Posted: Mon 30th Jan 2012
So far in our enewsletter series, we've looked at why you should have an enewsletter and what sort of content to put in it. But what about building it? Francesca Geens of Digital Dragonfly looks at where to start - and makes her recommendation for the best enewsletter platform for small businesses on a budget.
So you've decided you want to send out a regular newsletter - great! Now what? Its not a great idea to send bulk emails through your normal email client so you need to sign up to one of the many online services that will manage your list and newsletter. There are plenty to choose from and it can be overwhelming trying to find the right one to get going. Signing up for a trial is easy on most but you will quickly discover that in order to get a decent looking initial template ready requires time and this is not something most of us can afford to waste by trying out a variety of services. So how do you choose? You can look at newsletter your receive regularly from similarly sized businesses to you and see how these are being sentÂ - there is normally a logo in the bottom footer. I currently have good looking newsletters delivered by MailChimp, Constant Contact and AWeber waiting to be read.Â You can ask around - a very unscientific survey I conducted on Twitter rated MailChimp as the overwhelming favourite. If, as a start-up, funds are tight and you are looking for a free option, then MailChimp is also for you as it has a generous free offering.
The benefits of MailChimp
Personally I use MailChimp as do most start-up businesses I know. My question to you would be: do you have a reason not to use MailChimp? Here are my reasons for recommending this as a great place to start for your newsletters:
Free for up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 newsletters per month
Friendly and easy to use interface will take you step by step through the creating on your campaign right up to testing and scheduling.
Great range of customisable templates
Extensive features including Google Analytics integration, Social Media integration, Merge Tags and Campaign Archive with links to all your old newsletters so you can keep sharing these
Good range of plugins include major CMS and CRM providers
Beautifully designed and wide ranging guides to get you up and running from Email Marketing Field Guide, Getting Started with MailChimp, How to Manage your List and one I am sure we should all read Common Rookie Mistakes!
Excellent support section with email support and live chat also available
Mobile apps to allow you to manage your list and track stats on the go
Pay for features available to add onto the free service without having to commit to a monthly fee.
And all this is brought to you with MailChimp's very own friendly humour and style. So if you are ready to get your message out to the world, sign up and have a go. My advice - start simple and as your confidence (and list!) grows start adding more features and invest time into tweaking your template
Read the other articles in this series about email marketing