– Choosing an Email Marketing System –
In this article, I compare 8 email marketing systems geared towards small businesses and then tell you which email marketing system I ultimately chose for Dreamers Creative Writing.
3 important things
Writers, especially as they become more established, often set-up websites to promote their publications. Many even run small businesses, offering writing and editing services or promoting their writing workshops.
If you’re running a website, there are three important things you should always do:
- Post useful and relevant content on your site. Book reviews, samples of your writing, blogs about writing, etc. Well-written content is the best way to generate strong organic search traffic.
- Ask people to subscribe to hear from you. The main call-to-action on any content-based website should be a subscribe option.
- Send emails. Use email to tell your subscribers about any new content you post. This will bring repeat visitors to your site. Start with a monthly email newsletter.
When I was preparing to launch the Dreamers website, one of the first things I did was compare the email distribution and automation systems geared towards small businesses.
Here’s a chart showing the results of that comparison:
|Base Package||Next Step Up||Automation?||HTML?|
|AWeber||$19/mo, list size up to 500||$29/mo, list size 501-2500||YES||YES|
|Constant Contact||$15/mo, list size up to 500||$35/mo for list size 501-2500||PLUS plans only @ extra cost.||YES|
|ConvertKit||$29/mo, list size up to 100||$49/mo, list size 1001-2000||NO||NO|
|Drip||Free, list size up to 100||$41/mo, list size 100-2500||YES||YES|
|GetResponse||$15/mo, list size up to 1000||$49/mo, list size 1001-5000||YES||YES|
|Mad Mimi||$10/mo, list size up to 500||$42/mo, list size 501-10000||NO||YES|
|MailChimp||Free, list size up to 2000||$30/mo, list size 2001-2500||YES||YES|
|Verticalresponse||Free, list size up to 300||$11/mo, list size 301-500||YES||YES|
What is Email Automation?
Some of these email tools only distribute email, they don’t automate it. Automation includes such things as automatically distributed welcome emails, empty shopping cart emails, birthday emails, emails trigged based on specific activities completed on your website, etc. Basically, you create these emails, set your automation parameters, and the emails are sent automatically as people qualify for your automation stream. For example, if someone downloads an article from your website, you can automatically thank them for reading and point them to other relevant articles on your site.
Enterprise and CRM Solutions
I looked at other solutions as well, including Ontraport, Salesforce Marketing Cloud Email Studio (formerly ExactTarget), Pardot, Marketo, Zaius, Blueshift, and Hubspot, but concluded that these services are more geared towards large organizations or B2B companies. However, if you’re a B2B company, I’ve used Pardot in the past and I strongly recommend it. Alternatively, if your business has unlimited money and you only want the very best, go with Marketo.
What email marketing system did I choose?
Ultimately, I chose MailChimp as our email marketing system. Its free base plan offers room to grow without a significant upfront investment. It also scales well. And, it offers all the automation solutions we need, plus it has simple HTML template tools and easy administration. It’s a nice, user-friendly email marketing system that lets me send beautiful emails.
About the Author
Kat McNichol is the Co-Editor for the Journal of Integrated Studies and the Editor-in-Chief of Dreamers Creative Writing. She is also a Director of Marketing-Communications in Waterloo and has spent the past 12+ years writing marketing copy for the high-tech industry. She holds a B.A. in English Literature, an MAIS in Writing and New Media, and Literary Studies, and she is completing a PhD in Career Writing.
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