When it comes to promotional content, a large majority of U.S. consumers continue to prefer newsletters to social media sites. A reason could be that branded emails are traditionally associated with old-fashioned marketing, while Facebook or Twitter are more for news, entertainment, and interacting with others.
How effective are newsletters, exactly? According to Convince & Convert, people who buy products marketed through email spend 138% more than non-subscribers. And last year, more than 4 in 10 recipients made at least one purchase after reading a promotional email.
As a small business owner, newsletters should be an important part of your online strategy. Here are several providers that you may want to check out. They are not just easy to use. They are also affordable!
One of the most widely used newsletter providers, MailChimp offers a wide array of features. Users can choose between four types of campaign (regular, plain-text, A/B split, and RSS-driven) and more than 100 templates (or create their own from scratch). They can also add elements like social networking buttons, images, or videos to customize things even further.
My favorite thing about MailChimp is the pre-delivery section that tells you what basic components are missing. Delivery Doctor, a paid feature, will help you avoid delivery issues or save your emails from landing in spam folders.
Once your newsletter is sent, MailChimp will provide you with important metrics like subscriber activity, reach, social stats, and click performance. If your email bounced, the service automatically determines to whom it should resend the newsletter or if the subscriber should be deleted from your list.
Here is an example of an RSS-driven campaign:
To start using MailChimp, click here.
Did you know that besides notifications on social networks (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn) every time a new edition of your paper(s) is available, you could also send newsletters? The option, which is available to Pro Paper.li publishers, is located in the “Promotions and Emails” section of your settings dashboard.
You can customize your newsletters to fit your needs. Add your paper banner, a subject line, email alias, and a personal message or call to action. Here is a short tutorial:
Note that you can use Paper.li with a third-party email service like MailChimp. So, no need to ask your existing subscribers to sign up for another website.
As a content curator, there are two tools I use all the time: Paper.li and Scoop.it. They are my all-time favorites.
The latter has a great e-newsletter feature that you can easily export to MailChimp to send to your mailing list. There are three templates to choose from. Also, you can decide how many curated posts you want to include, reorder the posts, and add share buttons.
While customization and branding require a paid upgrade, it is a great starting point for small businesses interested in testing curation as a part of their online strategy.
For more information on the Scoop.it newsletter, visit this page.
If your website is on the self-hosted WordPress platform, a plugin may be a solid option. Here are two that may be of interest to you.
- Newsletter (4.8 / 5 stars) – This plugin includes unlimited subscribers / emails, stats, single and double opt-in, and customizable themes and subscription forms.
- MailPoet Newsletters (4.9 / 5 stars) – I have only heard great things about this plugin. This is not just a newsletter creator with drag and drop features. You can also build automated emails, post notifications, and autoresponders!
There are many more great newsletter providers to try, namely AWeber, Constant Contact, and GetResponse. You will find more information about them in this stellar post by WeRockYourWeb.com, which offers in-depth reviews, with eye-pleasing lists of pros and cons. Pricing and plans are also included.
And should you look for inspiration for your future campaigns, check out:
- Wavelength, a service that surfaces MailChimp newsletters similar to yours.
- Campaign Monitor’s Top 100 Email Campaigns of 2015 list. Some of them should get your brain fired up!
That’s all for now, folks! See you next Friday for another list of tips to help take your small business to the next level online.
Is there a topic you would like me to cover in a future article? Share your thoughts in the comment section…