e-Newsletters for Beginners

Do the words “email marketing” make you cringe?  Are you afraid of becoming one of the spammers you so despise? Don’t worry! You can do an e-newsletter for your music teaching studio without crossing over to the dark side. The trick is to send a judicious amount of interesting stuff to people who are interested in your interesting stuff.

An e-newsletter keeps you in prospective students' "recent documents" file.
An e-newsletter keeps you in prospective students’ “recent documents” file.

An e-newsletter (yes, this is one kind of email marketing) helps you keep in touch with your music students’ families, AND with prospective students. These are people who care what you have to say.  If you send them interesting stuff, they will read it.

Here’s a short list of the things you can do through an email marketing client:

  • Send emails to a large number of people without sharing anyone’s email address
  • Create an attractive e-newsletter for your music students AND student leads, or anyone else interested in your studio.
  • Schedule an email or newsletter to send in the future (such as when you are on vacation).
  • Maintain separate mailing lists for your studio and your “all contacts” list.
  • Track who is opening your emails and who is clicking on your links—no more wondering, “are they actually reading my emails?” Now you’ll know!
  • Allow subscribers to unsubscribe if they are sick of your emails (this is actually required by federal law)
  • Have subscribers “Opt-In” to receiving your newsletter—which will result in a MUCH higher rate of people actually reading it.
  • Comply with all federal laws related to email marketing and therefore not be a spammer.

Choosing an Email Marketing Client

There are TONS of email marketing providers out there.  It’s important to consider  what you need and make sure you’re paying the right price for it.

 

 

Basically, providers fall into two categories: Free and Not Free.  Obviously, you are going  to get a lot more features with “not free”.  But, if you only need something really basic or if you are just getting started with an email newsletter, why not start with something free?

FREE:

Mailchimp – Free to $10/month and up

You can’t beat free.  Mailchimp’s free version is quite robust and allows you to do a lot, with up to 500 contacts.  It is user friendly and walks you through creating your email newsletters.  I have been using Mailchimp for my studio newsletter since 2011, and I only recently upgraded to the $10/month version because I wanted to send autoresponders and use some of the other available bells and whistles.  If you are just getting into creating your own newsletter, Mailchimp is a great option.

Reachmail – Free to $10/month and up

On the surface, Reachmail looks better than Mailchimp because the free account includes up to 5,000 subscribers. However, when I signed up to test it, I found it less user friendly than Mailchimp.  Once you figure it out, though, it does work well and the free version is quite robust.  They do have one really cool feature, even in the FREE version which is worth mentioning: Surveys.  You can create custom surveys and send them out to your mailing lists as a link.  The data are all tracked in your Reachmail account.  The survey functionality is actually more robust than the free version of Survey Monkey.  If you feel good about your ability to learn a new program, and you’re willing to watch the training videos, this is a great free option.

Not Free:

Now, I mentioned the tons of email marketing providers.  Here is a review of 16 different email marketing apps.  But, since you have to pay for all of them, it’s probably only worth digging deeper if you are unhappy with Mailchimp and Reachmail or if you are an experienced email marketer and you need more features.

A normal price for a paid email marketing provider is $14-$20/month.  However, unless you have a decent sized (over 500) mailing list already, you are better off getting started with the FREE option (i.e. Mailchimp or Reachmail).

If you want more detail than I have here, there are plenty of techie- top-ten reviews of email marketing providers.  There are honestly so many email marketing companies out there, I couldn’t get detailed on all of them!

iContact               Benchmark Email             Constant Contact             Pinpointe            GetResponse    Mailigen              Vertical Response            Mad Mimi           Graphic Mail       Campaigner       GoDaddy             Mailchimp           Streamsend       EmailBrain                Boomerang        JangoMail            AWeber               Infusionsoft       Sendy

Bottom line:

If you’re just starting out with sending a studio newsletter, use Mailchimp or Reachmail, the FREE providers.  If you find that your contact list outgrows their free version, you can always upgrade your account or change to a new provider that suits your needs better.

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