/month and Drip also offer free trial to up to 100 subscribers.

ConvertKit

What best describes ConvertKit is robust. It is designed for professional bloggers, marketers and authors. That being said, ConvertKit is designed to be really easy to use and extremely powerful. ConvertKit also offers content upgrades as well as incentives that includes email signup forms. It does come with an easy to manage auto-responder that enables you to send drip emails.

ConvertKit also offers the capability to easily segment contacts into who have purchased and who are potentially interested. This one great way for marketing automation. ConvertKit has an extensive knowledge base with lots of learning material and a great email based support.

AWeber

AWeber comes out as one of the more popular email marketing tools out in the market today. They offer a wide-range of tools that are powerful and intuitive for small and medium sized businesses. It is an easy to use tool with fairly simple ways of integration to website builder tools such as WordPress. AWeber gives easy access to list management, email templates, email tracking and auto-responders.

GetResponse

Another of the hugely popular and most commonly used email marketing tools in the industry is GetResponse. It is an extremely easy solution with a complete list of packages to help you with your email marketing needs. What sets GetResponse apart from the rest is it is absolutely easy for beginners.

It comes with amazing marketing automation tools that enables you to build smart automated campaigns. GetResponse also has a drag-and-drop builder where you can create segment contacts, campaigns and send content to specific and designated groups without sweat. Pricing starts at $15/month after a 30 day free trial.

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Best Email Marketing

Top 10 Best Email Marketing Best Practices

Email marketing is essential to e-commerce. It acts as the nerves of an e-commerce business as it drives stimulus and acts to it, whatever the situation may be. That said, email marketing is not all about making your content looks really great but about high quality production. Achieving this requires a lot of steps to build the likelihood of high deliverability rates. There are a lot of best email marketing best practices out in the Internet today. We have put together and consolidated best of the best practices that you can take to achieve a high quality email marketing practice.

  • Fix your deliverability issue

One of the ways you can fix your deliverability issue is to understand what these issues are and then work on improving them as you go along. There’s no overnight fix but it’s an exercise that will yield better results. A common example of deliverability issue would be emails going straight to spam folders, contacts complaining about unwanted emails, and spam traps.

  • Write a good subject line

We all know that subject lines create an immediate and direct impact to both rates and deliverability. That being said, always make sure to create or write a good subject line.

  • Know common spam keywords

This is very important in order for your email not go straight to the bin or being captured by spam filters. It is best that you know common spam words and avoid them in your subject line and body. Some of these words include win, free deal, bargain and urgent. A word of advice – never ever think of camouflaging these words by splitting them together or joining them. Spam filters are way more intelligent and perceptive nowadays.

  • Understand the importance of multipart messages

There are two versions you can send in an email marketing campaign – the HTML version and the text version. A good best practice is to send these messages together. The importance of sending multipart messages of both content types is because of spam filters. There are email clients who can’t read or recognize HTML so having a text version keeps your email getting through and read by customers.

  • Email text versions

This is simply keeping your email content in a text version instead of getting hung up on HTML versions. The latter is what most email marketers tend to focus on but this really sacrifices their deliverability.

  • Know that size matters

It’s a no-brainer – long emails are a no-no in any email marketing campaigns. Long emails make it too long to download and impacts your deliverability. But how do you know what’s long? There’s really no scientific solution here but a good rule of thumb is anything less than 300KB to make your deliverability within acceptance range.

  • Understand phishing links

Phishing is used by fraudsters to trick people into giving free access their credentials and passwords. Phishing is being filtered strictly by email clients so it is very important to make sure your email content doesn’t include anything malicious or any content that can be easily mistaken as malicious.

  • Offer list-unsubscribe option

One of the best things you can offer your customers is offering them a method to let contacts unsubscribe from your email campaign without the need of clicking a link within the body of an email. You can do this by including a tag in the header where you can display your unsubscribe button at the top of the email.

  • Offer guidelines for opt-in texts

One of the understated item of the best email marketing best practices is a guideline for customers to opt-in or opt-out. In most cases, email marketing campaigns fail to acknowledge the need to help the customer understand what they are subscribing to at the same time offering a method for them to continue receiving emails or unsubscribe. This is perhaps the most important as well as the easiest best practice of an email marketing campaign. Offer a clear explanation to your customer about what they are getting themselves into and offer options to opt-out if they don’t need it. This way you build trust with your customers and surprisingly increase your opt-in rate.

  • Understand the ‘role’ email address and how to avoid them

This is pretty much common in most email marketing campaigns. You can often see email accounts you receive from these email marketing campaigns that start with support@, admin@ and so on and so forth. These are admin email accounts that other companies are using in order to collect incoming emails that will be handled by a specific department or a group within the company. Always be wary of using this and best to avoid using this in your email marketing campaigns.

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Writing Content

Effective Tips in Writing Content for Email Marketing

Email marketing is on the rise. It is the newest thing in the world of business – particularly e-commerce. It has become a prominent and popular form of marketing available in the industry today. It is considered to be effective, personal, and most importantly, very accessible for a wide variety of companies.

Considering all those sweet spots that email marketing has covered, there’s a lot of people wanting to learn how to write content for email marketing and use that into a powerful email marketing strategy for any type of business.

Email marketing is completely different from social media. While social media generates a lot of engagement from the general public, email marketing is more personal and targeted. It is dedicated to engaging a specific set of audience. If you plan to know how to write content for email marketing, you are in luck for today, we have prepared the best list for you to write content for email marketing.

  1. Write a great subject line

The great gatekeeper for an effective email is the subject line. This is the truest in the world of email marketing. This the make or break of an email marketing campaign.

