While in these days it’s much less common to get notifications for every email we receive, and instead social media that reigns supreme in that department, that doesn’t mean that email has become any less important. In fact, our email inboxes have become somewhat of a place for solitude for us. Unlike social media – where the content that pops up on your feeds can be sporadic and oftentimes, overwhelming – email is where we receive messages that we’ve carefully chosen to receive.
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The primary thing to keep in mind, the supermagic key, is that HTML is used for meaning and CSS is used for presentation. HTML is nothing more than fancy structured content and the visual formatting of that content will come later when we tackle CSS. You might find different approaches elsewhere on the web but HTML Dog focuses on best practice from the outset and getting into the frame of mind of doing things the right way from the start will lead to much better results in the end.
The usability of most of the site is actually not bad; I even like the design look and feel. However, the signup process is where I had (and am still having) trouble with. Just simply getting a reply from them on anything takes hours and hours, but when you look search usability and mailchimp.com, they are all kinds of busy writing blogs about their mobile usability testing and how great they are. So they are so focused on their mobile they forgot that the #1 focus should be getting new users fast, and keeping them with good support… what a JOKE! Mailchimp.com is usability and customer support FAIL!
One of the challenges I’ve had with email marketing is figuring out exactly what to offer and when. I’ve tried the pretty HTML newsletter, but it felt like overkill at times and a little dated (there are of course a few awesome ones out there, but it just never felt like me). I tried taking an ‘e-letter’ approach but felt overwhelmed with creating original content for the newsletter on top of the blog. And more recently, I’ve simply been sending out broadcasts when a new blog or podcast is published. And this is all fine.
In response to “bogus” email subscribers, I will tell you why it is done… because I do it myself. When I am forced to put in my email information just to get some free information, it irritates me. The reason it irritates me is because, I deal with many companies in my business, I can not afford the time to keep sifting through my inbox to delete 50 emails from a company that I just wanted a little information from. Email marketing optin is great, but keep in mind – not everyone wants the bombarding of emails after-the-fact.
The disadvantage with using free services like Mailchimp is they’ll usually suspend your account without warning, it’s kind of like setting up a blog with wordpress.com or blogger.com. Since it’s a free service it’s kind of like they have this “one and your done” attitude which I guess is understandable since you’re getting the service for free, but sometimes I wonder. Now on to Aweber.
Price: Several users feel that the price is too high for many small businesses, especially businesses that don’t need all the bells and whistles AWeber has to offer. This is compounded by the fact that there’s no “dormant” mode; so long as your lists are in AWeber, you’ll need to pay the monthly fee based on your number of subscribers, whether or not you are actually sending emails. Some would like to see a low-price or freemium option for very small businesses.
Video marketing is probably the most powerful way to drive traffic to your site. People love to watch a video to learn something rather than reading text. And with the growth of mobile your video needs to be friendly for these viewers. You must get your point across a lot quicker and add elements of entertainment or gamification to keep peoples attention.
As with most ESPs, you’ll need to certify that any list you upload is permission-based and conforms with the provider’s anti-spam policies. AWeber takes this a step farther than some. You will need to enter the source of the email list when you upload it, and AWeber requires confirmed opt-in for all addresses. This means your first email will have to be a request for your subscribers to confirm their subscriptions. Anyone who doesn’t confirm can’t be on your list. (AWeber does allow some exceptions to this rule if you have a list that has already gone through confirmed opt-in with another ESP.)
After you have entered your "List Name" you will need to enter a "List Description." Here is where you will describe the kind of information you'll be sending from this list. There is a 400 character limit for the "List Description." Subscribers will see your "List Description" on the unsubscribe page if they ever go to unsubscribe from your list. Once you are done entering your "List Description" click the "Next Step" button.