I lost two thirds of my email list! Yes, that’s right. That goose the lays the golden eggs has flown the coop. The thing I worked so hard to build over the last 6 months has been decimated.
How could this happen you ask? After all, it’s all in the list they will tell you. So you have to care for it like a budding flower. Nuture it. Tend it daily. A little water here. Some fertilizer there.
Sure, that is all well and good, the experts tell us a lot of things. But they don’t always spell it out in black and white. Perhaps they are too experienced and have forgotten their mistakes. Or no longer able to explain them to us newbies?
Well let me tell you my experiences with Email Lists. Where to host them and perhaps where not to host them. And…….how not to lose your list like me. That is a big mistake!
Good question. I am glad you asked. Let me tell you what I have tried, and why I have settled on my final solution.
My first email list host was Mad Mimi. It was recommended to me by a blogging buddy – Tim Bonner. (If you don’t know Tim, head over to his blog and take a look via the preceding link).
For people managing a simple email list, Mad Mimi is great. It has a very simple and user-friendly interface. Creating mails is very easy and intuitive and Mad Mimi provides a variety of options for text and images, dividers and titles etc. Of course you can do a simple text email too!
The audience management is also quite simple. Showing who is on your list, who has yet to confirm. And you can add users manually, although this is not double optin so perhaps not ideal.
The main issue I had with their Audience Management was you did not see when someone signed up. So it was really quite hard to tell if you had new subscribers. They do give you an idea “how many this week”, but how many was it last time I logged in? And when you are managing the lists and mails manually, this is a slight problem. You can get around this by sending your mail and checking the box “don’t send to people who have already received” but it is not ideal and caused me some problems.
All of this is free, which is great, but to get the power user features like mail automation you do need to sign up for their Pro plan. This is actually the case for all mailing systems as I later found out.
However, if you are NOT planning on growing a massive email list, and you are happy to manage everything manually (which I did in the beginning too) then this is a great option.
So there I was building my rather small email list with Mad Mimi. The mails were quite sexy in HTML. The open rates were ok (about 50%) and I was gaining new subscribers. But I wanted to dabble in mail automation and check out some of the other mailing options. So I signed up for MailChimp , one of the bigger mailing list managers out there. which also has a free plan.
Mail Chimp also provides a very nice interface. And a cheeky little monkey too! Yes, their theme is all about the Chimp, and he gives you tips with humour – a nice touch.
I decided to use MailChimp for the subscribers that opted in from my freebie link. That way I could see which users were coming from there. Of course I could do this in Mad Mimi too, but I was not expecting too many, so I could copy them over manually for now until I decided on which service to use. I then added the mail chimp form to an optin page I had built and started collecting addresses. Easy peasy.
MailChimp’s interface is a little different to Mad Mimi’s but still great. And the audience management showed exactly when people had signed up, so I could see how I was doing from the audience list overview. However, later when I started investigating automated mails however, I discovered that Mail Chimp also charges for this service. I thought I had read differently. Perhaps it was a bit of a mistake for me to join. But I figured I might use MailChimp in the future, so why not keep using it out now.
So time ticked by, I was not collecting as many email addresses as I had hoped, and I still had not decided on which mail service to use. Hmmm – decisions decisions. The story continues….D Day was coming.
Things got a bit out of control recently, while I was travelling and unable to send out mails to new subscribers. I was doing things manually remember, so taking time off is not a great idea. While I was away (from the internet) – I got a few, shall we say “short”, messages from new subscribers asking where their freebie is.
I scrambled to find an internet connection and answer these people as quickly as I could (I do not like unhappy customers). It was then that I started to realise that I had to fix this problem before I annoyed more of my hard earned subscribers. It is difficult enough getting new subscribers without having a email service with no automation and losing them.
Speaking of subscribing….
I had been reading Darren Rowse’s book recently – ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income, and he uses Aweber. Also, as I scanned the web, I kept seeing more and more of the same.
If you want to use a professional, reliable, scalable mail service – use Aweber
Here are some examples of some other pro bloggers who say this:
Why After Three Years I Dropped Mailchimp as My Newsletter Service for Aweber
Why I Switched to Aweber for My Blog’s Email List and Why You Should Too
And actually the list goes on and on. So I thought to myself, if they are all using it for massive lists, selling products, sending newsletters and so on. Then so should I.
So I signed up to Aweber.
The interface is not as stylish as the other two options above (as I found with Tweet Adder – great tools are not always sexy), but the options are powerful and the information they provide amazing. It truly is the list building option for the pro blogger.
So now I am happy. I am using Aweber and growing my list – again. Yes again. Back to my original statement- I have lost most of my list, about two thirds to be more accurate. I actually don’t have so many subscribers, so the mistake is not as bad as it could be. But here is the thing. Decide early on what you want to achieve with your email list and choose the right service.
Don’t change services all the time like me, it can be very expensive (in terms of subscribers) and time consuming.
Header Photo Credit: bark via Compfight cc
Face Photo Credit: Jan Tik via Compfight cc
Ashley is obsessed with SEO and WordPress. He is also the founder of Mad Lemmings. When he is not busy helping clients get higher on Google he can be found doing crazy sports in the Swiss Alps (or eating too much chocolate - a habit he is trying to break).