At Constant Contact we provide SaaS (Software as a Service) marketing tools for small businesses. This means that they are ‘virtual’ software tools that live online and you just log in when you want to use them.
There are a number of benefits to these sorts of tools, including that the tool provider keeps the software up to date for you and backs up all your information. However, it’s the super-duper functionality that I want you to think about now.
Although lots of people are using virtual or ‘cloud-based’ tools these days, few actually make the most of them and the clever extra things that they can do.
I want to take you through just one example here with our Email Marketing tool.
You use Constant Contact because you want to send out a newsletter, but did you also know that you can do these 10 things:
1. Brand it up!
Add your logo, images, colours and fonts to keep your emails on brand for your business. Be professional and let your readers know it’s you.
2. Set up different types of emails with easy templates
If you send out an email through Outlook or Gmail it always has a similar format, however, with Constant Contact you can set up different templates for newsletters, announcements, offers or reminders, so that each one does exactly what you need it to and drags the readers eyes to your call to action.
3. Welcome people to your email list
When someone subscribes to your email list, we’ll automatically send them a message letting them know that their sign-up has been successful. However, you should customise this message. You could include things like: your contact details, opening hours, most popular products, services or articles, a discount coupon or top tips.
4. Schedule messages in advance
Want to send a weekly message to your audience, but don’t have time? Batch this task together, and write a month’s worth of emails in one go and schedule them to go out over the next few weeks.
5. Include custom data (like birthdays or the names of their children)
People love personalisation, so why not use custom data to add special information to an email. For example, if you’ve recorded subscribers’ birthdays, you could send out one email to everyone with a birthday next month and tell them that they can get something special on their birthday (putting in the actual date). Or, maybe tell them that next time they need something for their children (and put their kids names in), that they can come to you. Think about the opportunities; you could include interests, company names or just about anything in here to really customise an email to their specific needs.
6. Tell you who clicked on what, and let you send out a special message just to them
Wouldn’t it be great if you knew what your readers were really interested in, so that you could give them more of that thing? Well you can. All links in Constant Contact emails are tracked for clicks, so you know exactly which links in your newsletters (and therefore which subjects) are getting clicks and who is clicking on them. You can then save those people out as a separate list and send them more information on that subject. Cool, huh?
7. Include a voucher or coupon
Your email readers love it when you offer them something special just for them, so why not use a handy coupon block to add in a voucher for a special offer, deal or gift. You can customise it, include a discount code, an expiry date and all that good stuff.
8. Add in links to your blog articles
It’s good practice to drive people from your newsletter back to your website and your blog, and you can do that with just a couple of clicks in the Constant Contact email editor. We’ll pull in titles, excerpts and the read more links for you to make it super simple, and you can get your email readers to check out your blog too!
9. Connect to your social networks, their social networks, AND schedule social updates
Social media and email go hand in hand, so we recommend that you put icons (little badges) that link to your social media networks on all of your emails. This will encourage your email readers to follow you where you are on social media too. The next step is to get your readers to share your email with THEIR social networks, so put the social share bar at the top to encourage them to do so. Finally, you should tell your social fans and followers that your email is out, and that can happen automatically through simple share. We won’t send out your post until your newsletter is sent, and then it all happens at the same time!
10. Manage your mailing list for you
Managing a mailing list manually takes a looooong time and is not a best practice, because you are not instantly signing people up or taking them off your list according to their requests. It’s much better to have this happen automatically. You also want to know if addresses on your list are ‘bouncing’, which means they are not getting delivered because the mailbox of the recipient may be full, or the email address may not exist, for example. Bounces should be processed regularly to keep your list ‘clean’ and increase your deliverability.
There’s a whole lot more that Constant Contact will also do for you, but I know that you haven’t got all day so I’ll keep it to 10 things for now.