Marketing automation tools: With marketing automation tools, you can send the right email to the right person at the right time. You just have to set up conditions, then the tools will take care of the entire customer journey. Considering how busy some small businesses are, finding a service with email marketing automation may be a top priority for some businesses.
Drip campaigns are automated processes that send a set of messages or content to sales leads at the right moment to move them through the sales cycle. Drip campaigns allow you to consistently “touch” leads with relevant information based on time intervals, actions taken by prospects on your website, or other parameters, freeing up valuable marketing and sales resources without neglecting your prospects
Molly K. McLaughlin is a New York-based writer and editor with more than a decade of experience covering technology. She has tested and reviewed all sorts of software, mobile apps, and gadgets. Before launching her freelance business, she was an editor at PC Magazine, covering consumer electronics, followed by a stint at ConsumerSearch.com, a review website. Molly also runs About.com's Android site and contributes to DealNews and other online publications. Follow her on Twitter @bloggingmolly.
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The most flexible email marketing services offer per-email or pay-as-you-go pricing. While pricing based on your number of contacts is ideal for businesses that regularly send emails, per-email pricing is better for companies that only occasionally send them. Some providers allow you to consult with their email marketing experts for help designing templates and setting strategies for an additional cost.
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Extra analytics: While most services offer analytic tools, some service provide more amped-up analytical tools. Evaluating which extra analytical tools are best depends largely on your business's email marketing strategy and survey strategy. Some email stats will be important measures for certain businesses, while other companies will have another set of metrics to judge success.
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Just because your drip campaign is automated doesn't mean you can let it run unsupervised. You spent a bunch of time researching user segments, and it's important to readjust those segments and your strategy based on the results. If you aren't getting as many clickthroughs as you want, try rewriting your calls to action; if you aren't meeting your conversion rate goals with your sale-closing email, try more educational communications before asking any user to pull the trigger. Evaluate, adjust, repeat.
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Hopefully at this point you know why you’re setting up a complex drip campaign—maybe it's for customer acquisition, engagement, or education for product releases and updates. Whatever the case, you need to set goals for your campaign, and choose the metrics to measure your success against. Depending on your analytics capabilities (we’ll delve into one example below, you could look at bounce rate, click-through rate, conversions, or time on site. Just make sure your measurements loop back to the "why" of your campaign.
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You may feel like you’re just getting started, but you already have subscribers! That group you have in your Outlook Address Book that you treat as your “update list”? The list of email addresses from your last book signing? The people who have said, “Please let me know when you write a new blog post!”? They are the ones you want to add to your email list. But here’s the catch—you can’t just add them to your email list, you have to have their permission to do so. You can do this a couple ways:
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Customer service: The best email marketing services provide support through phone, email and live chat. Our best picks also have vast knowledgebases and videos to help you understand every tool and feature. While customer service isn't an email marketing tool, elite customer service and tutorial videos help your business get up to speed with the service more quickly than other options.
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Lists vs. Groups: In Mad Mimi, you’ll be creating multiple lists—one for each option—whereas in MailChimp you’ll only need one list because each list can have multiple “groups”, and you can choose to send emails to different groups or segments. (As mentioned above, you’ll find you need to trick Mad Mimi with a secondary feed address like FeedBurner or FeedBlitz to create more than one RSS to email campaign from the same site.)
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