  1. Make your emails personal

General email copy is professional, likely effective and perhaps, would cost much because you will need to hire really great copywriters. But you don’t have to be constrained within this. You can personalize your email copy – insert your customer’s name in the email’s subject line, target the body of your email in a way that it speaks to your customer directly and not in general. Sometimes, it is likely that you get lost in the fray but you can improve down the line. You can be assured that your email won’t be overlooked since you are reaching out to them personally and that’s what differentiates you from everyone else.

  1. Create clear and catchy emails

Here’s a rule of thumb that will definitely cover you for a long period of time – clear emails first and catchy second. Ensure that your email is clear and descriptive before making it catchy. This will make your customers understand what the purpose of your email is and it keeps you away from drawing emails that will not yield any results. In addition, with this type of email content, you are assured of your authority as a business or a company because your customers can see that you can deliver and they can picture their expectations more realistically.

  1. Ensure your subject line is aligned to your copy

This is a common pitfall for email marketing – investing too much on a great copy for the subject without aligning to the entire body of the email. It’s great if you are able to come up with catchy and clear subject line but you have to make sure that it aligns to the email’s body copy. It simply provides more value to your customers on a long term and builds your reputation that will make your customers open your emails in the future.

  1. Keep things relevant

Your email content should be relevant in order to connect to your customers. The overall goal you need to achieve with your email content is to make it more grounded and in-demand for your customers.

  1. Use the second person

The second person is unique and personal, which is apt for email. Your customers will make it easier to relate to the voice of your email when you are trying to reach out and speak directly to them. As a result, it is easier for them to connect with your emails and a high chance of getting interested of opening your follow through emails in the future.

  1. Benefits on top of features

A lot of audience won’t really care about what you are selling. Chances are they have already received the same instruction to buy from other competitors. That being said, your email content shouldn’t directly sell to your audience but offer benefits about what you are selling. Less about the features and more on a realistic picture about what your product or service can offer to your audience.

  1. Short is the best

Email marketing is not the right place to manifest your inner novelist and/or Pulitzer-winning essay. Forget about being verbose and long-winded. Keep things short, direct-to-the-point and value adding. Putting all this together in a brief but striking email can keep your audience interested and keeps you in control of your topic throughout your email campaign duration.

  1. Your personality should shine

Your email is the face of your company – it is the direct representation of your personality sans the face to face interaction. That being said, your email content should show your personal brand and how your company offers benefits to your audience. Being professional remains the priority but don’t be too constrained that you lose your personal touch – it could go miles and could make you stand out from the crowd.

  1. Never spam

Spam is the cardinal sin of email marketing. It is a sure way to get your emails straight to the recycle bin or being reported and blocked. Never forget about this. Your email content should have something crisp and solid to say. Don’t send out email for the sake of sending one. It is going to be no surprise if your audience unsubscribes from your email or worse you might get yourself into hot water.

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Email Marketing Campaigns

Top 3 Best Email Marketing Campaigns for Small Business

In today’s world of e-commerce and social media revolution, one of the big projects that all businesses undertake is a great email marketing campaign. Regardless of business size, email marketing campaigns have become game changers in this new business and economic landscape. Email marketing campaign is by far, one of the most effective tools for nurturing and strengthening the relationship between customers and business. This is greatly responsible for increases in retention, referrals and repeat sales.

You might wonder, having a small business, what would be the best and most effective email marketing campaign to apply without investing so much cost into the project. Well, you are in great luck as we have put together an awesome list of the top 3 best email marketing for small business.

By the end of this article, you should feel more comfortable in choosing what strategy to apply for your small business to further take off. However, you should understand that there’s a lot of prep work and research that need to be done before you undertake any of our recommended email marketing campaigns below. For starters, you should understand that the primary requisites would be a list of prospects and existing customers.

That being said, you will need to have a list of email addresses. Regardless of where you store them, whether you have memorized them and stored them in a large space within your brain, or you have listed them down into a spreadsheet or wrote them somewhere in one of your notebooks or planners, the basics of the game is to start tracking those email addresses down and get them ready for your campaign. Once they are ready, then you are also now ready to undertake any of our 5 awesome email marketing for small business. Let’s take a look at each of the 3 items below.

  1. The Warm Up

This first email marketing campaign is for those prospects and/or contacts that you have not engaged for a long time. Or you may have never even sent an email. Either way, this email marketing technique would be the best approach to initiate engagement on what we call your ‘cold’ list. You will also discover that this first email marketing for small business technique is a great way to do before deciding to try the other 4 techniques.

The main goal of the Warm Up technique is to let those prospects and/or customers know what your business is about. Think about reintroducing your business to them. It is important that provide context on why you are reaching out to them as well as explain to them how you will be following up with them in the future with even more valuable emails.

Confused on what to send in an email? A great tactic would be sending a survey to the in order for you to gain feedback from your audience. Keep in mind that you are trying to reintroduce your business and re-engaging your audience, so don’t even think about selling something.

  1. The Tee Up

The main goal of the Tee Up is just like its name – to ‘tee up’ leads for your sales people. If you think about it closely, you would know that there contacts in your email address list that are already willing to buy and all you need to do is to give them a go signal or make it easy for them to raise their hand and buy.

What you need to keep in mind though that the Tee Up technique is not about asking your contacts directly for a sale but positioning your product or service to help any of your contacts who might need it. To put it simply, you can ask a question in your email, such as, “Do you still need help with [your product or service]?”

  1. The Flash Sale

The Flash Sale is the most familiar email marketing for small business. It is by far one of the most overused. You might even be a recipient of this really popular email marketing campaign. If you can remember receiving an email asking you for a limited-time sale, then that is the Flash Sale. The beautiful thing about the Flash Sale is it can definitely and literally generate sales on demand with just one click of the button. If you plan to use this email marketing technique, always make sure to put the terms of your sale and select a segment of your whole list that you want to email.

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