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Email Marketing Services: Updated 2019

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Why Talk About Email Marketing Services?

Email marketing services

Email Marketing Solutions

Regular readers of my blog may be surprised to see a post about email marketing services – because the vast majority will already be using their own favourite.

To my regular readers, who know all about auto-responders, I apologize for “teaching them to suck eggs”, but please feel free to add your comments about the importance of email marketing. Also, please note my update below.

However, for anyone new to starting an online business, I hope this will be instructive.

Update 2019

For a while I have been tempted to focus more on Social Media Marketing than on my blog, because that seemed to be the way “the masses” were going. So I put a lot of work into that. Then one fateful day I logged into my business page and found:

 

To cut a long and depressing story short I couldn’t figure out what I had done wrong and what I needed to correct, so eventually I just abandoned the page to start again with another one. All my followers and content, built over two to three years were lost. Thanks goodness for what I had on my blog.

While I was beginning to feel very inept to have lost my page, I noticed that another far better marketer than I was also “missing” from Facebook. I reached out to him another way and discovered that his Facebook account had been hacked which was why he had also been offline quite some time. He managed to recover – but as I say, he’s far better technically online than I am.

It refocused me on my blog and mailing list as the primary place to build my business – because I OWN them, rather than a free social media platform. Yes, I will still be on social media, but the time and work I have lost has been a salutary lesson and warning.

Starting An Online Business

When you start an online business there are two vitally important components you need.

  • Your OWN website – ideally a blog – download my free eBook on Profitable Blogging here to learn why
  • A system that lets you build a contact list of visitors to your site – I refer to this as an autoresponder and will expand on this software below.

Whatever else you do or don’t do, building a list of your website visitors is a stage you should not omit.

Why Use An Auto-Responder?

An auto-responder is an application used to collect the contact details of visitors to your website who may not purchase from you on their first visit.

In a nutshell, you invite them to receive more information from you and if they accept, they have “opted-in” to receive your information emails until they “opt-out”, after which you no longer have permission to contact them by email.

Offering what’s known as a “lead magnet” on a “lead capture page” is a good way to invite them to opt in to your list – perhaps a discount on their first purchase, or some free information targeted to their interests. Making a lead capture page manually isn’t impossible by any means, but if you’re running a business you probably have better things to do with your time.

You can also use your autoresponder to keep details of customers who HAVE purchased from you. So you ideally need at least two lists so you can send them different messages.

For Prospective Customers

It’s unlikely that anyone will make a purchase when visiting your website for the first time.

  • They may just be doing research and not ready to buy “today”
  • They may be ready to buy but not complete the purchase for any number of reasons (interruption, failed card transaction, last minute questions, quickly popping over to another site intending to return but….)

In fact it’s said that potential clients may need to see your sales message as many as seven times before deciding to make a purchase from you. So you need to send “follow-up” emails to show them the benefits of your product / company over your competitors’.

Even when they genuinely intend to return and buy from you, if prospects leave your website / blog and they haven’t left their contact details with you, there’s a risk that they forget or end up making their purchase from another website owner who had the foresight to capture their details and follow-up with them.

For Existing Customers

Having made a sale, it’s good business sense to maximize revenue from existing customers with future offers. If you have a happy customer, it can be easier to make repeat sales than to find new customers.

So an auto-responder lets you stay in contact with existing customers by means of a newsletter (known as a broadcast) and send new or special offers. How often you send a broadcast depends on your own business and audience. Some businesses send daily (which personally I think is too often) others send weekly, monthly – or just when they have an important announcement.

mistakes to avoid in online businessYou may be tempted to save money on email marketing services and imagine you can maintain your own list of customers on an Excel spreadsheet and mail them manually to save a few dollars. (Yep, I tried it, and it was a bad mistake and in 2019 would almost certainly breach GDPR!)

This is false economy because as soon as you have more than a handful of customers it becomes time-consuming. Also it totally misses the point about staying in contact with visitors whose details you do not have because they did not purchase on their first visit.

Another important point to note is that using an auto-responder protects you from being labelled a spammer for emailing people manually – because they will have “opted-in” to receive your emails.

