Creating and building an email list from scratch can be quite daunting for new businesses. I thought it would be a great idea to give you all a helping hand and creating a simple mini-series, showing you what steps to take and the exact order needed.
What an autoresponder does for you
Before you get started on a mailing list, you need to decide what autoresponder program you need. An autoresponder program is the platform that enables you to create a simple form, in order to collect names and email addresses of those who’d like to sign up to your list. It saves those names and email addresses in lists for you and also enables you to send out newsletters and emails to those people.
There are two autoresponder programs I’d recommend – MailChimp and AWeber – however, I’ve also included a third option in this post, for those who’d prefer to work with a UK-based company.
How to select an autoresponder program
When selecting which option is best for you, you need to consider what options they have available. All three will provide free templates to help you design the layout for your emails and newsletters, plus they’re low priced so will suit small business budgets. However it’s worth remembering, you’re looking for one that will not only get you started, but will also cater for your needs further down the line too – when your mailing list is larger and more established – so features, pricing and deliverability will become key.
MailChimp has four pricing plans to consider, but most small business owners will only need to look at the Forever Free plan and the Monthly pay option.
Forever Free plan allows you to have mailing lists of up to 2,000 names. However, the biggest issue with this plan is you cannot schedule emails to be sent out on a future date, without upgrading – and this is something that you WILL need – if you want to save yourself a lot of time. You may therefore, want to opt for a monthly paid plan after you’ve settled in with MailChimp.
Monthly plans start at only $10 a month (for up to 500 subscribers), $15 (for lists of up to 1,000 subscribers) and $20 (for lists of up to 1,500 subscribers), making it really affordable for small and growing businesses – plus you’ll then have access to that all important scheduling option.
You can check out the pricing options here.
AWeber – AWeber is another great autoresponder option for small businesses. You can get started with a $1, 30 day trial, before deciding if the slightly more expensive $19 a month fee (for up to 500 subscribers) or $29 a month (for lists up to 2,500 subscribers) is the best option for you. It’s worth remembering, if you have a larger list (of over 10,000 emails), AWeber will work out cheaper in the long run.
You can check out AWeber here.
It’s worth mentioning this UK-based autoresponder provider Get Response, as they have really competitive prices. Their basic account starts at only £10 a month, for lists of up to 1,000 subscribers. Unlike AWeber and MailChimp though, Get Response gives you designable sign up forms AND landing page options too – giving you more options for a slightly lower price.
You can check out Get Response here.
The most important thing to remember, when selecting any software, is to try each and see what you prefer. Therefore, take advantage of the $1 trial and the free options, and really test which one you prefer, whilst your list is still in this early stage.
In the next part of my new mini series, I’ll be looking at how to install those all-important opt-in boxes on your site, to enable you to start collecting email addresses.
What option have you decided to go for? How did you find each autoresponder program? Why not share your experiences of each, along with your preference, in the comments box below?
Image © Stuart Miles/Dollar Photo Club