Here at manage my website, we've discussed the benefits of Newsweaver email newsletter solutions and we use it frequently for our clients.
The benefits? Excellent, solid system and programming, great stats and reports, and technical back up that's second to none.
The drawbacks? The template set up and monthly fee can be somewhat crippling for smaller businesses who only send out email newsletters infrequently.
After a meeting with a client who falls into the latter bracket, manage my website started researching alternative email newsletter providers, weighing up usability, functionality, costs and benefits. Faced by numerous providers offering what looked like a very similar service, we put it out to Twitter. If you have a Twitter account but haven't asked for advice from your followers yet, do it. We can almost guarantee you'll be offered a very workable solution!
The name that came up again and again (and, incidentally, the name that's used by the majority of thriller writers according to the author of the Nic Costa series of books, David Hewson!)? MailChimp email marketing and list manager. With built-in tools that help you design and deliver professional looking HTML email campaigns, you get professional header graphics, fonts, and color palettes to customise your emails, and if you're a professional designer, you can upload your own code. Plus of course you get the list manager, reports, stats and everything else you'd expect or need.
- Almost completely customisable email templates
- WYSIWYG/point-and-click editor (which is a bit like using Word)
- Free, unlimited image hosting
- Free removal of the MailChimp logo from your outgoing emails if you require. Alternatively you could leave it on your emails and earn money for affiliate marketing
- Import contacts easily from Excel, CSV, TXT, Salesforce, Highrise
- Export reports easily as Excel, CSV, TXT files
- Compare your campaign statistics to other MailChimp email campaigns/industry benchmarks
- A/B testing (i.e. splitting your campaign to measure which subject line/content works better)
- Google Analytics integration
- 100% deliverability on the majority of occasions
The one major drawback with MailChimp when compared to Newsweaver is the very limited email support availability - Monday to Friday, 9am - 5pm EST. There's also no phone support, and that could be a real problem if you have an urgent email to send out and get stuck. BUT.... do the reasonable prices make up for this? In fact, if your list is 500 or under and you send out 3,000 emails per month, it's free.
We've been setting up various tests over the past week or so and so far we're very impressed with the look and ease of use of the MailChimp system. If you have any Photoshop knowledge at all and are IT literate, you can create something that looks professional, slick and on brand, that is sure to impress your customers. The talking monkey is a cute move too, taking the boredom out of a time consuming and fiddly task! Banana bread recipe anyone?
We'll keep you posted over the coming weeks as to how were getting on with MailChimp. And we'll still be using Newsweaver for our clients who have that little bit of extra budget.
If you need assistance with email marketing, or are considering moving your newsletters from print to email, please get in touch.
Well after posting this, I almost tore my hair out last night for several reasons, and contacted MailChimp's online support desk. Not too bad, but a little irritating that several of my queries simply had no answers. Or rather it was a case of "no can do". I know for a fact that Newsweaver would have been able to help in a far more practical way...
Success! Really pleased with the MailChimp email newsletter, and, more importantly, so is our client. I'd recommend you invest in the AIM reports add on for a full range of reporting stats. The one major flaw which will put a lot of companies off using it is this: If your email database contains a lot of "role based" addresses - i.e. sales@, enquiries@, info@, etc - you will need to add each and every one of these addresses manually. One by one. Oh yes.