Do you have the Right Email Marketing System?
You need to plan for the future and know what you want to be able to do with your email and newsletter marketing system. Sometimes what we have now is not ideal either.
Without knowing your ideas and long-term needs and plans, you won’t know what features to look for when making a choice on what platform to use.
The main items to look for when choosing an email marketing system are:
1. Features. What features the system offers is the most important thing to consider. You need your system to work with you as effectively as possible and grow with you. This is how you will communicate and market to your subscriber list. In my opinion, the ability to include autoresponders is very important. (This is an email that is triggered when someone signs up for your list or goes out automatically based on certain criteria.) Some of the main features to look for are:
- Can Spam Compliance. You don’t want to be breaking the laws
- List Segmenting and Tagging. Keeping separate lists or using tags to segment people interested in different products, services, freebies, etc. This allows you to send emails to special groups and you can customize your content to speak directly to them.
- Limits on emails per month. Ideally, you want no limits or must understand your limits for when you will need to expand or upgrade your service.Limits on emails per month.
- Autoresponders. Ability to set up automated emails that are triggered based on an event (i.e., auto-send X number of days after sign-up).
- Templates. Easy ways to create the look of your email / newsletter and also how much can you customize them if you want to.
- Pricing. You want to check the pricing and how they count contacts. Some systems you can end up paying more because of how they count contacts. ie. one contact may sign up for several of your lead magnets and be on several lists. Even though they use the same email – it will count as more for pricing.
- Spam Checking. Does the system offer a way to check your email to note if you need some fixes to get a better delivery rate and not marked as spam?
- Reporting. Can you see reports on who opens the email, clicks on links in the email? Some can even track clicks to sales (great way to measure ROI).
- Support or Help System. Is it a pay-by-call or do they have a good online FAQ or Help system.
2. Integration with products and other systems. This feature allows the email system to be connected to your product or service so that when a person clicks to buy your product or service online, they get added to a list in your email marketing system. This feature will identify them as a customer who bought XX product and this list inclusion means they can be part of your email marketing system. You also want to look at whether you need this from the start or not. Some offer it as an add-on when needed. You can always use Zapier too, but starting out the less integrations needed the better.
3. Price. What is the monthly cost of the system and at what level? Most systems have a base price based on the number of subscribers are on your email list. You should compare a future level with other systems. It may mean paying more now but, in the long run, it means saving your list by not losing people when you need to transfer them to a new system. Most offer a free trial as well – take advantage of this to check out the system.
4. Ease of Use. This is important. If you cannot set this system up yourself nor maintain it and are not planning to outsource the support work, you will need something you can use. Be realistic about this – if your skills are not in this area, don’t waste your precious business time trying to figure it out yourself and learn the system. You will save money and probably earn more money by enlisting the help of someone like a virtual assistant who has the experience needed to look after the support in much less time and, in most cases, way more efficiently and effectively than you as you struggle to figure it out.
Soooo…long story short – look to what your realistic future needs might be and choose a system that can grow with you and can be one that will fit your needs and budget in the long run, but a realistic long run. Choosing incorrectly can impact your bottom line.
Choosing “too High-End” of a System
I have seen many people – myself included – get enticed by the pricier systems that were too much (but it was a good deal at a conference so we bought into it!). They had too many features that never got used, higher price and overall difficulty. They (myself included) ended up switching to something more reasonable that better suited them. In my case, I spent well over $6,000 one year trying something that did not suit me at the time (Infusionsoft). That total does not include the extra time I spent messing around in the system trying to make it work for me (and that was with a VA helping me). In retrospect, I had a much better use for that money and, more importantly, the lost time.
Results of trying to Save Money
Then there were the others who went with too little – free or cheap – but with no features and many limitations and ending up switching to get a system that better suited their needs and was in their budget for monthly cost and support. The result in the switch over? They lost many of the subscribers they had built up – lost opportunities.
Choose wisely – this will save you from having to start over and build your list from scratch again.
Convert Kit is now my # 1 choice with the ability to tag people in segments and charges fees based on contacts no matter how many tags and lists they are on. It’s a system that has some high end features for segmenting and automation but at very reasonable fees. Aweber is my second choice (recently bumped from #1) for an “intro email marketing service, but will grow a lot with you” email system.
My reasons for this recommendation for Convert Kit are:
1. The BEST open rates I have ever seen! My clients and students are averaging 35% or more – sometimes closer to 42% as an average. This is phenomenal!
2. Contact tag options (this is the best I have seen in a system under $200 / month – easy to setup and do as well)
3. Simple email templates for emails, broadcasts and followup emails. They built their reputation on simple emails for good open rates. They do have new options for drag and drop building too.
4. Price is very competitive. $29 a month until you have 2500 contacts and then it competes well with others. They offer annual discounts too.
5. The ability to make one broadcast (newsletter) and indicate what contacts should get it based on tags. Making sure no one gets duplicate copies of the one newsletter. This seems simple but is huge – HUGE- for credibility of you, the sender. MailChimp is a pain. To send a newsletter to multiple contacts/lists, means replicating the email, picking the new list and setting it up. Not a ton of time but still added time if you ask me.
6. Very easy system to use for Forms setup, Email sequences and Automation. Bonus – Convert Kit connects nicely with Teachable if you have a school on this system.
7. Good customer service. They do not have a good chat option – generally it is an email reply, but they do offer the option to book a call to get questions answered so this is great for unique issues.
My reasons for this recommendation for Aweber are:
1. Top Notch customer service. They are fast and responsive on chat which means problems solved very fast.
2. Contact tag options. This is working but not as ideal as it can be. They are getting there.
3. Ease of using templates for emails, broadcasts and followup emails. Nice drag and drop builders.
4. Save time with Broadcasts (newsletters) and tick it to go to several lists and if someone is on more than one list – they only get 1 copy of the broadcast. Again big for your credibility, by not sending one contact several copies of the emails.
5. Price is very competitive. $19 a month until you have 2500 contacts and then it competes well with others. There are some added fees based on subscriber rates as it grows. BUT… the big downside of Aweber is that you may pay more for the # of contacts if you have them setup with lists versus tags/campaigns – if someone is on several lists, this counts them as more than one contact when it comes to pricing. I have had clients with raving fans who sign up for every lead magnet – this means more contacts = more fees.
6. Easy system to use. This system is definitely easier than MailChimp after its recent upgrades but it can be fairly easy to use, though the layout in the dashboard to find sections is a little confusing. Sending and checking on Broadcasts (newsletters) is tricky of you forgot what list it was started on – you need to go back to it to check any info on the broadcast. (I’m being picky but some days I have been searching thru list after list to find this when I did not know where it got started.
Click the Image below to learn more about Convert Kit or Aweber. And if you are uncertain if you have the right system, feel free to book a free 15 minute consult with me, we can laser in and determine if you have the best fitting system for your needs, or that you are choosing the best one!
Stop Struggling and Start Thriving! My passion is helping to guide people just like you, dietitians, and private practice owners, who are often frustrated with all their wasted time spent on marketing that gets you nowhere. You can learn strategies to attract a steady flow of clients and build a thriving and profitable practice. Get started with some of the free resources on my Pepper It Marketing website, especially this Marketing Guide for Dietitians. I also offer several self-study training programs to help you attract more clients so you can have the Freedom and Security you want with your business!