When I approach clients about building their email marketing plan, they often begin by asking if anyone reads emails anymore. Happily, I always give a resounding, "Yes!" In fast, the latest research shows that marketing email campaigns offer the highest ROI for businesses large and small. In fact, email marketing has proven to be more effective than targeted campaigns, posts, and contests on Facebook and Twitter — combined.
We all know how to create an email. How we deliver that email to a broad audience, and in the least amount of time, is another matter. Fortunately, there are hundreds of email marketing tools on the market, and they are often relatively easy to learn and launch. Most will even offer a free trial, after which you'll receive an entire range of digital marketing tools for a monthly (or yearly) fee.
Ascend by Wix is the built-in email marketing tool you will be first acquainted with when you start exploring the platform. Email messages, subscribe forms, and automations generated by Wix's intuitive site builder will be managed by Ascend. In addition to email, Ascend offers an entire suite of tools to help you manage your business within the Wix dashboard, such as live chat, videos, social post creators, and invoicing tools. I recommend that you familiarize yourself with the platform, and understand what tools you need before you upgrade. You will be asked to upgrade after you've made 2 forms, or incorporated 2 automations on your site. If you don't need the full suite of Ascend's business tools, or are already using another email marketing product, you can also incorporate third-party tools.
Many clients looking to upgrade a current website often have a long relationship with email marketing products like Mailchimp or Constant Contact. Although you will need to leave the Wix dashboard to create and track your marketing efforts, these tools can be incorporated with a little extra effort.
Like I said before, there are HUNDREDS of products on the market. It would be an understatement to say that picking the right service can be overwhelming. My advice is to first consider who will be writing and managing your email campaigns. Will it be a team, or an individual? Will your team have html and graphic design skills? Will someone else be creating templates?
The key to picking the right tool is simplicity. I really love the products that have a complete customer management suite like Ascend, Hubspot, and Active Campaign, but I only recommend these tools to customers who have the resources to manage them.
Someday I will share a longer list of email marketing product recommendations, segmenting from Beginner to Expert. For now, let's start with my short list, which is based on client interest and the following key criteria:
1. Expected Entry-Level Costs (up to 500 contacts)
4. Ease of Use
5. Customer Service
1. Expected Entry-Level Costs for up to 500 Contacts
* If you are starting out with more than 500 names that's great(!), but the prices above won't apply to you. Click the link in the table to view complete plans and pricing levels.
In a nutshell, email deliverability rates are calculated by how many emails successfully arrive in your intended recipients' inboxes – not Junk or secondary tabs like "Promotions." Your time is money, and if you're spending 1-3 hours per week on messages that only reach 5% of your list, the lost revenue this can create is shocking. If you have a list of 500, and only 400 hit the targeted inbox, your deliverability is 80%. This actually means that you're potentially losing 25% of your business (plus the lost time you invested).
In my humble opinion, this consideration should come before cost when you're comparing plans. In addition to your content, subject lines, and attachments, your email marketing service needs to have a reliable, dedicated team who jump some hurdles for you. The spam filters on services like Google and Outlook are constantly changing, so your service must be one that anticipates the pitfalls. Reach out to your sales rep to ask about deliverability rates, and ask colleagues if they are willing to share this data.
* These rates courtesy of EmailToolTester. Data current as of February 2020.
As I suggested before launching into this list, it's important that you clearly define how you plan to use and manage email marketing tools. What are the end goals? Will you send a weekly newsletter? Will you need a variety of drip campaigns? Will your emails promote products, events, or services?
Lucky You! The Wix Doctor has a free email marketing planning guide to help you navigate this process.
Based on your answers, the following list may need to be tailored to your needs; however, the following are my recommendations for the beginner Wix user who wants to use emails to generate leads, build engagement, and sell products or services:
Embeddable Forms & Popups
Sometimes forms and popups are listed as separate services or perks within a subscription. In either case, make sure that you have the option to embed at least one popup and one form, so you can build your email list with people who are already visiting your site. An entry popup is a great way to grab the attention of visitors with special offers and discounts, and an exit popup gives you a chance to keep that visitor on your site a little longer.
Let's say you have a group of customers who are only interested in your webinars, and another group just wants to get your weekly newsletter. While you can certainly cross-promote these services, you don't want to risk losing your webinar contacts, because you've lumped them in with your weekly newsletter group.
The ability to create multiple lists, and segment those lists, is vital as your business grows. This is another factor in safeguarding your deliverability status, as well as generating reliable tracking data. Multiple email lists give you a way to create multiple Reply-to emails, and allow you to move your contacts into marketing funnels and automations.
I am a big proponent of creating sincere messages that are relevant to your audience; however, there are many instances when a canned message is the right tool for a specific job. Your lead generation tools, like Embeddable Forms & Popups, should always be followed up with a thank you email — and a simple Drip Campaign to keep your new user engaged.
Email automations are one-and-done tools for delivering these kind of messages. Automations can also be used for up-selling products and services, or obtaining helpful feedback and reviews. Many email marketing platforms have templated automation campaigns that you can customize to your needs. This is certainly a bonus, but do not sign up for a program that does not offer automation tools.
Email Sending Limits
This is sometimes confusing for new users. If you see that a service offers "Unlimited" contacts for a free monthly price, make sure the number of emails you can send corresponds with your needs. For example: assuming I have 1,000 contacts, and my service allows for 10,000 emails per month, I can only send up to 10 emails per month — after any automations have already been sent out.
You always have the option to upgrade, but take a look towards the future when pricing out a plan. If emails are going to be a key factor to your marketing plan, map out your potential costs for adding users, or increasing your monthly email limits.
4. Ease of Use
No matter what tool you choose, I highly recommend that you familiarize yourself with basic html language. I have yet to find a drag and drop tool that is infallible. A free trial period will allow you to test the waters — and your frustration limits. Read through the product reviews that specifically comment on creation tools.
Certain memberships don't include 1-to-1 customer service tools, and communicating design or technical issues can get a bit hairy via a chat window. If you're comfortable with basic html code, and can navigate within the Wix website environment, all platforms have relatively easy email creation tools.
If you are just starting out, ask your designer to include 3 basic email templates with your branding package, so you have a consistent look, and only need to change out text and images for a variety of campaigns.
5. Customer Service
Your skill level, experience, and business model will determine how access to customer service will affect your decision. If your business depends on email marketing to run properly, I highly recommend that you enlist an email marketing platform that has 24/7 support with a live operator. It is worth the investment.
As previously mentioned, most services have a customer support team available via chat or ticket system. Check your stress-limit to gauge if you can wait a whole day (or more) to get a satisfactory response.
Do you need help with your current Email Marketing tools, Custom Email Templates, or embedded Contact Forms on a current Wix website? Would you like to boost sales & provide better customer service using Drip Campaigns?
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...and don't forget to download our free Email Marketing Planning Guide > Yes! Get my free guide