Email marketing sometimes looks like a beast for people getting started on anything to do with internet marketing – especially cheapos like me.
On one hand you have all the experts out there shouting on roof tops about the nirvana called ’email marketing’. On the other, you see that auto responders cost money – on a monthly basis.
It is perfectly understandable that you would not want to start money burn on something that you are not sure.
Most internet marketers suggest AWeber. Aweber requires just $1 to start up – and makes it easy to step in to the ocean of email marketing, and is also available as a trial version? AWeber provides you attractive forms to collect email addresses, has reliable email delivery, has multiple tools that you will come to love, and overall, makes email marketing an easy process.
This is all good. But at the end of the day “smart” marketers will also look at the cost from the second month to eternity. The most basic tier from AWeber costs you $19 per month. You will get superior delivery, better email marketing tools including forms, and awesome landing pages, but we are after saving money – remember?
That is where a few other options come in. By using these options you can do email marketing for free – yes, you heard that right. All you need is a bit of manual work :). Take a look at these free tools.
A big part of email marketing is of course – sending emails. The tools to send emails cost money. As you see below – that is not always the case.
MailChimp is free for up to 2000 subscribers. The catch – you can only send emails, no auto responder available.
2000 subscribers are a lot of subscribers when you are getting started. You can collect email addresses using MailChimp’s own forms, or use custom forms. MailChimp is pretty popular and there are lot of free/paid form applications that integrate with MailChimp with nothing more than a API key.
MailChimp offers three major plans, but is flexible within the plan so that the costs are in control.
I use MailChimp because I found that it is the easiest way to get started, and does not break bank when I want to upgrade.
- You will shell out $10 per month if you want an auto-responder (for up to 500 subscribers)
- The fee will go upwards $30 per month for greater than 2000 subscribers
MailChimp has lot of beginner friendly options, and is my recommended tool if you are getting started.
SendWithUs is a good email service that can put a lot of power in your hands to design your emails, send them to thousands of recipients, carry out A/B testing. SendWithUs has a free plan that can send unlimited emails for up to 1000 recipients.
The free plan does not come with an auto responder, and you would have to do the grunt work. The only problem I see with SendWithUs is that the difficult upgrade from the free plan. The Starter plan starts at $79 per month – while powerful, it is a lot of money for a person who may just want to upgrade.
Enable users to subscribe to your list
Subscribe boxes are where your readers will enter emails to subscribe to your list. All mail services like AWeber or MailChimp provide code that you can copy and paste in your website to collect emails. But there are better ways to do that.
Free tools by SumoMe
SumoMe provides excellent tools to collect emails from non-intrusive popup boxes, from the message bar that appears at the top of the browser, or through an automatic “scroll box” that appears automatically when user scrolls down.
HelloBar shows a horizontal bar at the top, with a one line call to action.
Users click on the link to go to your landing page, and (hopefully) subscribe emails to get the immense value you provide through emails.
Design Landing Pages
Though most readers will give away addresses when they are hit with scroll boxes, message bars, and the like, there are a few that will need some convincing. You would have to offer a gift in the form of eBook (or any other digital product), a free course through emails or from membership area in your site, or anything that the readers in your niche find irresistible.
Landing pages are simple web pages that have only one duty – to focus on a particular topic, and sell it to readers. Readers land on these pages when they click to get a free eBook, or any other amazing offer. Landing pages make it easy to see the benefits of performing an action, and encourage readers to do that action.
You can create awesome landing pages by couple of methods –
- Get free landing page templates that you can directly install on your website. Example: see free HTML landing page templates (scroll down!)
- You can get WordPress plugins that help you create your own landing pages. Example: WordPress Landing Pages, Ultimate Landing Page, Splash Page
Learn Email Marketing
So, you have set everything up, and even send emails to your friends who joined in. What next?
- The completely free Email1K course by SumoMe is an excellent way to get started, and learn how to grow your list. The course also teaches you what and what not to send in your emails, and how the experts do it.
- Get the Email Marketing Handbook for free from CopyBlogger. This is an excellent resource to learn what is effective through emails. You are going to love your lists after reading that eBook.
You could also subscribe to my blog and get updates about email marketing 🙂
These are the only tools you need to get started in email marketing, and as you have seen – they are all excellent, and FREE.