You keep hearing that “The money is in the list” and you’ve faithfully collected email addresses from customers and prospects. Now what the heck do you do with them?
This list is indeed gold. Corresponding with customers and visitors who sign up to get your emails lets you establish a relationship with them, gradually gaining their loyalty.
Called lead marketing, it is a direct and straightforward way to connect with buyers. You do this by sending out useful, entertaining information on a regular basis, interspersed by occasional emails about sales, subscriber-only discounts and new releases.
How Do I Contact My List
The link between you and your list is the autoresponder, an online service that organizes addresses, schedules email delivery, lets you control when and how you correspond with your list and then track how many people open your emails and click on the links included.
Once you sign up with a service, you have a dashboard that lets you set up rules you pre-determine. This lets you control the specifics of who gets what when. You then write your message and the service handles the details. Most have reporting capability that let you track the rate of opens and clicks from your email campaigns. With this data, you can reconfigure your campaign based on the response.
Top 10 Autoresponders
Based on functionality and ease of use for owners of a business opportunity, here is an overview of the best 10 autoresponder services available.
Aweber Communications: One of the granddaddies of email marketing, Aweber is known for its support and wide range of tools. It overs over 600 templates, compatible with all the major email clients, like Gmail, Hotmail and others. The service is fairly simple to set up, to track opens and clicks using its high-end reporting tools and to set up delivery times.
iContact: Known for its high quality tools, iContact lets you use mail merge functionality to individualize your subject lines or body with the subscriber name. It is easy to also put you emails on social media or your website.
GetResponse: If you need a lot of functionality, GetResponse is a good choice. You can put together a series of time- or action-based emails, which go out automatically. It has a clean dashboard and statistics are easy to access.
MailChimp: If you need an affordable service without all the extra bells and whistles, MailChimp is a good place to start. Though it offers more limited ability to segment your list, it is easy to use.
Mad Mimi: If you like a wide range of templates and fun graphics, check out Mad Mimi. The service is competitively priced and has all the standard services.
Constant Contact: Though more expensive that most other services, Constant Contact offers a wide range of graphics for its emails. It is geared to businesses with large lists, not to the smaller businesses.
InfusionSoft: Serious marketers with tens of thousands on their lists swear by InfusionSoft. It is multi-purpose software, with email as just one of its many capabilities. Its email functionality is extensive and requires a certain amount of training to handle.
1ShoppingCart: If your email is part of your ecommerce setup on your website, take a look at 1ShoppingCart. Email is just one of the many functions of this one-stop payment processing solution. The big advantage is that your email is fully integrated into your shopping cart, so you don’t need to deal with two separate services, a shopping cart and an email delivery service.
AutoResponsePlus: Also known as ARP Reach, this service is made for businesses that need co-registration capability, though it handles regular email delivery functionality as well.
Benchmark Email: Benchmark offers the standard range of services, though it doesn’t currently offer split testing. It’s pricing is competitive and its dashboard is easy to use.
How Do I Hook My List Up to My Autorepsonder?
The nuts and bolts of connecting your list with your autoresponder service vary somewhat with each provider. Each one offers tutorials and guidelines for adding your list and establishing your own database.
The learning curve for most is short, with the exception of InfusionSoft, 1ShoppingCart and possibly Constant Contact. These services deal with small online businesses on a daily basis. They have videos, learning resources and email support that can take you step-by-step through the process of uploading your list, writing emails, scheduling them and tracking the results.
It will take a certain amount of time, effort and actual experience to get comfortable with delivering your emails using an autoresponder service. But it is an investment in the profitability of your business or franchise opportunity. Email marketing is one of the most reliable ways to stay in touch with your customers and your prospects.