Email marketing is quickly–and steadily–becoming the lifeblood of many online businesses. I’d dare say yours and mine included. There are lots of reasons why, and don’t worry, we’ll cover that later.
But as you may well know, email marketing is a highly efficient way to connect with present, future and past customers.
Though some marketers think it’s a convoluted proposition, the principles are actually very simple:
* create laser-targeted email lists
* send killer newsletters
* track results for good measure
Most marketing solutions CAN help you achieve these goals, no doubt. But when you decide and actually start using a service, you will come to realize that not all services are the same. Every company has a different approach towards email marketing.
While there are some that are more focused on customizing newsletter templates, some focus on in-depth tracking.
But why would you need email marketing? What happens if you leverage it for your business? And when you do decide to become partial to email marketing, what tools do you use?
Let’s read on and take a closer look at email marketing and how to use it if you have a WordPress based website used for making money online.
Why Do You Need Email Marketing?
So you have your website. You spent loads of money and time using SEO and other marketing techniques to attract traffic. And you have a stellar landing page. What comes next? How do you lure them back in and turn them into returning (and paying) customers?
This is where email marketing comes in. It helps you gather connect with your site visitors and customers. The data you gather from your landing page and your polls can help you formulate the right of content that you will then send out to your list.
Your info-rich email will be the tool that will tap your customers about your products and services. Then, when they are ready to buy, you’ll be the first place they look.
Email marketing is one of the most powerful marketing tools available today. It is easy, affordable, direct, actionable, and highly effective.
When you add email to your marketing mix, you spend less time, money, and resources compared to other strategies. With email marketing, you can interact with your customers quickly. This means that time-sensitive information can be sent out in seconds. You won’t have to wait for days, or even weeks. After all, we don’t live in the days of yore.
And the best thing of all these is: you get results instantly!
If you are just starting your business or want to give your existing business a boost, you should consider email marketing.
Yes, there are other exciting tools that you can use like social media. But nothing beats the fact that email is the most effective communication avenue used by almost everyone today.
With the right kind of email marketing service, you can tap into limitless opportunities. There is so much to look forward to, including increased traffic and ultimately, conversions.
Why is a website just not enough?
Yes, sure, your website is an excellent medium for making money. It’s where you can publish your content, and create an online storefront for your business. As search engines usher the traditional directories into oblivion, your website is your best shot to get found.
But that’s only the first step.
You must face the reality that: your website just can’t do it all…
Here are the reasons why you can’t have just a website without using email marketing as a money-making strategies:
* Websites are meant to be passive
Visitors find websites, not the other way around. They could come from many different places like search engines, links, or finding the address. No matter the avenue, the visitor still had to exert initiative and effort to seek you out or the information related to your site.
So because the websites do not “push” content to Internet users, most first-time visitors do not go back to the site once they have consumed the information they need.
* Marketing can’t be done in minutes, or even hours.
Marketing efforts using just a website requires time and information, that can’t be achieved in just one site visit. Any business owner would love for their product to sell itself instantly to their prospects. But we all know that marketing is usually a process, not an incident, and most prospects don’t buy the first time they visit.
The job of a website is to inform, as well as create a craving or need so the visitor will buy. In short, websites are a haven for impulse buyers.
So what do you do to entice the non-impulsive buyers to buy? How do you convince the prospects who need time to think and more information before they purchase?
* Interaction over the web is mostly anonymous with no opportunity for one-on-one communication.
To visitors, websites often appear as brochures or virtual storefronts. The information is collected and stored for viewing. Meanwhile, to website owners, if they are tracked at all, visitors appear as statistics.
There is very little room for the kind of personal touch that often affects purchasing decisions offline.
So Here’s How Email Marketing Can Help
Email newsletters are an important component to effective online marketing because:
Email pro-actively sends information to prospects
An email newsletter allows a website owner to “push” valuable marketing to prospects. Compared to the passivity of websites, email marketing can laser-target your audience and send them your message. This allows them to build a much longer lasting business relationship than the one that ends with a single visit with no return.
Email can provide content over a period of time in consumable pieces
Trust takes time, and email newsletters provide that dimension to online marketing campaigns. Once a visitor requests email from a website, that initial interest can be harnessed. That can then be turned into a profitable relationship.
