I have a bit of a problem. With an app I use. On my phone. To track how much walking I do with the puppy (note: I will never, ever be a runner, but she and I are doing a lot of walking and we enjoy it. The geek in me likes to see how far we go). The problem is not that the app likes to cheer me on. I kind of like logging a walk and seeing, “Robin, you’ve set a new personal record for distance!” However. I do not want to get an email about it every.single.time. And no matter how many times I try to unsubscribe from these emails, I still get them. Which is bad.
I know it’s bad because I know what can happen on the other side of those emails when an unhappy person like myself starts marking those emails as spam (which is what they are, at this point, since I’ve said repeatedly that I don’t want them). If enough of us report the company as spam, their emails start getting blacklisted, and then they can’t send emails to legitimate clients. I know, because I’ve had to help companies get off of those blacklists, because they weren’t practicing safe email habits. Getting off those lists can be difficult and time consuming–at least for a small business, if not for this particular company.
Although it initially may feel intimidating, it really isn’t hard to get yourself or your business set up with some safe email habits and practices. It’s not enough anymore to send an email to a large group of people and just use BCC (and woe if you use CC instead of BCC!) to “protect” yourself. And honestly, in this day and age, it doesn’t look professional, either. And there are legal issues, too! Helping a blogger or business get started with proper and safe email marketing is actually a lot of fun.
My preferred email marketing company is MailChimp, and I’ll tell you why.
Because they’re awesome, that’s why.
Back in 2008, I was setting up a website for a church which was ditching monthly print newsletters for weekly emails. At this point, this was uncharted territory for both of us, but I did know that we needed to really do our homework on how to do it right, since the church had been mistakenly blacklisted before. Even though I knew how I was going to send out the emails (using an extension built into the website, which was not running WordPress–and I’m just going to say that doing the emails this way was not a great idea. Much better in theory than in practice.), I wanted to make sure that I was doing everything the best way I could. I found this incredibly useful page of resources on this random company’s website:
At this point in time, I had no interest in using MailChimp’s services, but I was totally impressed by their “pay-it-forward” attitude of freely sharing information. And I like the chimp. The guides really helped us set up a good routine, and helped us know what pitfalls to try to avoid.
Two years later, we were looking at a do-over of the website and I discovered that our solution, which we were going to have to ditch anyway because we planned to move the site to WordPress, was not working out as well as we’d hoped. Users were not able to be easily removed from the list, and the email account from which the messages were being sent was not checked as often as it could be. It’s a bummer to log into an account and see messages that say “I’ve asked four times to be removed from your list!”.
I knew we needed a better plan. I knew we needed professional help. I remembered the guides. Who wouldn’t want to sign on with a company like that? So we moved to MailChimp, and it’s been one of the best things we could have done.
Why MailChimp is awesome.
This post has gotten longer than I’d like it to be, but I’d like to throw a list out of reasons why I love MailChimp:
- Their website is spunky.
- They make good looking emails super easy to produce.
- If an email address goes bad and I can’t send to it anymore, it’s automatically removed from my list.
- If someone wants to unsubscribe, they can. They don’t have to offer up their firstborn, ask four times, or make a phone call. They just ask and they’re off (make a note, pesky fitness app company).
- If I ever have a question, they quickly and competently answer it.
- Need an archive of your emails posted to your site? They take care of that, too (I’ve tried to find this feature on another email marketing site and have had no luck).
- If you have a small list, aren’t sure about getting into email marketing, or just send emails periodically, MailChimp is free. The only price you pay is having their logo at the bottom of your email, and since they give you several options from which to choose and they’re all pretty, I’ve got no complaints.
- With Google Reader being killed off, and Feedburner in a bit of a precarious state, MailChimp is a great choice for bloggers who want to share blog posts by email.
- Even better, their RSS emails can come very close to matching my website (due to the limitations of email, it’s not exact, but super close)–and once they’re set up, they’re totally automatic.
- You can use MailChimp for RSS emails or full fledged email campaigns, or both!
I use MailChimp to share my blog posts. If you like random emails which cover everything from pictures to basic WordPress tutorials to things I’m learning about code, please sign up for my email list right here (if you’re in an RSS reader, you will need to come visit the site to sign up). I never share your address, and if you want to leave, I promise I’ll let you go.
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If you are ready to jump into email marketing, look at MailChimp. You won’t regret it! (Disclaimer: there are no affiliate links in this post. I just really dig this service.)