NOT ALL EMAIL MARKETING PROGRAMS ARE CREATED EQUAL
 
Contrary to what you may think, email marketing remains an effective and COST effective method of staying in touch with people who want to hear from you. Remember, we’re not talking about blasting out millions of emails to people who don’t know you from Adam. That’s considered SPAMMING. Effective email marketing is at the crux of RELATIONSHIP and PERMISSION marketing and is still effective when you email to people who volunteer to learn about what your business has to offer.

According to alternative marketing guru and Squidoo founder, Seth Godin, “By talking only to volunteers, Permission Marketing guarantees that consumers pay more attention to the marketing message,” he writes. “It serves both customers and marketers in a symbiotic exchange.”

This means that email marketing will INCREASE in effectiveness as a way to counter the growing ineffectiveness of more traditional methods of “intrusion” marketing.

But selecting the RIGHT email marketing tools is critical to both your success and your sanity. These are the email marketing companies and tools we recommend and those we don’t and why.

WHY YOU NEED TO USE A PROFESSIONAL EMAIL MARKETING TOOL

Well, it’s important to understand that if you’re going to engage in email marketing in any kind of a serious way, you need to sign-up with an email marketing company that will help you sign-up, grow and manage your list. While my company, Samson Media, develops the strategy and concepts for email marketing, even we use a third party company called iContact, to automate all the tedious but necessary tasks of managing a list of hundreds or even thousands of email addresses.

Professional email list hosting companies like iContact or the popular Constant Contact handle all of the imporatant tasks of growing and maintaining your list such as: Sign-ups Unsubscribes Duplicate management Deletes Undeliverables SPAM compliant Full reporting (deliverables, click-throughs, etc.) User-friendly email newsletter publishing tools and templates

A SHORT LIST OF EMAIL MARKETING COMPANIES — SIMILAR YET DIFFERENT

Most email marketing companies now charge by the size of your list and not how many times you use it (within reason). For instance, you can have 1,000 names on a list and pay less than someone who has 10,000 names on a list. And each one can send out once, twice or even 100 times in the same month and their costs are the same, fixed amount.

These email companies used to charge more the more you send but most have moved to al all-you-can-eat pricing structure based on list size. And when I said “within reason”, I think they actually do have a limit but it’s like one million. So if you have a lisy of a thousand or even ten thousand names and you’re anywhere close to sending them out a million times in a month —- well, you’re probably over doing it anyway and your days as an email marketer are numbered.

To that end, here are some of the main email marketing companies we know of and have some degree of first hand familiarity:

iContact (the service we now use) Constant Contact (very popular) Topica (we still use them but we hate it) Vertical Response (an industry stalwart) Emma (stylish and pricey) Elite Email (does it Old School — prefers to charge per email sent)

WHY WE USE iCONTACT
It’s All In The Details – Why Not Get As Many Included Features For One Low Price?
Granted, whether you choose Constant Contact, iContact, Topica, Vertical Response or the others,they all do the tasks listed above and are similarly priced (relatively speaking), but here’s what separates the men from the boys in my opinion:

THE WINNER IS…

The winner in terms of features, price and service is iContact hands down.

iContact has several features that the popular and more well-known Contact Contact does not offer, such as:

FREE ARCHIVING: Every newsletter you send out automatically gets posted on an iContact hosted page that’s unique to you and your business. As you begin sending out newsletters you’ll see how powerfiul this is. Because as you begin to build a history of newsletters, all you have to do is add a link to your webpage that says something like “CLICK HERE To Read Our Back Issues” and all of your past newsletters will be listed and viewable. Constant Contact offers this for an additional $5 a month, the others don’t offer it at all, and at iContact it’s free. You also get search engine traffic back to your own site from these archived newsletters – a double bonus!

AUTORESPONDERS: Constant Contact, amazingly does NOT offer autoresponders at all. Even if you don’t know what they are, trust me – you’ll want to have the ability to use them, especially if it’s included in the price. Autoresponders are a highly powerful email marketing tool that allows you to preset and pre-create an advanced email marketing strategy that allows you to offer multi-part reports and series. Topica also offers this feature but it’s not nearly as user-friendly.