Content can then be strategically placed in front of subscribers in the form of well planned campaign. The pieces are broken up into smaller and easily digestible chunks. This then allows website owners to prospect more effectively to more prospects.
Email provides a more personal medium than the web
Emails are used by almost everyone to communicate with associates, friends and families. It is a personal interaction, and there are distinct senders and recipients.
Here, the difference is obvious. Web pages contain one-way URL addresses. And while visitors can cite comments (if there’s a place for them), the interaction is not instantaneous.
And you can’t possibly blast an announcement on your comments section, addressing each one of the commentors.
Website owners can also convert anonymous visitors into becoming engaged subscribers with email newsletters. With an email marketing service, you can personalize and customize your emails so that they are more engaging. Your leads can quickly become prospects, and your prospects can become customers.
How to Go About Email Marketing
So the questions are why and how should one go about email marketing? Well here are a few thoughts on the matter:
• Cost – Email marketing is CHEAP, period.
Whether you decide to go DIY or use an email marketing service, it is dirt cheap. You can market to hundreds of customers through email and your cost will just still just be a fraction compared to other ad channels.
Again, you can laser-target your marketing so it goes to the right audience. This is the reason why email marketing is so successful. The ROI is so crazy it is incomparable to the results of other marketing strategies. The trick is in hitting the right buttons, and using the best email marketing service. But we will get to that shortly.
• Flexible and Measurable
Banner ads? It’s difficult to track their results. Other marketing tactics? Even harder. But email marketing efforts and results are now easily measurable.
Thanks to advanced analytics, you can work out which parts of your marketing campaign have to be junked. And you’ll know exactly which ones are for keeps.
With this knowledge, you can then react instantly to modify your campaign strategy if need be.
Dave Chaffey, the genius behind Marketing Insights offers valuable insight. He uses the mnemonic
This pertains to the overall design of the email. The elements include images, layout, and color. It is best to ask every customer if they would like the emails in text or HTML. You may not know it, but there is often a great preference for one over the other.
The keyword here is TARGETING. Your emails have to be relevant and personalized to each recipient. This is critical if you want your response rate to rise.
The first thing that comes to the minds of email recipient is “WIIFM” or What’s in it for me? So when they get your email, always give them something. And it’s better if it’s free.
Remember when they say “All the best things in life are FREE”? Well, make it true when you send out your newsletters. Subscribers respond better when they are offered a “free lunch” of some sort for participating.
Don’t send out an email that recipients will receive overnight, let it pop up in their inbox during their working day. This also expands to selecting certain days, months and even years. Remember – You can test and measure what timing works best for which email.
Companies cannot just rely on one method of marketing. They can’t also rely on several methods of differentiated marketing.
IMC or Integrated Marketing Communication is one of the best marketing practices that you can use. Here, all aspects of your promotion work together, making an effective “whole.”
Your emails should carry the same image, branding, logo, color and message as your entire operations. More so, the timing of your marketing campaign should work well with the other aspects of the marketing mix.
When considering the copywriting for your email, you must consider all aspects of the language. Make sure that your subject line is worthy of a “WHOA”. And the body should have enough meat to keep them going through your mail signature.
With emails, not all links should be saved for the last sentence, pop them in early to grab that impulsive customer!
Here we are talking about the email header. Its attributes include the subject line, the TO address, the FROM address, the time and date of receipt and the format.
Again, as we always say here, ALWAYS BE TESTING. Test your campaigns so you can rule out the attributes that recipients don’t open or mark as spam. Then you can highlight the attributes that work best for your business.
• Landing Page
You want those emails to convert right? So don’t be lazy and just hyperlink to your homepage. You have to show them where you want them to go. Be sure to make the process as simple as possible, especially the forms.
So if you are still asking if email marketing is worth it, yes it is. It is a very vital component prevalent in many industries. This is especially true for businesses that are customer-firm concentric.
This said, you should learn to use it well, and leverage it for your business. Then again, that’s why you’re here and reading this post, right?
Using an Email Marketing Software/Service
Both email marketing newbies and veterans can benefit from an email marketing software. It just makes everything easier, and it chops down a lot of headaches from your campaigns.
