Of all the tools you have in your marketing arsenal, none are more important than your email list.
If you’re really savvy, you maintain multiple lists. For example, for my Voiceover Ninja projects I manage several lists, each pertaining to different geographical areas where I host workshops.
To do this professionally, I need a reliable email marketing service. For a while I was using Constant Contact, and briefly tested AWeber, but I’ve settled on iContact, and am happy with it.
Spam: The Bane of Online Marketing
When you send emails often to large numbers of people — and especially when your messages contain commercial solicitations — you must protect yourself against accusations of spamming.
Major email marketing companies like iContact take this issue very seriously, and forbid their customers from using their system to send unwanted messages.
Not to use a service with ironclad anti-spam rules is to court trouble. A colleague of mine who recently started an email newsletter for her business described a nightmarish scenario — someone claimed she had “spammed” them, and as a result her email account was suspended, and she was made to pay a fine!
When you create a new list through iContact, you’re required to declare that everyone on it has consented to receive communications from you. Each message you send contains a link so a person can instantly be removed from future mailings. These zero-tolerance policies help to ensure that your messages will reach their intended recipients without delay, and you won’t get in trouble.
Ease of Opting In
iContact makes it easy for visitors of your website or blog to sign up to receive your emails.
I really like their customizable opt-in box. You set up the form to collect the info you want (name/city/state/zip code), then copy and paste the code into a web page. Readers can register automatically, with no involvement from you.
You can arrange your preferences so that every time someone opts in, you get an email notification. You can also set up autoresponders, so that new subscribers get a welcome email from you, which can contain additional links and info.
iContact offers many templates for creating an email newsletter. They even have an online editor so you can create your own designs from scratch, with no knowledge of HTML necessary.
I set up my emails using a separate HTML editor, then I cut and paste the code directly into the box. It’s easy, and you can preview your email with one click.
iContact allows you to track statistics about the emails you send. What’s your “open rate”? How often are your readers clicking on the links you provide?
This is crucial information that helps you gauge the effectiveness of your campaigns — and plot out your future moves. Thanks to their system of analytics, you can see at a glance what’s working and what isn’t.
Free 30-Day Trial
If you’re not using an email marketing service, try iContact free for 30 days. If you’re using a different service, check out iContact and see how it compares. (You can transfer lists from other services via .csv files with minimal hassle.)
After you sign up, you can become an iContact affiliate, and earn generous commissions whenever someone joins the service through you.
iContact’s rates are reasonable (if you have 500 or fewer subscribers, it’s just $10/month) and totally worth it for the peace of mind and ease of use. Register for your free trial now, and let me know how you like it!