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"Blasting" Your Way to Success: Part 1
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Blasting Your Way to Success

This month we’re going to step away from strategic marketing and tell you about one way you can start implementing your marketing strategy—newsletters.

Newsletters are a pretty common first step, and the barriers to entry are low if you have a little time and patience. And fortunately, both of the two most commonly used email marketing services—MailChimp and Constant Contact—work in a similar fashion.

Oh, and this is a multi-part series on Newsletters & eBlasts because we’ll be covering by the “why” and the “how”. This month we’ll tell you some of the why and convey a few pointers regarding your list of “send” addresses.



Why use an email marketing service?

There are a few reasons to use a service (versus just sending emails from your own business email):

  • It’s easy relatively easy to create effective emails that are branded and can be viewed with almost any email client. That’s not necessarily the case if you’re creating something from scratch and sending it from your own email.
  • There are a lot of automation choices available, such as creating signup forms on your website that automatically add their contact info to your send lists or developing “email drips” that automatically send out an email to someone every XX days.
  • Email marketing services do a great job of tracking who opens your emails, if they click on any of the links after they open the email, what time of day/day of the week the email is opened, etc.
  • And last, but not least: You don’t want someone reporting an email from your personal or business email address as being spam. You’ll be surprised how often someone you know clicks on the “Report this as spam” button because they think it’s easier than simply unsubscribing from your email list. A few of those could get your domain name labeled as a spam address by Google—and that would be disastrous.



MailChimp vs. Constant Contact

There are quite a few services you can use for sending out newsletters & eBlasts, but I’m only going to explain the two most common (and the two I’m most familiar with). The CGBG newsletter is created using Constant Contact, BTW.

The thing most often focused on is cost: MailChimp is free for up to 2,000 names (then $30 for 2,001-2,500, etc.) while Constant Contact always has a price associated with it ($20 for 0-500 names, $45 for 501-2,500 names, etc). The conversation usually stops there for most people, but that cost is actually pretty trivial for most people’s budget so please don’t let that be your only consideration. Constant Contact does have a free 60 day trial so you can try it out if you’re unsure. Each has different premade templates to choose from and some people claim MailChimp has a smaller selection that’s less flexible for customization. For the cost, I suggest you just go with the one you prefer working with.

One difference I did notice is that MailChimp was less tolerant of lists with a higher number of bounces and unsubscribes. So if you’re not sure of your list (the industry calls those “stale”) then keep that in mind. Here is a link to the pricing of MailChimp and of Constant Contact.



Your Contact List

The first thing you should do is make sure you have an organized contact list to actually send the emails to. If you have less than 20 people to send your newsletter to then you may want to build your list some before sending anything out. The exception is if those 20 people are exceptionally committed and/or have a very high lifetime value for your business.

I set up my lists in a spreadsheet that includes a column for each of the following:

  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Company Name
  • email address
  • phone number
  • company address
  • Any brief notes that may help me segment (subdivide) my lists later on-- region, type of construction, etc.

This is the basic stuff you’d have available from any CRM program.

You can put the columns in whatever order you want, because the service will ask you to define each column when you upload your list to their system.

“Why put all of this info on an email list?” you may ask. Because when someone opens your email or clicks on one of your links then you can see who it is and any contact info you have about them. After you’ve created your list, save it as a .CSV for uploading.



Creating your newsletter

Next time we’ll dig deeper into the process of creating your newsletters or eBlasts.

If you have any questions about how email marketing services work, send me an email, call or connect on LinkedIn and I’m glad to give you some gratis pointers. As always, that’s a perk of being associated with CGBG.

Here are links to the past marketing articles in case you missed some of the previous info:

Charles Luna

Gnu 2 Marketing

Powerful Marketing & Branding


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