After all, as marketers, time is a very precious commodity.
So what email marketing service should you be using? Now, there are a lot of services and companies out there.
According to the guys at Capterra.com, here are the most popular email marketing services in 2015 ( in no particular order) :
In this post, we will talk about Constant Contact.
Before we go ahead though, keep in mind that choosing one of the services listed above is a matter of personal preference. However, it does not hurt to read and know more about the service before you actually try it.
We chose Constant Contact because of its industry reputation and experience in email marketing. And there’s a whole bunch of reasons why it is one of the best. Let’s take a closer look.
What is Constant Contact?
Constant Contact is an email marketing software provider. Its primary goal is to help small businesses and startup organizations become successful.
As per their website, they know that small companies may not have enough capital to hire a full sized IT or marketing department. Which is why their software is designed to help entrepreneurs meet their business goals without having to spend a lot.
The software is easy to use, effective and affordable. This makes this email marketing solution ideal for startups. It allows businesses to go further than simple advertising, and be connected with customers. This is achieved through content that is well-presented, interesting and exciting.
As of writing, Constant Contact has helped hundreds of thousands non-profit and business clients. This is because the email marketing service is intuitive and easy to use for all skill levels, even though it lacks some features.
Let’s take a closer look at its features, pros and cons, then later on, we will walk you through how to integrate it into WordPress.
Constant Contact– A Story of Success in Itself
Constant Contact was established in 1995, in Brookline, Massachusetts. If you remember those years, and I’m sure you do, email was just how friends contact each other, and not even that many people used it.
The Constant Contact founders saw the potential of email as a marketing tool for small businesses. This way, even SMEs will have a fighting chance against larger competitors.
Constant Contact as a name was first used in 1998. Seven years later in 2005, the company had over 50,000 customers. The number doubled in 2007 when they offered the company to the public via NASDAQ.
Since then, they have exponentially grown and acquired offices all over the United States, and branched out to the UK.
Their support operations were also ramped up, complete with email support, and online chat. They even held local classes so interested people can participate in one-on-one learning.
The Constant Contact history is steeped in highlights of phenomenal success in email marketing. As my subheader said, they are their own testament to the advantages of email marketing. Without connecting to their customers via email marketing, they wouldn’t have seen so much growth.
All these successes are distilled into the Constant Contact email marketing software. Just last year, the company launched a powerful innovation in the form of a toolkit. This is designed to be an “all-in-one” marketing solution that helps small businesses grow.
Constant Contact Features
User-friendly Drag and Drop Design
Beginners don’t want to have to create and code their own email templates to make something look professional. They want it to be as simple as possible to use.
The good news is that Constant Contact makes email design relatively easy. By using drag and drop WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get) editing functionality, everything is just a click of the mouse away.
Users can simply select a design from a library of hundreds of templates. They can then customize it with their own corporate colors and branding.
Adding images and content is simple with Constant Contact’s drag-and-drop feature. Once everything’s in place, the email is ready to send!
What’s even better is that Constant Contact has a number of mobile friendly email templates for businesses to use.
This means that they can deliver well-optimized emails to all devices. This includes smartphones and tablets. Many people access their emails from these devices on a daily basis. So this is a key feature that the majority of businesses will want to make use of.
High-powered Tools for List Building
Constant Contact makes it easy to grow your email list with its powerful list building tools. Businesses can add forms to their websites and Facebook pages, as well as create custom texts and QR codes to encourage sign ups.
You can also sync your Constant Contact with other apps you use to reach a wider audience. This makes it easier to persuade your market to sign up for their marketing emails.
Contact Management Tools
With Constant Contact, it’s easy to upload your current list of contacts from your system.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re currently using Microsoft Excel, Outlook, or a CRM to store your contacts. The software will allow you to transfer your contacts with just a few clicks of the mouse.
Constant Contact also makes it easy for you to organize and group your contacts using categories and tags. This means you can segment your email marketing campaigns to achieve even more targeted results.
Duplicate contact information can be a real pain but with Constant Contact there’s no need to worry!
The toolkit will automatically update and remove duplicate and unsubscribed contacts. This means that you don’t have to worry about wasting your time or bothering customers with unwanted emails.
