E-mail Marketing Made Easy

I have been a long time student of e-mail marketing. While working at Fairfax County Public Schools and Arlington Public Schools, I monitored the e-mail marketing industry pretty carefully to find best practices that I could apply to the effort to effectively reach parents and other district constituencies.

Some of my favorite resources for statistics, research and thought-provoking commentary are the Online Publishers Association and Click Z.

The importance of being able to communicate with the right people with the right message with e-mail has only increased over time. Thankfully, the number of turn-key solutions that help you to make the most of your e-mail marketing efforts have also increased.

The proliferation of ready to use options is exciting because they offer a low-cost entry for organizations large and small that want to get serious about e-mail marketing. More, with all the tools and options built in to these programs, they become a way to learn how to do even more with your e-mail marketing.

For one client, I recently used Email Labs. This solution is higher in cost than some, and the functionality could be daunting for those who are just dipping their toes into this arena. I see a lot of organizations using Constant Contact, but understand that their anti-spam requirements can time consuming to manage.

Thanks to my colleague Beth Bates, author of the Good Works Grapevine blog, I recently came across iContact. This is a low-cost solution that is easy to set up and understand. I did a 15 day free trial and was really impressed. Features include: ability to import e-mail addresses, confirmation when messages are sent, compliance with the CAN SPAM law, notifications to you when subscribers are added or deleted from your list(s), tips and real people you can talk to. One neat feature is that it will generate a cut-and-paste sign up form for you to use at your web site that can be connected to their system so any time you make changes to your list options your sign up form is automatically updated as well.

So, take the plunge and use an online tool to start your own e-mail marketing or to make your efforts even more effective. I’d love to hear your stories about what worked, what didn’t and what you learned along the way.

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