Tools of the trade take all forms and software to run an efficient business is one of the most powerful tools you can have in your box. This is just a quick look at one of those tools: Mailing list managers. It’s not in-depth by any means, but food for thought.
I was working on a newsletter for my Metal Me This side of the house this morning and that got me thinking about how far software has come for electronic newsletters. Gone are the days of Mail Merge from a word processing program. Now it’s all about mailing list providers and services. There are dozens of them from low-end to extreme high-end and it’s not always easy to decide what option is best.
I had that decision escalated for me a few months back when I realized that I could no longer access my stone-age mailing list information from my equally stone-age website. And I didn’t have a backup of contacts so I was starting at square one. I googled and found lots of choices: Mail Chimp, YMLP, and Constant Contact were a few that I knew of from other business associates. I looked at some of the features and pricing and didn’t really do a lot of research because I needed to make a decision and get marketing. (Not a method for decision-making that I would advise most of the time.).
I ended up choosing YMLP (Your Mailing List Provider) because a couple of the people I chat with online regularly use it and I figured if I got stuck, I could bug them and cut my learning curve. 🙂 I also figured as long as I have a copy of my contacts (Note to self: Get an exported list saved off), I can move to another program down the road if I decide to.
The designer in me likes “pretty” newsletters and that feature could be more made more intuitive, but then I’d probably never get one sent out if it were that easy to tweak them.
If you are looking for software to manage your mailing list, you’ll want to look at features available and how you can grow with, or even into, those features. You’ll want to look at costs, too. Some programs have monthly fees, some have upgraded plans for larger lists. If you start small, you can usually add on either by upgrading a plan or purchasing credits for extra emails.
There’s a whole other blog post about the etiquette of mailing out to your list and I won’t cover it here, but make sure your software allows subscribers to both subscribe and unsubscribe easily, if they choose. No one likes to have to go through hoops to sign up for something: K.I.S.S.* applies.
The main thing is that you decide if reaching a target audience can be enhanced with email newsletters.