Email Marketing

Tech Thursday: All About E-Mail

One of our friends asked us an interesting question about email “How do you prevent email issues like emails not reaching clients or going straight to spam folders – even when clients give you their email address with permission to send them stuff?”

There are, in fact, a few different reasons why this may be happening. The problems that we most frequently encounter include:

  • ISP for client and you (who is your server)
  • Web host for client and you (,
  • You and your client’s email interface (try webmail)

We found this story from The Telegraph that asks “Why did this email take 3 weeks to arrive?” In the answer, the author explains how to check where an email got held up (very similar to tracking a FedEx package). As Nicole says, the cool thing about the internet is that everything  can be tracked. You can even find out who’s sending you email from an address you don’t recognize (similar to a reverse phone lookup).

Also discussed in the video: using email scripts in your networking efforts from Ramit Sethi and Kassie’s unintentional hacking experience.

Why I Use Mailchimp (Or Why I Don’t Use Constant Contact)

As someone on a computer all day, I’m often one of the first people to try a new piece of software. Email marketing software is one of them. I’ve tried Constant Contact and some others but Mailchimp is still my email marketing favorite.

Now Constant Contact is a more complete solution in terms of them having event marketing and other features. And that’s what it has going for it.


Most people worry that Mailchimp won’t be full featured enough for their company. Mailchimp has the same features Constant Contact does:

  • high delivery rates (95%+)
  • segmented lists
  • statistics on email campaigns
  • integration with Facebook, Twitter, and Google Analytics
  • ability to import data from spreadsheets or csv files, etc.

A few things Mailchimp has going for it that make it stand alone I think as the best choice:

1) Free– I’m not just talking monthly for up to 2,000 subscribers. If you want to have a subscription box on your website, Constant Contact charges you monthly for that. Want to display a list of links to your archives of past newsletter sends? Constant Contact charges you for that. Want to let people to subscribe from your Facebook page? Constant Contact charges you for that. With Mailchimp it’s all free. And if you run a Wordpress site, it has good integration with Gravity Forms, which means people can subscribe to your email newsletter while filling out a contact form (for example) on your website.

2) Easy to customize templates– Let’s say you want the background of an email newsletter to be white. For Constant Contact templates, each block of content is controlled independently, meaning you have to go to each one and select ‘white’. Very annoying. Mailchimp has styles that the whole newsletter can inherit. Like if you want the background white and all the headers blue, that’s two clicks. Constant Contact templates take me at least three times as long to make as Mailchimp ones and they don’t look nearly as good in my opinion. Click here to see what one of my email newsletters looks like if you want to get an idea of design.

3) Partnerships– Constant Contact is very insular. They want to do everything within their company. Mailchimp however has been really good at partnering with people like Eventbrite to offer better features that don’t cost extra.No matter what, you can always take your list and go home.

Both Constant Contact and Mailchimp have a way to export your list as a csv or other file format so you can move between them. In other words, if you hate Mailchimp, you aren’t stuck. And vice versa. It’s very important no matter what you pick for services that you can take your ball and go home whenever you want.

Are these your only two options? Of course not. And if you really are looking for a one stop shop, Constant Contact may be right for you. But I’m sticking with Mailchimp because for email marketing, it’s free, has great features, and puts out an excellent product. But if I run into something that works better, I’ll be sure to blog it! (Please note: I am not an affiliate marketer of either software so no one is paying me to have this opinion- I just do!)

By the way, you should sign up for my email newsletter on this website or on Facebook. It’s monthly, people have said they like getting it, and it’s free. 

Meme Week: Email Maybe

The last post of Meme Week. Could it be? This one is about email marketing and is possibly the nerdiest one yet. Pass it on if you like it! Next week, back to normal website/marketing stuff, but it’s been a fun week so thanks to everyone who has participated in our first ever meme participation. We may have to do it again!

Hey I just read you, and this is crazy, your email's not CAN-SPAM compliant so fix that maybe.

Marketing Monday: Standing Out Among The Email Sales

Between Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, I’m already starting to get email sale fatigue. Bad sign huh?

All these sales are a blur, or are they? Photo by Flickr user Chris22090.

All these sales are a blur, or are they? Photo by Flickr user Chris22090.

How can you make your holiday promotions stand out among the masses? I’ve been trying to figure out which emails I open and why. Here’s what I found:

Offer free shipping. Walmart is offering free shipping this holiday season and successful online retailers like Zappos have been doing this for years.

Be a part of what’s going on locally, in terms of events and search. If 73% of all online activity is related to local search, try to optimize for your products or services locally. You can even add a coupon go your Google Places listing for free (the listing is also free). So why wouldn’t you?

Try out a group buying site, or offer group buying on your site. Websites like Groupon (coming to Portland Maine soon!) are a way to get your business in front of a lot of local eyeballs. The idea isn’t limited to local businesses; if you sell things online, you could offer a deal like this.

Create a gift list, with photos. Like everyone, I’m stuck on a few people. I can’t tell you how many hours I spent browsing the ‘Treasury’ section of Etsy this weekend looking for nice gifts for a few people on my list. If you put a nice list with photos on your website for ‘pseudo in-laws who have everything you can think of getting them’ and ‘cool girlfriends who you don’t want to accidentally impose your decorating or fashion taste on’, I will buy something from you.

What’s your favorite way a company has stood apart from the bazillion sales happening in the next week?

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