Online customers have short memories and quickly forget that they were interested in your product, especially if they already bought from a competitor. One bad-tempered day they may label your email as spam; a good auto-responder company will handle this correctly on your behalf.

I hope the reasons above have convinced you that as soon as you get a blog / website your first priority is to add a list-building (or lead capture) form. I have several on this site for various products and services.

In fact, if you have an established blog but you’re only just getting started with lead magnets, I have a neat WordPress plugin that turns every blog article (past and future) into a lead magnet. See the bottom of this post. I set it up in just 30 minutes – click here to learn more (affiliate link).

Which Auto-Responder To Use?

You may think that cost is your top priority, but it shouldn’t be, because your prospect and customer lists are valuable assets in your business, to be protected zealously.

Believe me – I lost a big list once and it hurts. An affiliate company I was working with closed down their company, restarted under a different name, “stole” my contact list which I had foolishly entrusted to them, and started marketing to it with a competing offer. At the time I was too inexperienced online to realize the need for maintaining my own “list” so it was my own fault on several levels, but a mistake I won’t make again!

  • There are free autoresponders – some will be free to start with and then start charging when your list size reaches a certain number. I have tried several free services, but abandoned all but one for a variety of reasons, for instance: directly competing ads shown, poor email deliverability, lack of “follow-up” feature, slow or non-existent customer service (who wants to support free?), or the auto-responder owner just gets fed up of not earning and stops running the service.
  • At the other end of the scale there are high-priced auto-responders that deliver services far beyond what many small businesses may be willing, or need, to pay (top-end products can cost $100+ a month).
  • In the middle there are some excellent and very affordable email marketing services – and I have tried several of them. The few dollars monthly fee should not be an issue to any forward thinking business-person. Most of them actually let you earn a commission if you recommend their services to other businesses. This is entirely optional but a nice steady stream of monthly income, because switching auto-responders is not something you undertake lightly.

The market leaders for small to medium sized businesses are probably Aweber (affiliate link) and GetResponse (affiliate link). I have tried both of these and they’re very good, but being part-time and slow at list-building I always felt grumpy at the monthly cost.

Short-sighted, I know, but then I found a solution.

The auto-responder I have settled on is MailerLite (affiliate link), which is free for your first 1,000 contact names. That should be plenty to get new list-builders earning enough money that they don’t resent the monthly cost (which isn’t high in any case). There are a few extra features in the paid version, but nothing I have missed enough to pay for yet. Haha!

When you click the link above you will see that I am offering you a credit towards the time when your free subscription needs to become a payment.

MailerLite’s Deliverability

Of course all the low cost and good features count for nothing if your emails don’t land in the contact’s in-box. Which is why I abandoned certain unnamed services. So I was delighted to find this independant information about MailerLite’s deliverability.

“MailerLite has seen a huge improvement in deliverability rates, claiming the #2 spot. Improving deliverability rates is clearly a high priority for them.” – EmailToolTester  More about the deliverability research: https://www.emailtooltester.com/en/blog/email-deliverability-jan-2019/

Over To You

I hope newcomers to email marketing services will have found this helpful. Feel free to ask questions in the comments below. If experienced online marketers have any advice to add about the importance of “building your list”, please add them below.

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Joy
 

I left it too late to plan for a financially secure retirement. Don't make my mistake. Start building an extra income with a part-time (or full-time) business online. Think you don't have time? Can't afford the start-up cost? Can't meet sales targets? Contact me for free advice (no obligation) on the best fit for your circumstances.

  • Lisa Gee says:

    Very useful, thanks. This is definitely something I need to look at implementing.

    • Joy Healey says:

      Hi Lisa

      Glad you liked the article and hope you get round to installing Aweber.

      Sorry for the delay approving your comment, I had to rescue it from spam comments because you have no gravatar setup:-) You can get one free from http://en.gravatar.com/ and that will help you get your comments approved. Let me know if you need any more help.

      Enjoy the rest of your week, Joy

  • Mike Gardner says:

    An informative post as always Joy, I used to use Aweber and found it very useful, but these days I use and am a huge fan of Active Campaign mainly because of its integration with my Nimble CRM system.

