After years of blogging, I only started building my email list through an email marketing platform this year, because I only just found out that I should.
If you’re a blogger, business owner, own any kind of site, or want to start blogging (check out this post if you want to start asap), you should have an email list – it’s one of the things that you truly own and can keep with you no matter what other platform or site you transfer to.
In order to grow your list, you’ll need an email marketing platform like MailChimp, ConvertKit, Mailerlite, etc. I’ve tested out these three platforms, and I’m going to share my honest thoughts with you on how to choose an email marketing platform that suits your needs as well as your budget.
This post contains affiliate links. That means if you use my links, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for all of your support on my blog!
What Can You Do With an Email Marketing Platform?
When you visit a website or blog, you’ll see a bunch of strategically placed forms asking for your email address. They could be disguised as a freebie, discount code, newsletter, or they might even not-so-subtly pop up while you’re browsing. These are all attempts to collect your email address to grow their subscriber list. This list is your gold, because it is proof that people are interested in your content, enough so that they’re willing to give you their email address and receive things from you.
Growing your email list is pretty simple. You offer something, usually your quality content, extra freebies, a newsletter, opt-ins, etc., in exchange for someone’s email address. You can collect other metrics too, like names and age, but it’s up to you.
Once someone subscribes to your list, no matter what they received in return, you can send them updates, offers, and more to that email. Now, this doesn’t make it okay to start spamming people, but it does allow you to advertise directly to them.
Until they unsubscribe, you can send anything related to your blog or your website to them. You just have to make sure that you’re only sending relevant content to minimize the chances that they unsubscribe. However, if they do, it’s okay, because it just means you weren’t a match for each other. You’ll get more subscribers another day.
Important Things to Consider
When I first started looking into email marketing platforms, I didn’t really know what I wanted, so I went for the first free plan that I saw. You see, I’m always on a tight budget, and I’m always looking for the best deal for the best price. Free was a pretty good deal, until I had to interact with the platform. I realized that you do actually get what you pay for – sometimes.
As you look into different platforms, you must know what it is you need it to do for you, especially if you’re going to be paying a monthly or annual fee.
- Should it cost little to no money?
- Is it user-friendly and organized?
- Do you want tons of options?
- Do you want to send emails, newsletters, automated campaigns, or categorize subscribers a certain way?
- Is there a free trial, so you can test out if you like it or not?
These are some things you should consider, if you haven’t already.
My Experiences with MailChimp, ConvertKit, and Mailerlite
Yes, I’ve tried out three different email marketing platforms, because when I first started, I didn’t know what I needed, so I went for the first free plan (0-2000 subscribers) that I saw at MailChimp, and hated it. The platform wasn’t very user friendly, and I’m pretty good at figuring things out tech-wise. It gave me a headache. I decided that I needed more, so I did some more research. I do believe they’ve improved their offerings recently. So it might be worthwhile to have a look and see if the platform suits your tastes.
Everyone was talking about this other brand, ConvertKit*, so I signed up under a free trial and loved it, so I stayed on the paid plan ($29/month for 0-1,000 subscribers) for a while. It’s a wonderful platform, very user-friendly, and they even provide an in-depth tutorial walking you through how to use the platform. You also get a free t-shirt when you complete the tutorial.
The service is excellent. However, when I realized that it was costing more than I was making from it, I decided it was time to move on, for now. I am still an affiliate, because I love the platform. The t-shirt is pretty great too. If you want a free trial to see if it’s for you, there’s a promotion starting today, for a 14-day free trial*. ConvertKit doesn’t do free trials too often, so if you’ve been thinking about trying them out, grab this offer while it lasts. The last day to sign up is on September 8, 2017, and you can only sign up through affiliates promoting the offer.
After more research, I found a free plan (0-1,000 subscribers) with Mailerlite* that offered me everything I needed as well as everything the paid plan gave me. Sold. While there is isn’t a tutorial to walk me through everything, I figured it out on my own. It’s a fairly friendly and organized interface. I’m able to do everything I need – send newsletters, create automated campaigns, and manage my subscribers.
The Benefits of Email Marketing Platform
I’m all about automation, and I wrote about that topic on Caffeinate and Conquer (very proud plug of my guest post, yay!). There are only 24 hours in a day. As a blogger, I understand that 24 is clearly not enough to get all the work done. Through an email marketing platform, growing your subscribers is automated. You essentially could set it and forget about until later while you focus your attention on other parts of your site.
From free plans to paid plans, as soon as you reach 1,000-2,000 subscribers you’re going to have to pay. Until then, try out the free stuff to make sure that you will be getting your money’s worth when you do start paying. The beauty of an email list is that you can move them over to a new platform if you ever need to. All you have to do is export your list from your current platform and import into your new one.
Now, if you have thousands, it’s going to be a little more tricky. You’ll want to keep every name organized by tags. Because of that, I do recommend investing in some help to keep track of it all. That is, unless you prefer to do it yourself, which is also possible, but very time consuming. However, a big list means you’re doing something super awesome, so hooray for that!
How Your Email List Can Make You Money
Lastly, an email marketing platform is an excellent way to monetize your blog and your list. How do you do this, you may ask? Well, say you have a product that you want to offer, and you know it’s going to help a specific group of people. You’ve organized your email lists into groups of people by utilizing tags when they sign up. Now, you can promote this product to this group of people. Instant audience of interested people.
So there you have my thoughts on three of the major players in email marketing and how to choose an email marketing platform that works best for you. Also, I hope that you’ve gained a little bit more insight on how this all works.
Don’t forget to try out ConvertKit FOR FREE* if you haven’t already!
Let me know your trusted email marketing platforms below, and have a conversation with me!