Why should you pay $90/month for email marketing when you can get the same solution for $10 per month? Vice versa, if you require more advanced features, can you pick the cheapest provider and still get all you need?
If you ever wondered which e-mail marketing provider is right for you, then today I will help you answer that question.
Unlike a domain name (URL), an email marketing provider is not something you stick with forever. Especially not if you’re just starting out building your online business.
Any email marketing provider allows you to download a spreadsheet containing all the email leads you’ve collected. You can take that spreadsheet and can import it elsewhere.
That means, if you are unhappy with the service or need more features, you take your email list and sign up with a different email marketing provider.
Today, I will share the 3 different stages of an online business, plus recommended email service providers for each.
Let’s start at the very bottom …
Beginner (E-Mail Subscribers: ZERO)
You are just starting out – it doesn’t make sense to spend a lot (or any) money on email marketing because all you need right now are some very basic features.
I’ve already mentioned that switching email service provider is a very easy process. That’s why I say don’t waste time & just sign up with an email service provider that offers a free plan.
Don’t waste another day and start collecting email leads today!
It’s free – you are not wasting any money, but you are wasting time by not taking action.
If you’d like to watch my in-depth review of what their interface looks like, check out my MailerLite Review.
Starting out, all you need are the following functions:
- Ability to capture email leads (I recommend using layover pop-ups)
- Send emails (called ‘Broadcasts‘)
All of the other fancy features you might have read about (autoresponder, tagging) are not relevant yet. Paying for features which you don’t need for weeks or months would both be a waste of time and money.
Advanced (E-Mail Subscribers: 3,000+)
Now things are starting to get interesting. 3,000 subscribers is just a ballpark figure. It really comes down to the niche you’re in – the more narrow, the more valuable each email lead usually is, which would then warrant applying advanced strategies.
E-Mail Subscribers – Quality VS. Quantity
There’s a qualitative difference between 1,000 subscribers in the luxury yacht niche and 1,000 subscribers in the fitness niche.
The monetary value of leads in the luxury yacht niche is probably 10000 times higher than of those in a more mainstream niche. In such a scenario even a minuscule increase in conversions would equal big money!
Whether or not you have 3,000 subscribers doesn’t matter as much as the potential of those subscribers. You have to decide for yourself if increasing revenue by 10, 20, or 30% would be worth the additional costs of an advanced email service provider.
Capturing email leads and sending messages is something you are already doing. What else should you start implementing?
- Autoresponder Series
- E-Mail Segmentation
- Affiliate Marketing (Maybe)
1. Autoresponder Series
The Autoresponder Series is simply a series of pre-written email messages that are delivered at certain intervals. It’s a great way to automate your email marketing (as opposed to manually writing & sending emails regularly).
The success formula is simple:
Deliver valuable content; promote occasionally (every few emails).
Setting up such an autoresponder series is easy. Just click on ‘Automation‘.
Don’t be confused. MailerLite calls Automation Series Automation Workflow. They are one and the same thing.
You can choose between a number of triggers. Should the automation series start once a subscriber joins your list? Once he clicks on a certain link?
Click on the plus icon to add another step to the automation series – as many as you want.
Your autoresponder series can last a week, several months or years – depending on how many emails you are willing to write in advance.
You can play around with this forever – fine-tune and adjust it to your needs/niche.
2. E-Mail Segmentation
Think of segmentation as grouping. You are putting your email subscribers into different groups. Some of these subscribers might be customers already, some might be inactive …
By segmenting your subscribers, you can give them exactly what they need. You can segment based on their level of interest – or any other criteria.
Below is just a basic example.
You can segment people right when they sign up by adding ‘Interest Groups‘ to your opt-in form. People can decide which group(s) they want to be part of.
Alternatively, you can segment people later on – simply by sending out an email with links to various products/topics and linking each topic to an automation series trigger.
Scroll back up to where I showed you how to set up the Automation Workflow. Select ‘When subscriber clicks a link‘ as trigger and violá!
3. Affiliate Marketing
Not mandatory but if you have a list of a few thousand email subscribers, promoting relevant products (that aren’t your own) can greatly increase your revenue.
You want to be very calibrated when doing this. You don’t want to scare away your audience, lose trust by promoting something complete irrelevant or come across as a spammer.
Carefully assess if there are legitimate, trusted products which you could put in front of your audience.
However, if you plan on doing affiliate marketing, you need to switch to a new email service provider. Most providers DO NOT allow affiliate marketing.
MailerLite, ConvertKit, MailChimp all prohibit affiliate marketing/affiliate links in their emails.
AWeber is the exception. The only other solution (besides AWeber) would be self-hosting your email marketing software, but that is more expensive & not something I recommend (at this stage anyway).
Expert (E-Mail Subscribers: 10,000+)
At this stage, you are receiving significant amounts of traffic and hundreds of email leads per day. What you do with those leads is of critical importance and minor tweaks can lead to thousands of dollars in additional revenue.
The difference between the Advanced & Expert stage doesn’t necessary lie in the features you need, but the degree to which they are being used.
At the expert stage, you might want to consider
- Paying extra for faster/better support
- Setting up more (advanced) autoresponder series
- Using third party integrations (e.g. purchase email automatically added to email list)
As mentioned above, MailerLite gets you all the way to the expert stage. It’s only once you want to integrate third party services (payment processors, surveys, webinars) that you’re reaching the limitations of MailerLite.
That’s when you need to decide if you’re willing to pay a bit more and use something like ConvertKit to get all the features you need.
NOTE: Support is something most people undervalue. It’s just not on their radar. However, the bigger your list, the more valuable your time. Paying extra for faster support makes sense.