Tuesday, September 13, 2011

How to Use Email Marketing Service for Free

The Blog Plan – Latest Update
How to Use Email Marketing Service for Free

I've never had an email list before.  Everyone talks about it.

"You have to get a email list".

"Make a newsletter so that everyone can keep in touch with your site via email"

Yes, it makes sense. It's a great way for people to subscribe without being bombarded with post after post, as well as a great way to maybe sell advert space.  Getting people to subscribe to a list however is the tricky part.

That's way I created my FREE eBook, 49 Free Ways to Increase Blog Traffic.

It's a book that has been in my brain for a long time.  There are a lot of ways to get traffic to your site, so I wanted to offer a resource where a lot of these ideas were in one place.

The eBook has been a great way for me to gain subscribers.  Offering this book for free if people subscribed to my newsletter.

Is my newsletter working for me yet though?  Well, I am yet to actually send one out.  BUT.. I've got it all worked out.

How to Use Email Marketing Service for Free

This had me stumped for several days.  The most popular email marketing service online is Aweber.  Everyone uses it, so it seems like the one to sign up with.

Wrong.  (sorry Aweber).

Not everyone uses it.  There is a fantastic alternative.  I love using it.  What's better, it is free.

I have been using MailChimp for my site Review'd (a free blog directory with a list of blog topics). It has worked great, but to gain lists I've also had to utilize Google Documents to create sign up forms.

MailChimp works to set up an email campaign. It helps you design an email format with fantastic ease. It's also quirky, which is why I love it. The only problem is their autoresponder when people subscribe is not offered to you for free.

Well that sucks. How do I notify someone of a link to download a copy of my eBook after they subscribe? This is where Google Documents steps in.

With Google Documents, you can create a sign up form for folks to add themselves to your subscribers list. Once someone signs up, you can provide them with a thank you message. This is where you can type in your HTML code with a link to whatever you like. When you are ready to send out a newsletter in your email marketng campaign, you simply copy your list from Google Documents over to MailChimp.

Now you are providing your free product whilst growing an email list and not paying a monthly fee. How great is that?

Creating My Free Product

I created the 49 Free Ways to Increase Blog Traffic eBook before creating The Blog Plan site. I knew it was important to provide a resource that people will (hopefully) want, need and often refer to when ideas were needed.  I don't want to miss an opportunity for someone to sign up right from the very start and providing this eBook for free to intice someone to sign up is an important first step.

It was difficult to compile, but anyone can do it. All you need is Microsoft Word, a way to convert Word into PDF and lots of research.

It also take lots of time. Don't take a week to create your product. Take longer, perhaps a month. I sat on it a few hours every day or so to provide the end product.

Once finished the document, I created the eBook cover over at MyEcoverMaker.com as mentioned in 8 Important Free Accounts to Utilize When Blogging. Then it's just adding the sign up form to the site and Bob's your uncle (that means "There it is" and "Easy as that" for the non-Australians). 

Why is it important

You will want to have an email list. Maybe not so much at the start of your site, but more as you create content and have people wanting to use your site for advertising.

It is a fantastic way to talk to your readers without posting, and it is much more direct when your message is sitting in their Inbox.

It's also great to be able to do it all for free. It costs $19 a month at Aweber. Why pay that when you can do it for free?

Tips to remember

  • MailChimp is free to use only if you have less than 2000 people in your list. So if you have more, you are doing great and should cash up and join MailChimp. It won't let you down.
  • Aweber is seen as perhaps the big player in email marketing. It may seem more professional using it over MailChimp.  It's up to you, but I honestly don't see the big difference in the overall scheme of things.  You can always take your list once you reach 2000 over to Aweber and sign up with them if you can afford their fees.
  • Creating a form with Google Documents can be tricky for the first timer.  It was for me.  Remember, select Forms to create your form.  Follow the instructions from there.
  • Whilst creating your Google Documents form, under 'More Actions', click 'Edit confirmation' to create your message for directing folks to your product.

What Email Marketing service do you use?  Do you recommend providing a free product to intice people to sign up for your newsletter?  Love to hear what you think.

Tork @ The Blog Plan

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