TECH SUPPORT: All things considered, especially compared to Topica which I’ve used for over 10 years and still use today for older lists, iContact actually answers the phone. With a human being! Really!

So comparing, price, features and support, iContact is the email newsletter and hosting service champ!  But more importantly, which ever compnay you choose, definitely choose one.  Sending out hundreds of emails from your Outlook or desktop email client is not only ineffective and will get you labeled a spammer, but it’s a huge waste of your valuable time.

ll things considered, especially compared to Topica which I’ve used for over 10 years and still use today for older lists, iContact actually answers the phone. With a human being! Really!

So comparing, price, features and support, iContact is the email newsletter and hosting service champ!  But more importantly, which ever compnay you choose, definitely choose one.  Sending out hundreds of emails from your Outlook or desktop email client is not only ineffective and will get you labeled a spammer, but it’s a huge waste of your valuable time.

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If you are interested in advancing your abilities and value in the realm of Internet marketing, there are two special certification programs that you will want to take a look at and consider:

- Google Adwords Qualified Individual Program

- Yahoo Ambassador Program

In order to give you a better idea of these two different certification programs, a brief overview is provided for your consideration. Armed with this information you will be in the best possible position to determine whether one or another of these certification programs – or perhaps both – will best meet your needs not only today but into the future as well.

Google Adwords Qualified Individual Program

In order to be certified as a Google Adwords Individual program participant you will be required to undergo an examination conducted by Google Adwords. Through the overall certification process developed by Google Adwords, you will learn how to utilize the essential tools that are made available to certified individuals and that can be used by you to attract and then provide services to your own set of pay per click customers or clients.

There is a nominal charge to take the Google Adwords examination. However, most people who have gone through the certification process deem it a worthwhile investment.

In this day and age, a growing number of potential clients or customers actually are aware of the Google Adwords Qualified Individual program. Therefore, the reality is that this type of certification really is proving to be a selling point for people who are interested in gaining a clientele interested in Google Adwords development and related services.

Yahoo Ambassador Program

The Yahoo Ambassador program is really very similar to the Google Adwords program discussed a moment ago. Once again, a person seeking this certification will be trained in how to utilize the various tools that are made available through Yahoo in regard to that search engine’s own pay per click program.

In the Yahoo Ambassador program you will take an examination (for which you will have to pay a nominal fee). At the present time, the Yahoo Ambassador program is not as well established or as well known as the comparable program offered through Google Adwords. However, with that noted, many professionals are opting for both certifications to make them all the more attractive to their own potential clients or customers.

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The trinity of online marketing – Yahoo, MSN and Google are essentially search engines that help surfers come closer to the sites they are looking for, thereby also acting as middlemen between businesses and their customers. n order to attract search engine attention, web masters either optimize their website for organic results or go for paid placements, better known as PPC search engine marketing.

PPC search engine web marketing is especially helpful for the smaller players who can never hope to compete with their more affluent competitors, who with their huge websites and vast storehouses of content are bound to show up on the first page. PPC search engine web marketing evens the playing field by allowing the smaller players to display their ads alongside the organic search results. Yahoo, Google and MSN literally dominate the PPC search engine internet marketing playground.

Yahoo’s PPC search engine marketing works through an open auction, with the ads of the highest bidder getting the highest ranking. Of late they have worked hard to make Yahoo PPC search engine marketing into a more advanced ‘closed system’, which take in several algorithmic factors, like Click-Through Rate into their PPC advertising algorithm.

Google Adwords factors in both Click-Through Rates and maximum price bids into the algorithm of their ads. In addition to this, Google also reviews the quality of the landing page of the website. So, if you are participating in the Google search engine internet marketing, you will need to invest in a quality landing page, which has a good amount of keyword rich content.

MSN’s PPC search engine internet marketing ‘AdCenter’ is one of the most advanced search advertising platforms on the internet. Like Yahoo, MSN PPC search engine internet marketing is based both on the click through rate of the ad and its max bid price of the keyword.

Each search engine has its own clientele and therefore its own individual niche. A good web marketing campaign, therefore, focuses on all the three for consistent online success.

 

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