Anyone who wants to start an Internet business is obviously going to need a presence on the Internet in the form of a general website or a blog, which is the best way to create a community of like-minded people in the niche of your choice. Blogs are a great choice because of the communication potential due to regular blog posts and the ability of readers to leave comments. This open form of communication is essential to an Internet-based business. But this communication isn’t only done via blog posts.
Another popular and equally essential way to communicate with your readers is to offer them the opportunity to sign up for an email newsletter or other form of periodic communication through email. By adding an email/newsletter opt-in on your blog, you’re adding more depth to your communication. The people who tend to subscribe to this level of communication are typically more interested than passer-by readers. These people are your core subscribers and are the most important to the success of your blog and business. When you have the eyes and ears of a core group of die-hard followers via an email subscribe list, it is extremely important that you treat this email list like gold and be grateful to every single person who subscribes to your list. Fortunately, there are service providers who make the whole job of email marketing and list management do-able and affordable!
Once a reader subscribes to your periodic emails via your opt-in, you’ll need to send emails to your entire list from time to time. What you put in the email depends entirely on what your goals are for your business and what you want your readers to see. This could be a daily tip email or a weekly recipe, or a monthly newsletter with extra content not included on your blog or, perhaps in a podcast (if you’re a podcaster). Regardless of your content, this form of communication opens the door to email marketing–offering products or services that you think your readers would be interested in–and is a great way to develop passive income.
This form of email communication is extremely important – but can also be very time consuming to manage. There are services available on the Internet that specialize in managing your email list and allowing for mass communication, easy sign-up for your readers, and some offer additional services that go beyond email list management. Here’s our “short list”
Four Popular Email List Management Services
AWeber, established in 1998, is one of the oldest and most experienced email marketing and list management services around. They handle email list sign-ups, autoresponders, content delivery via email, email newsletters, and offer email web analytics and more. Their prices range from $19/month for up to 500 subscribers to $150/month for up to 25,000 subscribers. Plans are available for more than 25,000 subscribers by contacting them. Check out their full list of features and services.
Constant Contact, also launched in 1998, is very experienced at email marketing and list management, like AWeber, but they also offer online survey and online event marketing and promotion services. They offer a 60-day free trial. Prices for email marketing range from $15/month to $150/month for up to 25,000 subscribers with additional plans available by contacting them. Online survey or event marketing are add-ons charged in addition to your email marketing monthly fees – prices start at $10/month. For more information, check our their full list of features and services.
GetResponse was established in 1999 which gives them 10+ years of experience. According to their site, GetResponse is “a complete email marketing solution. It provides turnkey newsletter publishing and hosting features, as well as unlimited follow-up autoresponders to deliver information to your subscribers and convert them to paying customers.” They also provide video email, and are the first in the industry to provide email-to-speech – allowing subscribers to listen to your emails. Prices range from Free (1-10 Contact List Size) to $145/month for up to 25,000 contact. You can contact them for a quote for a contact list size greater than 25,000. See their full list of features and services.
MailChimp officially launched in 2007. They appear to have all the standard features and services that you would expect from an email marketing and list management service. Although, they have noteworthy pricing features that are sure to catch your attention. For starters, you can set up a totally free account (no credit card required) and never pay a dime…ever! With a free account, you can manage up to 500 subscribers and can send up to 3,000 emails per month. Another noteworthy feature is their pay-as-you-go pricing plan. From the site: “Our pay-as-you-go plans are designed for people who send less frequently than once a month. You purchase credits, which work like stamps. You only buy them when you need them, and yes — unused credits rollover.” These plans start at $9/month for 300 credits. They also have the standard monthly pricing plans which start at $30/month for 501-2,500 subscribers and go up to $240/month for up to 50,000 subscribers. With all the monthly plans you can send unlimited emails per month. Be sure to check out their full list of features and services as well as their unique pricing plans.
From our research and experience (being on the “receiving end” of email lists), these seem to be the most popular of the email marketing service providers out there. However, there are others. We’d love to hear your opinions and experiences with these services. Which one do you use, and why?