Email newsletters are a powerful way to reach customers. Not unlike your web site or social media channels, they require effort to manage effectively. There is good news though, the process continues to get simpler all the time.
I have personally used an awful lot of newsletter services over the years. From free list serve applications like mailman, to CMS specific componenets, to popular commercial platforms like iContact and Constant Contact. My new favorite is a service called MailChimp. Here are a few reasons why:
- FREE! MailChimp is free for lists of less than 2,000 subscribers, with an allowance of 12,000 sends per month. For most small businesses, this is more than adequate. If you need more capacity, the costs are very reasonable.
- Easy to Use. No, really.
- Reporting. The metrics that you get out of MailChimp are instant, robust and really well integrated into their control panel.
- Customizable. You can create your own fields to track customer info. The power of this is incredible. A simple use of this would be to designate the customer type so that you could tailor your messages.
- Integration. MailChimp has a robust integration mechanism that will allow you to integrate it tightly with a equally capable web site. So not only do you have a single set of customer records to work from, but you can do very sophisticated things like let your e-commerce site tell MailChimp that subscribed customer x likes to buy TV peripherials...
We recently did an integration of the MailChimp newsletter service with a Drupal based web site, and I have to say that the level of integration achieved is fantastic.
- From the client web site, a user can subscribe, unsubscribe and manage their own subscriptions. This information is instantly relayed to the client's MailChimp via an API (Application Protocal Interface) call.
- The client can have as many separate newsletter lists as they like, allowing users to subscribe only to the types of newsletters that are of interest.
- When a user registers on the web site, they are given the option to subscribe to the newsletter(s) as part of the process.
If you've not had a look at MailChimp, I recommend you give it the once over. If you'd like to integrate MailChimp with your web site and internal business processes, get in touch and let's see what we can do to help.