Social Media Integration
Today social media is a powerful marketing tool and Constant Contact can help you to capitalize on it.
The toolkit makes it easy for you to extend your reach and get your message out there. This is achieved with simple email marketing and social media integration.
With Constant Contact, it is much easier to share your emails via your social networks. So you can now reach more people than just those on your list.
There’s no complicated designing or coding necessary; the toolkit does all the hard work for you!
File Storage and Images
Visual elements like images play an important role in engaging users and encouraging them to take action. The good news is that when you sign up to Constant Contact, you get access to their image library containing stock photos.
You can also easily was buy photos through Bigstock or upload them from your mobile device using the free MyLibrary app.
Constant Contact gives you plenty of room to store and host both your images and documents for future use.
You can also integrate the software with your Facebook and Instagram pages. So you can make use of photographs you’ve posted on these social media platforms.
Track and Analyze
Constant Contact allows users to track the success of their email marketing campaigns using real-time reporting. You will be supplied with easy-to-understand reports, which allows you to monitor everything. This includes opening and bounce rates, and tracking click-through rates.
You can also create unique coupons to effectively track the responses you get from your campaigns.
Constant Contract allows you to create deals and coupons and include them in your email marketing emails. That way you’ll know that when a coupon is used, the purchase has been made as a result of your email marketing campaign.
Another way of measuring your successes is by creating surveys. We have a couple of posts on how to make polls and surveys HERE and HERE. The point is Constant Contact lets you create polls and surveys via a wide range of templates and questionnaires. Links to tracking mechanisms and surveys are also included in the toolkit.
It’s not every day that you come across a provider that are serious about customer service. Constant Contact has a whole department of real people who are available all day to give guidance and support, every day.
If you have any questions about the software, a real person is just a phone call, email, or instant message away.
Aside from providing 24/7 support, Constant Contact also hosts training sessions and seminars. Some are done online via webinars, while others happen in local neighborhoods. These events are a great opportunity for Constant Contact users to learn from the experts.
The topics covered include general marketing best practices, and making the most out of the software. And if you missed these events, everything you need to know is in their blog HERE.
So let’s talk about the benefits of the Constant Contact email marketing software.
So now that you know the features, let us refresh you on the benefits so you’ll know exactly what you are getting before you incorporate it on your site.
Cheap Email Marketing that Works
As mentioned, most small businesses and startup organizations don’t have a lot of capital. This is a hurdle overcame with the Constant Contact software. With it, you can create effective marketing campaigns easily and cheaply.
For new users, the software can be used for free for the first 60 days.
The subscription fee starts at $20 for 0-500 contacts. For 501 to 2000 contacts, the rate is $35 per month. And if you need a more massive campaign reaching out to up to 10,000 contacts, the fee is only $85 per month.
You can pay in advance if you want to save money, as the company offers discounts to non-profit organizations.
Easy to Use
Constant Contact designed the software to help beginners use it without going through a lot of learning curves. And who has the time to navigate through a complicated piece of software these days?
And this is probably the reason why a lot of people like Constant Contact; it is straightforward and user-friendly.
Best Email Marketing Toolkit
This email marketing toolkit makes it possible for users to create effective email marketing campaigns on a small budget.
Remember the features? The drag and drop design and social media integration are not found in many other email marketing services. With Constant Contact, everything that you may need to build a professional marketing is on hand. Now, you can compete even with the larger competitors in your niche.
Save Capital, Save Time, Less Effort
Small businesses don’t tend to have a lot of staff, some even don’t have any. This means that there are fewer resources to use for things like creating an email marketing campaign.
A major benefit of Constant Contact is that it makes doing the following tasks easier:
* Tracking marketing emails
One of its premium features is Autoresponder. This is a feature that MailChimp users have to pay extra for. With this, users can easily schedule and automatically send well-targeted emails to their customers. This will save them time and effort.
Account is Easily Accessible
Constant Contact has built a free Toolkit mobile app that allows its users to access their accounts from anywhere in the world. You will also have the opportunity to create multiple logins. This way you can get other staff to contribute to your marketing emails too. Access can all be managed through the administration section.
You Get Support from Real People
MailChimp only offers email support and self-help guides. Constant Contact, though, offers support provided by real people.