    • Joy Healey says:

      Hi Mike

      Glad you liked the post, and liked Aweber when you used it.

      I must confess I haven’t come across Active Campaign before – there are so many services out there – but as long as you’re using a service and you’ve found one that fits well with your particular needs, that’s what’s important.

      Have a great week, Joy

  • Hi Joy,

    Let me start by wishing you a very Happy New Year 🙂

    During all my years of blogging, I’ve been guilty of not paying much attention to my list. I did try Aweber for a few months a couple of years back, and it was good, but I found it to be expensive for me. So I moved over to a free one, because I was not serious about list building.

    I do have the facility of auto-responders, but I don’t use it much. Also, I don’t have any products on my site yet, so all I send my list are latest post updates and occasional newsletters. But yes, I’m going to change all of this.

    But I understand and agree with everything you wrote about auto-responders. I also don’t advise on maintaining the list on Excel spreadsheet. And you’re also right about the spamming issue.

    It shocking to know what happened to your list. I agree with your logic and suggestions for free, high-end, and middle affordable email marketing services. AWeber is definitely the leader, and those who can afford it, should opt for it.

    List building is a must, so an email marketing service is essential too. Thank you for this important post for all bloggers. Have a nice week ahead 🙂

    • Joy Healey says:

      Hi Harleena,

      Welcome back and Happy New Year to you too.

      Your blog is so successful without a list because of the hard work you devote to it on a regular basis, plus the top quality posts. Unless my clients are as hard-working on their blogs as you are I suspect they’d have no chance of emulating your success. I (and many others) actively come and LOOK for your posts! There are only a few sites online that I go to find 🙂

      So I’m glad you, as a very successful blogger) agree with and understand my choice of Aweber to recommend to customers. It’s only a few dollars more per month then the competition and although I know of (and use) less expensive services myself there are issues I’m having with the cheaper services that I can’t overlook – so I’m playing it safe for client recommendations. I don’t my want clients coming back to me with some of the problems I’ve had on cheaper services.

      Great to see you again, and ave a great week, Joy

  • Hi Joy!

    I always wish I would’ve gotten with a good email marketing service earlier, and set up an autoresponder ASAP. Nothing is better than automating such a huge part of your business, knowing that it’s working for you even when you’re not working.

    I actually spent a few hours this past weekend setting up my autoresponder for another site of mine. I’m not very active with it but it does get a ton of traffic, so I knew this was something I had to do. I currently have two months worth of an autoresponder sequence set up, giving a lot of good info and promoting relevant products.

    It’s nice because I know it won’t be too long now until I’m getting a steady flow of sales from that list. That’s one thing I love about autoresponders as well – they allow you to make a consistent income. Heck, without an email list my income wouldn’t be consistent at all.

    I put all of this off for so long because it’s challenging to see just how effective autoresponders actually are until you use one. Now, it’s absolutely clear that it’s my business’s most valuable tool – even more valuable than my blog itself!

    Thanks Joy!

    • Joy Healey says:

      Hi James

      Thanks for making those excellent extra points…

      a) it works when you’re not working, and will work over and over again for the few hours first setting it up.
      b) you can arrange it so that the follow-up series, a well as containing information tips, can generate sales of future products that you might never have thought to tell your customer about if they weren’t in your follow-up series.

      Yes, even if your blog were to disappear tomorrow (perish the thought) you would still have your list – actually that’s another good reason for keeping these two services with separate providers, and remembering to back them up.

      I’m glad you’ve got your auto-responder series set up now and I’m sure you’ll soon start reaping the rewards.

      Have a great week, Joy

  • Hey Joy,

    No doubt, Email marketing is very essential to get success in online business. But, choosing a perfect email marketing service is one of the difficult task for beginners. You’ve mentioned well about email marketing in this article.
    Aweber, is nowadays very popular service for email marketing. It has been improving in their service day by day and are making it more easy for their customers.

    Autoresponder is very vital to alert your blog subscriber. I’m not using any autoresponder service yet. But, this post point out most of my mistakes what I’m doing. I gonna follow your tips to get most out from it.

    Thanks for writing such a worthy article and for sharing with us!

