Once you’ve decided to set up an email list, you need to choose an Email Service Provider (ESP). ESPs are companies that offer email marketing or mass email services. Built on the marketing premise that most people buy after seven encounters, autoresponder systems have the ability to preset emails at certain intervals, like every Friday or even according to the date someone subscribed to your list.
As we promised earlier, here’s a list of our recommended ESPs.
Aweber is one of the most popular autoresponder systems available. With Aweber, you can access over 600 email newsletter templates, making it easy to find one that matches or closely matches your branding. It even has templates based on some of the most popular WordPress themes like Genesis and StudioPress.
Aweber works on all the major email clients, including Gmail and Hotmail. Messages can be sent in plain text or HTML format. It offers a powerful reporting tool to keep track of your open rates, your click-through rates, and how much revenue each message generates. Aweber’s preschedule tool lets you create messages that can be scheduled to go out at specific dates and times. Aweber requires a double opt-in. There is a 30-day $1 trial to test out the service.
I’ve used Aweber since 2009 and have over 20 lists. Since I primarily use the Genesis framework and StudioPress WordPress themes, their matching email templates make it easy to create emails customized to each blog’s branding. Not to mention their customer service is superb.
Another very popular ESP is MailChimp. Heidi’s been using MailChimp since 2011, and especially likes that they have one of the most user-friendly interfaces when it comes to designing templates. MailChimp has many email templates to choose from, but they also give you the ability to design using raw code, so you can exert full control over the look and feel of your email templates and opt-in forms.
There are also plugins to link Mailchimp to your blog. Since we use Mailchimp on Blogger Babes, I’m adapting nicely. But for the price and time investment, Aweber is much more robust with its offerings.
Constant Contact focuses on businesses. It’s free for 60 days, and you can have up to 100 contacts. They offer excellent support if needed. The service itself is easy to use with over 400 newsletter templates, or you can use your own.
HTML code can be inserted into the emails for special formatting, and Constant Contact comes with three webforms, so you can segment your list.
GetResponse offers high-quality email marketing solutions and capabilities. You have the option to set up time or action-based messages according to the criteria you choose. You can send out an unlimited number of autoresponder messages every day, and the clean interface makes it easy to navigate, giving you quick information about your statistics.
The simple drag and drop feature lets you rearrange the order of your autoresponder. With one click you can duplicate a message. GetResponse lets you do split testing, too. Plans start at $15 per month for 1,000 subscribers, with a free no-risk 30-day trial.
Your autoresponder service is very important to your email marketing plan, so don’t pick a service based on price alone. Make sure the service you choose has the features you need or may want soon. Switching over to a new service is a huge time hassle and you may lose many if not all the subscribers you worked so hard to get!
Once you choose your autoresponder, create an awesome sign-up form you can place on your website, and don’t forget to offer a great incentive to sign up, like exclusive content, ebooks, or even a raffle prize. For example, our free subscriber gift is the Ultimate Blogger Babes Blogging Binder, which you can’t get without signing up first.
And speaking of free gifts… you can get the eguide this tip comes from and three more blogging guides for FREE by subscribing to Blogger Building Blocks, our monthly ekit release! Our Early Bird special ($5/month, regular $9/month) ends soon, so get in while you can.
So which responder(s) sounds right for you?