Aug 5

Newsletters Part II: Selecting a Platform

I once had an internship in sending emails. No really, you read that correctly. As the writing intern at GVSU’s Alumni Relations Office, it was my main job to send alumni monthly e-newsletters that included campus and athletic updates, alumni spotlights and event reminders.

While this may seem mundane, crafting an informative email is so much more than scribbling a quick notice and hitting the send button. In fact, if you read Bri’s insightful blog on newsletter basics a few weeks ago, you’ll already know email newsletters can be an incredibly helpful tool to connecting with clients, residents, investors, etc.

So when I say I spent my internship sending emails, I meant I produced branding messages that informed and unified alumni, making them feel connected to everything happening in Allendale and part of the larger Laker community. But great messaging without appropriate delivery is meaningless.

Whether starting your organization’s newsletter, re-evaluating your current method or looking to increasing brand awareness, you need the right method to get your words to your stakeholders. In building on Bri’s initial newsletter blog, I want to go a step further and evaluate four of the most popular email marketing platforms so you can find the best fit for your organization:

 

Mail Chimp

Mail Chimp is one of the most recognized platforms even to those that haven’t created e-newsletters before. However, it recently changed its services. Although still offering a free membership, its basic plan is now limited to 2,000 contacts. So while it’s great for those just starting a business or building their contact list, organizations with more subscribers and different audiences that require segmentation will most certainly need to look into upgrading their membership. Benefits: the platform remains relatively user-friendly and provides seemingly countless templates and features such as integrating videos and surveys within your email.

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Benchmark

Benchmark’s biggest asset is its focus on international relations and availability in nine languages. Marketing itself toward those specifically looking to expand their business and use the platform’s special tools to do so, the “pro” plan is Benchmark’s better option. While organizations with fewer than 2,000 subscribers can create a free account and send 14,000 emails every month, the paid version unlocks all of the platform’s features, such as creating various automation emails and using different currencies for ecommerce purposes, while remaining affordable.

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Constant Contact

Advertised as the affordable platform, a minimal Constant Contact plan starts at $20 per month and offers above-average features, such as its mobile app for last-minute editing. Similar to other platforms, Constant Contact’s basic plan markets to small businesses looking to create professional emails and increase contacts whereas the more advanced plan aims to improve engagement with existing relationships and create automated emails. A downside, however, is the lack of template options and design opportunities that can make your brand stand out amongst the other emails in your inbox.

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Emma

Those who send hundreds of emails will want to look into investing in this tool. Starting at $89 per month, Emma’s basic plan will get you unlimited emails and unlimited lists with up to 10,000 contacts on each. This platform is incredibly intuitive, non-clunky and aesthetically pleasing. Not only does it allow for an unlimited number of lists but gives the opportunity to store and organize all your data in one place.

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While these are not all of the email marketing platforms, use these evaluations as a basis of as you continue researching what will work best for your organization. Defining your audience, tone, content, frequency and goals is a great place to start.

 


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