    -Mustafa

    • Joy Healey says:

      Hi Mustafa

      You’re right – chopping and changing, trying to choose which auto-responder to settle with, wasted me months (and a lot of money). Probably lost me some subscribers too, moving from one to the next. There was always something I was unhappy with….

      So that’s why I’ve finally come back to recommending Aweber. The few dollars I saved by using cheaper services has long been eroded by the costs of changing each time I decided to “evaluate” a different auto-responder.

      Have a great week, Joy

  • The intimacy factor is huge with me Joy. I started building my list last month. I was too busy writing eBooks and my 7K word posts to do otherwise 😉 But I find doing the convenient thing for your readers makes it easier for them to stay in touch with you. Most people are email junkie. Give them what they want. They’ll stop by, read your posts, share your post and they’ll also tend to buy your products and services if they can check your updates via email.

    List building does indeed rock and I have to say I’m glad I started doing so last month.

    You using those auto responders is smart too; adds a passive element to your email marketing campaign. Good go with Aweber. I like them but just vibed more with MailChimp.

    Helpful read here Joy. Keep up the inspired play!

    Ryan

    • Joy Healey says:

      Hi Ryan

      That really says it all 🙂

      When someone with as big a brand and following as you already have starts list building too, it must say something for its importance. Not to mention your 7,000 word posts…..

      I wish I thought any of my clients (or me!) would put a quarter as much effort into their blog as you do. Yet you still see the importance of list building. If anyone was in any doubt, there’s a message there….

      I’m sure most of my clients will appreciate the passive element too. Work done once and bringing rewards for months on end is the small business person’s dream.

      Thanks so much for reinforcing the need for list-building – even for well established sites like Blogging From Paradise.

      Enjoy your next trip 🙂

      Joy

  • Neena says:

    Hi Joy,
    I am a strong believer in email service providers.
    In the US the CAN-SPAM act almost requires that you use one.
    And, really they save you so much time and frustration. The only downside could be cost – but even some very reputable services offer a free starter level, which is perfect for those that are just beginning.
    Thanks for the valuable info!

    • Joy Healey says:

      Hi Neena,

      Although some people (including myself) were initially deterred from using an auto-responder by the cost, I’ve since come to accept that “free” is usually paid for by hours and effort / stress as opposed to using a reputable auto-responder.

      I’m trusting that the clients in my target market will value professional service more than the few dollars they would save. I can’t “judge” those who disagree because I was all for “free” until I realized the true cost of all my deliberations.

      Thanks for re-emphasizing the importance of the CAN-SPAM act too.

      Enjoy the rest of your week, Joy

  • Arsie Organo Jr says:

    I haven’t used neither have considered utilizing the email services for my blogs. But with the comments and your article I am thinking now of starting.

    Thanks for the eye-opener topic.

    • Joy Healey says:

      Hi

      I’m pleased I’ve given you some encouragement to start list building – it’s such a shame when we work so hard to get visitors to our blog to let them disappear without attempting to retain their details to bring them back.

      Enjoy the rest of your week, Joyk

  • Ron Ford says:

    Hi Joy,

    I am so thankful I’ve found your blog. I just started my website and your input here is very helpful for me. Thanks for sharing great information.

    Cheers,
    Ron

    • Joy Healey says:

      Hi Ron

      Glad you liked the article and hope you get round to installing Aweber. List-building is very important and the sooner you start it in your Internet Marketing career the better!

      I think you’re using P1 Traffic Machine, am I right? How’s that working out for you?

      Hope you won’t mind a quick tip your comment, I had to rescue it from spam comments because you have no gravatar setup:-) You can get one free from http://en.gravatar.com/ and that will help you get your comments approved. Let me know if you need any more help.

      I tried to leave a comment for you, but couldn’t see where to comment on your blog. The link below may help you.

      Have a great week, Joy

  • Hi Joy, you’ve written a useful and educational post for those who need it here, well done.

    When I started my first blog back in 2010, I left list building and email marketing on the shelf, I was too busy trying to win search engine traffic instead of collecting little emails. Well I learned from those costly earlier mistakes and when I started Magnet4Blogging back in 2013, the first thing I set out to do was start list building.

