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Are you a small business that tries to engage regularly with your customers and build long lasting relationships? Do you add value by sending out a newsletter to your clients? Are you curious about which e-newsletter company to use?
The below excerpt is from a blog post written by Natalia Beley, a virtual assistant, that helps small businesses free up time by assisting them with various tasks including creating newsletters. Here she discusses the pros and cons of her e-newsletter company of choice.
One of my clients is a busy sales rep that manages about a half dozen lines and over a hundred clients. She can't possibly connect with each of those clients on a weekly basis, so one of the ways that she's chosen to communicate with them is through a bi-monthly newsletter that I manage, develop and send out for her. Recently, one of her clients reached out to me to ask about email newsletter companies and get my opinion on the one that I use.
When I first began doing a newsletter for this client we went with Constant Contact (CC), I think pretty much because they were the most well-known e-marketing company out there. For more than a year, we were very happy with the performance of their program. It's loaded with features, they offer lots of online resources and help and it's affordable. The one thing that I always felt was lacking though was a more sophisticated and clean aesthetic. Most of the newsletter templates they offered just seemed very crowded, with too many spots for too many messages. So, in searching for a new company to work with, I ran across a company called Mad Mimi (sort of a funny name). I had received a few newsletters from local businesses that used their service and I always loved the clean, crisp look so I decided to check it out for myself.
Mad Mimi's service doesn't offer nearly the wide variety of templates that CC does but it is almost completely customizable. They stress a more simple and clean approach to email marketing, which I can appreciate. I hate getting a newsletter with tons of different fonts and colors; in my opinion, it's just too distracting for the reader. With Mad Mimi, you choose a color palette (or you can create your own based on your logo or branding) and it incorporates that into your entire newsletter. In addition, you choose one font for all of your titles, you can choose one for all your subtitles, one for your body text, etc… It almost forces you to keep your message visually pleasing to your customer. The entire newsletter is centered with no extraneous messaging on the sides.
They offer many of the same tracking features as CC such as open rates, bounces & click throughs. In addition to all of the above, you can link all your campaigns to Google Analytics as well as automatically connect your newsletters to social media.
One of the other things that I look for when working with any company is that they offer a strong support desk. I'm never one to shy away from asking for help, and I've contacted them several times when I've had an issue with an image not loading properly or something not copying over properly from another site. They have an online chat and as far as I've seen, someone is always there and willing to help in whatever way they can. They seem to really value their customers. One last perk is that they have an active blog where they post all sorts of helpful e-marketing tips and they offer online webinars like the one I just attended this week on writing impactful subject lines.
There are several deficits that I would like to mention; one is that they don't have a direct feed to blogs. My client has a blog that she occasionally would like to link an article from to her newsletter. With CC this was an easy, automatic thing. With MM, I need to work around this and just create a link to her article (not a big deal, but it's not as smooth). Another thing that I miss is that they are not as supportive of PDFs. I agree with the idea of not sending out a PDF if you are a B2C client, but this client I have is a B2B person; she needs to send price lists, catalogues and things of that nature to her customers. I attach quite a few PDFs in the newsletters. With CC it was super easy to do… you just attached it and inserted the link wherever you wanted the info. With MM I now have to "host" the PDF on our website and then link it into my newsletter (again, not a deal breaker, but annoying). I just saw on their blog this week that they are now offering a third party hosting spot so maybe that will be easier with that service.
There are a bunch of other email services out there. Another one I'd like to try out soon is MailChimp. I’ve seen some nice newsletters done with this program as well. If anyone has any experience with MailChimp, CC or Mad Mimi, I'd love to hear about it. Also, if you have any questions that I can answer about e-newsletters, I'd love to help. This post originated from an email that I got from a client's customer.
***If you are interested in trying out Mad Mimi, they do offer a perk to people who recommend them. Here is my affiliate link.***
Natalia Beley is a Virtual Assistant that specializes in working with small businesses to assist them with everything from social media to spreadsheets. She spent years working in retail merchandising and buying in NY for Bloomingdale’s and Tommy Hilfiger. After relocating to Pennsylvania she worked for Bit of Britain taking care of inventory planning until the birth of her second son back in 2010. Since then she’s been enjoying the challenges and flexibility of working for herself. Some of her current clients include Tack Culture & Tail Tamers. For more information about Natalia and the services she provides check her website and blog at www.nsbvirtualassistant.com.