[This is part 2 of the series "Debunking the Myths of E-Mail Marketing."]
Most people I talk with about their chosen e-mail service provider tell me they use ConstantContact. Yes that one is very popular, and it’s easy to use. But it’s not cheap.
And it’s not the only one! I have a list of 50 of them, and Constant Contact is not even at the top of the list. (Send me a message here if you want the list.)
Do you need event registrations and planning along with your e-mail marketing program management? Then ConstantContact might be a great choice for you because they do that too. But if you just need to have your email campaigns managed, then look elsewhere.
My personal favorite is a site called MailChimp which I started using because of their “Forever Free” pricing. Forever Free means you get to have up to 2,000 list members and send up to 12,000 e-mails per month on their free plan. Forever. (Get it?)
I’ve been using MailChimp for 3 years and they’ve been awesome. I can actually contact them (in a variety of ways!) and they get back to me. I mean, a REAL person gets back to me, with REAL helpful information, not a script somebody wrote about a problem that was maybe similar to mine (but not really).
Did I mention it’s free?
I believe one of the reasons they’re so good is that they ONLY do e-mail marketing, and they do it really really well.
Plus, their little chimp mascot has a really fun personality and he makes people laugh.
Here’s a link you can use to save $30 if you every decide to upgrade after you’ve used their free version for awhile: http://eepurl.com/bnWjT
Full disclosure: yes, that is an affiliate link, but to tell you the truth I’ve never made a dime off of it, I just really like them and that’s why I recommend them. (Maybe someday I’ll rack up a hundred bucks or so. Woo hoo!)
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Check out my new eBook, “The 3 Secrets of Online Marketing Success” which you can download for free at FreeWebMarketingEbook.com.
Don’t boo me off the stage here. I hate SPAM as much as the next gal, and I never SPAM people myself, never have, never will. However, while SPAM is highly annoying, it is not technically illegal. The CAN-SPAM act of 2003 defined a set of guidelines email marketers must follow when distributing or displaying commercial messages, whether via email or other advertising channels.
A marketer who does not follow the rules can face hefty fines, according to the law, but so far it has been largely unenforced. Probably because it’s largely unenforceable. Our tax dollars at work.
So… let’s look at the commonly accepted definition of SPAM, and then I’ll tell you my personal definition, which I like better.
Wikipedia‘s definition of SPAM is “the use of electronic messaging systems (including most broadcast media, digital delivery systems) to send unsolicited bulk messages indiscriminately.”
The most common form of SPAM is sent via E-Mail and, according to Wikipedia’s definition above, there are three specific components that must be present in order for an email message to qualify as SPAM:
For the purposes of Avarra’s own E-mail Marketing products, we define SPAM as:
Repeatedly sending people irrelevant, promotional e-mail without their explicit permission and without giving them a way to unsubscribe.
What I’ve done is to create a specific guideline under which I feel comfortable working. I’m in a position to make recommendations to business on how to do their e-mail marketing. Therefore it’s important that we work within a very clearly described boundary.
I go into a lot more detail on this in our E-Marketing 101 Workshop.
Sending a person one single promotional email without their permission is not necessarily a bad thing. If done professionally and personably and with respect, you might actually convert a few of the recipients into customers. It’s a risk though and each of you needs to decide for yourself and your business if the risk is worth the potential reward.
If you do decide to risk it, you need to treat it just like a “cold call.” You are a vacuum cleaner salesperson knocking on doors. That’s a tough visual, but it’s accurate. You are barging into these people’s lives, hoping they’ll be responsive to your message. Good luck.
Next week I’ll have a follow up post: 7 Tips to Warm up Your “Cold List” E-mail Marketing
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