15 November 2017

Choosing an email marketing platform for your glazing business

An email marketing platform is a system used for sending out emails to a mailing list — whether that be your customers, prospects, suppliers or anyone else. There are so many services to choose from we thought it would be helpful to break down a few of the popular platforms and things to consider when choosing a system.

If you're not doing any email marketing, now is a great time to start. The holiday season is the perfect opportunity to send a friendly end-of-year message to your customers to remind them you exist and foster a positive relationship.

What kind of emails should I send via an email marketing platform?

An email client like Outlook or Gmail is perfect for one-to-one or group conversations where you're engaging in a dialogue with people or you need a response from them. Email marketing is more like broadcasting, you're sending a message out into the world and whilst you want people to engage with your business it's more in the form of visiting your website or taking action in some other way, rather than responding to you directly.

Examples of email marketing include:

  • Monthly e-newsletters
  • Special offers or discount codes
  • One-off informative emails to all customers (i.e. change of address, office closed etc)

There are plenty of ways for you to dip your toes into the world of email marketing without committing to a monthly newsletter. You could send a happy holidays message to customers you worked with this year as part of your holiday marketing campaign or a message to your suppliers to let them know if your office is closed for a few days for a break.

If you like the idea of sending a newsletter but monthly seems too frequent, you could send quarterly updates your customers letting them know what's new, including examples of recent work and even offering a newsletter-specific discount (i.e. $50 off jobs over $500 if you book within the next 30 days). Even if they don't need any glazing work done at the time, they may know someone who does and forward the email on.

What features do I need in an email marketing platform?

The main features to look out for are:

  • A good way of organizing mailing lists, ideally with the option to segment lists into smaller target groups
  • An easy-to-use email editor
  • A plain text version so your recipients will be always be able to read your email
  • Great reporting so you can see how your emails are performing and make changes accordingly
  • A form of some kind so interested prospects can subscribe via your website

Popular email marketing platforms

We've broken down the pros and cons of three popular email marketing clients: MailChimp, Campaign Monitor and Constant Contact.

MailChimp

MailChimp is one of the most popular email marketing platforms available. It's incredibly easy to use, you can drag and drop elements onto your email — no coding experience necessary.

Pros:

  • Free to get started. MailChimp's free plan is quite generous, it includes up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 per month. That's more than enough if you're just getting started but the plans do start to get quite pricey once you've moved out of free bracket.
  • Easy-to-use editor. Drag and drop email designer and a range of predesigned templates to choose from.
  • Integration. MailChimp is a popular product so integrates with a wide range of services including Facebook, Twitter, Google and WordPress.

Cons:

  • Feature restrictions. Limited analytics and reporting available for users on the free plan.
  • No real-time reporting. This isn't a huge dealbreaker but it is nice to see how recipients are engaging with your email as soon as you send it.

Campaign Monitor

Campaign Monitor is another popular email marketing platform. The user interface is not quite as flashy as MailChimp but it does have more options for tailoring your emails to segments of a mailing list and testing different elements of your message.

Pros:

  • Easy-to-use editor. Drag and drop email designer, no need to code.
  • List segmentation. Build mailing lists and segment them for a more tailored marketing experience.
  • A/B testing. Send half of your subscribers one version of the email and half another version to see which performs better.
  • Sophisticated personalization. Campaign Monitor makes it easy to personalize email campaigns for each recipient, based on the information you've added to their profile.

Cons:

  • No free plan. Campaign Monitor plans start from $9 per month which includes 500 subscribers and 2,500 per month.
  • Lack of support. There is no phone or chat support for Campaign Monitor which can make getting hold of them tricky.

Constant Contact

Constant Contact consistently rates as one of the best email marketing platforms but the extensive functionality comes at a cost and they are the most expensive of the providers we've listed.

Pros:

  • Easy-to-use editor. Drag and drop email designer and a range of predesigned templates to choose from.
  • Date-triggered personalized messages. Send automated follow up messages six months or a year after work was completed or birthday messages to your customers.
  • Robust reporting. Visual graphs make it easy how your email is tracking in real time and it's easy to compare your peformance over a few months to see if you're improving (or not).

Cons:

  • Most expensive. After the trial period ends, Constant Contact is the most expensive of the three options here starting at $20 per month for up to 500 subscribers. You can try the software free for 60 days (with a few limitations) to get a feel for how it works and see if it's right for you.

Don't hesitate, communicate

There is no shortage of options when it comes to email marketing platforms and the three we have listed here are all easy to get started using so you can experiment and see which works best for you. Once you've gotten your head around email marketing, consider marketing automation to take your glazing business to the next level!

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