Most marketing experts will tell you the same thing about making money online: The money is in the list. The one thing that most online entrepreneurs said they would change if they could when they first started is to implement an opt-in e-mail list right from the beginning.
Creating and managing an effective opt-in e-mail list requires the use of a good autoresponder. An autoresponder is a program that lets you collect subscriber e-mails, manage the list, and send out automatic e-mails to stay in touch with your customer base.
An autoresponder can be used to send automatic messages, such as a welcome message, an announcement about an anniversary, or notifications about new blog posts. A good autoresponder program with options for customization can also be used to send out individual e-mails that you create, either for specific subscribers or for your whole list.
Using an autoresponder is a great way to stay in touch with your customers and to encourage them to buy your products – whether they are products you create and sell or products that are offered through advertising or affiliate programs.
There are a number of autoresponder programs available. How do you know which autoresponder is right for you? Here’s a brief review of the popular providers:
This is the most popular autoresponder used by top bloggers and SEO specialists.
Aweber allows you to manage any number of lists and to customize your options to suit your needs. You can customize your opt-in form, create custom e-mail templates or newsletters, set up a sequence of automatically generated messages, and automatically create e-mails from your newest blog posts.
You can manage your subscriber list to send messages to some of all of your subscribers. Monthly pricing starts at $19 for up to 500 subscribers. The cost increases incrementally the more subscribers you have, but with a bigger e-mail list, you’ll also be growing your income potential. Discounts are available for quarterly or yearly billing.
Read Jane’s review of Aweber where she compares its features with that of Mailchimp – Aweber review
Mail Chimp is quickly becoming one of the most popular autoresponders on the market. Similar to Aweber, Mail Chimp allows you to create custom e-mails and newsletters and to set up an autoresponder for welcome messages, new blog posts, and others.
Mail Chimp costs a bit less for users with few subscribers – only $10 a month for up to 500 subscribers – but plans are comparable once the list begins to grow. Mail Chimp also offers a free lifetime account so long as the subscribers stay below 2,000. The free account has limited features, but still offers most of the functionality you would need in an e-mail service.
Like Aweber, Mail Chimp also offers you the ability to track your e-mail stats, such as the open rate and the referrals generated.
iContact combines e-mail marketing and social marketing functionality. You’ll find all the basic features, such as the ability to create custom e-mail templates and newsletters, to set up autoresponder messages, and to manage your list of subscribers. In addition, you can use iContact to publish to Facebook and Twitter and to track your social media engagement.
Plans are tiered, starting at $10 a month for up to 250 subscribers. Your plan will grow as your subscribers do. Non-profits can also subscribe to a plan for a 20 percent discount (free if they are in North Carolina).
Constant Contact offers a number of services in addition to e-mail marketing to help you consolidate your marketing efforts. Their e-mail marketing program includes custom templates, autoresponders, and tracking information. The basic program starts at $15 a month for up to 500 subscribers, but you can try the service free for 60 days.
Social media marketing is also available through Constant Contact, which includes templates for landing pages, programs to help you schedule posts, and tracking of your engagement. Event management and online surveys are also provided.
Each feature has its own monthly subscription, so if you wanted to sign up for e-mail marketing and social media marketing, you would have to pay two subscription fees. Your expenses could add up quickly if you were to take advantage of all the tools offered.
Similar to other autoresponders, GetResponse lets you create custom e-mails and newsletters, set up automatic e-mails, and track your results. Analytics are also provided to help you improve the performance of your e-mail marketing campaign.
The service includes social media integration, as well as the ability to sync with AdSense and Paypal.
Pricing starts at $15 a month for up to 1,000 subscribers (discounted with a yearly plan). Non-profit organizations can get a 50 percent discount.
Ultimately, the autoresponder that is best for you will be the one that can offer you the features you need at the price you need. Check out each of these popular autoresponders to find out if they have what you need to market to your customers, then decide if you have the budget to pay for it. Many of them have trial offers, so you can always try them out for a short period to find out how they will help you before committing.
Have you used any of these autoresponders? Share your feedback about your experiences in the comments!
Catie Keeler is the primary researcher and writer formortgagerates.info. Her most recent accomplishments include graduating from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill with a degree in business and communications. Her current focus for the site involves mortgage rates atlanta.