You can talk to them on the phone, via Twitter, through live chat and email. This gives you peace of mind, knowing that you can always get help when you need it.
You Can Upload Contacts Via Different Methods
If you have a spreadsheet or a text file of your contact, you can process and import them directly from your email accounts.
If you are using Sage ACT or Salesforce, Constant Contact has tool for that too. You can use these tools to access and upload your data easily. You can also upload the email address manually.
You Can Choose from Hundreds of Templates
Constant Contact provides more than 400 quality templates to choose from. This means that you don’t have to spend time designing your emails from scratch.
After logging in to the email creation tool, you can easily sort through the available templates. It is even easier to find the design that best fits the purpose of your campaign.
You can refine your search according to the following thematic categories:
* General business promotions
* Informational messages
* Seasonal and holiday greetings
* Real estate agencies
* Retail businesses
* Home improvement services
* Arts and entertainment venues,
You can then browse through a gallery of appropriate templates. You can further refine your search by the type of message you’re looking to send. For example, you can send out an invitation, a newsletter, an image showcase, or a promotional offer.
Once you’ve found the right template for your purposes, you can insert your own images and text using a simple email editor.
If you prefer to take full control of the email design process, there are advanced editing functions available. These will help you to create your campaign from the ground up.
Excellent Event Management Tools
Constant Contact has EventSpot. This service is a topnotch feature for people who are looking to drive their attendance up at special events.
With EventSpot, you can use email marketing to invite people to the following event and more:
* Educational seminars
* Nonprofit functions
* Charity events
* Arts and entertainment shows
* Sports competitions.
EventSpot provides all the tools you need to quickly create an email invitation. You can also create a corresponding event home page and registration form.
The online registration form streamlines the event management process. This means you won’t need to collect registration information by telephone.
Another cool feature is the ability to include several payment options right in the body of the email. This way, the attendees can pay in advance if your event has an admission fee.
You can even include a link to the event’s Facebook page and a Twitter hashtag to take full advantage of social media promotion.
Convinced? Let’s get down to the nitty gritty and start incorporating Constant Content into your website.
How to Fully Integrate Constant Contact to Your WP Site
It is very easy to integrate your website seamlessly with your Constant Contact account.
What you can do is add a signup form to your website so that the visitors can directly send the details to Constant Contact. You can set the form up in a way that the leads that filled out a form go to an email list you set.
You can also set-up an autoresponder that will send a welcome email to whoeverl fills out the form. Even opt-in process confirmation? Constant Contact can do it.
Another way to integrate Constant Contact into your website is by using the API and then create your own scripts. This is a great option if you have advanced programming knowledge. Take note that it may take a few hours just to build a small script.
What you can do is to look for other scripts and use them. The best way to go about this is simply use WordPress plugins for Constant Contact. There are practically hundreds of plugins that help integrate Constant Contact to WordPress.
All you need to do is install the plugin and configure it via a simple interface. One of the best plugins you can use is Contact Us.
How to Create a Constant Contact Form in WordPress
First you need to create the form before you can embed it. With Constant Contact, it’s literally as easy as 1,2,3:
Step 1: Make a signup form by going to Contacts> Sign-Up Tools. Click Create a Signup Form here to start creating the form. Then choose a name for your form and then click next.
Step 2: You can customize the form to change schema, text color and font. You can also add fields and then set parameters for those fields. It’s just a matter of dragging and dropping, so changing the schema is super easy.
You can also easily pull one form element using your mouse and put it somewhere else so that you can have a fully customized form.
Step 3: Once done with the form, hit Generate Code. Click Copy To Clipboard once the code is generated, so you can temporarily save your code.
How to Add the Form to Your Website
Once you copy the code to the clipboard, you can just paste it into your website, right where you want it displayed. You can also give the code to your webmaster if you have one.
If you want changes done to the form after the code has been generated, create another form. Use the new code to replace the old one in your site.
If you are an email marketing newbie or if you are looking for a software that can give you all the tools you need, Constant Contact is for you. It is a comprehensive and an intuitive solution. The best thing is, you don’t have to be a techie to get the most out of Constant Contact.
The features are excellent and there are tons of benefits. With a proven delivery rate of 98%, you can be sure that Constant Contact can help you with your business goals.