    I’ve never tried Aweber before, though I’ve heard a lot of marketers and bloggers rave on about it. I started off with Vertical Response back in the day, but gave up on them a few years ago because they didn’t have an auto-responder service. I went straight to MailChimp and have been with them ever since.

    I was stunned to read the part you wrote about how you lost a list to an affiliate company, the cheek of them regardless whether you made a mistake.

    Anyway, enjoy the rest of your week Joy.
    – Fabrizio

    • Joy Healey says:

      Hi Fabrizio

      Glad you think the post will help newcomers.

      I too tried some email marketing packages, innocently assuming they “MUST” have an auto-responder service. It seemed completely obvious at the time, but I know better now. Shame I wasted time on them – but I know better now what questions to ask!

      Have a great weekend. Joy

  • Hi Joy,

    Fine post about email marketing services.

    I have an Aweber account, but have only added an email capture form to my blog this week. (One of your suggestions for my blog, as I recall 😉

    Have a great weekend.
    Edward

    • Joy Healey says:

      Hi Edward

      Glad you found the post helpful and especially pleased you’ve added email capture – your blog is a perfect candidate!

      So now I’d better pop over and subscribe 🙂

      You have a good weekend too.

      Joy

  • Great article you have here especially for those who are having a hard time implementing email marketing in to their businesses.

    • Joy Healey says:

      Hi Michael,

      Glad you liked the article. One of the reasons I recommend Aweber is that they have good training videos and a help desk so those people who are finding it tough to implement email marketing will have the maximum possible support.

      I hope you get started with an auto-responder soon – you won’t regret it!

      Enjoy the rest of your weekend, Joy

  • Diane Tellis says:

    Hello Joy. Seems like a very logical next leg in the online marketing stool. I was just searching for email marketing services until I came across your blog. I must admit that I’m still new to online marketing. In fact, I just set up my site since last week, still in work in progress though. Thanks to my friends who are helping me out. I checked your old posts as well and they are all very helpful. Just bookmarked your site. Thanks again and keep up the good work!

    • Joy Healey says:

      Hi Diane

      Glad you found my posts helpful and good luck with the work on your site. Hope you won’t mind a tip, but if you enable commenting people can leave comments for you – there’s a post below about why this is a good thing. Also, adding social media sharing icons lets visitors share your site.

      Setting up your email marketing service is the next big job after you’ve set up your site – don’t make my mistake and wait. Do it as soon as possible.

      Good luck with your site and I hope to see you again soon.

      Joy

  • Sandy says:

    Hi Joy, first of all must admit I am torn between whether to continue using AWeber or switch back to MailChimp. I am still having dilemma in this. Hope to settle my thought by this mth end ;p

    • Joy Healey says:

      Hi Sandy

      MailChimp is one I never tried funnily enough, given that I tried so many others.

      I’m certainly not one to talk about switching because I’ve switched more than once:-(

      Hope you make your decision soon as it’s frustrating to have something like that preying on your mind. You’ll feel better once you’ve decided.

      Have a great week, Joy

  • Dragan Palla says:

    Hi Joy,

    First time commenting here, and I must admit I don’t pay attention too much about my mailing list as I should. I was thinking to switch from Feedburner to MailChimp. What do you think?

    I agree with you about using the auto-responder and all the benefits. Since I’m adding some services to my blog I find this very important.

    Thanks for sharing this post.

    ~ Dragan

    • Joy Healey says:

      Hi Dragan,

      Welcome to my blog, I am so pleased you found me and I hope you will find plenty of helpful information here:-)

      Many people neglect their mailing lists – I did too for a long time.

      I haven’t used MailChimp myself, so I can’t comment from personal experience, but I know of others who are pleased with the service. The important thing is to start using something as soon as possible.

      An auto-responder service will be an important add-on service you can offer to your clients on your new site.

      Good luck with your new business,

      Joy

    • Joy Healey says:

      Hi Dragan

      Isn’t it always the way…. ?

      Just when I said I knew people HAPPY with MailChimp, I find James McAllister who doesn’t like them – and while I can’t comment on MailChimp personally, I do trust James’ judgment on many things.

      You can connect with him via his interview on my post below. Please tell him I sent you 🙂

      Joy

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