I used email marketing years ago. Built up a list of a few thouand people and managed to get myself banned from a well known autoresponder service for spamming! I was of course doing it wrong.
What is an autoresponder
An autoresponder is an automatic email sending program. It can be as simple as an instant response to an email (usually saying thanks for the email) to scheduling a complex series of emails spanning a year or longer
The value of an autoresponder is it allows you to speak with someone more than once.
Once is all you will probably all you will get from a visit to your webpage. But if someone’s gives you permission to email them then you can talk to them for months or years – at little cost - and maybe one day win their business. Something a single visit to a website cannot do.
Austoresponders and email marketing
I have used email / autoresponder marketing in the past. With mixed results.
I even bought a series of 52 email lessons that I loaded up into an well known hosted/ online autoresponder service I had set up.
Then through various marketing methods built a list of a few thousand people.
The autoreponder was loaded up with the email lessons and it happily went about sending the subscribers a message every week. All I had to do was throw in a few affiliate links and an odd product push and I was all set.
The problem was I wasn’t communicating.
Just because it’s all automatic doesn’t mean it has to be robotic. Or rote. And the messages I was sending were not from me. Not really.
Communication comes from a person and is directed to another person. I missed that boat altogether!
Really I was wasting my time and the time of the people who received my emails
( Then I made the mistake of buying some double opt-in leads and got kicked off of the autoreponder service for spamming!! And I guess I was as the emails were not personal contacts. Don’t make this mistake!
But that’s another story.. )
Email Marketing and blogging
That was 2 – 3 years ago. I hadn’t bothered much with email marketing except to my own customers since then.
But of late marketing expert Perry Marshall has been banging on about the value of auto responder email marketing at some length. And it got me to take a fresh look.
I notice many of the emails I get from him contain just a short excerpt and direct me to his blog to read the rest. Then I realised many of the marketing guys I get emails from do the same thing.
What a great idea
You see a blog post can be much longer and better structured than an email. People can comment on a blog post. And google can list a blog post and even rank it well
And for some reason I find it easier to post a blog than write an soulless marketing email.
So I am now setting up a new improved email strategy.
The first thing I had to look at was HOW to set it up.
Autoresponder Software v/s Hosted Solution
Do a search an google and the autoresponder service of choice is Aweber. It get great reviews all over the place.
That might be because they are the best.
It might be because they have a good affiliate program (excuse my cynicism).
My problem is I already have a mailing list of clients I email on an ( irregular ) basis and to use this list in Aweber would require each one of them getting a subscribe confirmation email. So they can opt in to the list.
Not really appropriate and not very professional since I have been working with some of them for 4 years or more.
I have opted instead for a server based software. I guess is the web designer/ developer in me. I’d much rather have it on my server under my control.
The program I have chosen allows me to throttle my my email volume to 200 an hour so as not to overload an mailservers, and I don’t see this as being a problem for quite some time. 200 an hour = 4800 a day = 33600 a week. And no monthly fees
I may need to revise this choice later but it’s working fine for now whilst my list is small.
What to say
Well that’s the fun part. I have written a short mini course to encourage people to give me their email addresses in the fisrt place. Then It will be emails that refer to these blog posts
How well will this work? … I’ll keep you posted.
I don’t know yet
Helpful comments are welcome.